Sack the Scheduler

So, coming towards the end of season 15 now, this sight really excites me:

I’m like a 1500m runner just hanging off the shoulder of the pace-setter coming into the final bend. I hope.

I’ve done well to be just 1 point behind, having lost a recent match pretty badly. It was against Spurs away, and I went 2-0 down before half-time.

I threw my dual-DMF gameplan out the window and pushed Farinos as far upfield as he could go and still be a CMF. I left Neeskens alone to mop up Spurs attacks.

I paid the price for this midway through the second half, still 2-0 down and fighting to get back in the match. Spurs were constantly coming at me with everything they had and I was getting frustrated. I mistimed a tackle and had Neeskens straight-red-carded.

Down to 10 men and missing a DMF, I decided to leave everything as it was. I played on with just a defence and no DMF, very daring for me. I had five up front, effectively, and a large empty space between them and the back four.

It so nearly worked out. I soon got a goal back with Forlan. Now at 2-1, and with my blood well and truly up, there was plenty of time left to get the equaliser. I’d have taken a draw as a fine result under the circumstances.

But have you ever noticed sometimes how impossible it is just to get the ball when you desperately, desperately want to?

The CPU wasn’t threatening, as such—it was just annoying. Every time I got the ball, the ball was taken away. No matter the quality of my possession, the ball just wouldn’t stick. There is a palpable difference between losing the ball through your own poor play—being over-hasty, over-direct—and the feeling when the game brazenly just takes it back regardless.

The game ended 2-1 to Spurs. Luckily—or conveniently, I should say—Man Utd also lost their game that week.

In the Europa League I scraped through the first knockout match against Marseille. Next I faced Borussia Monchengladbach. I lost the home leg 0-1, but stormed into an early 2-0 lead at their place and thought I’d won the tie. I ended up losing it 3-2, 4-2 on aggregate. And that was me out of Europe, again. You can’t mentally switch off in PES2012 on Superstar, ever. The game is out to get you.

I am in the semi-final of the FA Cup, where I’ll play Manchester United. That was always going to be one tough mother of a match regardless of any other factors—but just look at the delightful ‘other factor’ the game has decided to throw my way:

An International the day before the big match will completely ravage my star-packed squad. I’m fuming about it, but what can I do?

That semi is my next match. A League and Cup double on Superstar would be so sweet. Work and other things permitting, I should wrap the whole season up over the weekend and conclude it in Monday’s post.

Whether I get that first silverware on Superstar or not, I need a mini-break from PES2012. Not much of a break—just a few days, a week at most. I’ve started feeling quite a bit of PES2012 fatigue.

I still love the game and rate it as the best since PES5, and arguably the best ever. But you can have too much of a good thing.

It’s over-familiarity. I need to refresh my relationship with PES2012, and there’s no better way to do that than not to see it for a while.  I accept that I risk breaking the magic spell that PES2012 has weaved over me these past months, but I need to recharge my batteries.

So whatever happens at the end of season 15, I’ve decided a brief summer break is needed. I don’t know yet what I’ll write about in the blog posts that I’ll spend away from the game. Maybe some Football Manager. Maybe some FIFA12. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting experiment at this stage of the season?


  1. Not touched ML in a week – not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because FM has taken over my life. So I’d love to see some FM posts.
    It seems a break would definitely do you good.get back on form.

  2. Interesting times!!! good luck with the elusive Superstar-Double!!!
    What more can be said about an international the day before a Cup Semi-Final, or ANY game for that matter, apart from its wrong and disugusting, whether implemented intentionally or a scheduling bug, its just wrong.

    I had an interesting twist to my ML campaign last night.
    I too have been experiencing some PES fatigue as of late, 9 months of solid exposure to PES, playing every day, has probably caused this.
    The more you play PES12 the deeper and more rewarding it gets, but also the annoyances and flaws of the game start to bubble to the surface, my pot is close to boiling over, maybe i need to turn the gas down for a few days/weeks or so too.

    Anyway, played a few more games last night in another faltering season, playing on professional, for the lastcouple of weeks the games idiocies have really been getting to me, last nights session started the same way.
    I played against Chelsea, one of the super-teams in my ML and ground out a 1-1 draw, they’re goal was only due to a deflection that defied physics and of course fell perfect to the feet of a CPU CF.
    Next up was Swansea – they battered me 3-1 and played like a hybrid of the Mega 70’s Brazil team and current day Barcelona, fast furious, inch perfect one-touch precise passes, clinical finishing, strength, speed…… Unbelievable and totally unrealistic, considering they were in the bottom 5 of the table.

