This time I know it’s for real

Deja vu all over again? No, this is the real deal now. Finally I’m up and running in a proper Master League career in PES2011, starting at the very bottom.

In Wednesday’s post I bravely ventured forth with the Default players, using an edited PES United, as I always do. This should have plunged me into the thick of the action as the lowest-rated team in the world, with no money, no staff, and a squad made up of terrible players.

Instead, I found myself given a slingshot into the higher echelons. I was ranked 56th in the world, above every other team in my division. I had £33,000,000 to spend. All my staffing levels were at the higher level 2 from the start. I was able to attract top players immediately. I got Michael Owen on loan.

I feared the worst. I thought Master League had been dumbed down, or streamlined, or whatever the term is. I played around 10 matches with a mostly sinking feeling. Finally I met Tottenham in the FA Cup (superbly added by the WENB Option File). I beat Spurs 3-1 quite easily. Now I really feared the worst.

Then I heard about the ‘ranking bug’, as it’s come to be called.

In a nutshell: if you Edit a team, and then start Master League as that team—even with the Default squad—you will find yourself awarded an Advanced Start.

The only currently known way around it is to start Master League as the unedited, original team (PES United in my case).

Then save the game, and go back and edit the team to what you want it to be (Coventry City in my case, with the corrects kits, sponsors, and fan chants, and my own customised stadium). And then go back and load up the save.

I can testify that the workaround solution works.

I’m back in business as the lowest of the low, ranked 170th in the ML world. I have a paltry £3,000,000 in the bank, most of which is already earmarked for existing player and Level 1 staff salaries. Coventry City are back where they belong.

I also took the chance to select ‘Dynamic player growth’ this time. I wasn’t sure what it was first time through. I understand Dynamic will cause player stats to decline because of injuries and loss of form, and even when they’re just not picked to play for long enough. I like the sound of that.

I put in a few bids for players. After a bit of confusion, I finally located the FREE AGENTS list (under ‘category’ in Advanced Search).

I tried for a few players rated intheir 70s but they wouldn’t sign. When the transfer window expired I’d only signed one player, a 69-OVR, versatile-looking SB/CB named NZOM GOLE.

I signed 4 of my Youth Squad: PALMIERI, FETACHA, SHIMIZU, and SCHWARZ. I can’t get used to the fair-haired Schwarz of 2011.

The teams with me in Division 2 are a formidable bunch. Picking this kind of lineup implements a secondary layer of difficulty. Last year, with a similar league lineup, it took me 7 seasons to win promotion.

I’ve started on Professional as the gameplay difficulty level. I’m not ready yet for Top Player. Others may be able to hack it on Top Player within minutes of getting the game, but not me, not yet. Generally it takes me a season or two to warm up. I suppose I should be thankful for my anti-ability at the game, and I am.

I rushed to Game 1 of the season against Fenerbahce. I’d won my first game of the aborted career, but I didn’t win this one. Not even close.

I still had most of the possession, but that was all I had. I lost 2-0 and had far fewer shots on goal than them. And this pattern was repeated in the other matches I played this session. Which was only 4 matches in total. I spent a lot of time fiddling around, getting the new, proper career all set up.

So, I got there in the end. A shame to have wasted a few days on a bug, but things could be worse. I’ve finally got to the promised land, and my Master League career is set up.

Now it remains to be seen if I can get out of Division 2 before Christmas this year.


  1. Glad to hear you’ve been able to start again….ive got the same problem. How did you “un-edit” your team? ive created my own team from one of the random PES teams but am now not sure how to un-edit them. Is there something i need to delete or is there a massive “undo” button im just not seeing. Will this affect my OF?
    cheers mate

  2. Phil—just go to your team in Edit mode and work your way through the categories from top to bottom (Name, Strip, Emblem, etc.).

    They all have a ‘back to default’ option at the bottom of the screen, apart from (I think) the chants section where (if you’ve changed it) you just delete the chants from the slots you assigned.

    Also, you have to restore your strips – Home, Away, GK – to default settings one by one.

    It won’t affect the rest of your OF in any way.

