LOL why u do dis

Hurrah for Chronica

My MyClub experiment has come and gone. I have got over whatever mania persuaded me that I might be able to play and enjoy myself online. I’m back playing offline now, mostly.

I love the MyClub mode itself – a very nice take on Ultimate Team and Master League. I’ve actually built up a lot of affection for my poor, battered team over the last week or two.

Somehow, in the blizzard of sprint-clamping, pressure-abusing monsters who lurk online (sorry, people, but monsters are what you are), I hung on and got a few wins and draws, and got promoted from the bottom Division 12 to the next-bottom Division 11.

And there I’ll stay, for there’ll be no more now.

MyClub promoted

I’ve discovered yet again what I already knew: that football gaming online is shit.

It’s pure shit.

It really is shit. Not to put too fine a point on it, online football gaming is fucking garbage. I hate it. I absolutely despise it. My loathing for online football gaming has reached a new level of disgust. I merely disliked it before. I absolutely despise it now.

Oh, to be fair, it’s not a complete waste of time. There are flashes of interest. There are sparkles of light down in the stinking muck.

On the whole, though, no. Just no. Never gonna happen.

The game online simply isn’t the game I’ve been playing and loving for more than twenty years now.

Here’s me scoring my winner against an online opponent – I’m the team in the Atletico Madrid strip. I had to be really quick to save this replay. There’s a tradition online of not letting anyone watch more than half a second of any replay, as you can see with the rapid fade-to-black at the end:

He was a decent opponent, as they come. Most online opponents sprint-pressurise 99% of the time. He only sprint-pressurised 98% of the time. I’ve never played any opponent who didn’t sprint-pressurise less than 98% of the time.

Every single player you meet online plays in exactly the same way.

Maximum pressure, all the time.

Direct passing, all the time.

If they’ve got Ronaldo or Ibrahimovic or some other superman (and nearly everyone has), their sole tactic is getting the ball to them and running directly at your goal straight down the middle of the pitch.

(Sometimes they do pass it around at the back, but it tends to happen when they’re already 5-0 up and you can sort of tell that they’re passing the ball around satirically, rubbing my face in the sheer ineffectiveness of trying to play football online.)

Why do they do this? Because it works. Simple, really. It works – it creates chances, it gets goals. Pressure-abusing combined with direct run-and-gun attacking is the optimal way to play online football. So that’s what has to happen. Nobody’s really being evil. They’re just doing what works.

The TS Problem

It’s absolutely terrible. It’s a travesty of the magisterial-by-comparison, sedate, thoughtful game that is played offline.

It’s interesting for a while. I’ve certainly found it interesting these past couple of weeks. But the interest has now waned.

Playing essentially the same damn match against essentially the same damn opponent over and over again is just what happens when you play online. I’d be very interested to hear any arguments to the contrary when it’s so easily demonstrable as the case. It needs to be shouted: EVERY ONLINE PLAYER PLAYS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ONE YOU PLAYED BEFORE. The exceptions are so rare (and the differences so minor) that they’re not worth considering.

I’m glad I’ve had this time. From now on, when I see a football gaming formumite holding forth about how supposedly one-dimensional the offline game against the AI is, compared to the joys of online, I’m going to laugh out loud – I might even ROFLMAO – instead of secretly wondering if he’s right.

He’s definitely not right. Online football is the one-dimensional game. In fact, calling it one-dimensional is probably overstating its complexity. Zero-dimensionality is the order of the day online. Online football gaming is more like Pong than PES.

my MyClub peak

One simple tweak would make everything better and solve the problems at a stroke. Two tweaks. First, a proper draining stamina model that would make it impossible to sprint-pressure the whole damn match. Second, a rigorous fouling system, akin to that last seen in PES5 (*genuflects and makes sign of the cross*), would provide a further death-blow to the reckless, video-gamey pressuring and tackling that goes on.

Neither of those things will ever happen. Market forces. Kids. What people have got used to. Et cetera.

And that, my friends, is why online football gaming is bullshit. Pure, unadulterated, horse manure. I know many reading this will be aficionados of the online game, and have great affection for it and for the times they’ve had, and in all honesty I have seen its potential greatness in scattered flashes.

But, oh dear. That pressure? That directness. That bulldozing star player? You call that football? Really?

Of course you don’t. Footy gaming online is really just an online computer game loosely based on football. It’s got more in common with Rocket League or Speedball 2100 than the Pro Evolution Soccer I’ve been playing and enjoying, against the AI, for all these years.