    One of the most infuriating things recently has been the CPU style of park the bus, 10 men behind the ball, then they get posession and its a one time quick through ball to their CF who wonder dribbles, and evades every tackle regardless of player or team. it gets boring.
    So on a whim i switched the difficulty up to Superstar for my last 2 matches of the session, thinking my season had nosedived anyway, so nothing to lose.
    First up on Superstar – Liverpool. THE Uber team of my ML world, they win everything and are top of the league by 10 pts. Great I thought.
    A few close Drogba headers aside, I contained them until the 78th Minute, when my 2 Holding DMF’s, Heycory & Gerrard, broke up play and launched a counter, for Sibon to smash home low into the bottom corner. I won 1-0. Against LIVERPOOL. On SUPERSTAR.
    Next Up, Arsenal, I beat them 3-1.
    The games were so much more open, I had more space, more opportunity to create chances, the CPU didnt park the bus and launch long balls to a lone CF, they passed, moved, sideways, backwards, it was a joy to play.
    I had to concentrate very hard on defending as Superstar will punsih you, but equally the attacking rewards were there to grab, they just arent on professional as every team plays identically.

    Im staying on Superstar forevermore. I have an upcoming FA Cup semi against Chelsea. My PES fire may have been reinvigorated for the time being.

  3. classic 2012 madness. I can accept they may have issues at times with the gameplay, I don’t imagine it’s particularly easy to create something as deep and rewarding (at times) as the matches, but surely there’s no excuse for either a sloppy bit of coding or deliberate spoiling tactics with the fixture arrangements. It really does take the edge off – particularly given it’s the cup final and another chance to break that duck. Does no-one flag these up in play testing?

    By the way do the classics get call ups?

  4. Grilled Seabass—I’ve taken up FM again in a way that fits in with my life. 1 or at most 2 matches per evening, taking up only about 20 minutes of time (Key Highlights only, and I sent the assistant to press conferences etc.). I’ve been doing this for about 3 weeks now, and the other night found myself installing a team icons and player photos patch which took me ages to find (this is FM2010 I’m playing). So it’s got its hooks back into me and I find myself thinking about my team through the day and looking forward to my 1 or 2 matches that night. I’ll definitely post about it.

  5. Paul—great stuff, and the game can frustrate just as much on Superstar (just you wait!), but to me it feels more honest about the way it does it. The CPU can still magic itself a goal when it wants one, but it’s not so defensive (except when it goes 1-0 up, then ye olde bus often gets parked). The one-touch lightning passing is still around, but rare. But you’ll see the true character of Superstar all for yourself as time goes on. Maximum concentration required for every game. Put in the reducer tackle to break up play, and take the yellow card. Pack a woolly sweater…

    Re. the scheduling, it’s just so dispiriting. You spend seasons assembling a squad fit to take on the best that the simulated world has to offer, and then it’s all undermined by what is either a silly oversight or (I’m 90% sure) a deliberate ploy to add that extra layer of difficulty.

  6. uncle turf—Classics certainly do get called up, and seem to come back more knackered than the original/Regen counterparts, somehow.

    It’s deliberate, I’m sure, like so much else in PES2012 that sends curveballs our way.

  7. Paul-now your on SS i’d like to know how controlling the keepers at free kicks goes as i am have a terrible time with it, maybe its SS or maybe i’m just doing it wrong.

    I have just had an interesting session. Won 3 very hard fought games with winning goals in the dying minutes then followed two 4-4 draws and i finally lost the next 4-5. It all felt so scripted, the AI couldn’t stop me scoring so pulled out every dirty trick in the book. You name it they did it, in the 5-4 loss they scored 3 identical free kicks. There were a few quite laughable goals over these games, some were like the AI was playing headers and vollys making 6-7 passes without the ball touching the ground until they reached my 6 yard box. Another was a long ball forward to there CF at the corner of the area and he headed it to the back post lobbing my keeper who just stood there and watched it.

    Those games lead me to the cup final against Porto, i checked how i got on against them in the league and i was pleasantly surprised to see that i beat them 0-2 away from home. While checking the calender i saw that in the space of four days i had the cup final, rest day, an international followed by the last game of the season against Porto again. So i go into the cup final with the most blue arrowed players i’ve had all season and am forced to play my Rooney clone on the right of midfield. I had Ribiero and zarate up front and set up slightly deffensivly with the idea of spamming Rooney down the right to cross for Ribiero. After the last 3 games I was expecting the worst and thought i’d just try and hold onto the ball as much as i could. It actually turned out to be an open end to end game that was 0-0 into the last 10 mins until i scored a simple turn and shoot goal, great park the bus i thought. Straight from kick off they played 3 passes and were at the edge of my box and scored a soft defected goal. Extra time was hard, i bought on my blue form players and i just couldn’t get near the AI goal. The second half of extra time the AI scores straight from kick off, this time running down the wing before crossing it low and early it rebounds around the box but falls to my CB in space, i hold O to pump it up field but inexplicably the CB decides to slide on the floor and pass it to their CF to smash home.
    Game finished 2-1 i’m just happy to have reached the final and get some half decent prize money.