    After you’ve re-set-up your ML, go back and re-do your team editing. This is the annoying fiddly part that took me 20 minutes all over again. I’d bet there’s a way to restore from a saved copy of the previous settings using a USB stick, but I wasn’t confident enough to try and it seemed quicker to me just to get on and do it all manually.

    It’s well worth doing if you don’t like the ‘Advanced Start’.

  3. Let the blog begin! (again). I’m hoping that Castolo ends up as your top scorer and proves the legend!

    One thing that bugs me is that you can’t buy players from the Libertadores teams. My favourite player of all time is the real Ronaldo and after using him with Corinthians I really wanted him in the ML, but he’s not available, nor are the rest of the Corinthians team?

    Glad that all is in order. I may have been a bit too cautious starting an ML career with the real West Ham players and set up as i’m half way through the season and have only conceded 4 goals on top player. Bit of a worry.

    The good news is that I scored my first long range wonder strike with Hitzlsperger last night – it was a beauty from around 30 yards into the far top corner. P-e-s-simo!

    Will probably see out this season then start again with the defaults.

  4. I get my copy of the game today, so very excited, should be a good weekend, glad i have waited a week also, this blog is a very useful resource for the few issues/bugs that have come out of the woodwork on the game.

  5. Liam – I was gutted you cant buy Copa players. Im sure people have found a way round it (copying players an such). Also, how come Santos arent featured? Aren’t they a Copa team? Seems weird not to include them.
    Cheers no-greg, that does sound easy. will do that tonight. Being able to sign relativly good household names that early goes against everything ML stands for.

  6. Liam—the game will have started you in ML with level 2 staff to begin with. Factor that into your already-high ability at the game (don’t deny it!) and you’ve got a recipe for only conceding 4 goals, I’m afraid.

    Even I was doing great in the bugged pseudo-Advanced Start mode with the Defaults. I was third after 10 league matches, had just hammered Spurs 3-1 in the cup, and I had an awful feeling about things. Really glad I restarted and, without giving too much away, everything is now fine.

    Re. long-rangers, it was definitely a conscious decision to make them harder. A good decision too, I currently think. They become more valuable this way. I still haven’t got one, but I’m getting ever-closer. I just hit the bar with Ordaz from 30 yards. It didn’t dip quite enough.

  7. Makershaker—forewarned as you are, you won’t even notice the bug as long as you set up your ML career straightaway. After you’ve saved it, do your Editing, and check your team-ranking in the ML menu via Team Info>”Your Team name”>Team Results. As long as that says 170 or so, you’re good to go. If it says 55 or so, something’s gone wrong. but as long as you follow the principle of only starting with the vanilla, unedited team, you’ll be fine.

    Playing with the Defaults actually feels pleasurable this year. I’m still struggling, but they seem capable of a bit more football. The matches aren’t as much of a grim slog as they usually are.

    You’re in for a top weekend. This is a great game. I thought it was good from the start, but it’s really coming alive for me now.

  8. Noticing your end of game stats in the 2-0 loss to Fenerbache, it shows you had 58% of possession but less shots and obviously no goals.
    So is it fair to say that you dominated large parts of the game posession wise but just struggled to create anything of any worth in the final 3rd??

  9. Phil—there’s nothing right about it all. Maybe with a real team and real players, being able to attract good players from the start and having loads of money and good staff would be acceptable, but for a Default career it just isn’t right.

  10. Yeah, don’t get me wrong i’ve got half decent players (Upson and Da Costa) in defence and good staff – but i’ve played Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City et al and still only conceded 4 goals on top player. And 2 of those were in the same game (against Blackburn of all people). So 4 goals against in 18 games is a bit of a worry.

    Phil – I thought it was a bit strange that Santos weren’t in there, especially seeing as the likes of River and Boca are available? I don’t think they actually qualified for the Libertadores this season though – could be wrong? Tim Vickery’s blog on South American football on the BBC football site is very good by the way.

  11. Paul—as ever with the Defaults, it’s all about fleeting moments throughout the game. I can create maybe one or two good chances with them. If I don’t take them, I don’t get anything from the matches. I’ve just played for a few hours and things are getting slightly better as I get to grips more with PES2011, but I really think I’m in for the long haul again!

