The Feel Guy

Master League has a long tradition of allowing human players to make up the ground after a bad run of results. In Monday’s post, after 12 matches of Season 18, I was way down in 8th place, a long way behind the leaders.

But after a couple of good sessions and a run of great results—featuring some of the best gameplay I’ve ever enjoyed on PES2012—look at this:

Creeping back up on the leaders.

Arsenal have fallen away, with Liverpool rising to take their place. But all of them have mysteriously had bad and indifferent results.

I just know I’ll be there or thereabouts come the season’s end.

Never mind. ‘Twas always thus in Master League. And honestly, if I were the programmer, I’d probably do exactly the same. Keeping the player interested is what games are all about. There’s no question that Master League has kept me interested for over ten years now.

Anyway. My games have been pretty wonderful. I’ve found my shooting boots. Forlan and Rooney between them are banging them in. On the rare occasions when their prowess is oddly muffled, Sibon comes off the bench to add power and height. I love getting corners with Sibon in the box. Almost a mini-game on its own.

In the Champions League, I enjoyed a stonking 7-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg. It’s a few seasons since the CPU has appeared so passive. The last time I scored this many was against lower-league opposition in the domestic Cup. I have no idea why Zenit collapsed so spectacularly, but collapse they did.

I qualified from the group with probably my best-ever record:

In the first knockout round I met Inter Milan. The first match at their place ended 3-3, a crazy game where I was ahead three times and pegged back three times—twice by straight-from-kickoff CPU goals.

I was happy with those away goals, though, and I eased through my home leg 2-0 to make the Quarter Final.

Where my opponents are AC Milan. Ouch. This one might be trickier. I’ve played the first leg, and drawn 0-0 at home. That seems… okay. One goal at AC Milan should be enough to see me through.

In the FA Cup, I’m through to the semi-final. I beat Birmingham and Manchester United to get here. Both games were hard, but guess which one was harder? That’s right—the Birmingham game went to extra time, and so nearly to penalties, but I fluked a deflected goal from a corner.

All in all, this final season is shaping up to be a memorable one. But I still cannot wait to finish it and be done with PES2012 for good.

Perhaps that’s at least part of why the experience is turning out to be such a positive one. The end is in sight. With a few days off work this week, I will probably have my final season all wrapped up in time for Friday’s post.

A brief word about the PES2013 demo 2, which I have played briefly. First of all, I share the general dismay at the lack of 10-minute matches in the demo as promised.

And I’m puzzled and a little concerned that certain voices on the PES forums are treating the demos as full games in their own right, even going so far as to review PES2013. Oh for fuck’s sake, is all I can say about that.

But I liked what I played of demo 2. I liked the passing, the shooting, and the overall FEEL of the games.

I’m never, ever going to be one of those football gamers who whips out a protractor and compass to measure how far apart the defenders are from each other at set pieces. Borrowing some poker terminology, I’m a ‘feel guy’, not a maths guy.

PES2013 feels pretty good to me, based on the demo(s). Alas, history has proven that this means almost nothing. Right now, evil Konami scientists will be twiddling various knobs and pushing levers. We know this because it has happened for three years in a row.

If we’re lucky, we’ll get away with the customary increase in game-speed (a baffling routine action for Konami and EA to take in their final games).

If we’re unlucky…


  1. Apology accepted
    Yeah I took it the wrong way
    More kits to design (Not a haiku)

  2. NG – from what I read on there it’s all guesswork after that comment about ‘this is a dark day’ etc. We’ve mentioned so much we’d like to change about ML that it might be a bit of a curate’s egg for all. Agree that any fundamental change to the concept is bad but I’ve wanted for years some sort of managerial transfer twixt clubs for example. Mind I wouldn’t describe that as a fundamental change so I’m kind of struggling to see the potential disaster.

    In the meantime I’m planning for season 8 as this doesn’t look like hitting the shelves soon. Having to win every game to try and stay 3 points ahead of Chelsea – their goal difference is enormous. Desperate for them to slip up to release the pressure.

  3. gramswagon—thing is, we don’t know what’s spooked WENB’s Adam so much. All we have to go on is his extreme reaction and a hint that it’s something that’s come over from BaL. When I think of the one thing I despise (truly despise) about BaL, it’s the enforced watching of CPU vs CPU action. If it’s that, Master League is dead for me, and PES2013 too. But if it’s anything else, really, I believe I’ll be able to cope.

  4. Adam—that is another semi-intentional haiku! You’re secretly a poetic genius.

    Fingers crossed all this Master League brouhaha works out and you’re not designing those kits in vain. Still, I suppose we always have previous Master Leagues to fall back on.

