Beyond the Voids

Season 1 is over. I finished bottom of the table. In the second half of the season I won 2 matches. I’m playing a bit better now, but Master League is still hard.

Here’s a badly-GIMPed picture of the entire final table (I’ve just started learning to use the GIMP; this was a first-hour job):

Still no long-range goals for me in PES2011, but I did score a good goal with Gutierrez that is probably my favourite so far. It was a bit FIFA-like, for me. In next-gen FIFA, particularly in FIFA09, I came to use a shooting technique I called the ‘reverse hook’. This goal felt similar. It was all in the pivot, using the weight of the player and ball to hoist the ball around the keeper’s far side.

Link: Gutierrez 'hook' shot

Whisper it, but I’m entertaining a few dark doubts about the tweaks that Konami have made to Master League. The Advanced Start bug was an annoyance, but I got over it.

What I haven’t got over yet are the twin Voids that await you in mid-season and at the end of the season. There are just too many empty weeks between games at those times.

I’m more than a little disturbed about them. I thought the mid-season Void was bad enough—17 button-presses to navigate through! But post-season is far, far worse. My transfer activity was completed in the first week of the window. And in total I had 25 empty half-weeks to press through. Even with autosave disabled, it takes an age.

Master League in PES2010 was damn near perfect—the best it’s ever been, IMO. It was inevitable that Konami would meddle with it for 2011. So far, I’m not really digging those tweaks, I have to say. The Voids just make no sense. Transfers are handled all-year-round in the new-style Master League. What are the Voids for?

Things picked up for me in the second half of the season. I continue to find the PES2011 gameplay fresh and challenging and immersive and all the rest of it.

My one reservation is the way you’ll often see a gigantic empty space on the pitch—yet another Void—where the side-backs should be. Pausing the game at such moments, I always find my side-back standing in a centre-forward position. That is just weird.

“It’s your tactics,” the Football Manager forums would say about this kind of problem. Hmmm. I’ll have to see about that. I’ve seen the wandering side-back happen on all ATT/DEF levels. My tactical sliders are already on the conservative side. Investigations are ongoing.

So I won 2 matches in a row at the midway point of the second half of the season. I enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in all my remaining matches. If the second half of the season had been a league of its own, I think I’d have finished four or five places off the bottom.

I had two players retire at season’s end: Ivarov and The Myth of Castolo. Good riddance to both of them.

For season 2, I’ve abandoned my 4-3-3 formation, for now.

My new 4-4-2 (more like a 4-2-2-2 in practice) served me well last year. I’ve got a 3-4-3 mapped to a strategy button for those times when I need more bodies up front. (Not that my side-backs need any encouragement to play up front…)

I’ve got the general squad size down to 21 players.

I released a load, and I sold SHIMIZU and PALMIERI, but only because I had to. My total debt was £800,000 and there was no way I was going to make that kind of money by selling Burchet & co.

It’s a trim squad of 21 players now. I brought in two players from the transfer market, both costing about £100,000.

SERDAR OZKAN (SMF/RWF) and SOLIANO (CF/SS) are the classic slightly-better types of players who help to raise your overall ML squad quality and on-the-pitch performance by the necessary increments.

As much as I enjoyed PES2010’s multi-season adventure in Division 2, I really don’t want to repeat it. It was January before I got to Division 1!

I’ll be satisfied this year with a three-season promotion campaign. Taking any more time will just be careless, I think.

36 Comments

  1. This post has cheered me right up!!! I love the fact that you are bottom, and bottom with a very poor record, not because i dislike you or want to see you fail, much the opposite in fact, but because I am in EXACTLY the SAME position.
    Played about 11 matches now in my first season, am 2nd from bottom, having won 2, draw4 and lost 5.
    Not scoring many and conceding a few, most results are 0-0’s, the odd 1-0 or 1-1 and the token 3 or 4 nil drubbing every so often,
    I thought it was just me, my tactics and formation are wrong, im crap at the game, but to see a fellow player struggle too, gives me a sense of relief and hope.
    I havent encountered any of the ML voids yet, im sure I will be amply as frustrated when I do, but do have a few niggles…
    When a ball runs loose as a result of a strayed pass or tackle, why oh WHY do my players totally fail to respond and when when trying to change the cursor selection, a player who is selected standing a yard from the ball will just stand there whilst the cpu runs on to it. very annoying.
    Also, all my players seem totally unable to control the ball, especially when the ball is bouncing or rolling near to a touchline, every single player seems unable to control the ball and keep it in, they just run headlessly into the ball knocking it out of play. Even tried playing as Ajax, a relatively skilled team, and they do the same.
    last niggle is that it seems impossible to play a decent first time pass.
    Again in the situation above, a loose ball as a result of a tackle or stray pass, I manage to get my player on to it first who is furiously closed down by a CPU player and as a result i want to play a first time pass out of defence and away from trouble, but NO!!!
    It seems i have to make contact with the ball, and take a touch first before im allowed to play a pass, sometimes game changing if u lose the ball in defence because you have just cleared it first time.
    Apart from all that the game play, immersion and master league as a whole is still very enjoyable.

