Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop

It happened. Most Master League veterans seeing Tuesday’s post, seeing the way I’d suddenly closed the gap on leaders Liverpool, would have known that this was coming – and here it is.

In PES2017, in Season 6, I have won the league title.

Too early? It doesn’t feel that way. It feels about average for me to win the league in a Season 6.

Granted there have been several other ML campaigns where the first sniff of a league title has not come until Seasons 8-10 or afterward, but the majority have seen me at least challenging by Season 5-7. Even this could be considered ‘late’. There are many ML players out there for whom a Season 3 league title is an annual cakewalk, and who look with puzzled bemusement on any hint of toil and struggle.

Liverpool fell away so badly that I overhauled them with ease. With three matches to go I had a 7-point lead at the top. I only needed a point from any of my last 3 matches to secure the title.

I actually lost the third match from the end of the season, against Man City, but even as the clock ticked down to the end I had a funny feeling that Liverpool would have lost as well.

The final whistle went with me losing 2-1, but my players went into rapturous celebrations regardless:The final table:

Liverpool really fell away badly after seeming invincible for most of the season.

There’s so much about this table that can be nitpicked – the lack of goals scored, Man Utd in second with 10 defeats, etc. – but I’m not too bothered about such things. I am slightly bothered about being able to win a league with only 44 goals scored, but not overmuch. That’s just how this ML works.I was a little bit more bothered about my Fernando Torres winning so many accolades from the game. He was a great scorer, yes – as next Tuesday’s ‘All the Goals of Season 6’ movie will indicate – but he never got even close to being top scorer. That was Aguero on 28. Torres ‘only’ got 18 league goals, but won POTY anyway.I agree with the Best Manager award though. That guy rocked.

The season ended with me tamely drawing both of my last two matches. My players gave and took applause on the pitch at the end. I felt a great sense of satisfaction at a job mostly well done,

Where now with PES2017?

A tilt at the Treble is where now. I’ll be in the Champions League next season for the very first time. It’ll be interesting to see how I do after this season’s Europa League collapse (eliminated at the group stage, bottom of the group, 1 win from 6 fixtures).

Before we get there, Tuesday’s post will be a special one showing my ‘All the Goals of Season 6’ vid. That’s all 44 league goals, plus the odd 6-or-so from the FA Cup and Europa League competitions, in chronological order, in one video. Whilst editing it I’ve been struck by a few unexpected patterns and other issues that I’ll discuss on Tuesday.

Updated: 13th January 2017 — 09:29

49 Comments

  1. Congrats on the league title!
    I have a feeling you’ll do well in the CL too, it wasn’t anymore difficult for me, in fact the Europa league was more of a challenge.

    Look forward to the video, I remember the ‘rock n roll years’ one you did – most enjoyable.

    Did you enjoy seeing your players parade around the pitch with the shiny League trophy that you’ve worked so hard across those 6 seasons for?
    All those last min transfer dealings, tense contract negotiations, agonising defeats, and joyful last gasp winners all wrapped up in the joy of seeing your squad that you’ve created parading the trophy for your fans!?

  2. Paul – I loved seeing the massive shiny trophy held aloft in the glorious spring sunshine. Thank God nobody decided not to have a trophy in the celebration scenes, that would have been truly bizarre!

    The vid on Tuesday is ALL the goals of the season, unlike Rock and Goal Years (PES2010), which featured selected highlight goals. So 95% of Tuesday’s video are just ordinary and unmemorable. The interest in a vid like this one is appreciating how the game varies its goals from match to match, as well as seeing the patterns of similar goals – there are some.

  3. Great going there NG and fully deserved I’d say. Some table scripting there as you say but that’s ML for ya. Curious about your goal compilation, thinking about doing something similar myself perhaps.

  4. #1 – I have done this whole-season goal compilation before, once or twice, many moons ago. I forget which PESes now. I might have a hunt later.

