There was no King

A busy weekend of work meant no PES2018 from Friday to Sunday. It was my longest spell without playing the game since release. I returned to the game Monday morning, refreshed and eager to get Season 5 under way.

As ever following a mini-break, the game felt shiny and exciting. My four-match session wasn’t technically the greatest. Two of the four matches were frenzied, zero-stoppage, end-to-end hack-fests. Very low-quality, and very much in keeping with the nuPES vision of how football gaming should be in 2017.

But after a few days away the experience of playing felt so gratifying that on this occasion, I didn’t much mind. Sitting with a controller in hand, amusing oneself with a football game, is one of life’s richest pleasures.

Before the matches, I had to get through pre-season.

Season 5, and a move to a new stadium, more fitting for my club’s current stature.

A snarky message from the board:

Rather pointless, as I’m not playing Challenge Mode and there are no consequences for failing to miss targets. I suppose these messages are decent mood-setters.

Finances for this version of Master League are even stranger than in the past few years, which is saying something. The hallmark this year is that you get a grossly inflated transfer budget, but a proportionally puny salary budget to go with it. As seen here:

Yes, that’s £106 million in the transfer kitty, and just over £7 million in the salary budget. I could almost buy a real-life Neymar, but I couldn’t pay him more than a few months’ wages.

Despite the absurdity, there were a fair few players in the 80OPR-range (a rule-of-thumb rating, as ever) whose wage demands were only in the £4m-£5m bracket. Some wheeler-dealering ensued.

I got Verratti from PSG for £22 million. He earned a special cutscene:

I sold my back-up keeper, Savic, and a right-back whose name escapes me (despite him being my first-choice RB for a season or more). This freed up enough salary budget to bring in two more players, leaving me with a healthy 24-man squad for the commencement of battle in Season 5:

My other big signing was K MANOLLAS at CB.

W CAMACHO was a free agent, and had a famous PES name, so the stars seemed aligned there.

A BORUC is a promoted Youth keeper Regen.

I thought about looking for a player called KING and signing him, just for the sake of a sequential post title, but abandoned that idea, and did it anyway.

I switched to three CMFs in order to accommodate Verratti and Can and Baker in the same line-up. Early indications are that this isn’t really going to work out. I will try a diamond next, with a single central AMF and two CMFs.

Baker had to be my pick for My Favourite Players this time around.

The action began away to Arsenal, then away to Chelsea, then at home to Stoke, then at home to Burnley.

My record: LLWD. I’m 7th from bottom. Verratti has been ineffectual so far. I’m hoping it’s traditional PES settling-in time, and not an indication of nuPES-style anonymity.

My squad isn’t really that much better than last season’s bunch. I should have picked up a top striker in the transfer market, instead of settling for what I’ve got. It could be a long season with many more snarky messages from the board to come.

Updated: 5th December 2017 — 11:38


  1. Keane looks like he is about to eat the Captain badge in the squad screen.

    Regarding the transfer budget, it just accumulates as time goes by. I’ll soon have enough to build a new stadium on the moon.

    I’ve also not played for a few days because Cities Skylines has been taking my time but I can see the light at the end of the city planner tunnel so should be back on PES soon. The last time I played was the World Cup Qualifiers for Japan where I was cruising on the way to the 2026 World Cup before two late South Korean goals knocked me out. I rebounded from this disappointment by taking the Brazil job for the trip to whichever dodgy country is hosting in 2026. I’m finding the game fairly easy on Superstar but I want to win the Champions League and this is my sole aim this season. What’s next? The Japan experience whetted my appetite for taking charge of players with lower OPR so I think I’ll move on to South America at the end of the season. I’m enjoying PES more than I have for many years.

  2. Cook — sounds like Legend is next for you? All I hear of the mode is that it’s a souped-up AI joke of a difficulty level, but that has got to be tempting for somebody who’s cracked Superstar.

    In advance of my move to the PC platform, I just looked at PES2018 on Steam. £55! Even the third-party Steam code merchants are around the £40-45. I’ll be 100% legit for PES on PC and will purchase the game. All the pissing about that’s involved with piracy, particularly when I’ll be modding the game, just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. It’s worth the cost of the game not to have to do all that.