  2. Paul—You’ve won 1 more game than I did in my first 11 matches, so I’m officially still worse 😉

    I’m a few matches into season 2 now as you’d expect, and there’s no sign yet of things getting any better, but I was prepared for that as the end of the post indicates.

    Player selection in PES2011 is a bit of an issue on the forums. I use the semi-assisted cursor setting and don’t have too much trouble. One time a ball bounced in front of a defender, and the game wouldn’t let me select him, and it cost me a goal, but that was the only time I can remember it affecting me. In general play, out in the middle of the pitch, I’ve never noticed it at all. Maybe try the semi-assisted cursor if you’re not already on it?

    The elephant-touch thing around the sidelines is, I’m afraid, one of PES2011’s little quirks. I’m sure it’s not a bug. I’m sure it’s an intentional thing! I’ve got around it by anticipating when it’ll happen and super-cancelling, then approaching the ball again, but there’s often no time for that and my player has barged the ball out of play before I can react.

    First-time passing! It doesn’t work with lower-skilled players facing even partially away from the desired direction. I run into trouble when I want to one-touch and first-time-pass my way upfield, and some of my players are behind others – in those cases, it breaks down and the most that happens is a tame little touch-on of the ball. I think this is deliberate as well, and I think it’s welcome. Your pass has got to be within the ‘facing area’ of the intended passer for the first-time pass to work.

    My two big issues at the moment are the Voids and the side-back wanderitis issue. But the latter seems to have been cured by moving my SBs back to around level with the six-yard area.

  3. I did have the cursor on semi but switched back to assisted last night to see if that made any difference, cant really tell.
    I like manual but dont like the fact you have to change to the ball receiver, too fiddly in quick passages of play.

    If its just quirks of PES that im experiencing then il learn to live with them, but im not keen on the fact that highly skilled players cant control a ball near the touchline, for me thats a bug. Admittedly not a major one but still a flaw.
    The one touch passing issue has occurred when the ball is 2 yards in front of my player, fully 10% facing the ball so not out of the line of the pass or anything, i press x before i reach the ball and nothing, by the time ive realised it isnt going to pass, and press it again, the CPU is in and has taken possession. Maybe I wil experience this less with better players, time will tell.
    At the moment im just really struggling to create anything in the last 3rd. frustrating but enjoyably challenging.

  4. Thanks for the Wanderitis tip. I’m actually tempted to put technical players (AMFs, SS) in those slots just to see how it might go!

    I’m having a much easier time than you, mostly because I’m playing against the default D2 teams, who are crap.

    I had some good luck with signings, adding Overnoor (~ 78 rated CF), a 75 rated right back (to replace the clunky and heavy El Moubari) and a 70-something AMF named Legus to pair up with Shimizu.

    Considering Palmieri, Schwarz, Peleaz, Oscar and Shimizu were swiftly promoted, it really isn’t a bad lineup. I’m determined to keep my young stars regardless of how much money comes in to turn their head. I’m far more Wenger than Ferguson on this issue (although maybe I’m more Brian Clough after all).

    It’s been my experience with PES that it “gives” you one competition and takes another away — that in any season, the league might be easy, but the cup will be brutally difficult, or vice-versa. In this season, they gave me the cup.

    I didn’t have a challenging match in the cup until the final, but won it anyway. Meanwhile, I missed my grab for a promotion spot by 2 points . . . brought about by taking only 3 of the last 12 points on offer. It was a thorough and heartless PES-reaming of the old-school variety; featuring center forwards literally bulling *through* 3 of my defenders before scoring, the opposition swarming any player in possession, my team shape stretching horribly for no (player directed) reason, etc.

    I just wasn’t going to get promoted regardless.

