Whatever happened to the Intertoto Cup

Mid-season of Season 3 is upon me. Rooney has already been sold for the statutory Regen cash-in fee of 6-million-or-so. It’s telling that I have no idea of how much money the club has in the bank. There’s no need to worry or bother about it, so I don’t.

Rooney has gone. Just as foretold by last week’s Individuality exercise, where he scored low. What a shame – one of the most individualistic players of the modern era simply does not stand out in this football gaming era. The demands of our online overlords mean that a general sameness of all players comes first. Rooney in PES2018 (and last year, and the year before) is virtually indistinguishable from any other attacking player rated about 78OPR and above. All handle nimbly. All possess the same kind of strength and tenacity, the same kind of shooting, and perhaps most absurdly, the same incredible stamina.

This new Individuality environment is about as un-PESlike as it gets. Forget fouls and the like – Individuality is where the betrayal of the PES legacy is at its most pronounced. Now, a virtual Rooney is just a name. There are a hundred players just like him. Two hundred. Three hundred. I have consistently laid the blame for this ‘flattening’ process at the door of the online marketplace and their demand for ‘flow’ at all times. Damn them. Damn them all to hell.

And, while I’m moaning, I have had several sessions without a single foul. Literally – not one free kick, bar the occasional offside.

Yesterday I was fouled and got a free kick in shooting range. I realised with a startle that it was the first free kick in shooting range I could remember having since… Well, I couldn’t remember the last time I had one. Last season maybe? I think it was last season. Probably 30 matches ago. That’s about the average for me – a shooting-range free kick every 30 matches. Appalling.

Certainly if there was no patch forthcoming to address this, there would be no PES2019 next year for me, and PES2018 would not last much longer.

As things stand right now, though, I’m zooming through the matches. The click has gone on clicking.This surprising player won the Asian player of the year:

Personally I thought D LASKY should have got it. Or M DIXON. Or C COMET. Or, if we choose to riff instead on the League Cup, one of the MILK brothers. Or F WORTHINGTON. Or P LITTLEWOOD. Or – I’ll stop now. This paragraph has been sponsored by the 1980s.

Veldwijk continues to tear up trees.

Not bad for halfway. I’m anticipating over 30 goals by the end of the season. This message speaks Truth:

I expect Veldiwjk to score in every game, and he pretty much does. Which begs a question: do his goals generate my expectation, or does my expectation generate his goals? I do find myself working the ball to Veldwijk a tad more than to any other striker. He gets at least one solid gold chance per half thanks to me knowing it’s him and that he’s a superstar striker, etc.

There’s no injuries to worry about. In a recent match, Veldwijk went in for a heavy tackle and lay curled up on the pitch for ages while play went on around him.

Most times when we see this, the player drags himself up, often with that maddening ‘ref! ref!’ animation that we’ve had in lieu of fouls and injuries for so many years now.

This time – Veldwijk stayed on the ground, motionless. As the game went on.

I thought I was about to see that unicorn of nuPES – an actual in-match injury! Not simply a notification that he was off for treatment, you understand, but an actual ‘player is unable to continue’ message and a forced exit to the squad screen. Thanks to the goddamn onliners and their precious fucking flow, we can’t have that sort of thing anymore. So the game just went on and on and on (and on and on and on) for a ridiculous 15 minutes or so of match time. And Veldwijk was down.

I used to kick the ball out if I had an injured player or wanted to get subs on. I don’t do that now. There’s a Principle at stake that’s far more important.

Nothing happened to Veldiwjk. He eventually got up. Nothing happened. Nothing. He was fine for the rest of that match, and the one after, and will most likely be fine for the rest of the season too. The only danger he or any other player is in is from loading-screen injuries. You know the ones: Player A has been injured for 8 weeks, or whatever. I suppose that could happen. It probably will, now I’ve tempted fate. I’ll deal with it if it does.

Updated: 10th November 2017 — 09:50


  1. Paul – Not sure I’ll have time for in-depth, but definitely enough time for a session, and a match-by-match count of fouls and general overall ‘feel’. I’ve got this coming weekend off work, so by next Tuesday’s post a definite conclusion will be reached.

    The patch must put an end to the insane, hurdy-gurdy, churning-and-churning feel of much nuPES gameplay. Fouls are so obviously how that has to happen that it’s completely insane we even have to marshal an argument for them.

    Once again I’ll fall back on an analogy with the Civilization series. Since Civ 4, city sieges have been a thing. You can assemble a massive army and fall upon a neighbouring civ with full force, taking city after city, leaving a garrison behind in each and moving on – only to be stopped dead at a city that won’t buckle, to the point where it sucks up all your resources and eventually sends you home packing, with your tail between legs, your epic war of conquest only partly won.