  5. Well that didn’t take long – see this post from the year of PES2011. I also seem to have done one the previous year with PES2010. Sadly both all-the-goals vids in question were uploaded to a site called Sevenload, which at that time seemed like a better alternative to YouTube, but abruptly disappeared, taking all my vids from that period with it.

  6. its absolutely ridiculous and typical konami that the whole primary objective of ML is to win the league trophy, yet there’s no trophy, it would be bad enough if there just wasn’t one full stop, but the fact that when the team sits on the pitch for the photo, there is an empty space where it is quite obviously meant to be, is just appalling.

  7. Congrats n-G. What’s going to be your stopping point then, the treble?

  8. When he runs out of lyrics from Eye Of The Tiger.

  9. Shed – A couple of seasons to have a go at the Treble – or at least a league+CL Double – and I think I’ll be done. I was very immersed in the season just done as I chased down and overhauled the league leaders and won the title, but the matches were often not very high quality. PES2017 is a good game and lots better than the ghastly PES2016, no question about that, but it’s not better than PES2015 IMO. I gave PES2015 9/10. I gave PES2016 7/10. I think it’s obvious what score PES2017 will get come August/September.

    I’m about to make some changes to my setup at home to permit PC gaming on the same level of convenience as on console, and that’s when I’ll start looking to move to PES5. Might be Feb, could be March.

  10. NG – I have some observations regarding AI match simulation and table movements that you might find interesting. (Feel free to skip the preamble at the start – this has transformed from a quick post to a wall of text over the last half hour.)

    I’ve been enjoying PES 2017 much more since I started my whistlestop, single-season tour of other Premier League clubs with a view to rebuilding fallen giants. I left my original team, Wolves, with an incredibly strong (and still youthful) side after three PL titles, two CL wins and an FA Cup in four seasons. And here’s an interesting thing: they’ve won the league every year since. Their lowest points tally during this run? 95.

    In my first season as a touring coach, I joined Man United (previous finish: 12th) and completely gutted the side, bringing in high-quality young players in the 19-24 bracket as well as filling out the squad with high-potential youngsters. I bowed out with a second-place finish with Wolves nine points ahead at the top. I think the gap between second and third was close to 20 points.

    Second season, I decided on a slightly more demanding job: Aston Villa (previous finish: 17th). This is when I tried to implement house rules where I would need to sell anyone who moved above a certain OPR to make things more challenging. Given the phenomenal player growth rates in PES 2017, it soon became obvious that this just wouldn’t work. I finished in second again, eleven points behind Wolves (and with Man United just a point behind in third) with a fairly modest side.

    Third season, I opted for Arsenal (and, to up the challenge, a new all-out attack approach that makes PES 2017 much more fun to play). I had to sell all but one player of an ageing (and surprisingly small) squad that had finished 14th the previous year. With only one marquee signing (an 88-rated regen Brighi, CMF), I filled out the squad with what I deemed to be Arsenal-style regen signings with mostly world-class potential. Final league position: 2nd, seven points behind Wolves and with Man United two points behind. The gap between 3rd and 4th was fifteen points. Villa, who I left with a team rating of around 74 (as opposed to 88 for Wolves and 84 for Man United) had a late surge up the table to finish 11th.

    I enjoyed the Arsenal side so much that I thought I’d stop for another year and try my hand at winning something. I’m currently a few matches away from the January transfer window, having bleached the opposition in my CL group, but I’m only third in the league. Wolves (perhaps teetering on the brink of a slow decline) are three points above, but undefeated Man United have hit their peak and remain undefeated so far this term in first.

    So: observations.

    1: I’m now entirely certain that AI team league performances in “simulated” matches are genuinely determined by the strength of the playing squads – particularly their first elevens. There are little random variations in match-to-match performances, of course, but over the course of a season, the side with the highest Team Strength rating should triumph.

    2: I’ve seen nothing to suggest that scripted collapses (or, for that matter, winning streaks) occur in order to advance an artificial narrative. First Wolves, and then Man United, have not faltered – they seem to get the point tallies that their superior Team Strength ratings (relative to everyone else in the league) warrant.