    BUT. I won that cup, and man life has changed. The big bucks are rolling in, I was able to upgrade all my staff, and now have a quite decent operating budget. I’m off the bottom of the team list, and there are some bodies in the stadium now.

    Best of all, the ever-reliable Free Agent list came through and apparently Michel Bastos has been feuding with both Lyon and his agent, because I signed him. He’s one of my favorites in real life, so I’m looking forward to watching him tear through the worst teams in the game. His opener he scored two and created two, albeit against a side I thrashed twice last year. But still. He might *just* have that smidgen of quality that will let me get 6 from the last 12 and catch a promotion.

  5. @Paul:

    The one touch passing issue has occurred when the ball is 2 yards in front of my player, fully 10% facing the ball so not out of the line of the pass or anything, i press x before i reach the ball and nothing, by the time ive realised it isnt going to pass, and press it again, the CPU is in and has taken possession. Maybe I wil experience this less with better players, time will tell.

    This has annoyed me as well — it’s not consistent, so my thinking is that it is tied to stats rather than being a bug? As you said, once we have world-beating squads we’ll know for sure.

    Overall, my biggest gripe is players trying to sneak a touch in front of goal — whether I want them to poke it in or clear it, far too many players think they can trap the ball a yard off the line, in the middle of a scrum, surrounded by opponents. Blast it (in/out of there)!

  6. Paul—When I get the chance I’ll mock up a diagram to show what I mean—I’m at work at the moment and have only just got time to type this. I think it’s the intended angle of dispatch that counts. I.e. if you’re intending to pass the ball off at an ‘unrealistic’ angle, it just won’t work.

  7. ck—sounds like you’re really getting into it, and again, your account does give me a twinge of regret (but only a twinge) that I went with my uber-D2. I’m going to be here a while and much of it will be a grim struggle. How did you like the post-season Abyss of Nothing to Do?! Long enough? Or was it packed with transfer activity/Cup games?

  8. Guys, I am really at pains with Master League at the moment, after a euphoric start to my Saint Etienne career, the excitement at grabbing a Europa spot and the platform to kick on after discovering my best Xi and formation.

    I have hit a brick wall in terms of enjoyment, it has become laborious for many reasons –

    The COM has took a real liking in dismantling my side with continuous offers for my players, players I want to keep. I reject offers only for the players loyalty to drop, the following week another offer comes in for the same player and this happens till the loyalty bar is empty and the dreaded purple arrow appears. Each of my players are desperate to move when an offer arrives. This happened in one of my careers last year which I duly aborted as there is nothing you can do.

    I am now at the tail end of Season 3 and I have been stripped of 7 players from my starting Xi, I am all for realism but then comes the next annoyance I am unable to sign anyone above a rating of 70, every player I go for is rejected. I am down to a squad of 18 and a midfield 3 consisting of an 18 year old MINANDA and a RB playing as a DMF.

    Add in player switching problems in defence, the amount of goals I am now losing where my players stutter to a complete halt and become unresponsive or either the ball ricocheting off their limbs into the net are becoming more and more common. I hardly ever seen any of these problems before this ML career. My players reaction times and passing offensively are terrible, it appears as though they have been put under a spell. I started a Champions League tournament with Saint Etienne to test all this out and the free flowing football from the first season is replicated in this tournament.

    So a question, why is it in this ML career my players are NOW unable to do the simplest of tasks?

    I had an amazing session yesterday in BAL and Copa Libertadores with none of the above issues. Today the same crap all over again.

    I don’t want to sound a moaning myrtle as I am solely a football gamer and have put in 70 hours on both the PC and console versions of PES 2011 and I still stand by it’s arguably the best football game I’ve ever played but this ML is severely testing my patience. I haven’t even got FIFA 11 to fall back on as my 6 week old Xbox Slim chewed the disc to now unreadable and I’m not paying another £35 to play it.

    Final words, I am so envious of you guys ML stories, the complete opposite of mine.

    Regards

    Heraldo

  9. @not-Greg: It was laborious and eye-rollingly dull, but I got a cool 2mil payout for winning the PES Cup, so I had some shopping to do. As my team’s ranking improved, I was finally only the 9th worst team in Europe, so I was able to go a-raiding through the squads of the 8 teams below me and pick up a few players — all in the 70s or thereabouts, most of them a bit over the hill, but they’ll do for my promotion push.