  3. SInce I have to use my phone I don’t post that much, but I am still around hahaha.

    NG: wait 3 weeks and buy it on the Christmas sale. It will be at least 50% off. But remember: if for some reason you don’t have internet, you can’t play

  4. NG – I tried Legend pre-patch. I drew a few games but it was a fairly stressful experience so I probably won’t be one of the few. The challenge on SS of controlling a weaker team is more fun from my experience so far.

  5. Cook – I love Cities. I ve just started using the tropical themed maps. two big Sub urban sprawls either side of a motorway and more built up areas to the north. Perfect game to play 22:30 – 0:30 with mini Werd asleep on the sofa whilst I sit in the floor.

  6. Werd – I’m enjoying it, managed to get my city to 120k population after a few failures. I spent two hours building a hydro electric dam yesterday,extremely satisfying once it was sorted. What’s different on the tropical maps?

  7. NG – that’s expensive! got mine off cdkeys for 21 euro’s. weird that the price has gone up in the meantime.

  8. JS Hutt/#1 – I’ll be getting the PC next week or the week after, but I won’t be getting PES2018 for the new platform until the game’s under £30, hopefully closer to £20. After dropping £700 on a piece of kit that might seem bizarre, but the less Konami is rewarded for editions of nuPES the better.

  9. NG – Going through a torrid form spell at present, one win, ironically a 3-1 win away to Chelsea in a run of 8 games, slipping down to 12th. Arsenal are the runaway leaders, unbeaten after 17 matches.
    Lobato continues to defy his 88 OPR rating by remaining largely anonymous, a few fringe players were let go in January, leaving me needing some adequate backups, so in came Shawcross at CB from the youths, Pepè at RMF and at CF ….. Embolo.

    You may recall Embolo was my star player in PES 17. Helping me win 3 back to back trebles and claiming world player of the year 3 times, he came up via a scout search and the lure to reunite with him was too great, helped by the very conservative salary he wanted.
    He duly scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat.

    I too have had some ridiculous owner moans and statements.
    A newly promoted club, first season in the premier league, avoid relegation should be the primary and only objective, but my owner is moaning about a run of defeats despite still being sat healthily in mid table, he also expects European qualification, yet another poor lazy implementation from konami.

  10. Cook – palm trees and cool beaches and the odd hilly areas once you have opened up the map. The sunlight is nice an bright too. I usually try to make the perfect small town but after a while the high density resi blocks start to appear and I end up with a le corbusier mega city 🙂 I also love the challenge of a decent road network.

    #1 – Mrs Werd will be in the Netherlands for a few days on a business trip in Tilburg. I am looking after two kids but I have a wine advent calendar to take the edge off.

  11. Paul – I have pulled the trigger and placed the order with FiercePC. The specs I mentioned, with 2x hard drives, one SSD for the OS and key programs, one 1TB HDD for storage. 4Ghz CPU, 16GB RAM, 4GB graphics card. £690 in total. I didn’t go for the extra cooling in the end. I’m not off work until the back-end of next week – from Friday, for a week – so I’ve arranged for delivery a day or two before. Having ordered, I wonder what’s taken me so long to getting around to this. I won’t be jumping into PES on it straightaway, as I have a PS4 career to pursue for now. But if there is a viable long-term future for nuPES in my life, the PC is the only place it’ll be. Thanks for your offer as well.

    Re. your Embolo, I’m often happy to reunite with past players, but they rarely turn out the same. E.g. my Crouch this year so far is not sparking like his legendary PES2015 version. Early days yet though, he is still a Youth.

    werd – I might well end up playing Cities on the new machine. I have it on my years-old laptop and it ran fine but chugged along after a while.

  12. Peeps, I have finally gotten a Switch. It. Is. Awesome. Have disappeared in Zelda the past week.

    Tried Fifa 18 as well. Pretty rad. Am actually enjoying the online seasons, but the pace is relentless. Haven’t tried career mode really, yet.

    So far so okay.

  13. Sorry, are the rest of you really going to let that one slide….?

    “Mrs Werd will be in the Netherlands for a few days on a business trip”

    Surely we haven’t grown up over the last year or two?