    I haven’t played the last game yet but luckily it wont effect my league position 5th, looking forward to playing in the europa league next season.

  8. Max—I’ve been experimenting with moving the keeper at FKs quite a bit, with mixed results. For me the major problem is how absurdly under- and over-sensitive the left stick becomes when you switch to the keeper. Slight push, nothing. Longer push, nothing. A good push—my keeper runs about 6 yards all the way to the other side of the goal. By now the CPU is about to take the kick…

    I haven’t yet conceded because of these difficulties moving the keeper. I know I’ve just got to get used to it.

    Tough luck with the final. It’s been a while since I saw one of those headers and volleys type of CPU goals—circus act goals, somebody on a forum once called them, quite accurately.

  9. Max – that is the PES God or ‘Twat’ mode kicking in, certain games as I’ve said before are decided up front, that you just wont win, whatever you do, the CPU will counter it to achieve its desired result!
    There is nothing you can do.

    I havent had much chance to control the GK (The L1+R3) on superstar as only faced one free kick and it was too far out to see my GK. But will report back when I do.

  10. Paul—the straight-from-kickoff thing is as much of a problem on Superstar, maybe even a bit more so. Every time the CPU kicks off for whatever reason—either at the start of a half or after a goal from me—I brace myself and get ready to dish out some reducer love if I feel things are only heading one way.

  11. I decided to have a PES break, and haven’t touched it for two weeks now! Not sure why, but I’ve not been itching to get back. It’s not like I wasn’t enjoying it, had just won a treble (league, cup and Europa league, so not quite THE treble), my enthusiasm just dipped. Partly PES fatigue, partly getting sucked into non-football games. First finishing off some quests in Skyrim, which I also got a little weary of (combat really is just “I hit you, you hit me”), and then I started Dark Souls, and boy, what a game! And then there’s also the real football to watch, which I’ve been enjoying.

  12. Max – bad luck, that’s a great effort getting to a final this early, sounds exactly like my 3 own goals before half time – like Paul says sometimes you just know everything you do is going to be paid back so you can do little else to win.

  13. Filbert—with me it’s partly a slight change in daily routine, with other things currently competing for my mornings, which is where I usually do most of my footy gaming.

    Skyrim I’ve griped about before. That combat just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I had 50 hours of it in Oblivion back in the day, 1 hour of it on Skyrim just left me unimpressed.

  14. uncle turf—I’d be interested in somebody doing a long constant reload experiment on ‘one of those games’, playing it over and over about 10 times to see what the outcome is each time. I believe in those games too, but also believe that 2 out of 10 times, say, you will be allowed to win. Not conceding first is the key in those games, but how do you know which games are those games?! Assume they’re all going to be one of those games…

  15. NG – yes, I agree – it feels like you can’t do anything to change a pre-arranged script but there may be a 1% variable or something – a bit like in FM, you need all the stars in alignment or venus rising in uranus or the like…

    I am not that scientist – I’ve done my experiment!

  16. uncle turf—yep, I’m too busy playing and moving forward to experiment either. It’d mean losing a whole session to play that one re-re-re-loaded game, over and over.

    Interesting you should mention FM—there’s an established part of the lore over there that if you’re on a good run and save the game and reload it later, all the variables are changed and your good run will most likely be over. In other words, the FM crowd have a settled view that the game alters its basic parameters upon each new session, which is what I’ve always been convinced PES does.

  17. NG – I have always believed that with FM (and CM before it) – if I start losing matches once I get to the top then I have a break. I’m not sure it’s rooted in fact, rather the feeling I may start tinkering or look for gremlins where there are none. In much the same way everything we feel goes against us just has to be scripted!

    Started up the new Div 2 season after a play around with season 7 (I dont’ really want to continue season 7 as I’ve lost whatever plan I had – can’t believe I had 31 players) but it has been massively useful for deciding how to approach a new game. El Hany has come in for a small sum, and a soon to retire but still top keeper. The rest are defaults/youth. Seems tortoise like to play.

  18. Hey not-greg. It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve been swamped with uni exams and trying to keep working as much as possible as well. You know only too well how it is.

    Anyway much like you did a while ago I have rediscovered pes2012 with sense of giddy joy that has never been there before. It really is inexplicable. 2 weeks ago for whatever reason I felt a great urge to pop in pes 2012 and haven’t looked back since. Is this even the same game??? The game is playing amazingly well, I have yet to be setback by any of the previous problems that made me quit in disgust? Have they gone? Were they ever there? Have I had a bizarre change in mental perception? I find it all very strange, but very welcome.