    One bitter, bitter regret? I signed N’Gog on a free for some positional cover, but on the last week of the transfer window, his agent came in with a 500,000 salary demand! I should have said no, but I was worried about the quality behind Schwarz and Overnoor, so I agreed. Half a mil a year for a bench-warmer? What was I thinking?

    I’ll try to punt him at the end of the season and see how it goes.

    @Heraldo: They do the same for my good players, too — I must have rejected 5 or 6 offers for Palmeri alone, and his head is definitely turned.

    Don’t they snap out of their down arrow eventually? I’ve got one kid I signed as a 17-year-old, my scout tells me “he has a frosty relationship with the club.” He’s only ever had a down arrow and hasn’t grown a lick the entire season. And I’m on standard development. I’m thinking about releasing him altogether, but if I can turn him around and get some good performances out of him he might end up as a star — a 65-rated 17-year-old looked kind of good to me before I saw the 80-rated 16-year-old Veron regen!

  10. @cklarock

    The purple arrow stayed on for the full season, I continually played them but the offers kept on coming. So I just got shot of in the end. It’s every transfer window they target player/s and bid after bid comes in till no loyalty or sale.

    I currently have 3 players in my 18 man squad who have teams in contact with a few games remaining. I don’t know what the squad limit is, 16 I think so that will be 1 player I will get keeping.

    My youth squad at level 3 is only bringing in youths in the mid 50’s. My ML with the defaults the youth players were in the high 70s/80s. Crazy

  11. @Heraldo:

    I think I may have found the solution. If you modify the terms of the offer to increase the fee beyond reason (I usually add a million or ten), the other team will break off the negotiation rather than you. This seems to prevent the loss of morale.

    The first season of defaults, your youths are pretty much all epic. Paelaz, Shimizu, Schwarz, Palmieri, Mattson, Schmidt, Fatecha . . . all old-school Konami youth players who grow into the 90s before it’s said and done — they’re the genesis of a top side.

    My second season? Players in their 50s. So go figure. I’m upgrading my scout instead and going after other teams’ recently promoted youth players.

  12. One thing I’m delighted with my 2011 Master League is that the top sides are proving to be harder to break down than the teams with less quality. For my offline ML, I decided to go straight into the Premiership with Arsenal since I have my online ML which started out with the defaults. Besides I was thinking once the new PESEdit patch 0.4 arrives I might upgrade to that which could potentially affect my offline ML.

    Anyways, I can really feel the raised difficulty when I play a team like Chelsea or Manchester United, although I’d like them to attack more. Something that always bothered me in previous PES installments was that I could easily destroy the top teams but yet a team like West Brom could snatch the 3 points from me. They didn’t do in a realistic way either, with mostly Barcelona type passing and pressuring endlessly. This year, a London Derby actually mean something.

  13. Hi something a bit weird just happened that you guys should watch out for.
    Duffy appeared in my list of targets as a 17 year old and I was able to sign him as if he were a youth team player even though he isn’t in my youth team.
    Has this happened to anyone else?
    Also, if you don’t sign your youth players in the first season, do they carry on into next season?

  14. Heraldo—oh dear, sounds like my minor reservations about ML 2011 have turned into a full-blown set of issues for you. But it also sounds as though PES2011 itself is as much to blame. Now that we’re a few weeks on from release a lot of things are coming to light.

    As for your ML squad difficulties, I’d hope that it’s just part of the rhythms of the mode. My squad was forced down to 21 players after season 1 and I had to sell my two best Youths (well, I didn’t have to, but chose to do so in order keep my 1 staff upgrade).

    Re. your FIFA11 disc, do you install your games to the 360’s hard drive?

  15. ck—my Schwarz is worthy of his starting place up front. Yes he’s big and slow and very young and green, but the Myth of Schwarz carries him through! Not as many goals in him as I would like—Gutierrez was my top scorer in season 1, which isn’t saying much really with so few scored.

    My Youths were all in their 60s and 70s OVR to start with, and I took my pick. Now the second batch coming through, yes, are all mediocre ones in the 50s OVR. To be fair to ML2011 it was the same last year.

    Oh, and I tend to ignore my players’ moods as well. Works like a charm.

  16. bkmelendez—that’s always been the traditional gripe against PES and ML: you can hold off the AC Milans and Barcas with relative ease, but then a Bolton will come along and just tear you apart. I played Arsenal in the Cup in the season just gone and they slaughtered me, inflicting my worst beating of the season—just as it should be.

