First, allow me to revive the "Evolution of the Airsoft Player" post which describes the stages every player goes thru. These are based on empirical evidence collected over the last 8+ years.
- - The NEWBIE: We were all this once. Just found Airsoft, thought it was wicked cool. Wanted to know everything about it. Full of questions, ignorant of the discipline or rules of whatever board we happened to bump into first. Excited to the point of fanaticism.
- The KNOWBIE: A Newbie with a couple of months of board skulking under his belt. No real experience or knowledge, but filled with the audacity to think they know what they're talking about because they read it somewhere. Far more annoying than a Newbie simply because they're entirely more vocal.
- The PLAYER - PRIVATE: Both board time and a little field time. Not overtly skilled or full of themselves. Still excited about the game and the possibilities but still tentative online. This is a fast phase for some, a long phase for others. Dedication to the game is complete. Confidence level is starting to grow.
- The PLAYER - SERGEANT: Board time and field not in question. Above average skill, as they now know how things work on the field. Confidence is strong. Egos vary at this stage but all-in-all this phase has the most all around friendly and helpful players. Willing to answer questions that have already been asked, research things for lazier people, enforces rules but rarely spitefully. This is the middle phase when "all things are right". The perfect blend of new and experienced. They know where they came from and where and what they want to be...in the community. This phase can last forever for some players.
- The PLAYER - LIEUTENANT: Board and field time not in question...but unlike the Sergeant phase, ego raises, patience falters. No longer willing to help other players, regardless of level or phase, unless they actually know them. Tired of "undead" questions to the point of rage. Prone to short temper and posts rampant with insults. Firm believer in "Negative Reinforcement". Superior air. This player is respected for their experience and deeds but feared if not all out hated for their attitude in general. Some players never leave this phase...some pass right over it.
- The RECLOOSE - Reasons for reaching this phase differ from person to person but the results are the same, they don't come to the D-Board anymore. Whether they think it's boring, a waste of time, or just annoying, these players just sit back and let the board live without them. It's not that they don't care; they're just not interested in being a part of the community for awhile. This phase can come and go for some guys; they disappear when the spirit moves them. It's not a bad phase but it DOES hit everyone at some point.
- THE VETERAN - Board and field time...plenty. Enough to realize that this is all a game and should be treated thusly. It's not a popularity contest or a measure of one's manliness. Just a game. Helpful on the boards only when new questions arise, when something particularly catches their interest, or when queries are posed that are generally left to the more experienced players (rules, legal stuff, etc.). More comfortable on the field, not necessarily playing (at least not in all the open games) but being involved with the community. These players are comfortable with themselves and their "rep" and treat this game, and how we play it, with revelry. Ego still plays a part here but more from a giddy pride that comes from watching other players play and learn, knowing that they too made this full journey. Every player reaches this level too...but experiences and performances vary.
- - JANUARY: Sporadic posts from new and prospective players who are riding the excitement wave of receiving their new Airsoft gun for Christmas. Lots of "what should I buy next" posts. Altogether an increase of posts on the boards as winter is in full swing and there's nothing else to do but wait for the next indoor game (if there is one). New and old players alike have money in their pockets from the Holidays and orders increase. The MAA starts setting its summer calendar.
- FEBRUARY: Quiet winter month. People are starting to get bored with winter. Board activity is steady but a lot of off topic stuff. Tolerance for new players is getting thin. Whispers of spring/summer begin. The MAA usually posts its summer season calendar.
- MARCH: More prospective players start to emerge as spring is just around the corner. Undead questions and posts like "which gun?" and "help me choose" become a regular occurrence on the boards. Tolerance for said questions is generally lacking and seeing older players lash out is a usual occurrence. Lots of sales posts as people are either doing spring cleaning and need to get rid of things (only to buy new things)....or people are looking to either change or add to their existing loadouts for the upcoming season. Players start to plan their summer seasons, what will they be attending and when.
- APRIL: A frenzied month. Both outdoor and indoor games start popping up. Players have more choices. Board is busy with people still trying to settle their equipment. Still lots of questions but as everyone is excited responses are plentiful and helpful. Players, though still willing to play indoors, will start to complain about the lack of and/or request outdoor games. Players that have previously been out of touch return as outdoor season begins.
- MAY: Outdoor season is in full swing. Spirits are high. Sales posts have more to do with supplies like BB's and gas than actual gear and guns. Questions are low. Players are looking for games to play and people to play with. Loads of board activity as summer break has started for some, very literally, new posts will get responded to 10 times within their first minute as board lurkers post on everything.
- JUNE: Board activity is high but focused, usually discussion about previous and upcoming games are prevalent. Players have their guns and gear for the season. Discussion of tactics and how to be a better player pop up but are still related to the games being played. Players want to be on field playing, not talking.
- JULY: Same as June, summer is here and Airsoft players would rather be on the field.
- AUGUST: Same as the other summer months but there's a hint of desperation. Many players have to return to school soon so summer vacation is ending. For many, August marks the end of the traveling season.
- SEPTEMBER: School starts for many. A sudden and evident drop in day time board activity to the point of "ghost town" status. Players still attend games and usually in record numbers as many realize the outdoor/Summer season is coming to a close.
- OCTOBER: Transitionary month. Games still played outdoors but weather starts to be more of a factor. October usually marks when players start taking about indoor play (if there are any games), and many players start to pack away gear or set up for winter play.
- NOVEMBER: Holiday season starts. Activity on boards and at indoor games is steady but tapering. Many are starting to think of what they either want for Christmas or are trying to figure out how to buy for others. Sporadic sales posts pop up as people want to make money.
- DECEMBER: Spirits are high again....but now due to the Holidays more than Airsoft. Board activity is still high but off topic or people asking for advice on what they should ask for for Christmas. Generally a really nice time for the community. Board activity after Christmas is high as people are on vacation and have new toys, Airsoft related or not, that they want to show off. Players start to get lazy.....as winter has people confined and we still have months of snow to look forward to. As we enter into January, it all starts over again, with few changes in the cycle?
Most of all....I want all players, new and old, to remember where you came from....and realize that there is most definitely a "circle of life" in the Airsoft world. Try to remember that before you jump on a new guy or start complaining about too many questions or not enough games. It's been happening for ages my friends....and will continue....
If you have noticed other interesting Airsoft player facts and foibles, share them....and they may be added to the list.