    Imagine if the creators of Civilization removed city sieges from the game because focus groups indicated that they interrupted the flow too much. I am convinced something like this happened with PES and fouls. As I recently discovered, there were never really that many fouls in PES to begin with. After PES5, they dropped off massively. But there were never none, as has become the case. There was never that constant hypnotic churn from end to end. If you picked a sub to come on at 60 minutes, he’d be on before the 70 minute mark – instead of being lucky to get on at all, as in PES2016, PES2017, and now PES2018.

    The past few years have opened my eyes to just what the state of PES fandom is. I had always assumed that there were the occasional casual players on one side, and the uber-hardcore players on the other, and I was somewhere in the middle of the two. But now I see a series made for the occasionals, and the hardcores seemingly more worried about faces and boots than about the systematic erosion of the values they would once have died for. A plague on both their houses.

  2. well whaddaya know, patch incoming in just three days along with a new data pack. so the proof will definitely be in the pudding come Thursday. VERY curious as I have still not played a single ML game.

  3. I remember studying neural nets at uni in the late 80’s when it was one of the exciting new areas of research. All the researchers then were convinced they would crack things in 10 years. That was nearly 30 years ago.

  4. #1 – I am surprised at your resistance, and at the implied lack of PC mod options – ?

    Chris99 – the last hi-falutin’ theorising I read about AI development was that they don’t actually need to create AI, they just have to create the spark that creates AI for itself. I.e., if AI ever comes it will be grown, not made, and it will grow itself from a very small seed. Humans only need to get AI to a stage where it is some sort of a thing (however dim and ‘stupid’) that can solve the problem of how to improve itself to the point where it exponentially does so, and matches and then outstrips the human brain/mind/whatever, all in a few seconds, probably.

    There are several massively-funded AI research teams across the world in an arms race against each other to split the atom, effectively. It only needs to happen once for the whole thing to be done forever. The question isn’t ‘can we create Zen from Blake’s 7’ (almost certainly no, never gonna happen), but ‘can we create something – a touch more sophisticated than the PES2018 AI, but not staggeringly so – that is capable of ‘recognising’ itself as limited, and capable of fashioning its own tools required to improve itself exponentially without our further assistance or interference?’ (this might be possible – this might be very possible, and the outcome of that process – iterative improvements, creating more and more complex improvements, using more and more sophisticated tools, until something results that we can’t imagine). Like I said, I hope if the AI armageddon happens, I’m still young enough to enjoy it.

  5. I just don’t get it. PES 18 that is.
    I had a lengthy session last night, very much a mixed bag, I’m not a bad PES player at all, 3 back to back trebles in 5 seasons on supserstar with PES17, even though it wasn’t the most challenging of PES titles, usually challenging for major honours in the top div and europe inside 5 or 6 seasons, but PES 18 continues to reel out crapfest after crapfest to prevent me from moving on in any shape or form with the game.
    The ‘Click’ is nowhere to be seen.

    It’s not just the lack of fouls that are grating on me either, but the more I play the more basic things I see not working properly, and more frustrations I get.

    Passing (PA1) is poor, very guided and as a result passes often go to the wrong player, especially noticeable when you have a few players in the same area, and you attempt a pass only to see it go off somewhere else, completely ending an attacking move where you expected to score.

    Tackling – when you get tackles/dispossessed, your player always goes into a state of frozen shock/stumbles, just for a half second but its enough to incapacitate the player enough to take him out of the game for that brief moment, meaning you cant immediately attempt to win the ball back.

    Rain Matches – every single player will slip and fall over several times during the game. Completely unrealistic, does Konami not realise players change footwear depending on conditions, and how many times do you see actual players totally fall over during a wet match?? once in a blue moon.
    In the space of 5 mins last night an attacking move broke down because as I played a clean through ball through the defence my CF who was running slipped over and the ball sailed past him, the very next counter attack as a result of this theCOm broke with a lofted through ball down the wing, their winger cut inside the box, did that ‘in & out draw’ skill that it does 500 times every match with every player, and passed a ball to their CF’s feet by the penalty spot, I stepped in and went to intercept but my CB slipped over and the CF had a free slot home from 6 yards.
    I turned it off at this point.

    Also the difficulty levels, I switched down to professional for one match as I have no problem playing on a lower level if its a more balanced and fun game, I beat Sunderland, 2nd in the league, one of the strongest teams in the division, 5-1, could have easily been 10, but by the fifth goal I started messing around and trying skills etc, they only got their goal because I lost the ball in a silly area.
    I then immediately switched to SS, lost a good game 3-2 after being 2-1 up for the most part, and then drew 0-0. SS seemed a bit more balanced, than TP.

