Become a Legend, reloaded

I have picked up my career in Become A Legend right where I left off. I started it back on December 29th. That was when I had my first serious crisis with PES2011’s gameplay in Master League. Well, here I am in the middle of crisis #2, and now I look to BaL to sustain me once more.

I’ve had a love-hate-love-hate-hate kind of relationship with BaL for three years now. There is a major problem with the flow of the mode that I have never been able to cope with.

In a nutshell: I cannot stand the enforced watching of the AI vs AI matches during periods when my player is either on the bench from the start or substituted partway through. I’m quite bad at the solo player type of football game. Bad enough for me to be a fringe player for just long enough for this to be a serious impediment to my enjoyment of BaL. Watching the AI play with itself uses up precious gaming time that I can’t afford to waste.

I’m a standard right-footed AMF named ‘not-Greg’, playing for Willem II in the Dutch League. My current rating is 58 OVR—a bog-standard Youth player. I chose Willem II because they offered the greatest chance of playing from the start. And that’s been mostly borne out, to be fair.

I played two matches this morning—yes, this very Wednesday morning. Today’s action is hot off the presses. Usually I’m writing about games I’ve played a day or two ago. I had things to do this week, so a little break from PES was taken. “A break from the game will do you good” seems to be the received wisdom about PES2011. It’s true, but I hate that it’s true. When was it ever the case that not playing PES was the way to enjoy PES more?

The matches went well. Both were tough away games. Both ended 0-0, somewhat disappointingly, but early on in BaL the main thing is your own performance. How well you passed, how well you linked up play, how well you tracked back, how well you stuck to your position when required—all the usual things that distinguish a good player and a good footballing performance from a bad one.

I was shocking in my first game. Not surprising, as I was racing around trying to get on the end of every ball. That’s a huge no-no in BaL. It’s not feasible for you to be involved in every phase of the action. By the time you get to the other side of the pitch, the ball has long since moved on. It also drains your stamina. Low stamina is one of the main factors in how long you stay on the pitch when you’re a youngster just starting out.

I was subbed in the 67th minute. I was not happy watching the rest of the match, even if it was justified.

In the next match, I played much more sensibly, more like a real-life player than a computer game player. I passed, I moved, I linked up play, I had a couple of shots, and I laid on at least two good chances for our frontmen. I stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes despite my stamina bar being non-existent at 75 minutes. My performance was good enough to override being subbed. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when the final whistle went.

Such is the genius of BaL. I can see that there must be a sizeable pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Will I get to it this time around?


  1. Sounds like a promising return. Not sure why you chose right wing though? You’re more involved through the middle, but each to their own I guess.

    I’m almost envious of the happiness you’ll experience when that first goal goes in!

  2. Liam—I should have said ‘right-footed’—I am a central AMF. I’ll edit it later on.

    I scored quite a few goals back in December, but for this new phase I’ve upped the difficulty from Amateur as it was then (!) to Regular. So far it seems just right. I’ll film and post the first new goal.

  3. Your name is not Greg, haha

  4. Seems like a venture into BAL or a complete rest from PES for a few weeks may be in order too.
    I had yet another torrid session on PES last night.
    Wont go into the details as its only bugs that have been brought up time and time again on here and other forums.
    I have been ignoring the issues and largely enjoying the game as of late, but this week saw me commence my 2nd season in the prem, 7th season in total, last season i finished 11th, not too bad for a newly promoted team, 6 games into my 2nd season im rock bottom, havent won a game and lost many games by these game breaking bugs and issues cropping up.
    Maybe i just need to sign better players, maybe im just not very good at the game (play on Pro difficulty) or maybe and most probably its a mixture of both of those.
    I NEED a footy game in my life, as much as we need to eat breathe and sleep. FIFA doesnt cut it so im stuck with PES, I NEED to enjoy this game and achieve what i set out to do at the start of the year… win each of the major trophies, right now its all looking very bleak and unrealistic!

  5. Glad to hear this not-Greg!!! I left ml for bal a while back and now im a 25 year old amf 81ovr who is on 10million a year. If you stick with BAL you will find that pot of gold trust me the first few seasons are not to be compared with what lies ahead when you actually start to compete and have a real effect(and score a few screamers) it becomes an attraction equal to ml. I have enjoyed bal exponentially more than ml this year. My one piece of advice dont rush the big move!!!if a Barcelona etc. come in from you early stay with a smaller team for a little while it pays off long term. Looking forward to Fridays post!