  14. I was going to reply but couldn’t decide whether to go down the drugs or sex trafficking route.

  15. Hahaha you bought that WERD? Is she on a business trip with her colleague Ruud the “Dutch ramrod’ ??

    Nice one NG – expect a short review on the service from fierce and the machine performance itself.

    Turf – PES18 bagged up will send tomorrow. Would have been sooner but been away with the missus the last few days.

  16. Werd – Tilburg is near den Bosch, which is where I live. My brother lives there actually. Home of Willem II!

  17. well what a coincidence….I’d be checking who has been sending messages on this blog when you’ve gone to sleep Werd.

    No worries, much appreciated Paul, new games remain a bit of a luxury till I’m back in the world of work. This will definitely be my last stint as a full time student, anyone who ever says ‘we were poor but happy’ needs a right kicking, having no money and fees to pay is shit!

  18. Not a Problem Turf, Id rather pass it on and someone get some use out of it, its still cellophane wrapped as it was my pre-order copy, that I ended up not needing due to receiving the promo copy.

    The game is serving me up a bit of a shitfest at present, one win in 12 games, slipped to mid table mediocrity, not really got a problem with finishing mid table or thereabouts in my debut premier league season, and my first on superstar, but the way the game goes about handing me out defeats …. agonisingly frustrating.

    Had several of those matches where you just know straight away yo are not going to score. The game wont let you. COM keepers pull off worldie save from pin point after worldie save, I’ve had the COM take control away from my player at the key moment to allow the ball to travel through to a lurking CF to score, I’ve been getting fouled all over the place, not a single FK, I got given a straight Red and conceded a penalty because the COM forward swang at the ball, kicked my player and fell over…. apparently that’s a foul to them, and a professional foul to warrant a red even though it happened just inside the box on the byline and nowhere near a scoring position !!

    Enjoyment factor is 2/10 at the moment.

  19. Paul,

    That type of scripting is my single biggest frustration with PES. I can deal with fouls (it’s not ideal), and event the relentless pace (it is weird playing Fifa now, which is a lot slower).

    But scripting broke me. My players would be glowing blue, and Lobato would be 95, but would miss a simple tap in from 2 yards (hitting the post). Or keepers pulling bullet headers out of the net that Superman wouldn’t be able to save.

    Ridiculous. If that is not fixed, I won’t go back.

  20. #1 – Im not sure I like Willem II’s strip, a bit deck chairy. Wish she went to Roosendaal though 🙂

    Paul – she asks if you want your Serval/Ocelot PJ’s fur or rubber lined, she can get em discounted there.

  21. Uncle Turf – Mrs Werd’s ‘business trip’ is sadly more likely to be about exporting Greggs and the art of not playing ML to a whole new market.

    MrNoodles – I was sorely tempted by the Switch a few weeks ago. Having never played a Zelda game… But I got a pimped-out PC instead and am happy with that. One day Zelda’s time will come. Just as I’m always planning to catch up with Tolstoy.

    Paul – sounds like my first season in the Premier (and the start of this one too). I’m not seeing such outrageous scripting, though. It’s more the way individual matches seem to run away with themselves in the nuPES blizzard of sprinting and sliding and incessant back-and-forth surge. I’d say the average fouls has gone from 0.3 per match to 0.5 – not enough. It’s how no-fouls contributes to the underlying arcade-oriented philosophy that troubles me, not the lack of fouls themselves.

    But this is a well-banged drum of mine by now and I am finding enjoyment. My last-ever console PES is going as well as can be expected. The mass-appeal direction that this series has taken, though, isn’t something that can be denied any longer. The scales have fallen from my eyes. They fell a few editions ago actually, but it’s hard to say the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  22. NG/Noodles, the PES-session-swing is in full effect but rather than subtle swings, is going from flat out pure enjoyment to unrealistic buggery session to session.
    I’ve found myself starting to tinker with camera angles and stuff, always a slippery slope when that happens as you spend more time fiddling with settings than actually focusing on playing the game, and PES 18 on SS requires focus.

    Maybe Lobato is nerfed in PES 18. I bought him as a promising 16yr old free agent, hes now 20 and up to 89 OPR, yet plays like a run of the mill 60 rated player, rarely does anything of note, and stamina is so poor he always has to be subbed around 65 mins.
    I’ve had a few £13mil+ bids for him, the next one that comes in, he’s off.

