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. It’s been a month since I last posted – mainly because I’ve had so little time/compulsion to play PES 2018.

    I finally picked up my ML again last weekend but that long break did something to set my rose-tinted PES goggles askew.

    Breaking my long PES routine really underlined how little of the game I love remains. This is old news of course but there is so much lacking in modern PES compared to the past and the alternative.

    What I found really depressing was when I attempted to follow you lot in rating my ML squad. The lack of individuality is such that I realised that beyond physical size, hairstyle and speed I had nothing to say. My CF, Hofmann, is my favourite player but he’s nothing more than tall and physical. One or two others stand out because of their name and the fact I’ve cobbled a loose backstory around them.

    The bottom line is that the PES break I thought I was going to take at some point or other has come way earlier in this footy gaming year than I ever imagined. I’m feeling the fatigue of the the bland churn of non-stop ML fixtures every time I try and get going with the game again.

    I still feel like playing a game when I have the time but it won’t be PES 2018 until the patch is released at least, although I have very little hope of it changing much. I’ll look to play some gamey games and some FIFA (I have 16 and may pick up 17 cheap) while of course following PES progress on here.

  2. Shed – your disappearance coincided with an uptick in real-life Brighton’s fortunes. It’ll be interesting to see how they get on when the league resumes now that you’ve popped back on. Yes, I moot a Darryl-esque concordance between you posting here and Brighton doing good or bad.

    The patch needs to fix that ‘bland churn’ as you rightly call it. The only thing that keeps me going is the excellent PES2018 AI, which always surprises me. I don’t seem to suffer from the metronomic through-balls and laser-guided shooting. Just today it was constantly overhitting long passes that went out of play and missing shots just like a human. At this early stage I’d give the PES2018 AI a Paul-maddening mark of 9/10, I really would. Holding off on the Paul-enraging 10/10 for the AI, solely because I’ve yet to sample Superstar or higher.

    So I enjoy that. But then I’ll notice that I’ve just played a session of 5 full matches without a single AI-committed foul in them. That happens. More often, there are perhaps one or two fouls every so often. More and more I have to believe that there was a failure in translation over the summer and the Tokyo team were only told that fans were having problems with fouls…

    The game needs proper PES values to be breathed back into it by the patch, or things will take a severe downturn. Fouls would really be a great shot in the arm. Fouls elegantly punctuate the visual grammar of great PES gameplay, if I can get all pseudo about it. Withoutthemthingsjustgoonandonaon. Stillinterestingbutnotgreat. NotPES. I had a single match yesterday in which I got 3 (THREE) fouls against a very dirty Bolton side and it was easily the match of the season. Getting a free kick or two within shooting range creates contexts and moments of thought and deliberation that don’t otherwise exist. The faction of PES players (not all of them online) who are ‘OK with fouls as they are’ need to be ignored. The fate of a Great House depends on their view being just ignored.

    Everything I said before PES2018’s release, and consistently since, still applies. The game as-is is still a decent football game, even a good one, but I won’t go through all this again next year with PES2019. PES came to occupy the place in my life that it has through being exceptional in so many dimensions. If PES values were represented by a hexagon-style graphic, it’s lost at least three of its prongs. (Individuality, and whatever category we’d group fouls under, and Master League squad building/management.)

  3. Laskys – there’s a blast from the past. I’ve noticed more and more you are betting the farm on the patch. Past history would suggest this might be a tad optimistic. I only recall 2014 being a year of significant patched change.

  4. Hello there, first time posting but long time enthusiast of this blog.
    Regarding the no-fouls issue of nu-PES, i just finished playing a match where 13 fouls were commited, and the one before that had me 14. I bet no one here could guess at first in which PES this happened.

  5. NG the WiFi on the tram won’t load up the YouTube link but if it’s not Homer with his POTA line I’ll be very disappointed.

  6. Uncle Turf – not so much betting the farm as musing about whether the great promise of PES2018 will be realised or left to drift away. If the patch doesn’t deliver I will stay on TP and ‘complete’ PES2018 in 2-3 more seasons probably. Then that’ll be it for me and all new PES games. If the patch does deliver, this could be a real PES for the ages, I truly believe that. Fouls and Individuality are interconnected. In the relatively fouls-filled match of the season so far, suddenly the individual natures of different players mattered. Veldwijk’s ungainliness mattered, my reckless CB’s poor tackling stats mattered, it seemed the few players with noticeable extra pace also mattered. All because there were proper footballing consequences for foolish actions. It was quite extraordinary and something all of us long-suffering nuPES players have experienced, I am sure.

    orlando.jabulani – hey thanks for your comment and welcome, and I’m going to guess at PES5. But the way you’ve framed the question, it’s more likely one of the recent editions on PC, modded. I’m sorry but I will not believe that it’s any console version since PES2014.