  12. I just asked because its the exact same thing I was finding playing on professional, large bouts of possession but not much to show for it.
    At least I know its not just me!!!! and be honest, I think you would be slightly disappointed to achieve promotion in the first season!?

  13. Also, just had a mail from my PES playing friend who has already embarked on his BAL career:

    “you have an agent now and earn money so you can upgrade your agent etc. There is no trial game you just get contract offers and with it shows likeliness of playing so i signed a 2 year contract at de graafschap (or whatever the dutch team is called). We are sh1t but i have played every game that i have been fit or not suspended.
    The manager changes tactics and you have to change the way you play to impress him with the tactics – you get team talks and your agent is always talking to you ”

    Sounds like this could be more up your street non-Greg.

    Also, what on earth were you doing shooting with Ordaz from 30 yards?! Ha ha, impressive to hit the bar though.

  14. good you´ve got everyting sorted not-greg. only today, after having been able to play a long meaningful session is the gameplay really starting to come together. From your posts i’d gather you’re in the same boat now not-greg? I too am ranked dead last (171) and if anything I would say (aside from it being HARD) the difficult is actually dynamic. I’ve only won 3, lost 8 and drew 7 or so. Just an hour ago i won 4-0 against another crappy side and thought: “ok maybe it IS time for Top Player now”. Sure enough i get hammered three times in a row after, and lose 3-0 to FC BASEL, of all clubs. Mind you this is on Professional.

    Oh yeah, regarding my last posts re. player growth; you get a prompt when a player’s stats improve. Your coach (the all-knowing DZERPINSKI, oh yes) will notify you when stats increase. Although you can’t see the “plus” sign next to stats anywhere (to see how much they’ve increased over time) and this does not seem to apply to the Teamwork stat (which increases among young ‘uns each match as you know)

  15. Hello chaps.
    Been a while. Good to see your new ML career is underway not-Greg, I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    How would you say the gameplay is this year? Its the all important thing for me.

    I’m currently without a console (recently moved to Japan). I’m thinking about picking up a PS3 in the next couple of months. I really like the idea of being able to design kits in photoshop etc and use them in-game. Designing a new kit for the season was always one of the most fun components in ML for me.

  16. What transfer frequency does everybody go for? I always went for ‘high’ on PS2 but I’ve heard it gets ridiculous on that setting with next-gen ML

  17. Paul—I’m only just now getting to grips with PES2011, and playing it as it’s own game if you know what I mean. Slowly things are starting to open up a it but I’m still doing very well just to make a chance with the Defaults. I’d be horrified if I got a season 1 promotion!

  18. Liam—it wouldn’t be a proper PES year without you urging me to give BaL a go, and it wouldn’t be a proper one if I didn’t at some point give it a go. That does sound pretty good I have to say. Another one for the future. There’s a lot of business to get through first.

    Ordaz has got a surprisingly good shot on him and for once I had time and space, and just though I’d go for it. Would have been a hell of a goal too.

  19. #1—I forgot to have a look at Track Record before I finished my session today’ but I’d guess at about 15 to 20 hours so far, and it was only today that I really started to play PES2011. Until now I was playing it as if it was PES2010/FIFA10 or similar. Now I’m picking up its little ways and starting to stitch some nice moves together.

    I spotted that coach thing as well, but is that really all we get by way of notification? I’ve never been one for poring over stats, but I’ve always liked the handy regular visual update on my players’ progress.

    I noticed the variable difficulty too, although that could just be classic old PES ‘momentum’ at work from match to match. Still too early to tell.

  20. The Libertadores teams on PES 2011 are the ones who played the 2010 edition of the tournament (won by International), so Santos isn’t in there. Konami did some magic, and put Ronaldo in splendid shape in the game, for some reason I can’t understand. He hasn’t been that fit since 2002.

  21. Grilled Seabass—I’m deeply envious, always wanted to see Japan. And it’s still the land of PlayStation, for the most part (I love their love for the Monster Hunter series on PSP). Is your Japanese up to it, or will you have to get an English language model?

    Gameplay for PES2011 (the all-important question). I wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for you spending however-many-yen-it-is. But you’re probably taking in general impressions from across the Internet.