    Although only 3/4 through my first season in master league I’m as deeply immersed as possible. I feel like so much time has been wasted, I mean the damn thing came out 6 months ago. What happened? I realise that I have recaptured the pes2012 magic way too late in the day to fully appreciate the depth of master league as pes 2013 lurks just around the corner, but until then I plan to make up for lost time as much as possible

    By the way, your superstar level experiment sounds fantastic but its not even close to being an option for me as I’m already out of my depth with professional. Never the less it’s great to read about your 15 season journey as always

  19. uncle turf—I shudder to think what kind of insane Spinal Tap concept album type careers you might have played on CM/FM!

  20. Danny—I well remember the hoops you jumped through last year to get your PES2012 early, and then the deflation of the early troubles, and then your decision to move on. As for how and why PES2012 can seem so internally changeable, I have no idea. Certainly the early-to-mid-stage shooting troubles afflicting Master League were borderline unforgivable to me, but then in February the blue touchpaper was lit and the nature of my daily gameplay experiences went through a 180. How many PES veterans have never had that turning point? Too many, it seems.

    Assuming a late September release for PES2013, you’ve still got 3 months* of his footy game year left. You’re not obliged to get PES2013 straightaway if you’re still immersed in PES2012. The new game sounds pretty good though, and you probably will get it, I know…

    (*3 months?! Bloody hell, where is the year going…)

  21. I completed my fifth season in my ML, and on Professional difficulty, won the Barclays Premier League. My squad had developed to a point where almost all of my players are 80s, along with 3 90s and above. Sad to hear about your recent disappointments in Superstar, I hope you the best for a double this year. For me, the problem team has been Man City, with Balotelli netting an amazing freekick every game. In a game I lost 1-0 last season, Balotelli fired in a 45 yard freekick. Imagine my frustration when it went in.

  22. Rillatoni—I’ve started using the L1+R3 thing to position the keeper more centrally before a CPU freekick, and it is effective.

    Man City were a massive early-seasons team in my ML world, but declined around season 10 or so. Man Utd, Arsenal are the big guns now. And, hopefully, Coventry City, if I can get past my England-style mental hangup that Superstar will always defeat me in the end.

  23. NG – you wouldn’t be surprised to know they involved numerous restarts in the quest for something perfect. I find myself more drawn to the behind the scenes bit of football management – I love the whole transfer element and would be like a pig in sh^t if I could play a football/business crossover game where my role was recruiting, sponsor negotiations, stadium management, etc and the football just took up a small element but I guess it wouldn’t be a top seller!

    Like some of you I am back on a previous version of FM – I opted out when they introduced Steam as mandatory last year, and I got fed up of patching as soon as it was released. The press element is as much of a ball ache as your ‘X wants to speak to you’ in PES.

  24. Something really different is happening with my new game – I’m 11 games in, won 3, lost 5 – I have had ridiculously bad luck with own goals, ricochets, shots squirming under the keeper and 3 sendings off. It’s like I rolled the dice and got two zeros. At the other end I can’t get Ribeiro to score at all – the AI is always blocking him as he tries to enter the box. I have changed his position, tried crossing from different places, each time the same – he is stuck in a repeating collision on the edge of the area. However, I can get Ettori, El Hany, Cinalton, even Irjescu to score. Very odd. I’m wondering if this is what some of you have seen with Ribeiro whereas I have always had ridiculous success and nowt from the others.

  25. uncle turf—is that another restart I smell? I suspect you might never have another full career on the Default challenge. You’d be much better off resuming your old 7-season save and winnowing the squad down to your liking, IMO, but that’s from my perspective and thinking about what I like and don’t like. And the Defaults I definitely DON’T like.

    Re. FM, I actually bought FM2012 a few weeks ago when it was on offer somewhere, but I looked in on my old FM2010 save before uninstalling it, and decided to play on with that. Like yourself, I could do without all the team meetings and press conferences. I skip them all now. The press conferences in particular is just a form- and morale-affecting mechanic. I’m prepared to accept the penalty of not going to them, if there is one.

  26. NG – no, not a restart yet but just weird…I don’t understand why it is playing so differently. I now have an extra man in midfield instead of a 3rd CB, and Shimizu/Xechinto are deeper but crosses are still getting into the box, just no Ribeiro to get on the end. He is 19 as well so a fully formed physical version. 3 out of 11 I’ll take at this stage.

  27. uncle turf—new ML world, new ML—that seems to be the general rule. You might want to restart before you get too far in and have to restart anyway—? Or… I once asked you if you could contemplate PES2012 without Ribeiro. Maybe now’s the time?

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