It is true. myClub. I am playing it. For a few days at least.
For many years I’ve ritually disembowelled the very concept of playing online, and in particular myClub (a.k.a. ‘shiteClub’ in my personal lexicon of Infamy).
Monday’s PS3 YLOD has prompted this dabble in the dark and choppy waters of all things online.
Look at the evidence of the screenshot above. That’s me, that is, playing with that lot.
Note the high Team Spirit – I used a few ‘items’ within the game world to get it up from the low 70s.
Also note that the team is still a 1-star outfit.
And the presence of all those Defaults.
One of the attractions of this little fling I’m having with the dark side is the ML-like progression of players, and of the squad/Club as a whole.
The four or five non-Default players I currently have are ones I got from ‘spins’ and things at the start.
As you can see, none of the newbies are anything special. The team remains a 1-star team.
I am now pretty much skint.
I have just a few thousand remaining from a starting bounty of 80,000 GP (the mode’s in-game currency, which runs parallel to the it-can-be-paid-for-but-I’m-never-going-there Coins).
I need to change formation. I am finding the locked 4-5-1 of the starting manager surprisingly agreeable – you can tweak the various positions, but not change them. I’ve got the two wide men pushed up as far as possible, making it a quasi 4-3-3 with ATT/DEF maxed out. I’m saving for a new manager.
I got rid of Usain Bolt straightaway in the best way possible. You can convert unwanted players into Trainers, who can then be assigned to other players, giving them a one-time EXP boost. You can chain these Trainers together to slingshot your players up a few levels.
It’s an intriguing mechanic. Early days though. I will need to see a palpable difference on the pitch from all these overlapping mechanics, if I am to be impressed.
I believe I will have time before Monday/Tuesday (when I get my new PS3 set up) to play a complete Division 12 season, plus a few offline COM fixtures.
And what happens then? I return to my mid-flight Master League, of course. But do I drop myClub completely? Maybe, maybe not.
What prompted this madness?
I was just musing a while ago that it’s been a few years since I actually played anything online. Then, whilst getting into PES2011, I was reading up on some of the lore that surrounds that game.
Like every decent PES instalment, a considerable body of nostalgic lore accompanies PES2011 everywhere it is still talked about online (including here).
I stumbled across a discussion somewhere about Master League Online, the prototype for myClub, and how good it (MLO) was. That planted a seed in my mind. That seed has now flowered.
But is it a weed, or a gorgeous red rose?
So much depends on other people.
You see this screen above before every encounter. You check it from the Formation setup screen (and get some GP for doing so the first time). It’s a snapshot of how players play.
Look at my sliders on the left, and my opponent’s on the right.
The arrows show what kind of players we are, in a graphic equaliser-style presentation.
I’m all about Possession. He’s nearly all Counter-Attack.
I mix it between short and long passing (something I’m actively trying to do). My opponent is nearly all about short passing.
I favour All Out Defence when defending. He’s more aligned with Frontline pressure– but not overly so (nearly all online players have the full dark alignment).
I’m exactly midway between Aggressive and Conservative. He is also midway, but just tilted toward Aggressive.
You can see at a glance what kind of match you’re in for. This opponent was one of the ‘better’ ones who seemed to want to play some PES.
I doubt many opponents look at this screen. I also have never seen any opponent (including this ‘better’ one) change the ATT/DEF levels in a match, or use a d-pad strategy. Nor does anyone at all shoot from outside the box, except me, natch.
Of the 6 online opponents I have so far faced, 1 was truly obnoxious. A total jerk, sprinting at me all the time like a homing missile, and running in straight lines down the middle of the pitch himself when he had the ball. I always wonder if these kinds of players actually have any love for the game. They seem merely to be playing an online game, rather than playing PES online. The two approaches strike me as very different, qualitatively speaking.
Another 3 were semi-obnoxious. 1 was fine. And 1 was actually bloody decent, and a great player too (he’s the 5-0 winner in the screenshot below).
After that fearful drubbing on game 1, I steadied the ship and lost the next 3 quite narrowly, I thought (defended well, then conceded more whilst chasing a goal).
Then I won my first point in my 5th match.
That Real Madrid player had a FOUR STAR team. I’d got fed up waiting several minutes to be paired with another newbie, and changed the matchmaking criteria to ‘Any’.
I was penned back by wave after wave of attacks. I am a good defender online. I didn’t panic, but held firm, and was very sparing with the old sprint-clampy double-pressure. He had Benteke and Ronaldo up front, and seemed bewildered when his usual go-to approach plays weren’t working out. I was rewarded when, on a break, a Giorza through-ball found Coutinho free on the edge of the box. I slotted it in with all the aplomb of my thousands of matches of ML experience. Scoring that equaliser, too late for him to do anything about it, was a deeply, deeply satisfying moment.
There are about 5 days before I’m back up and running on a new PS3. My PES2011 ML career will be restored to full working order, thanks be to backups.
Let’s see what happens.
Two online goals to finish. First, a tidy Sessegnon goal from a raking cross-field aerial through-ball. This was my first online game in 3 years, played as a warmup prior to myClub. I picked Fulham. My opponent picked Spain. That goal was the winner.
Second, a nothing-y sort of goal scored against a Barcelona team in myClub. Note the Defaults in his team – he even has A REDMOND (56OVR) out playing, which is a step too far even for me.
Ibrahimovic is playing in mine. He was a loanee that the game gives you for 6 matches. He was rubbish and I didn’t miss him when he left.
NB: I initially called my myClub team ‘SINGERS FC’, which was Coventry City’s original name. I changed it back after this match. You can change your team name as much as you like in myClub. In many aspects, the mode is strangely solipsistic.
I’m decked out in the custom kits made for my Master League career by a regular commenter, and fellow myClub enthusiast, Paul. It’s nice to take that little bit of ‘home’ with me on my online travels. Whether the other online players can see those kits is still an open question.