This article focuses more on paintball than actual airsoft
I’ve played Airsoft once but am more experienced in Paintball. For me airsoft is more of a prepper’s game. One get to drill realistic situations. But I prefer paintball since it does not attempt to simulate war. The markers have hoppers in your sightline, they are bulky and revealing. Camo does not give you advantages in air ball due to the lesser distances. The balls are big and round, not always flying where intended. Thats is why I call paintball a sport.
Paintball promotes naturally for more sportsmanship than Airsoft. It is more difficult to cheat with paint on you rather than going rambo and getting lit up and still play on.
Since I am more familiar with paintball types I will dissect the types below.
Paintball play styles:
Airball(speedball): The game is intense and short. One hit and you are out. Teams consists of five players each and they play against another team during a specified amount of time. Points are scored by getting to the oppositions starting point. The team leading at the end of this specified time winns. The marker shoots rapid fire in quantities. You hide behind air bunkers on level turf.
Scenario game: You are able to play all varieties of markers in these games. The games lasts longer and may have separate objectives within. The team wins who has gathered most objectives before the time runs out. Bunkers are further aways the turf may or may not be flat. Bunkers may consist of any kind of obstacles. Here you might see camo dudes with markers where hopper is shifted aside so they can mount scopes on top. How you go out depends on the local rules. You might get revived by medics or go to respawn etc.
Woodall: Here the turf will not be flat and mostly you must learn how to utilise your environment. You my play objective inspired games or capture the flag from opposing base. There might be some bunkers and these usually blends in the environment. All kinds of markers may play this type of game but the scene attracts many milsim players.
Types of markers:
There are three things you must monitor if wanting to keep on playing. Sufficient amount of air in your tank. Battery is fresh or on the run exchangeable and ”count your shots” so you never run out of balls in critical situations. The less you need to keep track of the longer you are able to play.
Speedball marker: can shoot up to 30 balls per second. Balls per second usually is limited to about 10 balls/ second in many game formats. These markers are usually bling bling colorful and operate electronically. The tanks are big so you will be able to shoot about ten pods within a few minutes.
Milsim markers: These usually have picatinny rails and shoulder stock . Some use hoppers on top, some on the side. Others have magazines which limits your shot rate. Includes pistols as well. Some are electronic but mostly they operate mechanically and few are upgradable with electronic features. Mechanically you are able to play without batteries running out on you. The tanks may be smaller or carried on your backpack with a remote line in order to minimize weight of your marker. You must calculate how many pods you need for your game style. Some cope with the hopper some use air ball strategies.
Pump markers: these have small hoppers since you can’t stand jerking of the pump all day long. You will most likely use one ball one kill tactics. Every ball counts. If wanting to become better player, you learn how to hit with each ball. Air ball tournament player has the upperhand against equally skilled pump player, but pumplayers can get lucky. Here a minimal tank is usually sufficient all day, thus reducing the carrying weight.
First strike: this is a segment all by itself. No speedball/air ball marker is adapted to these rounds since the goals are completely opposite. First strike rounds are expensive and shot one per kill. Speedball balls makes suppressing fire afordable. Pumps and milsim markers are able to shoot first strike rounds if the breach is modified. These rounds do not fit in a standard hopper why you must use spezial magazines. Mainly snipers uses these rounds since the can’t protect themselves with rapid fire. Their weapons are patience, longer range and invisibility in the terrain.
For me the less balls (mag fed) you play as Airsofters/Preppers. Mainly because of the mag fed milsim markers. The mag capacity usually is 7 but can be extended to 20. I am not sure how large the ”loaders” in airsoft are but the smaller size gives room for more rounds in the magazines.
For mee speedball is paintball and mag fed is airsoft.