  17. madrab—I’ll watch out for that ‘Youth Team’ effect in the transfer market. What I don’t want to see is Master League start to fall apart under the weight of these tiny bugs.

    And your own Youth Team players will stay there season after season, until they’re 20 or 21 I think. After that they vanish.

  18. @cklarock

    Indeed Sir, you have found the solution. I have tried your method on 12 offers for different players in the period not-Greg dislikes and not once did the player loyalty drop. Thank you.

    I go into the new season complete with squad and I have finally managed to sign 3 players of note from the Targets List, it appears this is the new Openness to Negotiation option and I hadn’t used it until now. It appears that your chances of success are almost guaranteed using this list of players, high earners but after 2 seasons of unsuccessful bids and squad depletion and £millions burning a hole in my pocket, I welcome the fresh faces.

    Season 4 Youth Team, youth players are now in the mid 40s to high 50s. Sort of defeats the purpose of upgrading your Youth setup.

  19. not-Greg

    I can handle the losing my players and being unable to sign players (although I have found a solution) it was more the gameplay issues that were the burning issues, tight matches being decided by matters out of my control, thats bullshit.

    I would say that I am a decent PES player and after my post, I started a trial ML with Celtic in the EPL, to see if any difference. Yes, like the BAL and Copa sessions these 4 games were brilliant, lost to Man Utd, drew with Liverpool and my biggest victory in ML a 4-1 defeat of Chelsea and my first ML hat-trick with Samaras and another victory over Wigan.

    For my players to become unresponsive and being unable to do the simplest of tasks in the Saint Etienne career is bloody annoying. The big question is will it change with the new additions to the squad, it better as it’s not a user/player issue.

    re the XBox 360, I always installed my games to system HDD on the white arcade but with the new slim I never as the slogan says it’s ‘whisper quiet’. Anyways, returned console to ASDA and a full refund. Back playing on white arcade, playing games now it’s like a jet plane going off during loading.

  20. Heraldo—very strange, could you have run into a patch of ‘macro-scripting’ in your ML career? I mean a sequence of matches where your players are being deliberately handicapped by the game, much in the way they often are towards the end of single matches. It’d be a logical development of the scripting in PES and ML that we all know is there.

    Or could your St Etienne be suffering a simulated spell of low morale?

    I think I’ve run into a patch of high morale in my own ML. Monday’s post will have more details, but this morning I had a great session, probably my best single one with the game so far.

    I sneaked a win and suddenly my squad of no-hopers seemed to have turned a corner. They were always on orange or red form arrows, and suddenly I’m able to play some lovely one- and two-touch football with them (got a good flowing goal replay to show off). No response issues.

    I think something else is going on here than a broken PES2011, as you have found yourself with your positive Celtic experiment and other tournaments. I’m sounding a bit like Jimmy G-Force from the EvoWeb forums here, but I’m convinced (for now!) that something like a morale system is the likeliest explanation for drooping responses and the like.

  21. @Madrab: That happened for me, too — I don’t know if it’s a glitch with Duffy, or if we’ll see other youths open for signing that aren’t in my youth squad later. I hope so, as my youth team are awful.

    @Heraldo: Good news! I’m not convinced that upping the quality of your Youth Team increases their OVR. I’m not sure what it does exactly (see my mini rant below), but I have a feeling the rating of youth players is tied to team ranking. I’ve chosen to spend my cash on my fan club rather than youth team. If I have to raid other club’s promising youngsters a la Chelsea, I might as well be rich.

    @Heraldo & Not Greg: Morale system? Sounds like PES allright. But where is the documentation? I am really loving this edition (the first next-gen PES I’ve loved), but with so much depth and so many options, couldn’t we use a white paper? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the Targets List is really a badly named Transfer List before we start? When I assign points to train Power, what abilities are affected exactly? In past PES editions there were a lot of non-intuitive additions (like Header Accuracy being part of Stamina rather than Power or Shooting, or Passing Speed being part of Power rather than Passing, for example).

    More than ever, Konami needs a detailed guidebook as deep as the game; why put the details in the game if your users can’t find them?

    @not-Greg: Oh, Schwarz will grow into his myth, I’m sure of that! He’s starting for me, too, and he does bang in the occasional goal. By the time he’s 23 or 24, he’ll be a beast.

    But in the PS2 days, he was a goal machine right out of the box, and the best striker you could ask for by 19. I really like the fact that in this edition of the game a big, powerful player isn’t automatically dominant.