    3: Goals for and against are partly determined by a team’s overall rating, but the favoured playing style of their manager also has a direct influence. The AI manager that took over the reins at Wolves is a vile long-ball merchant. They don’t score a great deal… but they hardly concede at all with the “Great Wall of Wolverhampton” at the back (OPRs of 85, 91, 95 and 92). By contrast, managers who opt for more aggressive attacking styles will see their teams score and concede more.

    4: Player stats seem to have more of an influence on their simulated records than I would have expected. DMF Walace is still incredibly prolific for Wolves, and has not once dropped out of the top four scorers in the league in the past three-and-a-half years. But then, his shooting stats (87 accuracy, 94 power last time I checked) are superior to most top-class strikers.

    5: From the moment you start a Master League career, major teams steadily decline. It’s an incontrovertible fact. This first really starts to become apparent three or four seasons in – and after six or seven seasons, there are no true “giants” in a division unless you create them yourself. There’s very little rhyme or reason to the trickle of transfer activity that you see with AI teams. Automatic regen signings aside (and these are often returning retirees), they only appear to bolster weak links by accident. This is why, in my ML, Man City currently field DMFs with ratings of 72 and 68 (with two 80-rated CMFs left to rot in the reserves), while Cardiff boast 83-rated Dani Alves at right-back, 84-rated Ricky Lambert leading the line, and 94-rated Ruben Castro on the right wing… playing in the same side as two 70-rated centre-backs, a 72-rated AMF and a 64-rated DMF.

    6: I’ve noticed a “magnetism” effect whereby even when a former player doesn’t immediately re-sign for his old club, they’ll pick him up at a later date if he becomes available. While I was at Man United, I saw 16-year-old regen Fellaini registered to an “OTHER” club. The year afterwards, he was a free agent. Next time I checked, he’d signed for Man United. This is by no means an isolated incident. Over a long enough timeline, were you to reach a stage where regens begin to retire, I wonder which club they would gravitate towards?

    7: I can only speak for Superstar difficulty level, and it may be that I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that sides with a low Team Strength rating relative to your own get an across-the-board stats boost. This is designed to keep matches competitive (without it, that 63-rated left-back would be a weak link that you’d exploit time and time again), but leads to a side effect where teams that have the distinctive PES 2017 mixture of no-hopers/imminent retirees, average players, and one or two world-class individuals in key positions (such as Cardiff in my ML) become really frustrating to play. This is compounded by the fact that, even though AI Team Spirit isn’t shown this year, it’s still in effect – and, instances where a team has a sudden rash of retirements aside, is probably locked at or close to 100 for everyone.

    When you begin a new ML, the distribution of quality throughout the league resembles the classic pyramid; after as few as four seasons, it’s closer to a trapezium. PES 2017’s transfer inactivity and woeful “manager” AI leads to a situation where the talent is eventually spread too thinly throughout its footballing world, let alone the division that you play in. But if you peer behind the curtain, the actual league simulation is actually surprisingly good.

  11. You know what? The prevalence of MyClub tips on ML loading screens and adverts for the mode are an early clue, but any amount of extended play makes it clear: Master League is now pretty much in the dreaded “maintenance-only” commercial state. The people responsible for its upkeep have limited time and resources, and I don’t think there’s any desire in the PES (or Konami) hierarchy to have anyone playing Master League for more than a few seasons at the moment. What a fucking shame! I’ve played every damn game in this series for more time than I’d ever care to recount, and ML has been at the heart of it all.

    Perhaps it would be better if Konami were to attempt to monetise the mode. As long as it were fair, we might see a shift towards Master League transfers being really hard to tie down, big jobs out of reach without spectacular managerial performances, and large transfer and wage budgets limited to the right type of club, in addition to various other improvements. Something close to the Football Manager Classic model, perhaps, but with the increased authenticity and difficulty designed to gently (but not unfairly) steer certain impressionable players towards “boost” microtransactions.