  5. uncle turf—I’m thinking it’s something along those lines that Adam has taken exception to. Maybe an enforced moving of clubs? Instead of being sacked and having a Game Over, you get reassigned to lower and lower clubs etc.? Maybe? (Pure guesswork.)

    I’d HATE that, and it might destroy Master League for me. I’d regard any enforced club move as a Game Over. But I could work around it.

    But it is all guesswork.

    And how unfortunate after all the fuss I’ve made in recent days about not talking about WENB and (WENB’s) Adam, that it all now must be talked about. Because this is Master League on the line here. The stakes could not be bigger.

  6. NG, I’m just gonna blast in here without reading other comments and hit you with this………WTF IS THE PROBLEM WITH DEMO 2?????????? I started downloading it at 11.30 last night and it has only done 52% in 10 hours! My internet is running fine and had no problems with anything else. I’ve downloaded demos etc in the past and been able to turn the system off while it downloads, anyone else had problems with it or is it just me?

  7. Ok I have to be careful when I comment

  8. I don’t have gold so I can’t download it
    That is staggering

  9. Mike—just you as far as I know. Try restarting it completely.

  10. Firstly – Contradiction in term,s i get brandished for mentionuing the vil side then i log on here this morning and the blog is awash with freely open ramblings about the same evil.

    Secondly, whats all this ML ruined thing?? have i missed something??

    Mike – I downloaded Demo #2 on PSN the night it came out (peak time) and it downloaded the full 1.3GB file in about 6 minutes, so no probs here.

  11. Adam

    Unplanned haiku fine.
    The dogs of Master League bark.
    A tin can rattles.

  12. Mike – I downloaded PS3 demo 2 and was no problem at all. Actually had 4 demos downloading in background and all were done quite quickly.

    I feel this may be my year…I had that ridiculous international followed the next day by the Cup semi v Chelsea. I lost 20 of my 29 players to call ups but decided to stick with the key players as long as they could last (thank God Heycory doesn’t ever get called up by Scotland – must be a bug surely?) So careful, try and nick one, strategy in place…I conceded a goal to the ‘straight from kick off’ after 2mins! Didn’t touch the ball. Plan went out of the window and it was best thing I could have done. Full 5 star balls to the wall attacking. Equalised through an Otam lob (I have never found a better one on one than him). Chelsea went ahead again – the deflected 6 yard box own goal! Equalised again – Otam. I hit the bar twice. Farinos was sent off for a standard slide tackle! – the f’in kitchen sink of scripting seemed to be coming my way. Then I finally got a corner and did the Sibon trick. 3-2 and getting sweet revenge for all the nonsense I played the ball round my back four for the last 15 mins – didn’t get more than 30 yards from my goal. Felt beautiful to exploit the AI to my advantage. Liverpool in the final. 8 games to go in league, 3 pts up on Chelsea, don’t play each other again. Arsenal in CL qtrs. Surely I can’t lose all 3 but from here I will be upset if I don’t get at least 2.

  13. Paul—after the news that broke last night, I can’t NOT freely talk about WENB and Adam. Just as long as nobody (i.e. lurkers) sees this as a reason to escalate things into the PES internet’s favourite sport of WENB/Adam-bashing. I haven’t got the time today or over the weekend to deal with that.

    Check out WENB’s forums from this page, and EvoWeb’s forums from this page.

    Whatever could it be?!

    A dastardly BaL influence poisoning ML, in Adam’s view—but what?!

  14. uncle turf—that match summary was very exciting, so the match itself must have been epic. Interesting you had a straight-from-kickoff phase last for all that time. They’re rare, but they do happen. I’ve had the phases last 5 game minutes in the past. Good luck with the run-in. Watch out in the Cup finals. I just played two at the end of my season (post up later) and they can be among the hardest single games that PES2012 has to offer.

  15. Just caught up on the ML news – if its bad enough to make Adam that rage-filled then It looks as if PES is dead.
    They wont be able to remove and re-implement any major new mode features this late on, the development/testing cycle just wont allow it before release, so we will be stuck with whatever it is.

    True Konami form eh, push the fuckup button, this time they hit it with a hammer.


  16. Paul—the real eye-catcher is his remark ‘my darkest day in PES history’. Could be a spot of hyperbole, but we’ll see.

  17. Not-greg – Well those 2 postings from adam definitely have me fearing that my worst nightmare has been realised. If konami have finally broken the master league experience then thats it. No if or maybes, NO MASTER LEAGUE NO PARTY!.

