Sweet release

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:

LOTHAR
ZALECKI
LIBERMANN
STEIN
BURCHET
XECHINTO
VAN DEN BERG
MACCO
HEEDERS

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.

66 Comments

  1. danny—football games are just so damn convenient for me in my lifestyle. They fit me like a glove fits a hand. Much of my gaming is in the morning, because I work evenings and also do other things. Football gaming is ideal for the mornings. I don’t know if I could ever boot up any other type of game at that time of day. Occasionally I have done so when caught up in a game (Valkyria Chronicles springs to mind), but it felt weird. I anticipate Skyrim taking up time that I usually devote to things other than gaming. I love to read, and watch TV and movies, and piss about on the Internet. Skyrim will steal time from them.

  2. is anyone else slightly annoyed that in the stadium editor you cant get the stands really close to the pitch?

    ive given up trying to make carrow road…..just doesnt look right with the big gap between the stand and goal.

    perhaps its me……

  3. NG – have to agree with your comments about football games being so convenient, knowing you can turn the system on and know almost exactly how long the games will take. I almost put off putting another game in simply because you never know how long it’ll take to finish a mission/ reach a checkpoint / remember which button does what.

    Oh and seeing your comment about hearing of someone sticking with Superstar and having a torrid time… I’ve recently been reading your PES 10 exploits… sounds slightly similar to a certain someone – 5 seasons before lowering the difficulty 😉

  4. Filbert – ah, now I see what you mean about Stockdale. Glad to hear Ipswich are doing better in your PES ML than in real life – which option file are you using that includes them?

    I suspect Leicester will do ok this season, such a strong squad is bound to click at some point. Unlike poor old not-greg’s doomed Coventry….

  5. Had a fruitful PES session on sunday.
    Finished mt first seson, pleaying on Regular (After switching down from professional mid season), finished 2nd bottom on 31pts and a minus 30 goal difference, not good.
    I was also -£2m in debt,wondered how i was going to make up the deficit so sold a couple of players, released a couple, and after all my sponsorship money was paid in and all was said and done, i finished on +£740k.
    Just scraped by, this left me enough money to promote a youth player at RB, and sign a half decent right winger.

    Shimizu, Ordaz and a couple of otherfs left to sign for other clubs without me knowing or being able to do ANYthing about it. Which has left my squad a little thread bare, enough numbers but lacking cover in a number of key positions.

    The players leaving with no notification to you about them doing so and other players putting contgracts on hold then leaving without giving you the chance to do anything about it really pissed me off.
    Couple that with the thoughtless player talks and the crap training model and i think this year’s Master League is the worst one for years.

  6. so, on the whole, not a very fruitful PES session then Paul!!!

  7. Lol, a good point well made ……

  8. Abbey – Im very mucvh enjoying my ML mate, I just think Konami have screwed around with it and gave us the training / Player Talks / Contract Negotiations etc and not actually ‘finished’ them or should I say, bothered to develop them into anything more than pointless ad-on screens to keep us busy for 10 secs between matches, Master League has never needed them before, so if you’re gonna implement stuff like that, do it properly.
    My Fruitful comment was because I have played 4 games of season 2, lost 1 and won 3, and sit top of Div 2…. a quarter of the wins i achieved all last season, so things are looking up.

  9. gramswagon—I’d say that stadium editor woes are the least of Konami’s sins this year, but yes, when creating my custom New Highfield Road I too was disgruntled about the enforced distance. It’s to do with making in-game action look smooth, I think. There are a number of little tricks they’ve used this year to help the animation model—the main trick being the relatively poor graphics in general.

  10. Pete—that’s quite true, hoist by my own petard etc… In my defence I’ll just say that was a very different PES, with a traditional difficulty level scale. It was normal for me to go to Top Player and stay there in the old days. In retrospect perhaps PES2010 saw the beginning of the very welcome difficulty rebalancing that Konami have done.

  11. abbeyhill—my poor stricken Coventry as I have come to call them. Since relegation there’s bee a persistent myth around the cty that says we’re Premier League stalwarts, and due to make a return soon, very soon… Nevermore, oh nevermore… (Side-note: that myth of the imminent return to top-level football reminds me of something… Are Coventry the PES of English Football?!)

  12. Paul—I have to say I quite agree, this Master League is a relatively shoddy effort from Konami. Inspired by Pete’s comment about reading my old PES2010 posts, I also went back for a nose around. The first post I looked at was me mentioning that Capuano had completed his retraining to play at SMF, and there was a screenshot of other players acquiring skill cards. I even put PES2010 into the PS3 for a quick game or two. Then, feeling daring, I put FIFA12 on for a quick game or two. EA have nailed it this year, no question in my mind.

    Is PES2012 a good enough football game to sustain this Master League? Currently it is, yes, but do you know what?

    I got a bad feeling.

    My posts are currently about a day/2 days behind where I am now, so you’ll be reading about this morning’s illicit PES2010 and FIFA12 mini-sessions in Wednesday’s post.

  13. Interesting, not-greg! To my mind PES2012 is some way ahead of that rather wooden PES2010, and it is far too early in the football year to make a comparison with FIFA12 (if, indeed, comparisons need to be made) – so much depends on how the gameplay holds up over time.

    Personally I can quite happily tolerate a primitive ML (or indeed Career Mode) structure if the gameplay is compelling, hence my love for the early PSP and GBA versions of PES. But I can see that this year’s ML quirks could become irritating

  14. I’m glad I never bought FIFA, I don’t think I could do with having a torrid affair with both….

  15. abbeyhill—-today’s post up in 5 mins or so contains an add-on section where I mention this morning’s dirty PES2010 & FIFA12 sessions. In it I say how PES2010’s woodenness was redeemed for me by its Master League. ML turned the PES2010 water into wine. But I’ll let you read the post in a few mins time 😉

  16. Batesy8—FIFA08 opened Pandora’s Box. EA themselves did their best to close it again with the poor FIFA10 & 11, but FIFA12 is 08’s spiritual heir.

    I still say if FIFA08 had come out under the name ‘PES2008’, the diehard PES fans would be spunking over it to this day. Now there’s an image to mull over.

    I have to go out for an hour or two now, will answer any comments on today’s imminent controversial post later this afternoon.

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