Writhing through the snow

Ho ho ho. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that something has slightly ‘clicked’ for me with PES2010. Why and how I have found Master League so much more difficult than it seems every other player is still a mystery to me, but I’ve started doing much better. I’m still not scoring enough goals, but when I do score them I’m holding the AI at bay a lot better. Playing on Professional difficulty obviously helps.

The bad news is that, yet again, I might not get promotion. I might be spending season 7 in Division 2. I swear I’m not doing this deliberately.

It was all looking pretty darn good at one point. With 20 matches played, just after the mid-season transfer window, I was 3rd in the table:


In that mid-season transfer window I acquired 3 players. I felt on the crest of a wave.

Two were Youth Team players. AN CHONHIN (CB) and FOTECHA (GK). I released Ivarov, Burchet, and Stremer—they were just pointlessly taking up space. The rest of my squad had angry faces on them for a week about the supposed mistreatment of the three players, but they soon forgot about it. I also picked up one ‘proper’ transfer from another club, a very decent-looking AMF/SS/CF called IAKOVENKO. I know: what’s teh point of giving them names? I’ve just had so many players, and there’s nothing to suggest some or all of these new boys won’t be sold to pay the bills come August. We’ll see.

Here’s a great goal I scored with Kooistra during my good run. This is one of my favourites of the PES year so far. I’ll remember this one for years to come. As the ball dropped I was all set to try one of my favourite, first-time showbiz volleys. But I’m trying to stop doing that so much. I decided to try to trap the ball and then take the shot, or lay it off to somebody else.

I tugged on R2, took the first touch, and let off a delicious volley with the ball still hanging in the air after the first touch. The second replay shows the full extent of the goodness. This goal shows why Pro Evolution Soccer is still a force in football gaming despite its lean years:

Link: PES2010, touch and volley

That was a high point; it was downhill from then on. I went on a catastrophic run of 5 straight draws. I lost one in there too—only my third defeat of the season, the least amount in the division. Here’s the situation after 30 matches, with 4 remaining:


15 draws in 30 matches have cost me a lot. With 4 matches left in the season, I’m four points off 3rd place with a vastly inferior goal difference. As we all know, PES games do like to assist a chasing human player in the league. It’s likely that if I could pick up 3 wins and a draw, say, in my remaining four matches, it’ll probably be enough to lift me into the promotion spaces. So that’s my target: 3 wins and a draw; 10 points from the final 12. These will be the biggest four matches in my PES2010 year so far.

The final fixtures will be: Blackburn at home, Standard Liege away, AC Nitsaloskis away, and finally Portsmouth away. The first 3 teams in that list are all above me in the table. The matches should comprise an interesting little microcosm of my ML career so far. In Monday’s post I’ll cover them all individually.



  1. Merry Christmas, and best of luck getting promoted — I bet it will feel like winning the Champions League at this point!

  2. Merry X’Mas ….Long live the blog

  3. ck—season’s greetings to you as well, and that promotion if/when it ever comes will be the sweetest prize I think I’ve ever won in PES. Better than any Treble in any version. But I’ll gush about it if/when the time comes. (And I’ve got something special planned to mark the occasion too.)

  4. jamiee—thank you, and Merry Christmas to all. It’s just ended now as I’m typing this.

    I’ll take this opportunity to say that the special video I said could be ready for New Year’s Day now won’t be, I’m afraid. I’ve got a special video in mind for a specific theme and it’ll take more work than simply chucking a load of clips together. ETA: end of week 1 of 2010. I’ve got a few days off work.

  5. A belated Merry Christmas to you and your readers, not-greg, and it’s good to see you’re hanging in there with a chance to be promoted, and you still have Kooistra in your team. After I got bored with my original ML, I decided to start a new one very similar to yours to see how I’d fare, and try to understand why you’re struggling.

    Some of my finds are that Top Player is actually easier than Professional, there’s a lot more space to counterattack. I’ve always found that Pro is harder than TP, and that along with the fact that Seabass has claimed countless times that the game is made to be played in Professional, makes me believe is the perfect setting for me.

    In Professional, it’s much harder to crack the CPU’s defense, while in Top Player, you find many more chances to string along a series of attacking moves, since the COM advances more.