  6. Willian Ribeiro—yes, and if I do get somewhere in this attempt at playing BaL, I’m looking fowward to seeing ‘not-Greg’ play for England, win a European Cup medal, etc. etc. It’ll be good for the old boy to get something from BaL finally after three attempts at it…

  7. Paul—there’s always the possibility of reversion to a favoured older PES/FIFA game, but I know you don’t like doing that.

    I can’t honestly recommend BaL yet after only playing the equivalent of 5 minutes of it compared to my football game year so far, but the early signs are good. BaL has always been touted to me as being like Master League, but better.

    I’d love to finally see some of that goodness. I’ve never got over the first huge obstacle the mode puts in your way, though, i.e. long periods where you’re not actually playing the game, but watching the AI play itself instead. Unacceptable.

    So far the PES2011 instalment of BaL isn;t doing that to me so much. And I’m starting to see some golden light at the end of the tunnel. But I’ve had false BaL dawns before, so let’s just see how it all turns out.

  8. Gary—your advice is duly noted re. waiting for the big move. In my first BaL effort in PES2009 I moved clubs so much that I was pretty much always starting again from the reserves. I won’t repeat that mistake. I’ll consolidate at Willem II.

    I’m worried about quenching any slight spark of fire with BaL given my checkered history with it. Friday’s post will have more BaL in it, but beware: I have been known to abruptly abandon the mode if I start seeing too much of the dreaded AI vs AI action, which I hate as much as I hate PES2011’s step-around and stumble animations rolled into one. And that’s some serious hate there, believe you me…

  9. I am still loving PES 2011. I rarely see the stumble or step around animations, I dont know why, it must be something in my playing style. Second season I’m top of D2, the trio of Palmieri, Shimizu and Schwarz are enough to take down almost any opposition. Schwarz really is a hero in this game, he’s come up with so many important goals.
    One of the things I like about 2011 is the variety of goals, in a season and a half I’ve scored headers , volleys, long-rangers, slick passing moves and even a few where I beat a player with dribbling(which is difficult this year). I also love the stadium editor – I’m currently playing in a sparse mountain-surrounded stadium like the real Castel Di Sangro did. In time I’ll upgrade to a huge modern stadium to reflect my status. The customization is one of the things that FIFA needs to make the career mode more fun and immersive.

  10. Grilled Seabass—step-around in particular is a problem for me. I doubt it has anything to do with play styles as such. There’s no button-press that generates the step-around, it just fires contextually. I’ve gathered recently that people’s ‘installations’ of PES2011 vary wildly, with patches, OFs, options, etc. all potentially affecting gameplay. The old Advanced Start bug is an example of menu choices affecting the whole ML setup. I have come to think ti likely there are many other factors affecting gameplay. I know of cases where people never see the stumble animation at all.

    But step-around is probably the Big One for me. It’s just a fraction of a second, but that is enough for my timing to be completely thrown off.

  11. I have only seen the step around (at least I think that’s what it is) when I have caused it – holding R1/2 for too long. I have NEVER seen it happen independently, so I guess it must have something to do with option file/update configuration. Quite ridiculous really that we could be playing two different games on a console.

  12. I really do struggle to believe that the stumble animation/half moon shuffle etc are not in other peoples games, its as much a part of the core PES game as the goal nets, and shitty commentary!
    Im not going to carry on moaning about PES11 as we all know the faults, on its day when it works its probably the most realistic, free flowing superb footy game ever made. It really can be THAT good.
    On a bad day, its a shocking suprise that this even passed Quality testing and was allowed to be released.
    Unfortunately lately im having more of the bad days than good.

    One thing I will say is that above everything 2 things Konami need to address for 2012 is the well documented player selection/cursor troubles and just as importantly, the collision detection system.
    Its an absolute joke at best, ABH, GBH and common assault level fouls do not get given, yet a CPU defender kicks MY player as im about to show, and he falls over, They get the free kick, my shooting chance is gone and a yellow card for my player!!! – thats just plain ridiculous!!!!!!

  13. Re: Joining a big club too soon, I joined Juventus at the start of season 3 and although I initially struggled (am banging in the goals for fun now), I still started most of the matches.

    I’ve done better in the second half of every season so far which I guess is related to the teamwork stat increasing and the other players passing to me more often.