    Mike – by now you must have seen that it was of course the grand old original, Chuck Heston.

    That quotation has become rather meme-ish on here (even more than it already is), as one of the regular commenters, abbeyhill, had never heard of it. We used to have a semi-trollish poster called Japan74, who was sometimes reasonable and amusing, but would often fly into spittle-flecked, borderline-psychotic rages about Adam and WENB. He once used the construction ‘Damn them. Damn them all to hell’ as well, leading abbeyhill to the belief (which he probably still has) that I and Japan74 are the same person.

    I trot the saying out every now and then for my own amusement, and also as part of blog lore.

    NB: I sometimes suspect that Japan74 is still around under another name.

  7. No. I’m Japan74!

  8. Err, wrong film guys, it was the thing with the monkeys in it….

    Abbeyhill – Lego ninjago, the first time a game has made me feel old. I can’t really follow what’s going on nor where we have to get to – the levels are quite circular and involve lots of platforming, not the more sideways style of city or marvel but repeated jumps up, around and back down. Not their finest imho.

  9. See what happens, NG? Merest mention of the Intertoto, and suddenly you’ve got an attendance of eight, with two of those claiming to be somebody else. And the rest aren’t actually talking about football, but referencing The Simpsons, and Lego, and Planet of the Apes. Fuck, *even the home manager* is talking about Planet of the Apes.

    Which is *exactly* what happened to the Intertoto Cup.

  10. James – In a strange way I loved the Intertoto Cup but then again I prefer the blog now that it has gone quiet again after the PES release frenzy. It is quite ironic UEFA once distanced themselves from the tournament on account of its commercial ethos and gambling links.

    Not really been posting as I have got a new job and have not been playing much of late, due to being tired at night. In fact I haven’t picked up a controller for a week now. Something else I have observed about my behavior has interested me. I really loathe modern day football and can’t recall the last live match I watched on the telly. Given so, why do I still find it unsettling when there are no traditional fixtures on a Saturday because of the Internationals?

  11. Isn’t the Intertoto what happened when Dorothy was between dogs? I’ll get my coat…

  12. Darryl – I’m the opposite of that. I watch a couple of top flight games a week but I actually prefer weekends with international football and no Premier League. Everyone at work finds it strange. The 1986 world cup being my first football memory may have something to do with it, well that and supporting a League Two team.

    No PES for a few days, I’ve been playing too much so a break was needed. Cities Skylines instead for me.

  13. Since PES2012 or so, the weeks just before and after the game’s new releases have been busy on the blog. In the old days I used to respond to each and every comment individually, in-depth, and as soon as I saw it. Each and every comment. It got to the point where I could not continue and abandoned the blog for nearly a year. When I returned I swore not to be dragged into that trap again, so I let the comments sections on posts live their own lives for much longer periods now, particularly over weekends which are incredibly busy working days for me. The NHS is running on fumes, people. Fumes.

  14. NG – Indeed. One has to wonder how long things can carry on. The situation has been unsustainable for some time now, but we are beyond the critical point. The only thing that can save us is a big wipe out and refresh. Our whole monetary system clearly does not work. But instead of questioning it and looking for alternative’s we carry on with our heads in the sand.

  15. Are you talking about the current state of Master League or western economic society Darryl?

  16. Abbeyhill – Very good of course I was talking about the whole basis on which economics is built on. This is not just the western world. For the whole system to carry on you require scarcity of resources and unfortunately the NHS is one of many set ups that is now feeling the strain. It is designed this way. Of course this is simple, but we carry on turning a blind eye to it.

  17. I blame Edward Jenner.

  18. Very droll chris99 – the Dorothy quote, not the smallpox wish.

    Personally I can’t stand the way everything is targeted, measured against finance and knocked if it’s not returning a profit. It’s an obsession with leaving everything to the market and covers the whole range of things that were supposed to simply benefit people – schools, the NHS, emergency services, etc etc. I really feel I don’t belong in this environment, and it doesn’t work either. I don’t want to live in North Korea but somewhere just a little bit less number driven would be nice.