  23. Paul – you can get that focus back just by purposefully re-focusing, I’ve found. It has to be acknowledged though that the frenetic craziness of PES2018 – which is the opposite of fun, for me – is baked into the game design. You can take a measured, pure-PES approach, but the mechanics of the gameplay are such that you have to pass through insane patches of matches and sometimes groups of matches. The game won’t behave itself consistently because it’s not meant to. It’s playing as intended. I’d love to have a quiet word with Adam Bhatti off the record and ask him if he really believes that nuPES (PES since at least PES2016) properly represents the franchise that he and we all fell in love with 10-15+ years ago. The magic is still there, no question. When PES2018 plays a good game, it’s pretty great. But in trying to please all ‘markets’ (groan), I suspect they’re not completely satisfying anyone.

  24. It is a mindset thing NG, agree, but difficult when the game is behaving so badly that you lose interest.

    Anyone watching the UK Championship Snooker?

  25. Got tickets to see Southampton – Arsenal at St Mary’s on Sunday. Just found out that South Western Railway have chosen three weeks before Christmas when Southampton are playing at home to stop all trains in and out for the day. Fantastic!

  26. Sounds about right Chris99 – Last bank holiday they did the same with all trains into Ceentral London from Milton Keynes.
    What is usually a direct 35 min journey became a 4hr hour (one way) coach journey which then required underground journies to complete the trip.

    But they HAD to choose the bank holiday weekend to do the work, right!?

  27. Chris99 – cancelled my trip to Edinburgh this weekend owing to continued RMT strike action on cross country trains. People probably know by now I’m not impartial on workers rights and the flogging off of our public services but even I can see the union will never win public support by striking on consecutive weekends before Christmas. Some of them are stuck in a 1970s bubble which combined with a shambolic privatised setup just makes rail travel a lottery of delays, cancellations and shit service (apart from lloyd’s particular section of docklands kind of track of course!).

    Paul – nothing better than a marathon session of safety play…but nuSnooker doesn’t want to know about that….

    So I’ve now got the diamond dog, side/missions are becoming a bit repetitive though, either sneak and takedown or long range snipe, I guess I’m still a long way off the tough stuff.

  28. Turf – on the subject of unions, I was asked to be a union rep this week. Had to turn it down as work/life balance is paramount for me at the moment and I couldn’t give my 100% commitment.

  29. Think that’s probably a bullet dodged nowadays Lloyd. Time was you’d have been on the rung to becoming labour candidate for wherever but now it’s probably just a load of grief for little payoff. I’ve been a member of numerous unions when I’ve been doing work that attracts a lot of potential strife but never even been to a meeting. The prospect of listening to waffle about section 21b of some huge rulebook in a cold back room….shudder.

    Of course we will all be planning our trips to the capital of culture – will there be a makeover for the NG strip sponsor or special badge embroidery?

  30. Paul – I’m seeing bits and pieces of the UK snooker here and there. These days it takes World Championship-level coverage to properly get into my face though.

    Uncle Turf – here’s hoping Pete Waterman is still alive in 2021 to spin a few discs on a giant turntable at the usual ghastly midsummer-concert-in-the-park-type thing. It’ll be interesting to see if the Council decides it’s time to claim the faintly racist and sexist Philip Larkin after all. There’s a statue of Larkin in Hull but nothing of note in the city where he was born and raised. If the blog is still going in 2021 I will mark the august occasion in some way. A special cultural crest on the shirt. Etc.

  31. SAW did to chart music what modern Konami are doing to PES. Their output may have appealed to the masses, but ultimately it is detrimental to the product.

  32. Mrs Werd is in the Netherlands and overnight the brexit impasse is resolved…coincidence? I don’t think so! Imagine the conversation when Davis said the uk could throw a ‘sweetener’ into the deal…mrs Werd laden with steak bakes and old copies of the Charles buchan football yearbook.

