Month: December 2012

You are feeling very sleepy

Patch 1.03 took me by surprise yesterday. I’d not been watching the forums. I’d forgotten all about the patch. When I started the game and was prompted to update, I was as confused as confused could be. What shenanigans was this?

On this occasion, Konami’s patchnotes contained specific utterances about gameplay changes. Animations, tactical runs, all sorts of stuff.

I’m an arch-sceptic when it comes to PES patches. I have always maintained that if PES patches contained gameplay alterations, Konami would specifically say so. I remain totally convinced of this. The placebo effect is strong in the PESverse. In fact, ‘strong’ is too mild a word to describe what a new patch tends to do to the perceptions of PES players. They go crazy.

But on this occasion, with actual gameplay changes actually detailed (for only the second time ever), I’m bound to see them too, right?

Nope. Not a sausage of difference did I see or feel in any aspect of PES2013’s gameplay on 1.03. I played a good, long session too—my longest for a few weeks, lasting a couple of hours.

More study is probably required.

Anyway, the current table:

ML2013 season 7 after 17

There are 8 points between me and the 8th-placed team. I will regard this season as a failure if I don’t finish in the top 4 at least.

I’ve lost one game and drawn a few others since 1.03 landed. It was only one session, and the placebo effect in PES is rightly notorious, but it seemed to me that some of the old Superstar sturdiness was back.

Liverpool were my conquerors. They’re currently the team of the ML world. I actually took the lead, but got complacent and was pegged back in the second half by some ruthless CPU play.

I’ve made it through my Europa group phase, finishing in second place. No word yet on the draw.

The mid-season transfer window is as close for me in season 7 as it is to us now in the so-called real world (lol). In any other PES, I would normally be thinking of which one or two players to bring in to enhance my team.

Not possible in PES2013. For better or worse, the game forces you to mostly make do with what you have. The net result is a team of pretty formidable Defaults and Youths, with a few talented Free Agents sprinkled among ’em.

I find that I’m really liking it this way. I still love PES2013. The feeling I had earlier in the week—that the game was threatening to turn disturbingly easy—seems to have receded. Put it down to the patch, or put it down to natural variance (the likeliest suspect), but going into Christmas 2012, this game is more than holding up.

—————

Monday, Christmas Eve, will see a special ‘non-canon’ post. It’ll be a glimpse of the fabled Book that might or might not be out in, uh, Q1 2013…

The Book has been reimagined. I have mostly abandoned the biographical format. I got bored of relating my own life, David Copperfield-style, and went for something more 21st century and totally pretentious.

Monday’s post will show just what artsy-fartsy direction things have headed in… Kirsty Wark, are you reading this?

Look into my eyes

Wroughllen and the looping header

Recently there has been some talk—much talk—of PES2013’s longer-term difficulty seeming to be ‘nerfed’, for want of a better word. In the lexicon of gaming, the verb ‘to nerf’ isn’t always a negative, of course. Nerfing can connote nothing more sinister than taking a metal file to a game’s sharper corners, aiming for a smoother experience all round.

In the case of PES2013’s difficulty, particularly on the higher levels after some time, nerfing could be a Bad Thing.

One of the most satisfying aspects of PES2012 was that its difficulty held up for the whole time you played it. Granted, much of this was due to the disgraceful way in which PES2012 game managed its scorelines—principally through the infamous mechanic of scripted shooting.

Over the past week I’ve noticed a change in PES2013’s difficulty on Superstar, particularly since my last session.

Here’s my very latest, up-to-the-minute league table:

ML2013 season 7 after 12

Since the last league table I posted on Monday, I’ve played 7, scored 13, and conceded only 3. Not very impressive—no records books will have to be rewritten.

But in amongst them was a pretty easy 3-1 win over Man Utd, at Man Utd.

And a 6-0 drubbing of a lower-league team in the FA Cup, in which Wroughllen got 5 (FIVE) of the goals—including the rare header seen at the start of today’s clip:

(That second goal above is a delicious Jacomorac strike against Newcastle.)

post-match Wroughllen

For his five-goal performance in the Cup, Wroughllen got the highest post-mach rating I’ve seen in a long while. Eight. Nosebleed time here. No, I don’t know what Coynborough did wrong in this match to get the lowest rating. The game is hard to please.

PES2013 feels different to me suddenly. Easier. I’m far more confident of getting the goals I need, and of stopping the opposition.

But does the game feel different now because it is different, or because I’ve read a lot and thought a lot about the game feeling different?

It could all go back to the placebo effect, confidence, the power of suggestion.