  19. I’m with you there, Turf. Wife is a teacher, I’m a civil servant, dad is a copper, mum is a NHS career, step mum is a civil servant and step dad works in accounts for the NHS.

    As well as the public sector we all have one thing in common – we’re all completely alienated and baffled at how public servants can raffle off a public service from the inside out.

    I spent 18 days in Cuba over the summer. Not some all-inclusive resort miles from reality, but travelling half the island and trying to be as immersive as possible. It’s by no means an ideal utopia but it’s also nothing like the negative image portrayed by many West news/media outlets.

  20. Nobody talking about PES anymore hahaha.

    Well I started playing PES 5 on pc. Master League, two stars difficulty because I am a noob and the game plays different to the current versions.

    So far I like it. In my first season I finished 6th with 5 goals scored and 5 conceded (plus finalist in D2 cup). I signed Park Chu Young but I didn’t feel any difference with other players because I didn’t know how to play this game.

    Now I am second half of season two with more than 12 goals scored and only one conceded. Ordaz & Park are my lethal duo. I guess once I win something (not D2 cup) I will start a new ML with 3 stars difficulty since it seems it cannot be changed.

    I don’t know if it is the difficulty settings or what but so far no injuries, no offers for my players, and nothing special going on. Maybe it is because I play 5 minutes games.

  21. Jay – mrs turf is an advisory teacher, she works for the local authority assessing and advising where there are children who have specific learning difficulties. They’ve recently hived off her service and have been told they now need to bring more money in – overnight their fee for training other teachers was trebled by their boss. Presumably due to a lot of schools now being independent of council budgets. It’s insane. In under a year’s time I’m going to be looking for a uni position again and it seems a sector obsessed with commercialising education and research. I doubt I’ll be on message enough for some.

    Went to Cuba back in about 2002. Havana, Cienfuegos, trinidad, etc on a local guided tour – absolutely amazing. Only downsides were me not being that fussed about Ernest Hemingway, and the end point of varadero – at the time a slightly nauseating ‘foreigners only’ resort trying to be like the Costa del sol. Havana was a photographers dream and the people were so cool. I don’t know about dissenting voices but seemed a victim of some outrageous bollocks from its neighbour about the lives of its citizens.

  22. Turf – 2002 or 2012?

    We did Havana, Viñales, Playa Larga, Cienfuegos, Trinidad & Varadero. Varadero really was to please the missus as it was our honeymoon & I’d dragged her around for 2 weeks by then. Having experience something other than an all-inclusive she now has no desire to do an all-inclusive hotel resort type holiday again!

    I spoke to a multitude of different Cubans, perhaps aided by my modest Spanish. Opinions differed wildly, but the average Cuban viewpoint basically consisted of having criticisms of the government & disagreeing with parts but ultimately being very proud of their form of society and government and having more positive things to say than negative. Our guide who spent 14 days with us has been in Spain and France for periods of time. His opinion was whilst he could earn more there and had freer access to “luxury goods,” he much preferred Cuba and preferred Cuba’s issues and downfalls to those of France and Spain’s. I can’t emphasise how different Cuba was to how you’d think it would be judging by coverage of it by the majority of Western Media.

    I agree much so with yourself and with Darryl: our monetary system and economic model is broken.

  23. It was either 2002 or 2003, all the years merge but I remember we were due to go to Sri Lanka a year or two after in a similar trip but that got cancelled by the aftermath of the tsunami which I think was 2004. Never did get there, ended up seeing one billionth of Canada or thereabouts, despite what felt like hundreds of miles of travel!

    Furthest I’ve been in pretty much the last decade has been Inverness. I just can’t face airports and hassle with the small fella when it’s entirely me wanting to travel – he’s happy with Whitby and the beach at File

    Been hitting mgs more and it’s a very strange game in so far as I keep finding out I have bits of kit and can request items halfway through the action – it gives you such minimal introductions that it’s essential to scroll through menus. Even the missions seem to pop up with things I could have done after I’ve achieved the main aim. Bloody annoying that I did one perfectly except the Fulton killed the bloke I’d tranquillised thereby trashing a bonus. Must have been a 90% chance rather than the usual guarantee. Eventually I’m going to replay the whole thing.

