I didn’t wanna see the Gordon Milne tonight

This summertime’s torrid affair with myClub continues. It’s one of those ‘If you had told me 1 month ago that…’ situations.

And the penny has finally dropped.

I believe that I now ‘get’ myClub.

Like many long-term single-player players and also many older players (a Venn diagram that could be almost a circle), I never have ‘got’ the Ultimate Team and myClub modes.

I mean, just take this screenshot:

What does it mean? What does it represent? What gaming value does it have? What kind of footballing and PES philosophy does it embody? What am I going to do with that team, and those players, that has any meaning or purpose?

It turns out that there’s quite a bit of meaning and purpose in myClub.

Look at the name of the manager. Top left. KELSEN.

That’s the Kelsen, the GK of Defaults fame.

What’s he doing here? Well, last week the game offered a series of Old Default stars as special managers.

Okay. What does that mean?

The manager role in myClub is very important. It defines a squad’s formation and tactics. In this case, Kelsen offers a 5-2-1-2 formation (you can switch to a detailed formation view that shows the fine-grained positioning).

After suffering a few proper thumpings online (not many, but still too many), I wanted to adopt that seemingly ultra-defensive formation for my squad, so I duly snapped up Kelsen in the Default manager sale. 22,000 GP. Not cheap.

You can only play with the formation your manager offers. It’s a seemingly arbitrary restriction that has a gameplay value. In order to play with different formations, you have to make multiple separate squads – there seems to be no upper limit to how many – each with a separate manager.

I presently have 3 managers assigned to 4 squads within my Club. I currently have about 35 players shared between the four, all in differing permutations.

I am aware that this still isn’t clear. The uninitiated are still puzzled.

Okay. Stick with me. Here’s my main squad, the straightforwardly named Squad 1:

Torres up front next to Bacca is as frustrating and enigmatic as in real life, but is decent enough to keep his place until Veldwijk is trained up enough to take over.

This is the first time I’ve been able to put together a First XI without a Default in it, but note the subs’ bench still has them.

Castledine is on the bench, but I want to develop him and all my other young players. Player development in the form of ‘Levelling Up’ after a match, as in Classic ML, is a huge element of myClub in PES2018. It’s new this year. For me, I’d go as far as to say it’s what makes the mode worth playing. It’s the clincher.

Yesterday I spent an entire session on the game creating a squad of low-rated players and playing a few matches with them (offline).

This is all happening within the same club  – Coventry City. The multiple squad system within one club is a baked-in feature of the mode. You’re meant to play it, and enjoy it, like this.

The Irregulars, I call my new no-hoper squad.

I assembled them by using all my spare Scouts, one after the other.

And I used Dominguez, my so-far favourite manager, for this squad too.

Look at that rabble.

Note the keeper on the bench. The shrewd choice in myClub is to include a reserve keeper in every squad. I never used to in Master League. But very often in myClub you get to pre-game and find that your first choice GK is red-arrowed, at which point it’s too late to swap in a reserve keeper if you haven’t got one on the bench. No dipping into the rest of your player pool is allowed. The squad is the squad.

Now we’re getting to the meat of My Case For myClub. (I know. Unbelievable. This is almost Ian Paisley-Martin McGuinness/Trump-Kim territory.)

I spent a session putting the above lot through their paces in an offline Cup competition. I haven’t got the figurative balls to take them online yet, but I could.

I have started to bond with The Irregulars in an unbelievable way. Zigoni up front next to Veldwijk is similar to the latter, and so far slightly better. Each of the other players stands out in a weirdly unexpected way. The online database of all these players indicates Zigoni might develop to be top striker.

I am aware that I still have not really answered the key question.

What is this all for? What is it all about? What does all this messing about do? What is the point? What do I get from it all?

I think I get it now.

It’s all about the players – the in-game players, not the human players, although they’re significant too.

It’s all about your own identification with your players and squads and managers, and the surprising story that automatically develops when you take them – and yourself – off on an adventure into an unknown land.

Players in myClub definitely feel more individualistic than in Master League. Every slight edge counts. Torres has been the blandest, most nothingy striker in nuPES ML over the last few years, but in this myClub adventure, so far, he’s been distinctive in positive and negative ways. Flashes of his old brilliance, with spells of frustrating anonymity.