I had a dental filling a few weeks ago. I’m not scared of going to the dentist, as such. (I’m not….) The sound of the drill doesn’t terrify me. But I tend to have a bad time with the injection part of having a filling. I have to shut my eyes as the needle comes into view—I can’t allow myself to see it.

A few minutes after the numbness kicked in, I started freaking out. It felt as if the dentist had given me too much anaesthetic. The numbness was spreading sideways across to the other side of my neck. It felt hard to swallow. Hard to breathe

I had to keep interrupting the dentist mid-filling, and sitting up in a semi-panic.

She (apparently there are women dentists now; whatever next?) was clearly irritated, but she kept her professionalism, and here’s the point of this digression. She deployed her full toolkit of calming suggestion on me. ‘Just sit back and breathe slowly through your nose and you’ll be fine,’ she said, soothingly. I did so. I wanted to please her. ‘You’re doing absolutely great,’ she said. As she spoke, yes, I thought, I am doing absolutely great.

It was suggested persuasively to me that I was fine and doing great and it would all be over quickly, and so it proved.

Now, it has been suggested to me that PES2013’s Superstar difficulty might not be the formidable wall of death that it had been. And ever since that message sank in, I’ve noticed a change in how the game handles.

As well as the general difficulty issue, I will whisper something else: PES fatigue. I haz it. More deep-seated, and potentially serious, than ever.

At times over the past few weeks—-very occasionally—I’ve felt as if I’ve been playing PES for a million years, and that I’m getting a bit tired of it.

The PES2012 factor is undoubtedly a major contributory factor to this feeling. I haven’t had a PES year like the year of PES2012 since 2004-2005 (PES5).

Do these things taken together constitute a festive PES2013 wobble? Not at all. I don’t think so.

All it constitutes is proof, if proof were needed, that PES is not an inevitable, guaranteed part of daily life. That it changes as the days change, as the self changes. That there are more factors blowing in the wind than there might seem to be.

We wore blue Talbot

ML2013 season 7 Away Kit

New season, new kits. It’s always one of the things I look forward to the most (when I can be bothered to do it). For season 7’s Away kit, I’ve gone with the snazzy new white kit seen above—as modelled by Minandinho front and centre. That’s Coynborough in the back wearing the captain’s armband. That other player of mine, on the left? Er… Lurling?

As for the tramlines pattern and Talbot logo, all I did was invert the colours in an image editor. Simplest thing ever. The blue Talbot logo is strangely appropriate. I think this may be my favourite Away kit ever.

ML2013 season 7 Home Kit

A more traditional Home kit features stripes, and alternating shades of sky blue stripes at that. I’m not the most meticulous or fussy kit man, you may have noticed. There’s Nouhei modelling it on the right.

I sold a few players.  I sold De Bruyne, Mano, Govou, trimming my squad down to 22 players.

I didn’t bring in any new players. I tried for a few but couldn’t get them.

My club ranking only went up a few places to 108th in the world. It’ll be a few seasons before I can tempt any top players to the club. I made my usual offer for Inter Milan’s Paul Scholes, and was rejected.

The pre-season Training Matches went swimmingly. Motherwell beat me 1-0 at home, but I won the others, one of which (against Spartak Moscow) I simmed (going against my usual policy) just to see what would happen. I was awarded a 4-2 win.

Here are my main aims for this 7th Master League season:

  • A top-4 finish. I should have had a top-4 finish last season, easy. I don’t know if the game stopped me getting it, or I was sloppy, or a bit of both.
  • Fewer goals conceded. My defensive record in PES2013 so far is shocking. I really should be doing better. I’ll be trying to observe my policy of aiming to keep a clean sheet no matter what.
  • Fewer red cards for Coynborough. I think he had five reds last season, and missed a lot of matches as a result. He’s a vital element of a great performance for my team. I miss him when he’s absent.
  • Win a Cup. Either the FA Cup or the Europa Cup, I don’t mind. I just want a trophy.

I had a good feeling about this season—but it has actually started quite badly. I lost and drew my opening two. The defeat was an impossible-feeling 1-3 home reversal to Man City. I’ve struggled to cope with the top teams on PES2013 so far. I always hate that the CPU seems to be allowed a free end-run at my goal whenever it wishes to have one. Much more so than in PES2012.

I dug deep and got a few wins to at least stay in touch with the early pace-setters. The table after 5:

ML2013 season 7 after 5

Yep, I’m conceding too many again. And Coynborough got two yellows in his most recent match, picking up his first red of what may be a long campaign.

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