    I’ve mentioned before, but you should have a book handy or laptop at the ready for the times when you’re substituted. It’s not ideal, but it’s still relaxing time!

  14. i wounder if the staff in BAL work the same way in ML. in ML you can upgrade your staff and the higher the level the faster your players improve and there arrows stay green even in waya matches etc. im hoping this si the same with BAL. im currently in my 4th season (i think) and am getting scouted by AS roma. im hoping moving to them will mean i can raise my stats faster.

  15. @Paul / not-Greg

    I agree 100% in that PES 2011 ON IT”S DAY is the best football game I have ever played, I swear by that, hence wait for this SIX Master League restarts in the past 3 days to replicate the amazing gameplay when playing Exhibition, Champions League and Copa Libertadores matches which I have been playing the past 2 weeks with none of the ugliness I GET when playing ML ONLY up until today.

    I play 2-3 matches, I can judge by the 1st match whether to restart a ML when my players start passing like the balls going through treacle or first touches are that bad the second is a tackle, I have had to up the game speed from -1 to default 0. I get none of this is the above modes. I was giving up on ML until today and be quite happy to play leagues and cups.

    But, ML –

    I edited PES United with new basic kits with no sponsors or brand logos, default emblem. AND this will again show that for some poxy reason or another that everyones ML is showing up differently, take not-Gregs no injuries, my stumble animation which rarely appears but never leaves my player uncontrollable.

    I have seen for myself on the PS3 you will start with £25m and team ranking of 70+ and level 3 staff costing £1m when pre-editing WE/PES Utd. In this Xbox ML I do have a slightly advanced start in that I have a ranking of 156 and my budget is £6.1m opposed to the £25m Ps3 advanced start or the £3.3m when not pre-editing and my staff are level 2 £500k. It’s just another case of for no reason whatsoever that there is no consistency in ML.

    I have restarted twice now the past hour and my results are consistent, I can now happily play ML with the defaults without the poxy gameplay issues which caused me to take a 2 and a half month break from PES which in a way was a godsend as I discovered Fallout 3 which I played through 3 times.

    Since I patched the game recently, I have no cursor changing problems, players are now able to control the ball near touchlines and the AI now close me down when crossing. Therefore, all my major game breaking bugs have gone BUT there is still one which you mentioned the collision system, I was playing a tight Champions League QF match and my player scored a perfect diving header only for the ref to blow a foul as the players momentum carried him through to touch opposing defender, I was fuming as I eventually drew the match and went out on away goals. This happens all across the pitch but with the major faults for me fixed the game is being played again more than any other.

  16. Grilled Seabass—may you never see the accursed step-around! In my ML it’s an automatically-firing, rhythm-wrecking, ugly, regular animation, and it kind of defines PES2011 for me. Sad to say.

  17. Paul—I also find it hard to credit that different players could have different installations of a console game, but the anecdotal evidence is mounting up to the point where I have to believe it. Crazy I know. One day soon I’ll revert to full vanilla PES2011 and start an ML without any tweaks of any kind, and see what happens. I could do that on another account on my PS3 of course.

    I agree that PES2011 on its day can be the best football game for many years. The best on next-gen, on that day? Definitely, IMO. If only the full game had had the consistency and overall feel of the DEMO. What did they do to this game after they built the Demo?!

    You might be interested in tomorrow’s BaL post if you’re looking for other things to do with PES2011 (apart from skim the disk at passing enemies, Oddjob-style). I think I’ve stumbled on a formula to get into the mode for the first time. It’s still very early days though—and BaL will never be ML…

  18. Liam—you have recommended having something close at hand during AI vs AI spells, but I can only repeat that I don’t want to slice my attention up that way. If I’m gaming I’m gaming, if I’m reading I’m reading, etc.

    This year may be the best chance at getting into BaL that I’ve ever had, as I’ve come up with an alternative way to get through the matches, even the ones with bench ‘action’ (more on this tomorrow). I’ve always felt that factor was the greatest obstacle between me and BaL. If that obstacle could be removed or at least reduced to a tolerable level, it’ll all be on the gameplay.

  19. ali—I’ve yet to have a really good look around in the BaL menus. I’ve only really looked at my player’s training regime so far. I’m slowly getting into this thing now, you know…

  20. Heraldo—this is all quite unsettling really, that there could be such variances of gameplay quality across different startups on one console. Darshan was saying last week in a comment that he never sees any of this mega-pressure from the AI on Top Player. Grilled Seabass never sees the step-around, which happens literally every minute in my game. You never suffer the stumble animation’s ‘paralysis effect’. I don’t know what to make of it all.

