Season 1 of Master League 2012 has come to an end: I finished second from bottom in the table. I played 10-minute matches all season. Just look at the goals scored column for all teams (e.g., Zenit St Petersburg in 4th). Make no mistake, PES2012 is a very high-scoring edition of the series.
I had a few distractions early on with the whole shooting issue that was resolved (for now) to my satisfaction—although I have no idea precisely what Konami thought they were doing when they monkeyed around with the shooting accuracy in this most crucial edition of their troubled flagship football franchise.
But anyway. The season ended and I set about trying to save my financial skin. I was about £2,000,000 short of breaking even.
The first thing to do was to release surplus players. You start out with such a large squad that there are 4 or 5 players who rarely, if ever, get a game. I’d had them and several others on the transfer and loan list for several weeks, but there were no bids. With the end of the window approaching, I had to get rid of them—and more.
Here’s the full list of the players I let go:
VAN DEN BERG
And I also sent STREMER out on loan.
I signed AHMET as goalkeeper cover from the Youths. He and Iorghenov (sp.?) are my two goalkeepers, both pretty good; I don’t need any more.
I still had a sizeable shortfall of funds—each of the above players only had an average of £50,000 salary. Releasing them made some difference, but not a lot.
At the start of last season I’d hired new staff with £500,000 salaries. It was time to revert to Level 1 staff with £40,000 salaries. I did so, and my finances were resolved—and I even had a £400,000 surplus. Enough to try to sign a few new players.
It was tempting to raid the Youths, but truth be told I was wary of doing that. I could easily have snapped up Duffy and Zarate and maybe one or two others. I would still have had cash to spare, but I stopped myself. They’re young players, and no matter what legends they might become, I needed to spend my hard-earned and scarce resources on a bit of solid experience.
Time to go shopping.
I’ve been very worried about my ‘List of Targets’ being empty for the whole of season 1. This is the list that used to be called ‘Openness to Negotiation’ in old-school Master League on the PS2. The players in it are pretty much guaranteed to look favourably on an approach from you. You’re not wasting any time by going for them, as you often are by going for players using Advanced Search.
My List of Targets had been empty all season. I was worried about it being a bug, but I needn’t have worried. The moment I released all the players above, hey presto: there were suddenly two pages of players in ‘List of Targets’, as normal. I think I just wasn’t allowed to see any when I’d had a full squad. If so, that’s a bizarre game structuring decision in and of itself, but at least it wasn’t a bug.
I bid for a couple of players on that list, failed to get them, and bid for a couple more—and got them. Both were billed as costing a few hundred thousand each, but the negotiated fee with their clubs was ZERO. Free transfers. A nice surprise.
They were an AMF called OZTURK (72 OVR) and a CMF called SCIACCA (70 OVR). Sciacca sounds like something that happens to your back, and Ozturk looks a bit like Dimitar Berbatov.
Both are in their mid-twenties, and both have added a much-needed bit of class to what felt like a very lightweight team after a while in season 1. I played them from the start in pre-season friendlies (Training Matches, I should say; there seems to be no benefit from them other than trying out new players). I won all three against pretty decent opposition. I haven’t decided yet how to accommodate them along with my Season 1 players. I’ll post a squad list and formation on Monday.
This is what Master League is all about, and one of the key reasons why I love it so much. Perhaps the best time in Master League is when you start to get one or two better new players, and so begin that incremental increase in power and skill that brings enough results to be able to afford one or two more, and so on, building the squad like a snowball rolling down a mountain.
I move into season 2 in a considerably better frame of mind than I started it. This time last week I was developing a deep sense of foreboding about PES2012. The reasons for that (shooting, shooting, and shooting) have been addressed, but others may come to the fore.
Training has started to grate on me after just one season. It’s all charming and novel to begin with, but after the novelty wears off, what are we left with? A weekly button-press. No individual focus. No skill card training. Hmmm. Okay, so it’s a rollback to the beloved PS2 days—when training was a background task, pretty basic and general—but it seems a strange backward step after PES2010 and PES2011 moved things in another direction entirely.
Gameplay is king, though, and as long as that holds up, I’ll go on. I’ve always been a simple soul.