    The continual decline of the single player mode and focal shift to the online/multiplayer experience, and the implementation of master league unlockables in last years game have been a real portent. For me pes is synonymous with master league, so if the mode is broken then i categorically will not play the game. I can only hope that whatever is wrong can be corrected. I feel more concerned by this than I have been by any gameplay flaws

  18. Danny—if it turns out to be some kind of unlockable training funkiness, I doubt I’ll mind at all. We each have different trigger levels for our rage thresholds.

    Basically, I want to play Master League without being forced online to do anything (see my post later for a screenshot of my total playing time on PES2012. Online: ZERO hours, minutes, seconds), and without paying any real money to unlock anything crucial to my enjoyment, and without watching even a second of CPU vs CPU action, and without enforced movement of clubs. If any of those BaL-style features are in PES2013, yes, ML will be dead for me too.

  19. NG – straight from kick off only lasted 2 mins…basically the time it took for them to score. Thereafter they went 4star which at least gave me chances. Their second was a disgraceful almost immediate deflected own goal of the Div 2 annoyance but now I have much better players it just served to encourage me to throw everything forward as I knew I couldn’t stop them even if I wanted to. I played that game almost 2 hours ago and haven’t been back on since – I saved immediately and felt the wave of tension wash over me. I fear going back on too soon and getting sloppy.

  20. Did you contradict yourself there NG ?? –
    “if it turns out to be some kind of unlockable training funkiness, I doubt I’ll mind at all. We each have different trigger levels for our rage thresholds.”

    Then …

    “Basically, I want to play Master League without being forced online to do anything (see my post later for a screenshot of my total playing time on PES2012. Online: ZERO hours, minutes, seconds), and without paying any real money to unlock anything”


    If ML forces me ONLINE to do ANYTHING in order to progress my ML, then I shall turn it off, take the disc out and return for a full refund.
    And Never touch PES13 or any PES title ever again.

    PES needs to be handed over to a westernised country for development – the Japs just dont get it, quite clearly.

  21. uncle turf—yes, I meant that the straight-from-kickoff thing can last up until the time it takes the CPU to score, whether that’s 30 seconds or 5 minutes.

    You’ll have to go back and face the rest of the matches at some point 😉

    And hey, you might have a whole ‘nother year of PES2012 ahead of you…

  22. Paul—no contradiction. My first comment related to offline unlockables similar to Classic Players etc. I.e., along the lines of ‘pay 500GP to get a training cone that’ll improve stats growth by 0.5% per season’—that kind of (relatively harmless) thing. ‘Pay 1000GP to access Level 6 Fitness Coaches’. This kind of thing would be irritating, but I could work with it or just ignore it as I saw fit.

    I doubt that the stumbling block encountered by Adam has any online component, as there’d be no online infrastructure there for him to access right now. Or maybe it is there for those with review code.

    If it’s any kind of forced watching of CPU vs CPU action, I’m outta here. Ditto any online play at all. They’re my non-negotiable ones.

  23. But even with those offline unlockables, pay 500 XOP to unlock training etc, XP would only be attainable by playing pointless exhibition matches (As they are in PES12) or playing online.
    Either way i don t want to fanny around playing ‘nothing’ matches in order tom progress my ML, nor would I play online.

    And if anything its more LIKELY to be an integrated online encounter that bemused Adam, as there is no Online infrastructure in review code, the servers arent even open, so if he come to a point in ML whereby he had to go online to progress any further, such as ‘play online and unlock a scout before you can make any signings’ then this would pretty much stop him in his tracks.

  24. Paul—I meant the GP (or equivalent) accumulated by playing matches in ML. That’s how I accumulated my Classic Player GP. I remember splurging on them all in one go and still having a hefty amount left over.

    I have to say, your second paragraph is pretty convincing. It ticks all the boxes in answering the mystery of what could stop Adam (and his mate) playing in their tracks, and sent them off for an ‘early night’ as Adam stated in his post. If it’s something like that, ML2013 can kiss my arse!

  25. I see … my apologies.
    Would still be very unwelcome, say theres 10GP allocated for every ML game you play and you need 100GP to unlock a scout in order to sign players, you start the game pre season so basically your handicapped from signing any players until youve played enough games and accumulated enough GP to unlock a scout.

    All fluffy in the air stuff but if its that then its as bad as having to go online.

    The future of this blog could be in jeopardy if ML is a no go surely ??

  26. Paul—I’ve often said the blog should really have been called Master League Chronicles. If ML2013 is a no-go there’s always past games. I couldn’t face PES2012 again—not rightaway at least—but PES2010, PES5, PES6(360)… there’s always options.

    And of course, FIFA is always lurking in the background.

