Alleged Irregularities

Not much football gaming has gone on in the past few days. Only time for a scattered few matches, here and there – all of them in myClub.

In a sign of which way the wind might be blowing, though, they have all been offline against the AI. I am still licking my wounds from that truly shocking season in Online Divisions 11.

I have been having an absolute blast taking my 1-star squad of Irregulars through some vs COM matches in myClub.

Team Spirit has crawled up to 87. It’s arguably the most critical factor in making a team perform well on a nuPES pitch, for better and worse. I could apply a few in-game items and slingshot Team Spirit straight up to the high 90s, but I want to grow this team ‘organically’. It’s the time of year for PES buzzwords, and there’s a classic one for you.

myClub offers a surprising way to play the mode offline and really enjoy it. Look at the highlighted square on the top left of the UI:

You can take your team on a pseudo-ML-like adventure in which you ascend a ladder of achievement ‘up’ the difficulties. There are subdivisions within the difficulties. Here I have taken my team (using any squad within myClub; I always use the Irregulars) up to ‘Medium’ within Professional.

It’s damn hard to get past this point, for me, with my 1-star Irregulars. Four draws in a row, some of them with heartbreaking last-gasp goals from the AI, have kept me stationary where I am.

Next up was a Napoli team that looked like this:

When you play an AI team in myClub, you really play against another myClub user’s team as it currently stands, albeit controlled by the AI. As you can see, that’s a very decent Napoli I am up against.

How would my PES Chronicles FC (I’m sticking with the lower-case styling) fare against them?

I went 0-2 down very early on, and it was still 0-2 in the second half. It was looking like I would drop down to ‘Weak’ within Professional. This is a very surprising, and very addicitve little single-player feature within myClub. I accept I should probably get on and ‘git gud’ at playing the button-mashers online, but this feels more like my kind of thing for now.

I scrambled a goal back with not long left. 1-2. Could I do it?

Yesssss. That’s a CB slotting in at the end of that very nice move for my third goal.

And now I was up the next rung of the ladder. Up to ‘Strong’ within Professional. Win home and away on this level and I will go up to ‘Weak’ Top Player – and so on.

I like it.

My conclusion from the past few weeks isn’t that I am some kind of class traitor for taking a wander into the wild world of online.

No – instead, the last few weeks in my footy gaming life is clear evidence of something that has been staring me in the face for the past 15 years:

I only really have 1 Master League campaign in me per year.

Once I’ve used up the ML juice, the ML juice is gone. I think I was doing well to play 2.5 seasons on PES2011 on the PS3.

I will get back to the meat and potatoes of myClub – actually playing the annoying feckers online – eventually.

For now, I’m really enjoying this quasi-Master League feeling of seeing how far I can take my Irregulars offline.

I have not forgotten my other myClub squads, of which there are two: an A Team and a B Team.

The other night, spotting that I had plenty of GP in the bank, I took a few ball spins using the Special Agents. and for the first time I hit the 2% chance and won a Black Ball player.

This player went straight into my A Team:

Soon, Gareth. Soon.

Updated: 26th June 2018 — 10:47


  1. I didn’t even know said mode existed looks interesting will be giving that a go. I have been playing (observing) the occasional SIM match and have found it strangely compelling. Gareth Bale was my initial loan signing and was very useful from what I remember he created my first online memory from my first mc game scoring the 83rd minute winner in a 3/2 epic.

  2. n-G – This ML fatigue you describe is my experience of footy gaming over the past few years. I can think of a number of footy games to flip to but the ML mode is tiring given how familiar it has become. I also didn’t get on with FIFA 18 on the back of PES 2018’s version of the domestic season and having just followed the real footy campaign with extra interest.

    Now, with the background of the excellent VAR World Cup, I find myClub is just enough for the very occasional footy game fix. I’ve only had time to play one online game over the past week (lost 3-1) but the mode is there as an easy pick-up-and-play option rather than a big rolling ML story.

    I’ve also got a gamey game itch which was going to be satisfied by Fallout 4 but, given how it’s a PS+ freebie, I might give XCOM 2 a go – just for the fun of making my own world saving celeb squad.

  3. Theres a huge sale on at the moment with the likes of Tomb Raider reboots down by 70-80%. I fancied some but realised I’ve got numerous similar unplayed discs. Still not looked at the Witcher.

    In response to previous NG – no, sorry Go is the only one I have played. The one small turf had on the DS was really boring, repeated encounters with the same thing a la Final Fantasy 7 fights in the wild. I don’t know anything about other battle type games in the series. Just join Go, it’s perfect for you instant buzz online cool kidz.

