I'm still torn on how speedball/X-ball has affected the sport overall.

A part of me thinks rate of fire and air fields just completely changed paintball from a fun game in the woods into a "sport" where those who could run and slide and shoot 30+bps...and AFFORD the equipment, paint, practice, etc...pushed us rec ballers to the side...laughing at us for our Spyders and Tippmanns. In doing so, they attacked the base of the pyramid and the entire industry started to crumble.

On the other hand, if paintball is ever going to be mainstream, it has to have a constant flow of interest...and it has to have the AGG teenagers pushing for faster markers and hoppers and better paint. And pushing for high school teams and semi-pro/pro development. If it wasn't for the speedball guys, we wouldn't have the quality of paint we do now...everybody would still be shooting Brass Eagle, PMI, or Zap with the rich kids shooting old Marbs.

So Speedball/Airball...jury is still out.

I think FPO was a "negative" as it became popular. It made fields profitable, which was a good thing; but it drove up the prices to the point that players started retracting from fields and avoiding them. I played a LOT of Outback/Outlaw paintball where players REFUSED to go to fields...they couldn't justify the extra $20 a case for paint and $15 to play...and having to play with noobs and aug jerks. So they bought reasonably priced paint, a large tank of CO2 for $1 fills...and they all just gathered at Outback/Outlaw fields.