    I’ve just gone through the midseason transfer window, and even though I couldn’t sign any players of notice, my team is doing quite well with the following lineup: Ivarov, El Moubarki, Baumann, Palmieri, Ruskin, Iouga, Espimas, Ximelez, Fouque, Huylens, Castolo. I did get Oscar, Kooistra, and the others, but they’re only coming in after the break. Gutierrez has been vital, as usual, but I’m only bringing him in after the break too.

    A couple of advices I’d give to anyone who’s starting a new ML is, when you start your first season, the first thing you should do, IMO, is scan the Free Agent subsection and the similar ranked teams to yours for player to get, even if just on a loan. Next thing is to not put anyone on the transfer list, otherwise they get heartbroken, and just stop performing.

    Another thing I found is that it’s quite useful to check your whole team for players who are on the end of their contracts, and pull them into the starting lineup, that way they’ll renew contracts with your club, and might attract a few bids.

    Some players that I thought were absolutely useless have shown themselves to be more than decent, like Giersen, Valeny, Dodo, Espimas, Iouga, Lothar and Fouque. Macco, Stein, Stremer, Minanda and Burchet actually brought great joy when they left.

    Anyway, none of this is useful to you, I suppose since you’ll probably not even consider starting a new ML, but it may be useful to others.

  6. Adriano—I’m unsettled by efforts to replicate my ML difficulties, as I don’t think you will be able to reproduce them and it’ll just feed my paranoia that some might think there’s something decidedly fishy about my supposed ML and its supposed difficulties in my alleged daily sessions on PES2010—a game that really is, I know, quite easy at its core…

    The bottom line is that I’m not playing well in Master League in particular for some reason. I have indeed always been an average PES player; but I’m a bad PES2010 player. I was good in pre-ML International tournaments and Champs Leagues, but something in the game engine has combined with something in the rhythms of the new Master League to keep me where I currently am. That’s the simple truth, I feel.

    You’re right, I would never consider starting another ML. I’ve got one right now that I very much need to be getting on with. I still religiously back up the savegame file to a USB stick after every session. And I back up the USB stick to my computer. There’s no weaselling out of this ML career by any method!

    I hear what you’re saying about Professional/Top Player, and I’ve seen a lot of it at first hand since I switched down. The game is better balanced at Pro level. It’s a better game full stop, in fact. Much more enjoyable without being insultingly easy.

  7. I think it’s been interesting reading about your difficulties in Div 2, because of how closely they match the difficulties of a lot of clubs making their way up to the Championship from the Football League:

    A mediocre season in which players and club are coming to grips with the rigors of the new division capped off by financial disaster, which forces a fire sale of players, which in turn cripples the next campaign, which inevitably shorts sponsor revenue. The good players keep going, because you . . . need . . . that . . . money.

    the solution for you is the same for those real-life clubs — establish a settled squad, keep your best players, and bolster your squad where you can without breaking the bank. Get those teamwork ratings up, have a look at which slider tactics fit the players you’ve got (and the way you like to play), then get to work. Grind out those 1-0 victories. Make yourself extremely difficult to break down.

    Once you gain promotion, the money sluice opens up, and then you’ll have to take care not to waste your hard-earned revenue on a new squad of underperforming, overpaid prima-donnas with big clubs on their CV (and who will be the first to flee for greener pastures once the relegation knife-fight starts).

    Something I’d suggest for you also is using the strategy buttons (the pre-set strategies you can map to the x-button, triangle-button, etc.). They work quite well in this version, and really do what they say on the tin. I have “All Out Attack,” “Full Defense,” “Pressure,” and “Counterattack” that I rotate through as the situation demands. It takes a bit of practice to use them on the fly, but it’s wicked effective. “Pressure” in particular is good against some of the weaker teams who have troubles (just like the Defaults) trapping and passing crisply through the back line. I’ve scored many a goal capitalizing on defensive mistakes brought out via pressure.

  8. ck—the thing I’ve found is, the old rhythms, the old tried-and-tested machinations in ML, are the things I constantly assume I can do and should do, but they cost me. I’ve kept selling to survive when I should have been trimming my backroom staff costs.

    I do utilise the strategy buttons, and a wide variety of them too. I’ve never gone into depth about them (along with a good few other PES2010/ML-specific subjects) because the promotion/non-promotion angle is dominating the narrative at the moment. If/when promotion finally happens (see tomorrow’s post for the exciting season 6 finale), I’ll feel able to digress into other areas of my PES2010 experiences.

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