This, right here, is the appeal of myClub for a Master League aficionado.

In a curious way, myClub is a more self-contained, self-centred, and all-about-your-own-personal-gratification mode, than Master League ever has been.

It’s about the connection between the human player and the virtual player(s).

The same thing as Master League, except in a much more focused, streamlined fashion.

It’s a Pokemon mode for PES, in a way. I mean that wholly positively.

Would all this have convinced me, just two weeks ago?

No. It might have intrigued me – hearing from me, the arch-sceptic of all things online and all things myClub, that there is unexpected value in it, and even something almost Master League-like.

But on its own it would not have convinced me of anything. It is something that the player has to experience for themselves.

I got promoted from Division 12:

Did this feel like an achievement? Hell, yes. It very much did. Look at that sequence of results. I TOILED for this.

I won my first – and so far only – victory of myClub in game 9 of the 10-match season. It was a crazy game that I wish I’d recorded. The other player was a Bournemouth club with a similar-rated set of players to mine. (I have been fortunate with the matchmaking so far. Only about 3 players out of 15 or so have been obnoxious sprinting pressure-whores.)

Things were tight with chances at a premium. He seemed to be a player much like myself. I.e., interested in playing rather than button-mashing. I fluked the winner midway through the second half. A goalmouth scramble presented the ball at Castledine’s feet 5 yards out, for him to joyously side-foot it into a mostly unguarded net.

I held on for the win. My opponent’s quirk was that he loved to run with the ball, which was a refreshing change from all the tika-taka merchants who had preceded him. He was unfortunate not to at least draw this match.

Here is my updated global rating after the battle (yes, Sancho_Smith is my PSN username; no, you won’t be able to ‘Add’ me):I am the 109,443rd best player in the myClubverse.

I took a look at the top guys out of interest. The current #1 ranked player has about 4000 matches under his belt.

And so to my second season in myClub – in Division 11. I will have more to say about this on Friday – which will be half about myClub, and half about Master League on PES2011.

I have a new PS3 and it is fully restored to the condition of the old. It took most of a day, but it is done. This is why you make full backups of everything.

I will be honest. This myClub thing has been totally unexpected. Totally.

Will it draw focus from Master League? Inevitably, at least for now, yes it will.

And the future? What does this mean for PES2019. Is there a chance after all that I will be there on release day, ‘spamming’ the servers, or whatever the yoof lingo is?

God help me, yes, there is a chance of that.


APPENDIX

Here are a few snippets that I couldn’t fit into the above ‘Apologia for myClub’, as it turned out to be.

First, a Special Agent opening. Yes – I have been merrily spinning balls.

Most readers will have seen this kind of thing on YouTube or Twitch over the past few years, and many, like me, will have shaken their heads. How can this be happening? Where is the glory of PES in this?

But you do get to a place where it is interesting, and dare I say it, fun, to press a button and watch a virtual roulette wheel in action.

The only way to sign new players in myCub is via the Agent system. I was awarded a Special Agent for winning an offline Cup competition.

Casemiro. I was initially pleased, but he just doesn’t seem to fit into any of my squads, and he doesn’t gel with any of my Managers. That affects Team Spirit, and this is a massively important factor in myClub. So much so that Casemiro rarely plays. A bit of a waste.

How about if you want to sign a particular, individual player?

The only way to sign a named player in myClub is to use combinations of Agents. The game awards Agents, of varying quality, quite liberally. To get a particular player you either combine the ones you already have, or bid for the ones you need in the Scout Auction House.

E.g. I really, really wanted to sign Lars Veldwijk, one of the stars of my Master League campaign. Some myClub players want to fill their ranks with Ronaldo and Messi, asap. Many, though, don’t. I am one of the latter group. I won’t turn down the ‘slag’ players, as they’re picturesquely called by some, if they ever come my way. (I can always fill one ‘slag’ squad with them and happily play with others.) But my vision thing for myClub is of a range of quirky squads put together for my own private needs.