Offline, even the worst match against the most plodding and predictable AI is an order of magnitude better as a football game than even the best online game.

And I think I’ve bludgeoned my point home enough now. Online football gaming, it was nice getting to know you again. But you’ve worn out your welcome. Goodbye.

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This time next week we’ll have played PES2016, or the demo version of it at least. I’m looking forward to it with my appetite well and truly whetted by the MyClub experiment. I tell you, playing online has reignited my fire in a big way.

Which only leaves the question of what to blog about on Tuesday. You know, I think it’s time to blow the dust off PES5…

64 Comments

  1. I have to hold my hand up and say that so far in 2015 mark 2 I have seen fouls. Not appropriate numbers to the level of play but an opponent sent off and at least one foul based free kick per game, a number in shooting range. More annoying is the automatic yellow for any sliding tackle foul.

    One of the laughable ‘new features’ from last announcement time was the length of grass. I hadn’t noted what the various updates did but I was expecting more stadiums to be available, as paul often says that absence of ‘scruffy div 2 ground’ to start the journey is a big miss.

  2. Uncle Turf — it is very dependent on playing style, to be fair. My playing style is very pass-and-move-centric with occasional attempts to dribble past CPU players. As a result I almost never got fouled in PES2015. On all previous PES games, including the oldie that I’m playing now (PES2013), my pass-and-move style nevertheless results in an acceptable number of free kicks every match, with usually at least one in shooting range. In about 600 matches on PES2015 I seriously had about 8 free kicks in shooting range, and I’m probably being generous there. If it’s working for you, don’t worry about it.

    Paul — so often Konami have put out great demos and then delivered a final game with many last-minute changes made at the mixing desk that I’m not banking on the PES2016 demo being anything other than an indication of what the final game will handle like in general terms.

  3. I’ve scored over 10 free kicks in 2015 and had quite a lot that have missed. I do dribble quite a bit though. As you say NG, it’s all down to individual playing styles. I play very direct, counter-attacking football. It’s a rare game that I have over 50% possession and normally average around the 40-45% mark. I beat City 5-0 the other day with 39%.

  4. Lloyd — those stats of yours are surprising. I have at least 60% possession in every match against the AI, even on Superstar. I can’t imagine how you play that leads to 39% possession?

  5. Always on the front foot, shifting the ball forward at every opportunity. I’ll record my next game and put it up.

  6. Lloyd – look forward to watching that!

    Turf – yes I would be irritated by those PES celebrations you describe. You can call me very shallow but I do love the FIFA celebrations – full control of your player as he runs off in delight, sometimes a cursory celebration, sometimes something extravagant, sometimes running to a teammate in acknowledgement

  7. After watching an abundance of PES 16 videos and reading the comments here yesterday, I was ‘in the mood’ for a bit of PES last night, so loaded up my ML, and resumed play….. played 5 matches…… semi-enjoyed them, but came away just wanting to re-label the game ‘Pro Frustration Soccer’.

    the no crossing play from the CPU, even when its a clearing scoring chance, the CPU absolutely refuses to cross, the complete lack of fouls given for me, is massive as playing a patient probing passing game to try and stretch the CPU out of shape then exploit space is made redundant as when space does open up and i move forward the CPU just fouls me, sometimes bordering on ABH, and i get nothing, EVER!
    Difficulty is unbalanced,as playing on Top player doesn’t make the CPU play any better football than if it was on professional level, the cheap underhand tactics, absurd fouls against you and not for you and level of interceptions are just ratcheted up. Still no crosses either.

    Big name high stats players, regularly fail to perform, and perform worst than if id saved my 32 million and used a 60 OVR rated youth player instead, Physicality is atrocious, 99% of all physical battles regardless of player height, weight, or stats always fall in favour of the CPU, and sliding tackles are pointless as it takes longer for your player to recover than it does for the player you have tackled to to recover and get the ball back.

    These are the key things i will be assessing in the demo. it will stand or fall on these points.

  8. Paul – those are all issues that arise when you start playing PES2015, as ever it’s about making do. “But I don’t want to make do” – neither do I really! Maybe one day it’ll happen. Maybe PES2016 will be that game, if Asim’s intriguing preview piece of a month or so ago proves accurate. I suspect him of Online Tendencies, though, and that lot don’t care about fouls etc, so we’ll see.