    (“Get top-side job straight off the bat? 99p. £200m transfer kitty? Fiver to you mate, and cheap at twice the price. Can I interest you in this genuine set of Nike Onanists in throbbing pink for your star striker? No? Well, suit yourself”).

    The alternative is that the type of money-grubbing careerist cunt who forgets that he’s naught but a fucking barrow-boy with an expensive haircut will continue to gut this football gaming institution year after year. It’s bad enough that people like that are ruining the world we live in – but when they lay their grubby little paws on PES, it gets *personal*. I’m off to make placards. Who’s with me? 😉

  12. NG – Congratulations my dear old thing.

  13. NG how does one go about sharing videos from ps4 into a comment? If it’s mildly difficult or long winded don’t even entertain me….

  14. James – interesting findings and great analysis as ever – I’m very frustrated about the dilution of PES for the sake of online values, specifically no-fouls and limited player individuality. I think it’s pointless to man the barricades now re. Master League. Anything single-player is very much seen as ‘legacy’ by all games devs now. The exceptions really being the Skyrims, Fallouts, and Dark Soulses.

    Darryl – cheers flower.

    Mike – you have to upload the clip from your PS4 somewhere online (upload direct to YouTube/Twitter/Facebook from your Share button). Then get the link from the site in question. Then simply paste it into a comment. Here’s a Share tutorial if you need it.

  15. James – noticed a few similar things, especially the “magnetism” you mentioned. There also seems to be a “legacy” thing where players join their real life old clubs. For example i Got huntelaar, emanuelson, gregory van der wiel and Rafael van der Vaart in my youth team, Who play for various teams now but have played for ajax (my current club) in the beginning of their careers.

    Also – what did you mean by the league simulation being good behind the curtain?

  16. #1 – Purely that, when certain teams are a cut above the chasing pack in terms of Team Strength (as is the case with the Wolves and Man United teams in my ML), they absolutely run away with the top positions unless the player team finishes ahead of them. If they can, that is – Wolves have foiled me with 95+ point finishes for three years. Also, the league simulation is robust enough on a per-player level that you can have a goalscoring midfielder (in my instance, Walace) be in the upper reaches of the scoring chart for three consecutive seasons. His finishing stats are outstanding, and he’s playing for the dominant club, so it’s perfectly reasonable. Again, this is clearly system-based, not scripted, which is a good thing.

    It’s because of little details like this that ML is not an entirely lost cause. The people working on it (stretched, I’d imagine, with coding/design duties for other modes, MyClub included) are probably just picking their battles, implementing and polishing the things that they can finish in each yearly cycle, and fudging other elements with very approximate solutions/rough fixes in the meantime. But then, that’s PES as a whole these days – absolutely fantastic ideas and execution in some areas, lacklustre last-gen bullshit and glaring oversights in others. But with a dev team a fraction of the size of the army behind FIFA, there’s also only so much that they can accomplish every year.

  17. NG – What is the plan for PES 5 when the time comes? Will you be starting a new ML? Can’t wait.

  18. Finished season 4 in sixth after a 15 game unbeaten run. Some epic games in the run in. PES really does provide great drama when you’re chasing down a title or a Euro spot in my case.

    So I’m in the Europa for season five. Planning some major changes to the squad but first a break. Perfect timing as GTAV just dropped through the door. Thanks again Paul.

  19. James – ML for me might be a lost cause because the online focus has fundamentally changed the nature of PES gameplay. ML is a gameplay-focused mode in that I have to be totally enamoured of the gameplay to want to play season after season. As things stand I like the PES2017 gameplay, but don’t love it. The button-mashy, end-to-end, harem-scarem feel to most matches is just not to my taste. It is bloody decent, I’ll say that, better than decent sometimes, brilliant sometimes, but does it hit the heights of a PES2, PES3, PES5, PES2010, PES2012, even a PES2014, consistently enough to qualify as ‘true PES’? I cannot say it does. Every day on PS2-era gameplay was about rekindling a deep love for the depth and breadth of the gameplay, and discovering something new about your players and team, and discovering new players. That was also true in the PS3 era, mostly. In the PS4 era… *sucks air through clenched teeth*… not so much. Master League is subordinate to gameplay and there’s just not enough substance there, for me, in the online-oriented era. Olde PES was chess; nuPES is Connect 4. Now, Connect 4 is a bloody good game, but it’s this dearth of dimensions to nuPES that makes it a relatively short and ‘fun’-oriented experience. A PES built along the lines of Olde PES wouldn’t be viable in today’s market, I know.