The only way to get Veldwijk was to combine two Scouts: one for FC Groningen, his real-life club, and one for South Africa, his place of birth.

I possessed neither Scout. I got the Groningen Scout relatively easily. 3000 GP in a quick auction.

The South Africa one was a bit tougher. I ended up bidding a maximum of 8000 GP, and having to wait 13 real-life hours to see if I won.

Here is a minute-long video showing how the signing happened from the moment I won the Auction bid:

Note that the spin was a formality. I had effectively zeroed in on Veldwijk by use of the appropriate Scouts. The game itself gives you a thumbnail tutorial on this, but not a very impactful one.

This Scout system in myClub might be the quirkiest PES feature since PES2009’s ‘giant pointing transfer arrow’.

Word has it that PES2019 will feature an orthodox transfer market, no doubt complete with Ultimate Team-style player-controlled auctions.

Updated: 12th June 2018 — 11:34

81 Comments

  1. All this MyClub related focus is blowing my mind……….genuinely thought I’d never see the day.

    However I’m so ridiculously easily led that I’m tempted to start one up even though I hated it when I tried it last year.

  2. I cant access that link here from work, but i’ll have a look later.
    I did see Shed say he got Salah in a spin, surprised me as he is a black ball player, they don’t usually just dish those out.

    I span the Spanish Stars last night, and landed on a black ball, was some RWF Rated 83 OVR that I had never heard of.

    See the new agents are for ‘Great Managers’ & ‘National Stars’ from today.

    Shed – the fatigue and injuries is a promising start, but as NG said, what happened to the player? did he go off? was out for x weeks? or was it purely a cosmetic animation.

  3. Paul – I got Salah by “skillfully” landing on a golden ball as it whizzed by. This turned into a black ball as it cracked open, unleashing Mo into my MyClub world. I also got a Swansea defender and Torres before I recalled Gary saying about saving your MC dosh for later.

    Paul again – What the hell were you doing on the second goal vs n-G in your first match? Both matches looked close with n-G enjoying a lot of possession and pulling off a few backheels. Did you…you know…talk to each other while you were…ahem…doing it?

    I’m looking forward to having another go on MC later although I’m wondering if this improved individuality might be down to playing with a lower Team Spirit. nuPES always seems to play better before your team gets too familiar.

  4. Keith – tomorrow the focus is back on Master League in PES2011, and myClub updates will come in future posts as and when I play it. I like to start the mode up every day as there’s a bonus for doing so, and I also have an inkling that it might be ‘fun’ to take my 1-star squad of Irregulars online (in an abbeyhill-style Default Challenge).

    The mode throws up some unexpected interest. E.g. you can easily pick up a load of random new low-rated players by using the free Scouts one at a time, and stock up on players. By doing so I acquired nearly all the players that make up the Irregulars – all in the low-to-mid 60s OPR, with a few in their 50s OPR.

    One of them is a big striker called Zigoni, a real player from the Italian 2nd division, who is surprisingly capable and promising in classic Master League-like PES style. The online myClub database tells me he could potentially develop into an 81-rated striker if levelled up to the max. I have wild dreams of dominating the Ronaldo-Messi-Ibra people with the likes of Zigoni, eventually. It’s this kind of thing that interests me. Exerting myself against online opponents is almost just the means to the end. myClub really is like a stripped and focused ML in this aspect. For me. Others might see the online element as primary and the squad-building/management as secondary. It all rests on your own individual PES character.

  5. Shed – over the past week and a bit I’ve seen PES-style individuality as we knew and loved it, manifest in my team and others’ at all levels of team development. Most players online have their Team Spirit maxed out at 99, and have featured some of the most obvious old-school individuals going.

    We didn’t talk to each other during the matches, no, but there were messages! The timing of the encounter had to be arranged.

    I make no apologies for backheels – if it’s in the game, it’s going to happen – and keeping possession is my style. I just need to actually make it mean something. Countless times I have 65% possession at the end of an online match but nothing to show for it. Suddenly going for the long ball catches other players out most of the time as nobody else does it that I have seen, but it very rarely leads to anything either.