  24. Jay/Turf -we are on the same wave length. If you was running a department and you had one section with staff dicking around with nothing to do and another totally stretched, with staff at the verge of a break down, what would you do? Well the answer is simple. But we don’t apply that basic common sense to our society. There is an abundance of resources that could sustain us all. We also could use the technology that is now available to free us up from the burden of work. Instead we can utilise our time to do the things that make us happy and be more creative. So why don’t we? What is stopping us? Go back to NG’s point about the acceptance of time and the calendar and you have your answer.

  25. Thanks Darryl, I’ll have a look at that.

  26. Darryl – your last two comments are the biggest gear-change since ‘Now watch this drive’. I’ve installed the game though, looks intriguing.

    Uncle Turf – the ultimate Purity MGS5 run would be No HUD, No Resupply, No Alerts (full stealth). All doable from Settings as I recall (it’s been two years and I’ve not got round to my replay yet; it’s coming, though).

    JS Hutt – on 5-minute matches at 2* difficulty nothing of any worth is going to happen. You’re just playing generic video game football, even if it has PES5 on the front. The greatest football game ever made cannot shine at such low settings. Like listening to Led Zeppelin on a postage stamp-sized speaker. What’s the point? At least 3* is needed for flavour to emerge – and 10-min matches at least IMO. 4* at 10 minutes would be preferable.

  27. That game sounds great. Downloaded it

  28. NG: I was just testing the game. I also started another save with 10 minutes at 3*. First game was totally dominated by me, but ended up 1-1. But the AI commited 4 fouls, 2 of them in shooting range (the ball went to the post in one of them, dammit). Let’s see how this save goes, in the other one I got promotion two games before the league ended.

    I might give another try at MGSV if my laptop can run it. Steam sales are coming…

  29. NG – it was a bit wasn’t it. Although the game is free to play and has coin purchases you do get enough daily coins to enable you to be successful at the game. It really stands out for its slickness and quality. It is much better than mobile games such as Football Manager etc. You can see so much effort has been put into it to make it such a realistic and immersive experience. In our area the trains are not available for 18 weeks due to an upgrade. This means I will be on the bus for about an hour and forty five minutes in the evening. So intend playing it on my Kindle to pass the time.

  30. Not played at all over the weekend, apart from one rushed solitary game before work this morning, just catching up on the post from friday and all the comments.
    To Chirp in on the Gary/Jay ‘broken’ AI and Jay’s nausea at the ‘whining’ debacle ….
    Deal with it basically.

    PES 18’s AI is so abysmally crude its disgusting. Whilst we may not be able to use the ‘broken’ term, because it does exactly what Konami intended, we can use the words ‘f**ing shockingly unrealistic’ – which it absolutely is. FACT.

    I’m fed up of being in a decent run of form, having good rated players, on glowing form arrows, then being completely outplayed, outpassed, outrun, out-stamina’d, out-shot, etc etc, by a team that has played like Brazil in their prime, only to find its Preston or Burton or some other lowly team that are bottom of the league and before our match had shipped a ton of goals and lost all of their previous 5 matches.
    Yet, instantly, come our match all thirt players play like Pele on speed and suddenly possess mad skills.

    It’s diabolical. Yes, the game this year is harder, more of a challenge, but not cause the AI is much better, more intelligent, just because the game is so ridiculously unbalanced and scripted that it presents a false, unrealistic challenge.

    Said it before and will continue saying it, There is absolutely no different feeling or experience between Playing Burton or Barcelona, and if you want to commend that type of thing in a football game then we obviously have different expectations of quality.

  31. Darryl – Played about 2 hours of it so far! I like it. In the Spanish third tier and wasn’t able to sign enough players for any real depth come the start of the season so I’m really struggling. Only thing that has annoyed me about that is that in the interview the creator said you could move money from available funds to wage budget. I haven’t been able to. Secondly, you need to go back to the home screen in order to then press advance.

    Great recommendation – really rate it so far!

  32. Darryl/Jay – haven’t managed to play more than the intro, where I picked a club at random and it led me to a pay screen, so I went back and chose a team that would let me progress for free. I believe the blurb from the creators that this is a perfectly playable game without paying.