  20. Darryl – of course PES5 will be all ML, from the start, with the Defaults. I am looking forward to it as well. No telling when it’ll land – late Feb/early March is my best guess. Despite what I say about PES2017 above, I will be concluding all business with it before moving on.

  21. Oh, and I spent the afternoon at my desk at work following the unfolding real-life football action on various webpages on my phone. More often than not this is more engrossing and worthwhile than watching the actual matches themselves. When I heard that Andy Carroll had scored a bicycle kick, described by some as an overhead kick, I made a private wager with myself that it would turn out to be a scissors kick. I’ve just got in and watched the goal on YouTube. I won.

  22. Radio 5 called it a ‘scissor kick’ on the round up I heard and I smiled thinking ‘well I know an obsessive pedant who would agree with that!’

  23. NG – I was a bit pissed off today as I was watching Sky Sports News and we were promised that they would be showing the tributes at Watford for Graham Taylor. After the advert breaks at 2.55pm we just about saw the minutes applause and that was it, great thanks for that. As the peak of my love for football was the eighties, Graham Taylor really deserves the accolades he has been getting the last few days. Just a pity that he was a figure of such ridicule at the time of England not qualifying for the World Cup. But that is the nature of this country as we build people up, just to knock them down again.

  24. Uncle Turf – I saw Twitterers on the BBC saying it was a candidate for Goal of the Season. A pure Pavlovian reflex response to seeing a ‘bicycle kick’. Well, not only was it nowhere near being a a bicycle kick, it was well inside the penalty box,which denied it the magic of travelling over distance. Not even Goal of the Month for me. Lanzini’s goal was better. Hernandez’ second goal for Hull was better. Giroud’s scuffed-in first at Swansea was better.

    Darryl – I was on the anti-Graham Taylor bandwagon as a twenty-something, alas, and took malicious pleasure from the famous documentary, although I remember feeling sorry for him by the end of it. An early lesson in groupthink.

  25. Absolutely, the acrobatic swing of the leg winning out over the facts of it being a goal from around 12 yards straight at a part of the net unprotected by a keeper. I didn’t rate either of the ‘scorpion’ kicks for the same reason – 99 times out of 100 they miss with those efforts, there’s a huge lump of luck compared with something crafted or let loose over a great distance (I know giroud’s scorpion had along build up but really it was a hoik of a heel to finish).

    Graham Taylor sounded like a very nice fella – the best man story says it all – but he wasn’t a good England manager by the ridiculous standards that have been assumed since 66. All of this ‘we should be doing better’ and ‘golden generation’ ignores the way the top division is propped up by a huge imbalance of non- English players. It will start again now dele Alli and Harry Kane are doing well. We are not a top nation. We have an admired league but look at who scored in games today – Giroud, pedro, Hernandez, etc etc and alongside Kane….crouch, Defoe and Barton – England recalls? Sooner we accept we are maybe a Belgium the better.

    Btw skyrim continues but now I have a helper. It’s severely cramping my style so I’m playing the main quest on ‘who gives a fuck if dead’ as we had tears when I suggested it was over. Once I’ve beaten the dragon (which I’ve never got round to doing) I’m having a no dragon, no magic, enrol as a soldier effort as I’ve never done the civil war either – if anyone has read the macro and Cato books of Simon scarrow, it will be that kind of thing.