    I remember you describing PES2010’s gameplay as ‘prehistoric’, with justification. PES2011 is blatantly, IMO, Konami’s attempt to catch up to next-gen FIFA’s standards in terms of animations and the general feel and handling. It’s still a bit awkward by comparison, but I would defend that as a player/stats-based design decision (but you never know).

    FIFA players mostly respond like lithe ninjas (a generalisation, but broadly true). PES2011 still features players with the touch of an elephant and the turning circle of the famous aircraft carrier that always pops up in metaphors like this one around about now, but I prefer that system.

    It’ll be up to you to judge how successful it’s been for your tastes. For me, so far, it’s a bit of a triumph. But I liked PES2008 for a few weeks.

    Basically, just try the demo and if you like it, you should like the full game, or at least it wouldn’t be a waste of money. Think of the demo’s gameplay, with PES’s more-ish single-player modes tacked on.

  22. Chris—one of the problems we always face when setting up an ML is the insane desire to get the setting-up process over with, and just get on with the game and the matches themselves, which can lead to hasty decisions. I’m glad I got a do-over, thanks tot he ranking bug, and that I went with Dynamic. I also stuck with Medium for transfer frequency. I’ve never picked High.

  23. Adriano—the Copa Libertadores has been a great inclusion for PES2011. Everyone’s raving about it on the forums, as you’ve probably seen. (Does D’Allessandro know how much of a cult hit he became thanks to the PES2011 demo?!)

    I don’t blame Konami for being creative with reality. They’ve made sure that one of the most well-regarded South American players ever to play in Europe was represented as he was a few years ago. That’s a bit naughty and sentimental of them to do it just for Ronaldo when I’m sure Zidane (for one example) would have loved to have a few virtual years shaved off him towards the end of his PES life, but sentiment’s a curious thing.

  24. As a matter of fact, I haven’t looked at any forums in a very long while, so I’m as much unaware of this as D’Allessandro probably. He probably deserves it, though, he’s had a great year so far, playing better than I have ever seen him play. There are other Argies playing in the Brazilian league right now who deserve as much notice, though, like Conca and Montillo, both top players, soon to be in Europe.

    I, for one, am delighted to finally have my São Paulo FC back in the game, with the likes of Rogério Ceni, Ilsinho (hopefully, otherwise an OF can fix it), Alex Silva, Miranda, Ricardo Oliveira, Dagoberto and the new young star Lucas (whom I’m sure I’ll have to manually edit into the game).

  25. You`ll have seen that Strongbow ad, you know the one “ satellite dish installers of Whitstable etc..” well add another “ PES option file creators of wherever! “
    Ive just spent the last 4 days trying to recreate the Bunderliga and Championship before I start my Master League and well…. I’m spent
    I managed to pretty much complete the Bundersliga with a fair bit of artistic licence regarding the players I created but realising I’ve now got to do the same with the Championship well I’m afraid that’s it for me.
    These guys must spend days, weeks even editing everything right down to which side Raul parts his hair (I actually read a discussion on one of the forums on that very topic) my god that’s dedication .
    It’s been torture reading about you all starting ML campaigns while I’m editing, so its hats off to Pesfans Paul2478 from Down Under, tomorrow (tonight??) He is releasing his own version of the option file I so failed miserably at trying to create. I will delete everything I’ve created over the past few days just to be on the safe side, install Pauls file then hopefully , (fingers crossed) it`ll be all systems go for my Master League career.
    Oh in case you’re wondering the answer is the right, only girls have left partings.

  26. wow that’s great Grilled Seabass, what are you doing in Japan? I’m envious too, used to go to Japan often on business, it’s a great place. Memories of sifting through second hand games shops in Osaka in search of Winning Eleven for the GBA….

  27. LOL not-Greg, you opted to restart at the bottom of div 2? You really are a glutton for punishment! 🙂

    But I can imagine the long hard road to ML success, it really is a great feeling to know your squad inside out & slowly upgrade your team.

    Seriously mate, your blog is my lifeline to PES at present – as you know my PC couldn’t handle this years PES. To top it off, recent WENB podcasts cannot be downloaded to my trusty mp3 player for offline listening while doing the dishes/laundry etc. Their podcasts are a bit amatuerish, but the subject matter can’t be beat & it nicely rounds up whats going on in the “community” – I can’t be bothered reading endless forum posts about a game I’m not playing.