    I never even knew Larkin was from Coventry, such is the hull link whenever he is mentioned. Not that you want some of his poems on a plinth. When Coventry comes to mind all I think of is the cathedral (which I’ve never seen), the sky blues, 87, jimmy hill and all that and the horrific train journey home from there a few years ago. That’s much more than Sunderland though, what a travesty that would have been.

  33. Chris99 – at the time of SAW’s ascendancy I was into heavy metal and hated those chintzy pop numbers with a true passion.

    Uncle Turf – anybody born and educated in a place until they’re 18 is from that place by any reasonable definition, even if they later comment upon that place in a doleful poetic fashion. Larkin’s letters, peppered with low-level sexist and racist remarks, came out in the early 90s and pretty much decided that no Coventry Council (always left-leaning) is going to make a fuss about him. This is why it’s now interesting to see what the Council will do before 2021. I think they have to claim him.

  34. Coventry also invokes minah birds, air raid shelters and Owen Owen, a store I never saw anywhere else.

  35. Chris99 – that’s getting into a very broad definition of culture, but I think that’s where it’ll be. There’s a limit to the music angle, the literary angle, and the acting angle, so they’ll be going for things like how we (almost) uniquely refer to a circular bread roll as a ‘batch’. Not a roll, not a bap, not a cob, it’s a batch. “A sausage and onion batch, please, barkeep,” and so on. There’s only one other place in the English-speaking world where this usage exists – the Wirral, bizarrely.

  36. p.s. if the blog is still going in 2021, I must do an Owenn Owenn joke.

  37. Werd – she is close to Roosendaal though.. so maybe she you can bring you their very Dutch orange kit!

    So I’ve got the day off today and will be installing a pes 2018 mod made by a community member named Kilay. Not only has he made a composition patch of all the best stuff out there but he has changed tactics for every single team, supposedly drastically changing the gameplay for the better. I see that as an added bonus as I’ve yet to play much of pes 2018 to begin with.. But the forums are lyrical about the patch almost unanimously.

    So-looks like I’ll be starting my ML adventure today. Far behind everyone else but so be it. I will be reporting from the PC / modding side for the foreseeable future so will keep you all posted.

  38. I enjoy watching the snooker late at night because it always sends me into a deep sleep, not because its boring, it must be a combination of the deep green baize, and quietness of the Tv, I also like the strategic element, first to crack and leave an opportunity, then if the opponent can take advantage of it.

    I downloaded a snooker iPhone game but it amazes me that every player (its online) treats it like pool, attempting pots from anywhere, no strategy at all, just pot at all costs, and if you are winning, they quit, same with the miniclip 8 ball pool game, get on the black and the other person will quit.

    People play games online these days purely to win, not for enjoyment but just to win at all costs.

  39. Paul – I used to play an online snooker game called iSnooker (still well worth a look now), which was consciously designed to allow tactical play. Some players would do a LOL in the chat window if you played safe without a pot on. I’ll say it again: multiplayer online gaming would be the greatest thing ever if it wasn’t for people.

    #1 – I’ve come to realise that what the forums think is good football gaming and good PES gaming, isn’t usually what I think it is, so I’ll take that enthusiasm with a pinch of salt, but it does sound very intriguing. I’m about a week away from having a souped-up PC, so please keep us posted.

  40. Haha I like that NG, and very true.
    I’ll look for that iSnooker game.
    The one i downloaded only has 6 reds in the pack, probably to shorten the game for casual online play, says it all really, NuPES isn’t the only culprit of this trend.

  41. NG – i’m right there with ya but it seems like the Pro Evo fans over at evo-web (in the PC forum at least) are very similar to our little community here. So the pinch of salt is definitely there in the back of my mind as well but with a positive lining. i’ll definitely keep you updated, should be up and running somewhere the next couple of hours.

  42. #1 – I wonder. This kind of patch used to be a routine appearance on the PC side of things, and there would usually be one ready to go from Day 1. The fact that things have dried up to the extent that you’re only now thinking of starting to play, tells us a great deal about the way football gaming has been coarsened in the past few years. I’ve got a little riff about ‘fun’ coming up in today’s post, and how it has come to be the most-prized element of footy gaming, when it really never used to be except on the FIFA side of the house. The fun-first attitude is a hallmark of online multiplayer values, and has contaminated the whole building.

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