  26. He was a great club manager, just made the mistake of taking the England job.

  27. Good summary Lloyd. I remember his excellent progression with Watford, but also his public vilification as England manager. The first I remember being subjected to such a media onslaught; it took years for him to leave the turnip epithets behind and rebuild himself as a pundit.

  28. Bobby Robson was hammered before him, he had that whole ‘World Cup revolt’ thing where he was photographed supposedly sad and lonely on a balcony when he was actually listening to music on a Walkman. He ended up as everyone’s favourite uncle despite that and the more salacious headlines they printed, and me remembering myself and thousands of fellow Newcastle fans calling for him to stand down as it was clear he was not improving things. Did the vilification not start with revie and his decision to take the oil money?

  29. Chris/Lloyd – It is very difficult to judge how good an international manager is as he doesn’t have the daily interaction with his players and can only work with the talent available in the country at the time and it was hardly a golden age when he was in charge. Also as your sucess/failure is judged on very few meaningful games, it then comes down to small margins and in Graham Taylor’s case he did not get the rub of the green in those qualifiers. As Turf pointed out before with Bobby Robson he got loads of stick and we struggled in the opening group games before beating Belgium in extra time and coming from behind against Cameroon. Small margins. At the end of the day he was everyone’s favourite for the job prior to appointment and wasn’t given long enough in my opinion.

  30. Think I might be heading back to pes soon. I’ve got quest drain, fed up of trekking from a to b simply to trigger c. I know I’m coming back to a strong position in both league and Europa cup, and still got that FA cup to defend. A modest ‘boom’.

  31. Turf – I’m just a bit too young for first hand appreciation of Sheik Revie. Besides even during this decade of English tournament qualification failure the press wasn’t as vile as it was to Taylor in the nineties.

  32. Chris99 – me too, I really started being aware of football under Ron greenwood but those rock n goal year type programmes have often mentioned revie, complete with banner headlines, and how clough should have got the job before or after him.

    Interestingly I once heard a complaint from a long serving youth coach about how the FA has become obsessed with messing around with the ‘skills’ programme and developing talent because they have this 1966 albatross hanging around their necks, rather like the tennis folk had Fred Perry and kept chopping and changing in the vain hope it would produce something.

    I’m not sure hoddle, venables or Keegan got the same personal assault as Taylor, Sven did but then he did get caught doing some gossip worthy stuff. McLaren was a return to the nastier stuff as well. Completely unnecessary but we’re talking about one paper in particular which doesn’t have a good track record.

  33. With British tabloid newspapers there’s also an extension of our national working-class culture of mischievous exaggeration and piss-taking. (The kind of mode of humour that foreigners are generally bewildered by, and often offended by, e.g. ‘don’t mention the war’ etc.) I also remember when Taylor got the job it was still considered a major achievement in its own right. Midlands Today on the day of his appointment covered it from the angle of Aston Villa making a noble sacrifice for the greater good, it was that much of a plum role. Nowadays, well, I just had to pause and think until I remembered Gareth Southgate. The devaluation that happened to the FA Cup about 15-20 years ago is also happening to International Football right now.

  34. ‘dead means dead’ on MGS5 Turf, you have got to be joking! This is a proper, exacting game, not some fantasy RPG flim-flammery

    James – great posts again. I wonder if you are being a bit generous on the ML dev team being stretched, I suspect many of us here would be able to write algorithms for a plausible AI transfer market in an afternoon, it is not in the same league as trying to create a plausible AI on the pitch

    When the legendary Bobby Robson died I remember getting quite annoyed by Newcastle fans overdoing their public grief, having hounded him out just a few years before

  35. Abbeyhill – Yeah, I’ve had thoughts on how I would write a simple set of rules for PES/FIFA transfers that would make their managerial modes much more enjoyable and authentic. And yes, this is something that anyone with a solid understanding of football and football games could design in very little time. Inevitably, though, I’ll wager that almost every great idea that you or I would put forward will need to query other parts of the simulation in order to work.