    If anyone has the recent podcasts (from 105 onwards) downloaded from iTunes, would appreciate a link.

  28. I feel so lucky this bug could have killed a week for me before I noticed it I started unedited with defaults pes utd and dynamic (which I can confirm can be quite harsh) I am 3 and a bit seasons in and am still a little worried by the transfer system I gained promotion in my first season but nearly got relegated in my second 3 points saved me in the final game. my team rating is still on 158 but I have been able to sign some amazing older players(even Raul in div 2!!??!!) however my team is unrecognisable from its starting 11, mostly players in their 70’sOVR but this season I have signed Pedro. Guys I love PES ml to me is a good 6/9 months adventure every year this year I really fear the ml shine could fade way too fast for me dont get me wrong I love the game I just dont want to rule my ML within 5/8/10 season!

  29. Yea, it really is the land of PS. None of the ‘Dixons’ style stores I have been to here even sell the Xbox 360. I knew Xbox wasn’t popular here but I didn’t think you couldn’t even buy it! I’m currently teaching English here and most students have the Wii, some have PS3s. They’re shocked when I say I had an Xbox!

    I think I’ll go for a PS3, mainly for the fact that all games are region-free. My spoken Japanese is OK but there’s no way I’ll be able to navigate all the menus filled with Kanji!

    I don’t mind that PES has tried to emulate FIFA’s feel somewhat, I look forward to giving it a go. I miss my football gaming. On a side note, anyone played Football Manager on the iphone? Thinking of picking it up.

    abbeyhill – I’ve been here about 2 months now and am really enjoying the lifestyle. Japan’s a great place to visit for a week or two, taking in the sights and sounds etc and there are still plenty of things that surprise me.

  30. Adriano—I wish I could break myself of the habit of looking at PES forums. I think it’s no coincidence that the days of a continuously satisfying PES that everybody enjoyed for most of a whole year (or all of it), came to an end roughly around the time that broadband got big.

  31. Decc66—I’ve got maximum respect for the OF-makers too. Just re-doing my cosmetic editing effort for one team made me feel like I’d done the equivalent of a day’s work at the Editing coalface.

    I’m going to take a look at these forums you’ve found. I like a bit of obsessive-compulsive behaviour. I’ve just got over severe acute addictions to Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress…

  32. diego—the last few WENB podcasts have been very good. One of them had the elusive Suff on. The discussion has been pretty wide-ranging too, with talk about why Arcade & Simulation are such meaningless buzzwords in PES/FIFA disputes, and other meaty stuff. I haven’t got copies of the MP3s as I just tend to listen to the stream from the WENB site itself using the webpage player – see here – could you not listen to them that way?

  33. Gary—that’s the big fear for me too, and has been every year since PES2008. I used to take it for granted that ML would go on, really, for as long as I wanted it to. I was disappointed at PES2009’s 5-year career, delighted with PES2010’s open-ended, 19-season career (that I left too early), and just waiting to see how long it takes me to get to the first milestone in PES2011. I’ll say one thing – I won’t be getting promoted in season 1.

    I do not like anything about the new transfer system so far. The players are too cheap. Regardless of whether the fees scale to the overall financial burden, they’re still too cheap. It doesn’t feel right after last year’s mammoth fees, which reflected the real-world state of play of course.

  34. Grilled Seabass—I’m not a big fan of iPhone games at all really. I could only name 2 that I’ve played longer than a few minutes. FM2010 isn’t one of them, but many people do like it. The club and squad management aspects are pretty basic. But I’ve only played it for literally 20 minutes, covering 2 matches at the start of a season during a bus ride once about 6 months ago, and not touched it since.

  35. I folded under the pressure and installed iTunes solely for the purpose of listening to podcasts about PES – how sad am I?
    Thankfully the program doesn’t spread itself all over your computer & doesn’t save the podcasts in some oddball proprietary format (Real Player anyone?), so I can plonk ’em straight to the mp3 player. Might browse other podcasts while I’m at it…

  36. @Digeo: iTunes’ greatest feature is it’s podcast manager — you can either browse for new podcasts through the interface, or enter the feed URL for an existing podcast. iTunes will keep them updated, and you can set it to auto-delete or save forever, depending on your preference. I’m using podcasts nowadays to find new music as well as amuse myself on car trips and when running.