    Paul – admittedly it is a fine line between enjoying the challenge and being frustrated to buggery by AI cheatiness. I swear AI team sameness is worse than it ever used to be, and I think it all comes down to lack of player individuality first and foremost. In the days when good/great players were good/great and bad/middling players were allowed to be bad/middling, a team made up of the latter would always play differently from an AI team made up of the former. Nowadays, with the ability lines between all players pretty much blurred (everyone’s an International-class ball-trapper; every defender can scramble to his feet 0.2 seconds after slide-tackling, etc.), we get what we get. You know who I think is the source of all evil in football gaming in this current era. Every serious problem we have in football gaming can ultimately be traced back to accommodations made for the online gamer. The core hallowed principles of PES have virtually been dismantled for their sake.

  33. Largely agree with all you said NG, but over-arching the lack of player individuality is the completely cocked up AI balance levels.
    Lack of individuality isn’t responsible for Burton playing like Brazil, and 62 OVR rated forwards being able to control a 40 yard lofted pass with instant control, and fire off a 30 yard first time volley with a 90%+ Scoring ratio, as they constantly do.

    Anybody that considers this type of ballsed up AI, as a ‘fun’ challenge obviously has low expectations, in a game where they’re not bothered of a Mid table Div 2 scrap feels exactly the same as a showpiece champions league knockout game.

    As for that Soccer Director iPhone game, I created Bletchley town, have made 4 signings, employed a new manager, opted for the Counter attack philosophy, raised tickets prices, and so far lost first 2 league games 2-0 and 3-0.

    Have a fan demand of 4000, but only a capacity of 2000, and am about 50k short of funds needed to increase the seating.

    Reminds me very much of a soccer manager game I had way back on the Speccy, that also had threats from rival fans to throw matches etc.

  34. Paul – I’m saying that in the post-individuality era, all players have been made almost equally skilful. Since PES2016 (arguably before that, but certainly since PES2016), I find the bog-standard Bolton AMF type to be pretty much the same as the standard Barca AMF type. Stats are, it pains me to say it, almost meaningless. This general merging of all players is the biggest part of the AI team sameness problem – most teams ‘play like Barcelona’ because they effectively are Barcelona. To an extent this has always been so (fond memories of Sunderland being my bogey team in PES5), but in our online era, it’s especially so.

  35. I underswtand NG, which begs the question ‘Whats the point in player stats?’ and do they even actually have any effect?
    I’d argue they do because playing as any top team, Real, Barca, PSG, Man City, etc, players are lightning fast, turn instantly, perfect control, etc, I feel the issue is that with a lower rated team (because its made of up lower rated players) then you apply the difficulty level modifier, eg 20% increase in all stats for Top Player level, then Burton suddenly do become Barcelona in effect, and not because of a lack of individuality, but because the AI has been coded in such a crude, lazy, unbalanced way that lower rated players become transient better players with the modifiers, hence lack of individuality as a direct result of poor, unbalanced, ‘broken’ AI.

  36. Paul – I agree but with the addition that in my hands, I hate to say it, there is little difference between Johnny AMF and Messi. The modifier the the AI tacks onto its own players against you is also present with your players. E.g. your Saito. Ten years ago he would have been a once-in-a-generation virtual footballer. Now? I’ll go and find 50 just like him in the Player Search thing, and you know it’s true. (Same applies to my Veldwijk, etc.)

  37. Yeah, not disagreeing with you, but I don’t think your own players get the same stats boost that COM players get when scaling through the difficulty levels, maybe they get some, but not on a level playing field with the COM, that’s the whole idea, Konami are increasing the difficulty simply by handicapping the player in effect, not by creating a more intelligent AI.

  38. The PES2012 AI was never what we’d call intelligent but we loved that game anyway. But PES2012 had fouls and free kicks (I will resist the temptation to post my Hagi FK yet again) and it had player individuality in bucketloads. When you played Barca in PES2012, it was a palpably different experience to playing Bolton. I am still enjoying PES2018 despite its problems, as I am in the sweet spot currently of making progress against all-comers – I don’t have the ‘Preston playing like Barca’ problem, because I’ll pretty much beat any D2 opposition put in front of me right now. I’ve met a few Premier teams in the FA Cup and enjoyed what felt like a step up in challenge.

