In a development that will surprise nobody who has read the last few entries on this blog, I have played zero Master League on 2011 since a solitary session on the new PS3 last week.
Instead, the unlikely myClub story continues.
I have changed the name of the team.
Coventry City is very much a Master League phenomenon. The name and the custom kit rightly belong there.
I chose a new name for the club more fitting for the kind of adventure this feels like. PES Chronicles FC was the result. It still feels like a placeholder name. It doesn’t feel very ‘me’, somehow, to be waving a flag for the blog with the name of my online team. Think I’ll change it again soon.
I picked Fiorentina’s kit and badge to turn out in, even though the current version is far from the best version of the strip.
That lineup seen above is my 1-star Irregulars team. So far it’s my favourite team to play with in myClub, as it’s an exclusively offline team. I’m not brave enough to take them online yet, as I’m simply not good enough yet.
I took a break from the punishment of Divisions (6 losses and 2 draws in Division 11) to play a one-off Online match where the prize was a free Black Ball spin – a big deal for me as I have yet to get a Black Ball player. These are the créme de la créme of players in the game. The top players’ presence (and absence) really make a difference in PES online.
myClub is currently running a World Cup-themed feature that I just about understand. Basically, for this week, if you temporarily adopt the ‘skin’ of any World Cup nation’s team (in the same way that I have adopted Fiorentina’s ‘skin’), you get all manner of GP bonuses in your post-match kitty. I haven’t done it yet, and probably won’t do it. I’m bewildered enough with everything as it is.
My opponent for the Black Ball match was PAOK Thessaloniki, but he had taken on the kit and name of Nigeria to enjoy whatever bonuses he hoped to make.
Here are the two-minute highlights of the match. I’m in the deep violet kit, now, remember. You can see my hesitancy and naïveté from the very start. Fortunately, my opponent was not one of the clinical, ruthless finishers who tend to make up the average opponent.
A very, very lucky win. I created nothing in this match, no clear-cut chances, and I was reduced to taking the kinds of potshots you see me trying throughout. That effort with Torres at 0:40 might well be the worst shot attempt made by anyone online – or generally, in any football game – ever.
Online, I want too much time to play the same sort of game that I’ve been playing offline for 20+ years. An AI opponent will politely let you turn 180 degrees to lay the ball off to a teammate. The average online opponent won’t do that.
Stepping up to online play is analogous to what Championship players always say of adjusting to life in the Premier League. Suddenly, you lose a comfortable margin and your game is disrupted.
So this win was a fluke, an anomaly. I clearly didn’t deserve to win it, but my opponent fluffed all his chances. I did not fluff my one (lucky) chance, so the Black Ball was mine.
I excitedly rushed to the Hall of Spinning Balls, and I spun those balls.
And got David Silva (AMF, OPR 80, Level 1). Not the most energising result but with him being Level 1 he will level up to something much more than he is now.
Playing myClub means that I was soon anxiously scrutinising every single one of his stats. The PES database indicates he could level up to 95 for Ball Control. He’s on 87 right now and is not too shabby.
And that really is the most marked achievement of myClub. It makes stats, and how they manifest in players, seem to matter again. I haven’t drilled down into player stats this deep since the PS2 days.
I appreciate that some readers of the blog feel I skim over stats and the tactical side of PES in favour of the ‘big picture’ ML story. Some may wish I would talk formations and stats and skills in PES a lot more than I do.
They say be careful what you wish for.