    As it stands, Master League doesn’t have a suitable framework for a decent transfer system. There’s no real in-game economy beyond the budgets imposed on the player, no distinct hierarchy of club and league prestige gradients necessary to govern transfer probabilities, and the AI “managers” are great idea implemented in an entirely rudimentary fashion – they’re really just a name, a formation, and a small list of tactical preferences. The AI code that picks the teams is clearly a global routine unchanged from PES 2016, which stubbornly refuses to field players outside of their primary designated role unless it absolutely has to (so, while picking the starter for a DMF berth, an 80-rated CMF who plays a 78 as a DMF will be overlooked in favour of a 68-rated dedicated DMF).

    On the rare occasions that teams make signings of any note as things stand, it’s amazing just how often they are not actually used. In my ML, Chelsea signed 88-rated Muller (an SS) on a free transfer during the first window, then left him on the bench in favour of a “who the fuck is he?” right midfielder (starting OPR: 66, later hitting the giddy heights of 74) for seven entire seven seasons, just because Muller didn’t fit in with the specific roles used by the manager’s formation. To make a transfer system work, you’d also need the AI governing transfers to have true per-team awareness of weak links to fill – and, ideally, the ability to plan ahead (such as with signing and loaning out young players to aid their development).

    To implement a decent transfer market, then, the devs would also need to work on fleshing out the mode as a whole – something they haven’t tried for years. I’ve mentioned a small handful of related issues that, combined, could represent a not insignificant number of man hours if there were to be a will to improve ML immediately.

    Master League is not a back-of-the-box feature that will help to shift more copies, let alone improved transfer AI, so it’s way down the list of development priorities that are, as NG might have mentioned at some point, rather more slanted towards online play and MyClub.

    I still think that the most realistic best-case scenario is that the people who actually work on ML are gradually refurbishing the mode over a number of years, and don’t have the time, budget or clout to push things any faster.

  36. Shed – glad GTAV arrived with you safely. Enjoy.

    Loaded in my season’s new home and away kits and started season 7 on PES last night.

    Trophy number 1 in the bag.

  37. Abbeyhill – I still find it odd as although he made the club respectable again we were heading downwards with some pretty strong information coming out that he was struggling with dementia. He had never played for the club and was only manager a relatively brief time so didn’t have a huge history apart from his self confessed love and his positive image in the game. I think a large part of it was his charity effort – there is a specialist cancer foundation he started and raised funds for and Freddie shepherd went on record as saying it was like shooting bambi. I still think it was the right decision but then we ballsed up the replacements. Ipswich is where I always picture him.

    Re – MGS – milk drinker….

  38. James – I think all the evidence supports the view that there’s no lack of resources, as such, behind ML’s infrastructure’s decline in recent years. The way the games industry is going, multiplayer, the need to compete with FIFA, the need to drive users from single-player to multiplayer, etc. ‘Plucky maverick PES’ and its lack of resources compared to ‘big shiny FIFA’ with its millions is no more than a beloved myth. ML since PES2015 shows all the signs of a mode consciously ‘streamlined’ to provide a concentrated five-season pellet of the experience that used to be spread out across many more seasons. The acid test is always ‘if I was the company manager overseeing PES, and my job relied entirely upon its commercial success, which means getting younger people to play it online, what direction would I take it in?’ The answer is that I’d take it in the direction they’re taking it in.

  39. Paul – 1 down, 5 to go. Boom!

  40. Well, I started my Season 7 this morning (a 3-day gap between sessions is not unusual for me at this time, alas), and had some of the best matches I’ve had on PES2017. One of them, my first CL group match, was one of the best matches I’ve had on any PES.

    The common denominator was, quite simply, that every time the game could have called a foul and awarded a free kick, it did. This created a whole different tempo and chemistry for the gameplay that was as unlike the customary button-mashing frenzy as black is from white.

    These matches and clusters of matches come along often enough to indicate that PES (PES2015-17) still has the capacity for greatness, but its makers chicken out for the reasons I’ve outlined in my reply to James above. Other priorities come before those of us who played old-school PES and want a PES like that. Online play is king, online play has to flow, and flowing play means no or few fouls and reduced player individuality so that they all handle more or less the same.