    I follow AI developments very closely indeed (it’s one of my biggest interests). I hope I’m still around when the AI is created that crushes humanity, and I hope I’m still young enough to enjoy it. Computer game AI is bedevilled by the same problems that have so far slowed the growth of full-scale AI. There just doesn’t seem to be a way to make an AI that possesses (or even just mimics) the full breadth of human cunning on the one hand and human foolishness on the other. This is why online gamers in all games tend to prefer online gaming: the opposition, at least, is deemed better.

    I also love chess and used to play exclusively against chess computers before the Internet came along. I now only play chess online, and never play an AI at chess (except sometimes to work through an opening or a puzzle). People still manage to annoy the fuck out of me in online chess (the dick-move in online chess being if they’re losing, they’ll start taking their full time to make their moves – this is usually 2 days), but they’re better to play against on the whole than any AI.

    The larger point here is that PES AI – footy gaming AI in general – is never going to be better than it is. I genuinely believe PES2018’AI is the spiritual successor to PES2012’s. So all we need are the fouls/FKs to start flowing, and for this to bring out more player individuality.

    But I think football gaming and PES are on borrowed time as a single-player endeavour. My online-chess-loving ways are a mirror for how Konami’s and EA’s target consumer view their product. Online is all it’s going to be soon. We might even already be there.

  39. This debate could rage on and on, All I know is that when I play against Burton, or Preston, or Brentford, their players absolutely should not be capable of constant 20 yard back heeled passes, laser guided 50 yard through balls, instant control, 30 yard shots with a 90% shot accuracy, ever lasting stamina, all of which is continually on show when I play. This isn’t a ‘challenge’ or ‘adaptive AI’ its unrealistic, infuriating and not fun.
    If this genuinely is the state of play these days then I may as well just start with the real Liverpool team and play from there, the whole idea of starting with defaults is that you play weaker teams, scrap for results and the end goal is to build in order to be able to compete with the likes of Barca, well whats the point if every Div 2 team play just like them anyway.

    There are rumours that EA are considering scrapping FIFA 19 as a seperate product and instead introducing a subscription model, whereby they release a steady stream of content throughout the year, such as new boots, player models, kits, UT content, story narratives for the Journey Mode, additions to career mode etc, and you ‘pay as you go’ to implement these additions. Interesting.

    This Thursday, 16th, DP 2.0 for PES 18 will release, including the game play patch, lets see if it actually makes any difference at all.

  40. Paul – yes I saw the news of the patch, very interested in how it changes things. I’m anticipating going from its current disgraceful 0.5 fouls per match (often literally 0.0 for whole sessions at a time) to about 2-3 – PES2017-levels in other words. That would be a huge improvement for this game. How times have changed…

  41. Chess has really gone downhill recently. A few years ago you’d get lots of different moves, alternative styles and have to come up with varying strategies – now those horse things just do L shape jumps and them vicars go on the same colour all the time. Rubbish.

  42. Like your optimism NG.
    I’m expecting a big increase in the number of sliding tackles and general tackles the COM makes, but with zero change in how many fouls are actually given. Leading to an increased frustration at being fouled and not getting any.

    Konami give me no confidence at all that they will actually fix this, and not balls it right up.

  43. Paul – if the worst comes to pass, I will play PES2018 on TP to ‘completion’ (probably another 2-3 seasons), and that’ll be the End Of Days for me and the series. No PES2019. The time has long since come when core PES values have to be stood up for. PES2016 was the critical moment, in truth. That was an utter disgrace of a PES game – worse than PES2008(PS3), because at least PES2008(PS3) was rushed for release. They actually meant PES2016. So all in all, I am not inclined to be merciful. PES2017-style fouls is my lowest benchmark. The patch has to hit it.

  44. bare minimum PES17 levels. We will never see a PES 5 level of fouls again, and we dont necessarily need to, if there are only 3 or 4 genuine fouls made per match then we should see 3 or 4 fouls.
    But it has to improve somehow.

    Just last night I was losing 2-0 after the usual CB lofted through ball over the top, instant control, 25 yard volley goal x 2, chasing the game, grabbed a goal back, and was peppering the COM’s goal and dominating play, in the 91st min was blatantly brought down on the edge of the area, FK all day long – Nothing.
    they punted the ball upfield and the final whistle went.
    The feeling of being cheated out of the game sucked any enjoyment from it.