    I’m tempted to get the 360 version after hearing good things about it. I’ve always felt from PES2008 onward that the 360 gets the better, smoother game. But I won’t be getting the 360 version. Not just because of a principle being at stake (and there is one), but because, well, I feel that it’s too late now.

    I will have a little play-around with different ML setups at some point though. Different starts with different teams, etc. I seem to recall I promised myself an ML campaign with Standard Liege, with their original squad players.

    But BaL is occupying me for now. Will it be the usual two-week wonder of past years, or something more? I dunno yet.

  21. not-Greg

    This is the first time in 10!! ML starts with the defaults in which I feel I can do anything on the pitch, it does bug and annoy me though, the football I’ve been playing today is sublime and I have saved all goals so far. P4 W3 D1 F5 A0, a new formation I came across in a CL Mode, 4-5-1, suits my players and game style.

    I’ve mentioned to yourself that I have always believed the Xbox version plays better, I’ve bought both since 09 version, I had the Ps3 version up until Monday purely for the ease of applying the OF but I sold it on Ebay and bought the Xbox version the same day and I have played it to death and you know how much I despised PES 2011.

    My opinion give BAL a go, which you are doing or completely ditch PES, there is too many things bugging you to enjoy it, the more you see it, the more angry and frustrated you will become. Been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. If it comes to it again, I don’t think it will going with the past 3 weeks, I will have no qualms about ditching it again and picking up Oblivion GOTY, Fallout New Vegas which I have put back on shelf till I go back to work, I’m all Fallout outed, 130 hours, great game. Did I mention, I managed to get Fallout eventually working on MBP, I had to enter 2 lines of text into the dli file, came across it on the Steam forums of all places, a common problem with Windows 7 apparently, Fallout on the train and airports, happy days. It plays brilliantly on it, I played it briefly, got out the vault and headed to Rivet City to grab the Intelligence Bobblehead, thats where I left it, pick it up when return to work.

  22. @Heraldo

    You’ll eventually run into plenty of those poxy gameplay issues in ML no matter how many times you restart, I’m afraid. Part of this is down to the “official”, in-game modifiers like condition, fatigue, teamwork ratings, and so on. The bigger problem is the game’s use of “unofficial” modifiers that can have your squad playing like a bunch of doped up idiots or, worse, ensure that you won’t score no matter how many gilt edged opportunities you have. There are games that you won’t win – can’t win – no matter what you do. You’re essentially playing against a stacked deck.


    I’m baffled by these differing gameplay experiences as well. It would be helpful to know what certain users’ setups are. What console are they playing on? Which version of the game are they using? Did they use the option to install on the hard drive? What is their overall settings configuration?

  23. @El-ahrairah

    I played for 8 seasons with Saint Etienne winning 3 trophies in the first 7 seasons, eventually winning a clean sweep of 5 trophies in season 8. I seen all of the problems you’ve written except in the final season in which my team was invincible going the full season unbeaten after 6 of my players were in the 80’s. In my opinion there is a development growth problem in PES 2011 where players become over-developed. I sort of apply house rules in that when a player hits mid 80’s they are sold. I remember FIFA 09 got slated for players becoming over developed but in PES 2011 it is worse.

    That’s why I want to play with the defaults this time around and the initial youth players on standard growth as dynamic (which I’ve used so far) sends players off the scale in my experiences. I don’t plan to sign anyone else and see where it takes me. l’ll see how it pans out but I am enjoying it at the moment and usually i notice from the off that the game is hindering you which I wrote on here 3 weeks after release. This time it does feel different, but you might be right and the mode will revert back to those gameplay issues. If it does, it’s then game over for ML and I will play the other modes.

    I am now playing on Xbox installed on hard drive, no option file, no changing teams stadiums, basic kit editing and EPL team names changed. On PS3 I had full option file.

  24. El-ahrairah—could there be a hidden trigger that fires once the human player has played past a certain level? The accumulation of ‘balancing code’ might build up and build up until its practical effect is to create the negative effects that many PES2011 players have seen. Just a theory.