  37. diego—So the website stream thing didn’t work? I’ve never been a big fan ofiTunes, even in recent years when I’ve tended to like/love everything Apple puts out. This will be sacrilege to many but give me VLC or similar any day. (I’m not a big music-lover/listener. For me music began and ended with The Smiths. “We got both kinds, Country and Western…”)

  38. ck—I love podcasts, comedy and gaming mainly, and subscribe to far too many than is healthy or that I can listen to. They’re for bus travel and the like of course, but I tend to listen to many whilst playing PES. A practice that makes me into an even worse player sometimes, if the podcast is a particularly good one.

  39. Hi Not-Greg & All

    I’m a stalker of this blog for more than a year and post comments occasionally. That’s because I’m quite the opposite of you lot as in I don’t play master league at all but I do have a few attempts that I have discontinued after a few hours. May be, it’s just not for me. I’m into offline single player and multiplayer PES otherwise.

    I’ve just started a new blog – Just PES – especially for improving PES by tweaking and updating a) the formation (b) default line-ups (c) the player positions on the pitch (d) the player roles on the pitch (e) team style (f) the management edit values.

    Updating these aspects improves the PES gameplay immensely. My idea is not to do this all alone. I want PES players to come over and contribute by debating and discussing how certain leagues, teams and players play so they can be more accurately represented in PES.

    Hoping you’d come over and help! Cheers guys!

  40. Still hearing lots on this cheap transfer fee thing… the question is – is it correct in relation to the money earned etc?

  41. BlueChampion—ahhh I often think back to my pre-ML days, when I just played international tournaments in the ISS and ISS Pro Evolution games. My routine was to start at ‘A’ and work my way through the alphabet over the course of a year. If I was eliminated from a tournament at any stage I had to start again from the group stages. Winning with some teams would take me ages. Happy days.

    I remember the lack of attention to these kinds of slider-controlled individual team tactics being a problem in FIFA09, where it was never properly resolved as far as I can remember. I applaud your project and hope it takes off. The thing about any blog is to keep it going come rain or shine. A regular schedule is the best way to operate. Good luck with it!

  42. Chris—yes, the finances do seem to scale down proportionally to the deflated transfer fees.

    But it’s still not right IMO. For the sake of realism, a 70 OVR rated player, a good player, should be a million or two, not a few hundred thousand.

    We’ll have to see if the future seasons bring a situation where any player is within reach. That was always the way in old-school ML, to be fair, so it could just be a return to that. PES2010 ML’s severe financial restrictions (even after 19 seasons I couldn’t afford the top players) might have been moaned about enough for Konami to revert.

  43. what about master league online are you going to give that a go not greg

  44. @BlueChampion: I enjoyed your similar work with FIFA 10 — I’m in.

    @all: It’s good that they put the top players back into reach, but tweaking transfer fees down to unrealistic levels to get there was a bad choice.

    I’ve read that player costs might vary based on which team you start with and therefore what your overall budget is? That’s a horrible workaround, IMO.

  45. PES2011—no, I won’t be playing online. Usually I have a few matches, just to confirm that I hate the football being played there, but I haven’t even done that yet. I don’t remember playing PES2010 online at all, so I might not get around to it with PES2011 either. IMO the obsession with online play has all but ruined console football gaming over the past 3 years.

  46. ck—I’d bet the current mania for ‘streamlining’, i.e., putting everything within a game within the easy grasp of every player, is to blame for the change in PES2011’s transfer fees. It’s a huge problem across gaming right now. I haven’t mentioned Civilization V for a while. It’s turned out to be the PES2008 of the Civ franchise—dumbed down almost to the level of a browser-based strategy game. The Civ forums over the past few weeks have been pretty volatile places to visit, to say the least. The PES forums over the past few years were a bit ‘tasty’ at times, but were nothing in comparison. Nothing!

  47. mate, i have a feeling that one doesnt progress out of the D2 league. Whats your impression?

  48. nick—I’m not sure what your question is—is that the royal ‘one’, or one team? Either way I don’t yet know, being still a very long way from promotion!

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