  4. Gary – it’s more of an overlay onto the one-off single-player matches in myClub than a mode, as such, but it adds some vital interest to playing them. The formula is that you come up against progressively harder and harder teams as you scale the difficulties, and of course you can go all the way to Legend-Stronger. I’ve never actually played PES2018 on Legend beyond a sampler, so this is something to aim for. Also, my Irregulars are developing and changing as each match goes by. Can they be developed into a team that can take on the Legend-level AI teams packed with myClub users’ galacticos? It’s interesting finding out.

    Shed – totally agreed, I am so weary of the long haul of ML now. Still love the mode, but I really do only have one campaign per year in me. And maybe not even that anymore.

    You might have seen me waxing lyrical about XCOM2 before so I won’t go on again. Best strategy game I have ever played and one of the top 5 best games I have ever played too. I’ve also got it as a PS+ freebie and am contemplating another campaign there. It’s hard as nails, so watch out. Default difficulty is more than enough to start (and end) with.

    Good old VAR as well. The hot chilli sauce on the otherwise blander-than-bland stew of international football. Imagine last night’s games without VAR. I doubt I’d have sat watching them with the rapt attention I did. What crazy thing will happen next?!

    I will say this against VAR, though. Referees seem to be taking their eagerness to ‘even things up’ for the two teams into the VAR huddle. You could tell what that ref was thinking last night while he was watching the ‘handball’ footage: ‘Right, so this obviously isn’t a penalty for Iran. Nobody would criticise me for not giving it. But I’ve already given Portugal a penalty on this damn VAR thing, and that was pretty soft too, so if I give this it’ll make Iran feel better… And then I only yellow-carded Ronaldo a while ago. If I come out of this and don’t give a penalty to Iran, they’ll go nuts and even though I’d be totally in the right – because it’s not a penalty – I’ll look bad. And Iran will have had all the VAR go against them! If I give this penalty, will it be completely wrong? Shit shit shit. Why me, Lord? Damn it all. Fuck it, I’ll give it…’

    And so he gave it, not because it was a penalty but because it went towards evening-up the VAR-influenced decisions on the night. That’s the down-side of VAR: football referees’ piss-weak contextual psychology will inevitably influence their decisions there too. Perhaps if the final decision was left to the refs in the studio, it’d be better.

  5. Abbeyhill – 751956682096

  6. Uncle Turf – is it really about Pokemon, or have you and Comrade Abbeyhill found a more updated version of this

    Re. earlier, random FF7-style battles is just what I want. There must be something on the Play Store. I will look.

  7. It would be remarkably deep cover and around 40 years too late were I to be unmasked as the kremlin’s man in Gateshead. It’s just a simple game of erm postal chess, yes, that’s it, we are swapping board positions, no reason to alert the authorities…

  8. NG – indeed and thank god for VAR. What I find fascinating is the commentary as they feel compelled into saying that it is a disgrace etc. They do provide me with an alternative sense of entertainment as VAR is doing.

    Meanwhile I am still enjoying the hardchore nature of Madden. I have been using proper sim sliders with 15 minute quarters. With these sliders you get plenty of plays and the game is about very small percentages and yardage. A game takes on average about 1 hour 30 mins to complete and am only playing one game a day as I am doing the skill test and training the rest of the time. Nearly won my first match on Pro yesterday as I gave away a 18-7 lead going into last quarter. I was gutted having put all the effort into it. Next job is to do some research into clock management. Football games seem so basic in comparison.

  9. Darryl – commentators and pundits constantly agitating against VAR is truly annoying. A player can go down holding his face pretending to be injured and waste just as much time as VAR takes up, but that’s fine, it’s not even mentioned. A free kick can be given in shooting range and it’s nearly 2 minutes before it’s actually taken because everybody’s milling about and protesting and not retreating etc,. but that’s fine too and isn’t even mentioned. A referee trots to the side of the pitch to look at a replay for 1 minute or so and IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD.

  10. Don’t know I feel this is your kind of thing NG but it’s part of an academic football sound project I’ve been following.

  11. Uncle Turf – that very much is my kind of thing, from all angles. Just looking at the whole site, I’m confused by the first bit of the Highfield Road article – where can I listen to the recordings? The linguistic analysis is already great enough, but it seems to say the recordings are listenable-to. Where?

    Article also says 2014-15 was the last season there, but may be a slip of the keys. 2004-5, of course, was it.

  12. This is the main exhibition/project but I don’t know if the recordings are being made online, podcast, downloadable, etc. It’s too far for me to get to so I’ve just enjoyed reading some of the text they’ve put out describing what’s included.!/

    Btw the phrase “don’t know I feel this..” were not my intended words, bloody autocorrect.