    If Donald Trump was writing this comment he’d finish by saying: Sad!

  41. NG – as you will see, there is a remarkable difference between the feel of champions league games vs regular league games.
    CL matches are more ‘considered’, and have a slower tempo to them, Im always amazed at how frenetic a premier league game feels right off the back of a CL match. It’s quite nice to have the variation though.

    Only managed one solitary signing pre-season. Due to last seasons success I had a £65mil transfer budget and a £45mil wage budget, but struggled to find anyone worth buying, there is no one as good as, or better than my current players, so just to spend a bit of money I wasted £49mil on a RWF that I’m only using as a 70th min sub option.

    As a test I attempted to sign both Neymar and Messi.
    Neymar is 30yrs old and has a market value of £35mil, Barca wanted 86mil for him. Messi is now 35yrs old and Barca wanted 89mil plus he wanted 14.5mil a year wages.

    The overcooked and rapid development of players in pes17 means that a) the game gets too easy too quickly. And b) after 5 or 6 seasons transfers become null and void.
    On the flip side my star player Embolo, current european and world player of the year, premier league top scorer 2 years running, never gets a single transfer offer purely because I set his policy to ‘refuse all bids’ – which restricts any bids at all. No trying to lure him to real or Barca or China or anything. Nothing.

    PES transfer mehanics are quite simply, screwed.

  42. Paul – the difference is startling, so much so that within 20 game minutes of Champs League fixture 1, I had 6 players on yellow cards simply because PES2017 as it usually plays conditions you to play in a fast and furious, always-sliding-in way that is rarely punished with fouls and cards. So when you get the matches that do punish that way of ‘playing’, you have to adjust and start playing properly. And then the general gameplay and player individuality have a chance to shine, wonderfully. One of my so-far-identikit players really stood out in the match vs Sevilla and made a decisive contribution at a critical time. If this really is what the game is like in the Champions League, it’s almost heartbreaking, as it’s so rare to come across it in the Premier League/FA Cup. I half-hope Champions League fixture 2 is a button-mashing blur.

    And yes, that is spot-on: transfers after season 5 or so are completely pointless. All you get is the buzz of the name on the teamsheet.

  43. Paul/NG – that was my experience from my 10 seasons with PES 2017 that the mechanics are there when you play the Champions League games and I too had one of the best games I have ever witnessed on any football gamemail and that was a CL game. Totally different experience. I would love to know if either of you have a theory as to why it would be different in CL games.

    Paul – have you played much of Fifa 17. Not really got into it as yet.

  44. Not played FIFA17 at all apart from 2 friendly matches Darryl. It would be counter productive to both games to play FIFA whilst still actively j involved with PES. What I have played albeit a small sample, was impressive, as ever the broadcast presentation is absolutely spot on.

  45. No successive treble for me. Got beat by PSV on penalties in the CL Semis. Still a chance of the double though.

  46. Darryl – if it’s borne out by the rest of the CL matches (I hope so), then it’ll be as simple as the team behind PES choosing to adjust the mixer switches for this mode to make the referee 50% (or whatever) more likely to award a foul and a free kick. As I remark above, that one simple straightforward change has a knock-on effect that generates so much else that’s good in a football game.

  47. NG – I reached the semi’s of the CL 2 seasons ago and won it last season so have had full CL experience and sorry to burst your bubble
    Of hope, but that one CL match you experienced was a one off, a lucky roll of the dice, as champs league games are no better in terms of fouls given, penalties awarded, referee logic being improved etc, they are just slower paced. That’s all.

    Someone in the PES Dev team Obviously watched some CL football and noticed its generally slower less frenetic pace and decided to adjust a slider or line of code that mimics that. That’s as deep as it went.

  48. FA Cup winners. Lost the league by 3 points. Onwards.

  49. Comiserations Lloyd, The FA Cup usually eludes me, hopefully this season.

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