    Playing some PES2013 (and a spot of PES5) over the last few days and the AI is miles better than PES2015’s. Crosses galore. I had one single match of PES5 yesterday afternoon, a 10-minute ML match on 5* difficulty. I had 5 free kicks in just that one match, 2 of them in shooting range. I’d have to play probably 5 matches to get 5 free kicks in PES2015! And probably closer to 10. And probably closer to 50 to get 2 FKs in shooting range.

    None of which detracts from my high regard for PES2015. Its qualities really do transcend its limitations, a point that is only reached after a while. I doubt you’ll play it for that long.

    Lloyd – yes, let’s see this full match indeed, if the upload is too large just a half will do. I want to see where you get all these free kicks from if you barely take more than one touch of the ball at a time.

  9. Paul – with regards to the crossing and fouling as the game this year is going to have comprehensive stats on the opposition and how many crosses etc they made, you would presume then that these things must have been improved, otherwise they will be shooting themselves in the foot as the stats will highlight the games shortfalls.

    Can’t really be bothered with the demo even on Thursday. No doubt I will still download it if I am at a loose end. Other than that I have very little enthusiasm for either game right now. I am currently playing Cricket Captain 2015 on the I Pad but that is only likely to be a passing interest. Gaming just doesn’t seem to be as high in my priorities anymore. I am glad I had the long run of a ML career at last this year as it finally laid to a few ghosts of the gaming past and wouldn’t look back if I did not bother all together. As the release date of PES is on the day of return from hols I may avoid the hype all together.

  10. NG …. for me…. PES15’s issues limit its qualities, its hard to really enjoy a game where so much basic stuff is just wrong.
    an example from last night…. i was playing Liverpool, they were top of the table, real tough match, poised at 1-1, i foiled an attack and broke on the counter, quickly passing and moving the ball up to the edge of the area, whereby a CPU defender just clattered me, didn’t touch the ball, just took my forward out, down I go, no FK, nothing …… CPU waltzes up the other end and scores.

    what went from a very good probability of me scoring, and stealing a great win, to losing after being completely done over and not getting the foul left a sour taste in my mouth ….. this happened in 3 of the 5 matches I played.

    This is my 5th season on ML, with cup games and an average of 40 games a season, thats close to 200 matches, more than enough play time to become adjusted to PES 15’s ‘ways’ ….. and the no fouls, no crossing, and general issues have been prevalent throughout, it doesn’t balance out at all.

  11. Darryl – this is the greatest gaming month of the year! With the current game put to bed I’m loving some retro footy action (PES2013 post at 12) and I’m playing a few others.

    Paul – your 6 month break would have reset your acclimatisation counter to zero. I’m not defending the games faults just saying they’re survivable, and the game turned out more than playable long term. At this stage it’s a moot point for you I suspect. Why not dig out an old favourite and have a few golden sessions, instead of trying to like PES 2015?

  12. We will agree to disagree NG, our tolerance levels obviously differ as i couldn’t acclimatise to the game, it would just put me off playing it, which is what happened back in December.

    I cant really play any classics as none are available on the PS4, and I don’t have the PS3 any longer, and cant be assed with the hassle of finding a torrent of an old game on the PC, then patching it and running it inside a VM environment on the mac etc …. just for a few games until 16 comes out.

    will draw a line under my PES 15 experience here and leave it on a more positive note with a few goal videos that I scored recently. All the 1min footage jobbies.

  13. Paul – two good goals and a lot of ‘solid’ footy gameplay on show there. PES2015 was a placeholder game, akin to PES6 on the 360, missing so much, rough around so many edges, but still with that PES playability IMO. I expect a lot more polish from PES2016 though.

    Incidentally re. retro gaming and the 1-minute clips above – it’s amazing how quickly you get used to the Share functions on the new consoles. I miss the easy screenshot and record abilities playing on PS3 and PC these last few days.

    Might I suggest to you ripping off the cellophane on MyClub for a session or two? The online players are atrocious, of course, but you might get lucky and meet a few good ones, and you’ll have fun amusing yourself with your fledgling team. And what my week or two of dabbling online did for me was to deliver a huge reaffirmation of my commitment to playing offline. There is more football played in a minute by and against the AI – even by a poor AI – than in whole matches against 99% of all online players.

  14. I think I still have PES 5 and PES 11 installed on my VM PC ….. but not worth getting involved for any length this late on.
    will probably play a few tournaments on FIFA 15 or continue with Life is strange.
    I won’t be hammering the demo to death like alot of people do, a few games to see what is in store then wait for full release.

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