    AT present the game just infuriates me, one minute I seem to be making progress then the next 3 games I’ll lose or draw and encounter so many annoying issues, If the season carries on as it is, I will be spending season 5 in the Championship, this is unheard of.

  6. Before this gets nerd heavy with you lot and yer computers – mgstpp – I’ve been practicing a little once missions are over by just bumbling around the desert but there’s a couple of things I’m not sure about; firstly when you are told you’ve ‘captured a guard post’ you don’t really seem to as if you leave it next time you return its manned again, and secondly the bonuses from missions don’t appear to exist outside of the mission, even if you revisit the area e.g. Locating diamonds at spugmay keep or extracting a certain person. I’ve done the side quests so far but these things don’t seem to be on the board without replaying the whole mission.

    A bit of advance warning too NG – I can develop loads of weapons but I’m reluctant to as I’ve stealthed it all so far. As long as my tranquilliser can be boosted will I even need shotguns, etc? It doesn’t feel that sort of game.

  7. Paul – I don’t know what to say to you any more, ‘I’m all right Jack’ doesn’t really cut it, but while I’m seeing most of the things you mention, and have fuck-wittery sessions and matches too, the overall balance is quite remarkably on the up-side. I could never play PES2018 as-is for longer than 5-6 ML seasons or so – the awful ‘flow’ is just mind-numbing after a while – so the patch will either extend PES2018 for me or soon bring it to a dignified but irrevocable end.

    Uncle Turf – if your focus is stealth you do need to beeline towards the silenced tranquilliser sniper rifle in the dev tree. Emphasis on silenced there as there’s a non-silenced version that you get to first, which is of course useless for stealth. As for the shotguns and more exotic weaponry, I always stealthed at first but if it went wrong I wanted access to all the gizmoes, so I developed everything. A Purity approach, of course, doesn’t need them.

  8. Turf – yep, mission bonuses only exist within a mission, and everything outside seems to respawn periodically. Think you need to develop explosive options like missiles and grenades for certain situations, e.g. when those horrible things you saw in the first proper mission appear I doubt you can stealth them out? A purity run would be madness, it’s hard enough to get even a B rank as it is

  9. NG, its ok, I realise it sounds as if I’m moaning, and I am, but I’m a paying customer so I’m entitled to.
    I just expected so much more from a footy game developed for 3 years and released as a 2018 game. Much more.
    I’ve invested hours and hours of editing, kit design, tactics tweaking, and over 150+ matches into PES 18 so far, so not about to just ditch it, but its fair to say PES 18 and me are not friends at the moment.
    The patch even if it addresses fouls, wont address half of the other annoying basics that the game gets wrong, so it’s a case of plod on and hope things hit a point where the momentum swings in favour of enjoyment rather than anguish.

  10. Uncle Turf – adding to abbeyhill’s remarks, yes, you will want all the big booming guns and gadgets for some of the boss fights. The regular missions are all stealth-able, though. I’ve never full-stealthed any MGS game, to my discredit. The bucket list contains an entry: full-stealth all MGS games.

    Paul – one of the mysteries is how I don’t see cursor change problems. There has to be a solid reason for this – it cannot just be play-styles or whatever. I’ll screenshot my controller settings and post them in the comments on today’s post later.

  11. Ok cheers both. I managed to nick a better sniper rifle but I’m stuck on the basic option for developing that but want to keep my cash for later as I anticipate it burning down quickly. I have c4 as I couldn’t do one mission without it, never used any other add on – including cigars and boxes.

  12. NG – that is a mystery as its a bigger issue than fouls.
    Everybody, all over the forums and twitter complains about it, and there are only 3 controller option choices, cursor assisted, semi assisted or manual.
    Manual is hit and miss, and the same switching issues exists on both Assisted, and semi-assisted as I’ve tried them both, countless times.

    it is evident so many times during a game its impossible NOT to see it, try using the ‘Hold R1 and letting the ball pass through your legs’ trick, and try then taking control of the player the ball is then moving towards after the dummy, impossible.

  13. I’m not playing PES at the moment but I have played more than enough of PES 2018 to understand Paul’s frustration on some points but also second n-G in saying I’ve had no major issues with player switching or the AI.

    In fact I would stand by my early impression of this year’s AI in regards of the opposition being the best I have ever seen. It’s so good that it’ll make rolling back to earlier PES and/or Fifas very difficult.