    I’ve no idea what he was doing for my second goal. His explanation is not very convincing. He claims he was trying to press Start to pause for a sub (he was only 0-1 down) and somehow pressed X by mistake.

  6. Paul – at this stage I would put a fiver on it being a cosmetic animation, and there being no enforced substitution at all. Think of how you’ve seen online players play (100% pressure, 100% sprinting, 100% of the time), and think of what those players value the most – stars – and imagine the reaction if stamina-related injuries that lead to forced substitutions were included in PES2019. It’s not gonna happen.

  7. Just like to clarify that my use of ‘gonna’ at the end of my previous comment was an echo of the saying ‘never gonna happen’ that exists in popular usage, and not a symptom of an alarming pseudo-midlife crisis as seen in my recent immersion in the supposed ‘yoof’ scene of myClub.

  8. Uncle Turf – but what does the greatest pull-back-and-reveal in cinema history mean, here? Am I the statue? Is myClub the statue? Are you Chuck Heston? Am I the beach? Is none of it related to myClub or me, and is the statue PES as a whole and Chuck Heston the devoted tradition-seeking fandom?

  9. I think Charlton sums up the feeling of all right minded thinking master league players on this myClub nonsense. Now get your coats you two, you’re coming home.

    In a move that will surprise no one though I’m now quite keen on seeing the World Cup, at least until the matches prove as dull as predicted. I don’t think Southgate has the wherewithal to do really well at it but his nice guy image and the laid back, let’s give it a go approach appeals. No over the top flouncing about a supposed big star in the ranks, really not much expectation of anything at all. I disagree with the overwhelming ‘it’s Brazil’s for the taking’ though, and I’m still baffled why Russia has never produced a really good side, or even decent competitors in so many sports nowadays – funding, maybe, facilities? I really hope they don’t crash and burn as badly as some are suggesting.

  10. Uncle Turf – me too re. Russia. Huge population, and some great players over the years. I’ve got a fiver on them winning today and for there to be at least 3 goals in the game. I think QF for them would be good though.

    I should have an edited highlights package of the myClub abominations up on tomorrow’s post, but it will be all about ML otherwise. Er, probably.

  11. Adrift on a supposedly game free planet we dreamed of a world we once knew – the golden age of adventure and master league. The hope of finding our way back there keeps us going. The pull back reveals a broken statue of not Greg, replaced by some upstarts and their strange new thinking. I think you are in fact Greg, the evil twin, and Not is currently tied up in the broom cupboard. Or maybe you and Paul are both being played by an evil puppet master. Or perhaps it’s a mission impossible face mask pull off. I know how it ends though – hammer horror style with Ralph bates leading a mob of angry villagers with their torches. I nominate Werd for the role of master bates…

  12. The second goal where I rolled it to NG’s forward was a genuine cklusterf*ck.
    I did indeed try pressing Options button to take me to the menu to make some tactical changes, I hadn’t previously paused the game, and I had possession, and it was a break in play, so the game absolutely should have let me enter the menus, but it wouldn’t, bashing the options button did nothing so i battered the X button, and that triggered that pass you saw, absolutely honest and genuine.

    As for the injury, I’ve had it confirmed by the person who posted that video, that after the injury occurred, he was taken to the squad screen and forced to sub the player.

  13. I’m just editing the two games me and Paul played down into highlights and it now strikes me how fortunate I was in game 1. 2-0 flattered me. Paul had 51% possession, more passes played, and he created more meaningful opportunities. I will need to get myself some kind of attacking edge if I persist with playing online.

  14. Some real master league goals in the opening ‘real life’ match – that third one, the header from the big fella was my kind of striker’s effort, the outside of the foot job the kind of thing you more speculative types try. Shows the folly of continued geographical qualification though, Saudi were awful and have no place at a best in the world event. Money is the only reason they go for this sharing put the places nonsense, not wanting their sport marginalised in the places who are just not very good. FIFA must be continually pissed off that India has never broken through.

  15. Uncle Turf – I really enjoyed watching that giant Russian forward and the Saudi defenders trying to cope with him. All five goals were very PES-like, other than the free kick of course.

