This is incredibly sad news to hear. I can't begin to describe how disappointed I am (and Escher, even more so). I started playing at PAPA9, a year after Becker, but I wholeheartedly agree with everything he has already stated. I also haven't come even close to missing a single year in the last decade and my friggin Wedding Anniversary used to conflict with it all the time! PAPA-style qualifying is so unlike any other format and it is absolutely "perfect" for deciding who should be World Pinball Champion! The strategy, energy, concentration, and nuance...ah.... SO. MUCH. NUANCE. is awesome, and unique, and it's not even a singular or private thing, it's a collective experience for everyone there who is trying, and sure, you're trying to beat out all these other incredible players, but at the same time, you can't help but root for them to when they are on that ticket or going up to play that game that will decide their fate for the whole friggin year, and I can't believe you would ever want to get rid of something like that and replace it with a SAME OLD, SAME-FUCKING-OLD, Pump N Dump Herb. It would be like replacing the 7 Game World Series with just the home run derby from the All Star Game. Woohoo... Let's watch everyone swing as hard as they can AT EVERY SINGLE PITCH until someone hits a BIG homerun. Oh look. Another BIG homerun. Swing away, who cares if you miss or not - just get back in line and try again.... Now compare that to what Becker tried to describe... The intensity and importance of EVERY SINGLE BALL increases as you do well on a ticket. It's so much harder to play two good games in a row, then one. Exponentially harder to make it 4-out-of-5. It's the toughest thing to accomplish in pinball... by a wide margin. And I don't for a second accept your argument that since you went to 24 players that it somehow got "easier" or "all you need is 3 games now, and you can qualify with 2 zeros on your ticket". I call BULLSHIT. It's as hard now as it ever was to qualify, and if care about consistency over 3 bombs - we've talked about this before - you just spread the points out to top 150 or even top 200 scores instead of 87 and you're back to needing 4+ above average games to have even a hope....
And, really, if this is about the bottom line and you don't want your tournament to lose money, than cut the prize pool. WAY DOWN. I betcha a TON of A players wouldn't care, so long as you kept the PAPA-style qualifying in place (and that awesome, awesome Martian trophy for World Champ!). And sure, this format absolutely sucks for lesser skilled players and new players.. takes years to understand and "master"... So why not go Herb style with B through D and even Classics (didn't lock my 20 in Paragon on Ball 1 ? I'll just stop playing now and get back in line and try again til I do, cause it don't matter, it's not like I'm on a ticket where I have to scratch and claw for every point of every ball...). but keep PAPA A, the World Friggin Championships of Pinball, PAPA-style qualifying - the most brutal, unforgiving format there ever was at $20 a pop, and I don't care if we play for 0$ - Just the Martian and a Banner, that's all I want and need (and I bet I'm not alone in asking)... So if you want to:
like this post and chime in, for the Love of Pinball!
please! please! please!
p.s. Game 5, PAPA-style, when you have a decent ticket going and you only need that last game to get in, is the most intense pinball moment you can have (by a long shot). And I remember EVERY SINGLE moment of every single PAPA qualifying game 4 or 5 that mattered... like WAY more intense than even a finals from a "normal" tournament... Nothing comes close and it should ALWAYS be that way... Pump n Dump requires about 1000th the focus and skill and determination and NUANCE, FUCKING NUANCE, to get it done... PAPA is better than that... please, please, please, be better than THAT!