    Anyway I’ve just seen that Adam will be posting the full low-down later on. Looking forward to it with a mix of fascination, horror, and excitement.

    At this moment I would bet a tenner on it being some progressive system of unlockable items (offline), that Adam personally finds objectionable and intrusive, but which I’d be pretty much neutral about, depending on how extensive the system is of course.

    If I get even a whiff of BaL-style CPU vs CPU action, ” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>I’ll be like this.

  27. I read the early news on ML and it said it will continue next year. Now you can hire special coaches too

    I don’t now what all this fuss from Adam (WENB) is all about

  28. The fate of PES ML and transfer deadline day. Could Friday get any more exciting?

  29. John – The saying ‘No news is good news’ certainly rings true.

  30. Paul—I’ll be behind the workplace firewall in a few hours’ time (no WENB—it’s blocked!), and following any developments by phone. Soon as the news is known, I’ll either be smiling and chuckling at all the fuss over nothing, or heading down to Konami’s London HQ to pour petrol over myself and light myself on fire. It could go either way!


    There’s the info.

    I have to say, I’m not keen on the principle of unlockable boots and stat-boosting items. But is it game-mode-breaking? Nowhere near! Adam sounds a bit upset that players are all wearing bog-standard boots to begin with. That won’t bother me at all. To me it sounds like a different way of implementing low-level, temporary skill cards

    Lot of fuss over just about nothing.

    Roll on PES2013.

  32. I will laugh my head off if it turns out to be something like no change of boots for players or no untucked shirts. These being the type of crucial game elements that really get the forums buzzing.

  33. John—see my last comment, and the info at the link. You’re not far off 😉 I’m laughing too, here.

    Master League is all about unrealism! This is actually a step in a good direction from my point of view, away form PES2012’s arid, uncustomisable setup.

    Anyone who wants licensed kits and boots etc. out of the box has a perfectly fine alternative available across the way.

    The drama is over.

  34. N-G – That’s funny!

    It does all sound very Konami. I wonder if you can also buy those old animal heads for your players or freaky hairdo to also boost their stats.

    The good thing is that individual training is back in ML – kind of.

    The bad is this will surely be an instant turn off for anyone into more of a sim from their footy game. EA must be laughing.

    I’m sure it’ll help Konami make some cash out of those boot manufacturers though. Or should I say…COBBLERS!

  35. unless i read it wrongly it’s a return to individual training, albeit with some gimickry that lets you choose 3 different elements (and the stupid boot thing). It doesn’t say if players would still develop even if you didn’t assign routines, or if match time does anything but can’t say training has been great this year and trying to blood youngsters or loan them has been a nightmare. I don’t quite get the whole world in meltdown thing as this year’s training has been so poor and the player development really quite random. How the hell do you get 109overall when all stats are out of 100 for example! Yeah it’s not great but can’t say I really care at the moment, at least we could compare notes on what training makes Irjescu faster, etc.

  36. Not-greg – wow, that was….strange. To say that adam has overreacted would be an major understatement. darkest pes day ever? really? Its not a great addition but it certainly could have been a whole lot worse

  37. depends how you look at it Danny – No natural player growth in ML – really??
    if thats the case then PES is dead for me.

  38. Paul – i agree. i did not know that this could be at the expense of natural growth. if so then absolutely no pes 2013 for me

  39. Danny—we only have one person’s word to go on, and he has been careful to say only that he didn’t see any non-item-based player growth in his second season. Admittedly that doesn’t bode well. There should be some growth even with Defaults and no staff. But we don’t know what other conditions might apply. Like I say above, I’d put a hundred quid on there being what we’d recognise as normal player growth somewhere in the mix of ML2013. We shall see.

  40. Read details and it doesn’t matter really
    Some say that it won’t be realistic with the boots but all the teams will have got the boots in the first season

  41. not-greg – the screenshot from adams master league shows that he was using milan with the real players, not the defaults. that squad over 2 seasons should definitely have shown progress. i really hope you are right though. im back to feeling really apprehensive again

  42. Adam—it might not matter. My initial reaction this lunchtime was that the items were just an extra layer on top of the existing superstructure of ML. I still suspect that might be the case. It all depends on how far the item-boosting penetrates into ML’s most enjoyable aspects—player growth and immersion in their growth over time. That is worrying me.

  43. Danny—that is a worry, and possibly the clincher. He’s too experienced an ML head not to have noticed player growth happening in the background somewhere. It might well be that ‘player growth via items’ might work something like my guesswork in the reply to Rafa’s Evil Beard above.

  44. In all honesty
    It will make the game more custom
    And anyway, would defaults even have boot deals? 🙂

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