    Played a couple more MyClub games last night including a humiliating 7-2 defeat to Iceland in an offline International Cup. Still haven’t played anyone online and I’m still a little confused by the transfer system.

    I also changed my Brighton team, which I’ll keep for ML, to Shed XI. I used a South American team with a decent kit and a generic looking badge.

  16. Uncle Turf – also enjoyed it, and surprised not to see anyone claiming Ramadan as a factor in the Saudis’ weakness. They are a lot better than that. The big striker is exactly the kind that I’ve come to value in recent footy games, as opposed to the generic little nippy striker in the style of Aguero & co. Cheryshev probably secured a big move, and an inflated profile in PES/FIFA/FM, on that match alone. There will be more.

    The Saudi defenders often wrapping arms around the big striker’s midriff, and getting away with it, sets down a marker for the whole tournament. ‘Openly flouting one of the fundamental laws of football is fine!’

    Shed – I tried to play an International Cup yesterday too, as the rewards are so decent for relatively little time spent. I lost 0-1 to a suspiciously beefed-up Japan – on Regular difficulty. Humiliating as it might’ve been my first-ever serious defeat on Regular. I suspect the International teams bring an extra difficulty scaling to the levels as we know them. That’s what I tell myself anyway.

    The transfer market in myClub is a tricky one to grasp. In typical whimsical PES fashion, there is only one way to get a ‘named’ player. That’s via the Scouts system. Otherwise there’s random spinning via the Agents. Sounds confusing and it is to begin with, but soon sinks in. Essentially, say you want to get Knockaert for your team, you would need a Brighton Scout (aka ‘East Sussex’), and then a France Scout, and also an RMF Scout. Combine these three and spin, and you would be guaranteed to land on Knockaert (as with my Veldwijk spin above). This would be the most straightforward way, but there are many Scout combos as detailed here. Scroll down and choose ‘Show only 100% combinations’ and there’s a big long list of Scouts that will get you Knockaert. Then, of course, you’re in the Auction house for Scouts, bidding for the ones you need but haven’t yet got.

    That is essentially the transfer market in myClub. Quirky as anything Konami have ever come up with. I understand they’re switching to an orthodox transfer market for PES2019, probably more in the style of Ultimate Team. I think that’s a shame. Just as I never minded PES2009’s ‘giant pointing transfer arrow’, I don’t mind this Scout thing at all.

  17. I felt whilst playing that both of our matches were very even NG, no one dominated, they could have both gone either way.
    Just fired up MyClub before work, had 2 quick games, now in Div 11 after being promoted, won the first game 6-1, and the second game 8-0.
    The 8-0 I played a Scottish lad, He had Pogba and a few others in his Marseille branded team, and I’m now using my 1 star largely Bronze/White team with a German manager who players 4-2-2-2, getting more fun and results from this side than my ‘A’ team with the likes of Sneijder etc in.

    Anyway, the 8-0, I went 4-0 up in the first half, second half he obviously just downed his controller and f*cked off somewhere cause he left the game running rather than quit, but wasn’t playing, and amusingly if left alone, the game sort of plays for you, it shields balls and players still close you down even with no controller input.
    Some people are just strange.

    I got gifted the 2 japanese legend scouts last night and span them and got 2 CF and CMF japanese players, rated 81 and 80 OVR, dumped them in my ‘A’ squad.

    Also span the World All stars Scout this morning, landed on a gold ball and got Eric Bailly CB 82 OVR.

    I still cannot get the scout combo needed for Mo Salah.

    Already racked up enough points and then some for promotion, so up to Div 10 now with a 1 star team.

    Few interesting comments from Adam on Twitter around ML, but then its usually all hype and hearsay.

  18. Paul – I’ve had 3 straight heavy defeats in D11. Be interesting to see how far you could get with a 1- or 2-star team I think. A kind of Default Challenge-style challenge. It’s something I’ve got an inkling I’d like to try in the future.

    I’ve glanced at a few YouTube vids of life in higher Divisions and quite quickly you get to a point where you need 10 or 15 points to avoid being relegated, and that sort of thing.