    My Castolo retired, and I thought of you when I got the message that he’s been “fast-tracked for a coaching position”! Looks like he’ll be teaching a training-ground course entitled Public Relations and Career Longevity: Turning the Occasional Goal into a Legend.

  22. not-Greg

    I want to believe your theory, but surely a game cannot be that clever, can it? Something is going on though.

    I started the new season 4 this morning and my 3 new players (Arteta, Van der Vaart and Lissandro) whom I would not have usually signed but with only 1 week remaining in this ML career before switching to the PC version whilst at work and due to the laborious past 2 seasons I am going to go along with it and enjoy. Allied with a new formation has seen my most successful start to a season in 2011, 2 comprehensive victories against PSG 4-1 and Auxerre 3-1 and my new striker netting 3 goals and a sublime free kick from Arteta.

    I want to touch on a point CK made regarding a youth player having a frosty relationship with the club. I created a virtual ME with the same scenario and now at the start of season 4 he is still frosty! You can’t make it up, I still play him from the bench though 😆

    I tested the new PC patch I applied the other day just to make sure it is A1 for work. I know you have issues regarding the speed but you should check out the new patch mate. Real ML sponsors ie. Santander, Visa etc and new boot/sponsors adboards pitch side and even better ALL South American COPA players are available to buy in ML along with the full Bundesliga with real stats and faces. I signed the Brazilian Ronaldo for Celtic and he scored 5 goals in 2 games, Konami have been a little generous in his stats but that can be excused for arguably one of the best players ever in my eyes. I can’t wait to play the PC version for the 4 months I am away.

    Don’t you just love Jimmy G-Force’s enthusiasm for PES, I know I do, I enjoy reading his posts. I believe he could sell sand to the Arabs, he’s that convincing.

  23. @Heraldo: Same with my player — he’s my avatar from BAL, exported to the created players list and signed. I wonder if it’s a glitch? Fuck it, I’m selling me. If I don’t want to play for me, then I can take a hike. 😉

  24. Heraldo, this game does have a form of scripting that I think revolves around your team ranking.

    Before embarking on this ML starting with no money I played half way through the season with the same players playing the same system but ranked 70 instead of 169. In the first nine games I won 7 and drew 2, but ranked 169 I won 3 drew 3 and lost 3. The main difference, apart from the AI helping itself to the occasional goal, is that my shooting accuracy is worse.
    In the end I won division 2 in my first season but I’m now feeling the pain in division 1 with a Euro select first tier, no wonder not-greg is having a hard time. 1 win 3 draws and 4 defeats so far, may well turn into a relegation dog fight for me.

  25. ck—I had that Castolo message as well and didn’t know what to make of it. I went to look for him in the Personnel section, but no sign. What does it mean?! I actually would prefer to see Castolo pop up in my Youth team so I can sign him again and try to add some substance to his myth after all these barren years of mediocrity.

    I’m going to create myself in-game soon and sign myself up. I was a goalkeeper when I played IRL so I think I’ll take that position again. Any funny business from me though and I’m kicking myself right out of the door.

    Last year I sold Schwarz on after a few seasons, but I think I’ll hang onto him this time. If I can get used to his new look, of course. Has anybody got a compulsion to edit Schwarz back to his classic, real appearance?

    Overall, it is good to hear that you and a lot of disaffected PES players are getting into PES2011. But for various reasons I doubt we’ll ever have a universally acclaimed PES game ever again. People today are too prone to drifting off to other things, whereas in years past we got one or two games and played them all the time. I was thinking about this recently. If Final Fantasys 7, 8, and 9 came out today, few people would play them allthe way through. But just go back a few years and there was much more willingness to do so. I blame too many games. It’s got like cable and satellite TV. A thousand channels with actually quite a bit of stuff worth watching, but a paralysing compulsion to watch everything that effectively means I watch almost nothing. Oh, Fallout 3, I will play you one day…

  26. Heraldo—Currently I believe in the theory, as there’s a lot that goes on that’s inexplicable unless a hidden morale system—or something very like it—is in operation throughout ML. But ck has a point in why these things aren’t documented. Flipping through the manual, there’s a lot that isn’t documented.