    Only a controlled survey of a large enough sample of PES2011 owners for the results to be meaningful and significant in relation to the no. of copies sold would do the trick. It’s the kind of thing that only Konami themselves could organise—if they were bothered. You (or anyone) could always get an informal one going on a PES forum—PESfan would be big enough—but the Internet is the Internet and you probably know what would happen to such an effort by a solo enthusiast. People would troll you for the lulz, or whatever.

    I still shake my head when I think of the PES2011 glimpsed in the demo (and of course still at times in the full game), and what I have seen far too often in the main game.

    I’m amazed that the step-around and stumble animations aren’t universal experiences across all users. It really makes me wonder what is going on. I will have to carry out my own ‘vanilla experiment’ next week when I get time. Not that it would necessarily mean anything either way, as you point out.

  25. Heraldo—if you play on with that new career, keep us updated on how the game maintains itself, if the issues surface, or indeed if you start seeing the ‘stunned stumble’ animation for the first time. And that dynamic/standard growth thing is another candidate for being a possible unbalancer of the game.

    I’m going to carry on playing BaL and nurturing the small flame that’s starting to kindle, rather than breaking off abruptly to start experiments of my own. I’m tempted, but BaL is overdue a good go from me. I also want to play Fallout 3 some more, a few PSP games, and a few games on Mac/PC too. I also want to read some books and get some fresh air this spring and summer.

  26. @Heraldo

    I prefer dynamic growth, myself. But that’s because I like to begin at the rock bottom with the defaults and build my team using nothing but low rated youth players. At the beginning of my current ML, I replaced all but three of the defaults with youth players. Most of these were “hidden” youth prospects (found via the advanced search function) rated in the 50s. As a house rule, I didn’t keep Palmieri, Schwarz, Shimizu, Schmidt, Fatecha, Ahmet & Kim Jong Yeol.

    It’s fun to see my lowly youth prospects gradually becoming quality footballers. Dynamic growth helps speed the process along. It should be noted that each player is still limited by his individual growth curve. Oscar, for instance, is either a late bloomer or a dud seeing as he hasn’t grown very much so far. Duffy, on the other hand, rose from 59 to 72 by the end of my 2nd season. My pet project is Thijs, a Belgian CF who was only rated 47 when I signed him. He’s now 18 and rated a decent 58. I’m looking to turn that zero into a hero. But that’s me… El-ahrairah: Growth Junkie Extraordinaire!


    If I understand you correctly, the accumulation of balancing code would be analogous to starting a fire in the fireplace, then turning on the air conditioner once the room gets too warm, then bringing in a space heater because the air conditioner has cooled the room too much, then hooking up a fan to blow air over dry ice to counter the rising room temperature, and so on and so forth.

    It’s also possible that the sheer number of animations-from-hell is simply the result of buggy coding. The step-aside animation in particular is tearing the ass out of my attacking moves and sometimes even fires inside my own box (?!) when I’m trying to move a guy into position to clear or collect a loose ball. Crazy, ain’t it?

  27. El-ahrairah—yes, it could be that the virgin game of PES2011—or Master League—is a clean window progressively dirtied by the growth of balancing code as the human player gets better and starts to progress.

    Whatever the step-around is, I hate it. The step-around, the step-aside, the side-shuffle, the approach shuffle, the half-moon shuffle, even the “Pirlo turn” as I saw it called on a forum the other day—like the Devil, its names are legion—is without a doubt my number 1 issue with PES2011, and it’s a huge one. I don’t just sort-of dislike it, or even simply hate it. I do loathe and despise it with every ounce of my football gaming soul.

    I hate it more than the AI mega-pressure and the stunned stumble animation and the ‘striker running through quicksand’ moments all put together.

    The other day it fired when I was running onto a ball with my striker that I wanted to hit first-time as a shot across the keeper, from a slight angle. The step-aside fired and that fraction of a second threw my timing off completely. The shot that took place was a remembered shot that the game stored for me and animated a second or two after my button press.

    I get it a lot in defence too. Once I had a double step-around, where my defender stepped to the left, then stepped to the right, and only then collected the ball (by which time an AI player was of course on top of him).

    As I’ve remarked before, the animation is one that remnds me of a defender shielding or shepherding a ball out of play, with an attacker lurking nearby. Unfortunately its implementation in PES2011 is pretty much universal. It can fire randomly at any time that any player is approaching any loose ball. It’s pretty much out of control in my game.

    Oddly, I have yet to see it in BaL at all, but I’ve only been playing it for about 3 hours in total so far. And if the theory about accumulated balancing code holds water…

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