  45. NG: in order to know the limitations on AI we need to know how computers work. They are the most stupid thing in the world, because they need to be told exactly what to do. The “more intelligent” you want them to be, the more instructions you need to code in them. That’s why it is not trivial to have a competent AI for anything. As human beings, we can have those “Eureka moments” in which we have an idea and we try something different and it works. For a computer, that’s impossible. Computers don’t have ideas, they have databases. Even what we call adaptive AI, it is just a big database that says: if the player does this, you do that.

    On the other hands, game developers are companies. Those of us that play the game in offline mode only give the companies $60 a year (or whatever is the price in pounds) if we buy the game at release. That’s it. Think about the amount they pay for licenses only, and the numbers don’t match. That’s why they have the online crap (FUT & myplayer) and they get a ton of money out of it. EA is thinking of not releasing Fifa each year because they know that the sales they will lose are smaller than the money they will save in improving career mode, so it is worth for them.

    Our hope as offline players is that something similar to Harvest Moon games happens. Someone got tired of crappy games, so he developed a game on his own, Stardew Valley, and the game was awesome. I think that’s the future, indie companies. So far they have resurrected CRPGS (Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, Divinity original sin) so let’s hope they aim for sport games next. We will not have the licenses and we will have to patch them, but we have to do that anyways with a big company as Konami.

    Sorry for the long post…

  46. Nice Comments JS Hutt, I think the term ‘intelligent AI’ is being taken too literally though.
    We all know an AI of any sort is only as good as the way it is designed and coded by humans, and therein lies the problem with PES’s AI, Konami are lazy/unable/incompetent whatever you want to call it, at coding an AI that is balanced, in terms of difficulty whilst maintaining realism.

    The AI could and should be coded in a way that teams of different levels should play to their strengths, ie a team that has pacy wingers should use wing play as a go to, make the pacy winger dribble a lot, try and get behind the defence, similarly, teams with strong powerful CF’s could play a target man game, little chipped balls into him to hold up whilst the midfield joins the attack, or lots of crosses for him to header, this is what I refer to as a balanced intelligent AI in PES terms.

    Instead what it does is ignore everything I’ve just said, and use the same go-to tactic of through balls, whilst handicapping the player and boosting the COM player stats in order to present an artificial difficulty layer, its crude and unrealistic and unbalanced, which is why every team feels the same regardless of stats.

  47. JS Hutt – I am up to speed on all that, believe me, and understand just why sci-fi AI will almost certainly never happen. We’d need currently unthinkable advancements in computing, and a new model of the human mind for AI to adhere to. Given that nobody is any closer to solving the problem of mind (and might never be, ‘mind’ possibly being no more than a figure of speech for brain activity). I predict a simulation of AI will eventually be produced (similar to all the chatbots that pass the Turing Test), and everybody will agree to think of that as AI, but it won’t be. The goalposts will be moved to a position where the AI research teams currently holed up in their multi-billion research labs will declare themselves to have scored. I’d genuinely love to wake up tomorrow to discover a super-AI slowly and methodically disassembling humanity in order to use our atoms, though.

    Paul – your situation at the end of the match, 2-1 down when you should have had a last-minute free kick in shooting range, is exactly why fouls are a critical requirement in football gaming. If you’d got a free kick then, score from it or not, the end of that match leaves you with a different taste in the mouth. ‘Fouls impede gameplay’, if those words were ever uttered by anybody connected with PES, is the most anti-PES sentiment of the lot.

    Fouls enhance gameplay, massively so, and you cannot believe they don’t and still be a PES fan. I won’t tape a cautious ‘IMO’ onto the end of that, because this is a rare case where my opinion is an objectively true fact. Just as we can’t have a football game without lines around the pitch to define its edges, we cannot have one without fouls. The more the better. I’ll settle, now, for an average of 2-3 per match (average, so half of all games must have more than 2-3). Awaiting Thursday with interest. PES’s Day of Destiny is at hand. Thursday will be the day that decides the entire future of PES in my life and on this blog. Are we single-players still important, or is PES now resolutely online-facing?

  48. Absolutely Fouls are a defining aspect of football matches, its akin to 2K games leaving the double dribble rule out of NBA, its ridiculous.

    Quite a day then, Thursday will be, I won’t get to play as I’m out after work, so will read the comments here with baited breath on Friday morning, I’d suspect fridays post will be heavily influenced by how you find the patch.

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