    I will have a look at that PC PES2011 patch, but as you know I’m not keen on the PC game’s speed at all. If it comes to it I’ll install one of the homebrew-style tweaks, but I doubt very much whether the PC version of the game will get very much play from me in the near future. Civilization V has just had its first major (and much-needed) patch 🙂

  27. madrab—after a great session this morning I’m now not so regretful of playing with the top teams in D2 as I was only yesterday. No doubt the game will give me a bloody nose again tomorrow (if I let it), but I made my bed and so I’d better lie in it. At the moment I’d love to get promotion this season or the next, but if the promotion campaign turns into another 7-season marathon like last year, so be it.

  28. @not-Greg: if you create yourself, don’t port over a player from your BAL game. That’s what I did, and he is on a permanent down arrow, can’t add any loyalty to the club, and his stats aren’t increasing at all. Reads like a bug, but knowing Konami, it’s a “feature.”

    Re: documentation — what *exactly* does the Long Ball tactic do? Exactly? Who knows. I know what I *think* a tactic called Long Ball should do, but I’m not sure if that’s what the Konami tactic does or not. There are 100s of little details and tweaks that could use explaining . . . I love the depth, and honestly I do love getting to grips with the game on my own terms, over time, but Konami is missing a chance to show off their games’ depth, IMO.

  29. Oh, I forgot to mention — there’s no editing the defaults, they’re hard-wired. I had a look at Schwarz’ hair up close in a replay, and you can clearly see his roots. He’s had it dyed!

    I’d actually love a feature that let us make minor appearance changes to players in our ML.

  30. ck—It’ll be the other way around, I’ll create a player and use him/me in ML, then in due course import the template to BaL if I decide to put myself through the BaL experience again this year at any point.

    I think we’re supposed to buy that big glossy game strategy guide thing. I assume there’s one available again this year, packed with all the supplementary info missing from the manual. I haven’t seen one in the wild yet, so you never know. Until something like that comes out, we’ll be left with people insisting on forums that double-tapping L2 when running diagonally towards a bouncing ball definitely makes your player put his hands on his head, etc.

    I had a quick game on FIFA11 last night, just out of curiosity. I’ve been playing PES2011 on -2 speed for a week solid now. FIFA11 on ‘Slow’ speed…? OH DEAR. Absurdly, ridiculously fast.

  31. I imported my BAL player into my ML too….mainly because i never knew you could do it, but also because i assumed i was bound to be awesome eventually ha ha. Sadly i too am experiencing this “frosty reception” with the club. Permanent down arrow, even with playing and goals this never changes. Ive sent him on loan for a season to see if a spell of “the grass isnt always greener” doesnt make him buck his ideas up. Im guessing it wont, he’ll be gone next year, only to pop up in a CL final a couple of years down the line to score a hat-trick ha ha. Bloody Konami.

  32. Phil—I never got far enough with BaL in previous years—or better to say I played it the wrong way round, i.e. after ML—for my BaL player to be a ‘loose cannon’ in my ML world. BaL was always an afterthought. It remains to be seen how things will go this year.

  33. @not-Greg: I don’t believe there will be any guidebook this year. Piggyback used to make them, but aren’t any longer. I think this game is in the wild with exactly *zero* documentation.

    @Phil: I sold my “me”. The ungrateful bastard was not growing, not even a little bit. An odd bugafeature from our new Japanese overlords.

  34. ck—the danger of zero documentation is that urban myths repeated over and over on forums (and blogs!) gradually become wrongly accepted as fact over time.

    E.g. I’m very confused about the talk of double-tapping the shoot button in PES2011 in order to achieve a slight ‘dink’ over an advancing keeper as he dives. There’s nothing at all in the manual that I can see, and it has never been a feature of PES that I can ever remember in any of the games. I first noticed talk about double-tapping shoot on a few of the forums a week or so ago when it was clearly speculation, but now I’m seeing it presented as a concrete ‘thing’ that’s definitely in the game. Something similar happened to next-gen FIFA, where people started double-tapping shoot solely to make sure that they lightly tapped shoot in the first place, and the myth grew from there.

  35. just had a mare!!! spent pretty much all of my remaining cash in the Jan transfer window on a nice looking 24 rated CF, only to find he’s injured for 8 weeks!!!!! 🙁
    still cant defend, played 3 lost 3 so far this session, getting annoying now. the CPU just seems to barge through all my players!

  36. Paul—I’ll have something similar to report on Wednesday I’m afraid 🙁 I’ve come to regard sessions as almost isolated PES game-worlds in and of themselves. The game seems to have a different character each time. Or is it the human player that’s dfferent each time…?

    Ah well, whatever, back to first principles. Finger off R1!

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