  19. I’m under no illusion I’ll climb the divisions rapidly NG, I think I just click much better with a 2 up front formation, I always have.
    Have tried playing a lone striker in many a ML before and I always revert back to a 2 up top.
    Plus the matchmaking is set to play teams of a similar level, so I’m playing relatively weak teams too, but I am finding the R2 button an absolute godsend in online matches.

    Div 11 is 5pts for promotion, Div 10 will probably be 7, by the time you get up to 8 and above it ramps up.

  20. Paul – I also signed those two Japanese legends – both of which I have never heard of. They seem decent though. I got lucky getting Salah in with my first spin but he’s done nothing yet. He’s quick though.

    n-G – Thanks for the transfer market refresher. That makes a lot more sense now although I quite like the random ball spins for signing players. Very Panini stickers, as you mentioned before.

  21. I also like the quirkyness of using scouts to triangulate signings, its different, and makes signing a player you really want, much harder, but more rewarding.
    If they move to the FUT style of transfers it will just be copying FIFA, and PES should just do its own thing, but they will need a FUT style app like FIFA to manage transfers etc with if they go that route.

  22. Paul – just noticed that there’s a Special European Agent popped up in-game… Dalglish, Scholes and the rest of them are available. No idea how long for. I have 1100 GP and maybe a chance of getting 1 if I win a few offline matches.

  23. Oooh wheres that? Under Special Agents? I checked that this morning and went for World All stars, where I got Bailly.

  24. The special Euro with all the old classic players has popped up at the bottom of the long list of Special Agents. If you’ve saved your GP, you’re in for a tense lot of spinning – you should film it and upload it… press Tringle on the Agent to see the long list of possible players. Luck of the draw. Shame we can’t Scout the Classics.

  25. I have just under 200k GP left.
    I shall be spinning like a whirly top later!!!!
    Dalglish would be awesome.

  26. I took a quick look through the list and they all look superb. The Dalglish likeness is one of the best I’ve seen. Gerrard is there too. Scholes. Rush. All the top classics. I’m scared in case I see Hagi…

  27. Hagi from PES 2012 ML was it?

    Definitely going to try to grab a couple of these later.

  28. Who would have thought it a few weeks ago I was terrified to mention my MC “hit” and now the conversation is about merrily spinning balls! My own MC journey is coming near an end, I am experiencing some PES fatigue and want a full re-charge before 2019 sees me start with a new MC adventure. I am not playing with enough focus and have found myself slip as far as Div 6 currently in my Div 5 home. I spun 2 Blackballs yesterday unheard of Dyabala and Di Maria the former scoring 4 in 3 so off to an excellent start.
    The International tournament is indeed ramped up a little difficulty wise, I came through it 3-1, 3-3 win on penalties, 8-0 and 4-2 but it nets you 15,000 so well worth it.
    You can in theory max out an agent e.g. current Argentina agent has 50 players, 7 currently in the squad, 1//1 star Argentina agent and 2///2star agent gives a total of 10 from the agent list 40 spins max’s out or 20 spins giving a 50% chance of Messi but definitely giving you some black balls.
    Found myself paired with a 1300 rated player last night one of my most disappointing matches ever he kick-off punted, corner ran and dizzily broke up any nice play he won 2-1 but it disgusted me.
    Hoping to give some of you a game soon!! On either 3star or with all this spinning madness 5 star craziness!

  29. Spinning your balls online? You’ve all turned into teenage boys.

    I’m off to order a sky blue hair shirt for nG.

  30. Paul – yes, Georghe Hagi of Romania. I didn’t see him in the list though. Prepare yourself in advance – there are 100 players, and a 4% chance of a black baller, and a decent 26%-ish chance of a Gold. Roughly speaking that translates to around slightly under 1 in every 3 spins landing on a Black or Gold ball. Say you use all your 200,000GP on 20 spins. About 6 spins will be be Gold or Black players. At least one of them has a good chance of being a black baller. Will it be the one you want?!

    Gary – I just fought my way through the International Cup to get that 15,000 GP so I could have a spin. It was tough. And you’re right – this is all most unexpected, and gratifying. I see the MLness of myClub now.

    Chris99 – just wait till I post my balls spinning video later, with my live commentary as it happened. Not even joking.

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