    I’ll follow reaction to the patch with interest but I’m not entirely sure fouls will be addressed fully and my growing fatigue with the bland ML and lack of basic features is likely to remain.

    I’ve got a Marvel Vs Capcom session booked with my son tonight so I will be making a return to gaming in some form.

  14. Paul – I’m an L1-tapper when switching cursors, and I swear to you, the numbers of times the game won’t let me select the player I want are probably in single-figures. Honest. I do see the complaints everywhere and understand it’s a reality, but I’m thinking it has to be something in settings. Has to be, surely. Will post that screenie later.

  15. I can assure you that its nothing to do with settings, its to do with the game code not identifying the correct player to select when there are several players in close proximity. I have tried every setting, numerous times, nothing makes any difference.
    But yeah post thew screenie, by all means.

    Shed, we will respectfully disagree then as the AI is shambolic, it provides a tough challenge yes, but the way it does so is crude and unbalanced.

  16. Paul – I’m assuming the cursor-change problem is where Defender 1 is best-placed to intercept/tackle, but no matter how many times you tap L1, the cursor won’t cycle to him and instead flits between Defenders 2 and 3, etc? If that is the cursor change problem, then I have had it perhaps four times in total in PES2018 so far.

    Shed – after an astonishing fouls-filled PES2018 match last night (they do happen), a real PES match, I’m confident that if the patch does reintroduce fouls to every match, PES2018 might be transformed to that classic feel we all crave. Like yourself and Paul and others, though, I have this deep, dark doubt that Konami would ever dare do something that would be guaranteed to put the onliners’ noses out of joint. I think the design documents/mission statements or whatever that set PES on this online-facing course are framed on the walls of Konami HQ.

  17. Pretty much that Yes NG. Also occurs when the ball is in open play and you want to select a player much further away to track a pass or run, and the cursor flits between nearest options before selecting the right player, if at all.

    As mentioned before I’m worried that this patch will just introduce more fouls, that aren’t given. Konami probably interpreted the feedback as ‘COM teams need more aggression’ so they will increase the number of perfect slide tackles they make or tackles in general, but not the collision detection/referee logic that determines when a tackle is a foul, I always said this felt too big a change to implement via a patch.
    We will see, there will be 3 outcomes, it stays the same (game breaker), tackles are increased but fouls still not given (game breaker) or it is actually fixed, more genuine fouls are given (Game Saver) it truly will be make or break. Odds of 33.3% of it being truly fixed don’t look good.

  18. Paul – it feels too big for a patch to me as well, especially from the point of view of radically changing the online experience. Even a few more fouls in single-player would mean shitloads more in multiplayer, with the way they play. I just cannot see that ever being allowed to happen. Pro Evo’s entire credibility and future is on the line for me with this one. We’re at a crossroads. One way marked ‘Confirmed Multiplayer Flow 4eva lol’. The other marked ‘Old-school single-player pleasure park’. I just cannot see both parties being satisfied. There’s no 3rd way. A toggle or slider would be a 3rd way, but that won’t happen for sure. So your nightmare scenario of more COM aggression but the same non-calling of fouls would seem highly probable. This is going to be very interesting. If I finish session 1 on Thursday afternoon (I’m off work this week) with an avg fouls count of >3, I’ll be astonished. I’d just about take >2 as an average. Anything less is trouble. My current average is about 0.3 (NOUGHT POINT THREE), and I wish I was exaggerating there, so it’ll be obvious if the patch has changed anything.

  19. NG – we know you’re not exaggerating, a quick look at the end of season detailed stats gives you an exact avg foul count per match, mine was 0.6 last season.
    The thing is, Konami could potentially please both camps because they could employ server-side code for online matches, so the offline game could have ‘fouls rule set A’ and online could use ‘fouls rule set B’ – its easily done, a lot of games dev companies have different rules or action calls for online games depending on various aspects, its kind of like a patch that sits on the server and is only called when an online match is initiated.

    My concern is that Konami haven’t interpreted the feedback correctly, and as mentioned will just increase aggression in tackles, or that the offline patch for foul balancing is too big and too much of a knock-on effect to patch effectively.

    Thursday will be extremely interesting, relying on your comments as a gauge as I wont get to play until the weekend.

  20. NG – I’m kind of apathetic towards the game and happy filling my gaming hours with fallout4, scarce as they are. As soon as I’m done with that it’s onwards to pes 18.. I think. There are a lot of pc mods but most are largely incomplete (due to new body models, new assets compared to older PESes, and so on). Combined with my preference for non footy gaming I have no problem with waiting. The patch could fan the flames though… Possibly.

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