  13. What a World Cup this is turning out to be. Germany out and VAR continuing to be most entertaining. The best World Cup since 1990? I just hope the knockout stages provide more golden moments like a goalkeeper playing on the wing and players/pundits having fits over proper rules being applied.

    I managed two myClub matches last night using my Expendables squad rather than my main team. Both I played against other humans by mistake. I meant to have a go on the friendly mode you describe above, n-G, but I picked the wrong square.

    The first game was in Divisions. It actually took me a good few minutes to realise I wasn’t playing the AI which just goes to show there are decent players online. This game finished 0-0.

    The second game was an online friendly and as soon as I saw the ridiculously superstar heavy team I was up against (Ronaldo, Neymar, Beckham, Messi etc) I knew my minnows were in for a hiding. I held out for 20 virtual minutes before falling behind to a Neymar goal but rather than the floodgates opening, I scampered away on the break to sneak an equaliser. I did the same again after conceding a goal on the rebound from a free kick to make it 2-2 at half time.

    Sweaty palmed (playing online does that I find), I set about holding out for the second half against wave after wave of superstar players on the attack. So imagine my delight when from another brisk move, my striker nodded in a third. I couldn’t quite hold on for the win but that 3-3 draw for my ragtag team of defaults and ball-spin rejects is certainly a highlight of this PES year.

  14. Uncle Turf – thanks for the links. The analysis of the back-and-forth chanting is hilarious, would love to just add the flavour of hearing the chants too.

    Shed – I’ve had exhilarating matches like that. It’s as if having all the galacticos makes them one-dimensional and if you defend well they don’t have another route to goal.

    Playing online makes me feel confined in a strange way. I also have far too much regard for the other player’s enjoyment, fretting whether I’m behaving properly etc. I am fundamentally anti-social in a way that manifests itself as over-concern for social rules. I doubt many, if any, other online players have any thought at all for whoever they’re playing. I’ve still not managed another online game after taking a hiding at the hands of a manual player last week.

  15. Have quite enjoyed the last week having a go on MyClub on my PS4 PES Lite edition.
    Definitely enjoying the two squad setup and battling away through some offline cups and a few online games.

    Something just didn’t feel right though, I just wasn’t as competent as when I last played the game. I had a nagging feeling that it was the PS4 controller that I couldn’t get used to so fired up the XBox One X and opened up MyClub that I’d played 1 game on last year.

    I had over 450000 Points to spend in the bank from various things I’d not looked at whilst playing my master League………

    The temptation was too much so I just kept rolling the dice to create a dream team.
    Ronaldo came pretty quickly, Lukaku soon after and various other high level players.
    Also picked myself up an Argentina and a Barcelona scout at auction so I’m optimistic that means I can 100% Messi (although I don’t completely understand it).

    After lots of players converting to trainer and squad shuffling (and a new manager purchase)I had time for my first online divisions game. Thankfully it matched me up against someone with some decent players. I felt much more comfortable with by xbox controller so for the moment I dont think i’ll be back to the PS4.

    Felt completely filthy but also was an interesting half hour or so.

    The complete opposite of the irregulars will be a short but sweet period of time for me I think.

  16. Keith – I think I’ll aim for a multi-star squad eventually, but over time and ‘naturally’. Not judging, and not done deliberately – I never allowed the game to speak to the Internet all year, so I never had the accumulated GP thing from ML.

    You can have as many squads as you have players to fill them. I’ve currently got 4 squads. Players can also be in multiple squads. E.g. you can have an Irregulars squad and stick one or two of those players in your galacticos squad too, to help with development.

    I’m following PES2019 news with interest, and it’s looking and sounding as bland as bland can be. PES as we knew it just 5 years ago is long dead, I think.

  17. Is PES 2019 still an August release? I feel the same about this as I do the local news here that the Brighton players report back for pre-season training today – it’s just too damn early.

    I forgot to mention one other occurrence that made that 3-3 all the more satisfying – I was down to ten men for virtually the entire second half.

  18. NG – Yeah, do feel I may have ruined the enjoyment of slowly building and developing the squad as I was doing on the PS4. However it was something different and fun and it’ll be no time before the new ones out. Plus there’s still quite a bit of content to play with.

    Shed – I’m massively suffering with sweaty joypad syndrome at the moment. Online PES does that, but on Rainbow six siege last night my pad felt like a bar of soap. The weather doesn’t help obviously.

  19. Shed – last week of August for PES2019, yes. It’s one of the earliest releases ever. The game has zero ML interest for me, alas – ML of old and PES of old are gone for good and ain’t coming back. My summertime myClub thing goes on and might prompt a purchase. I’ll see.

  20. Absolutely ecstatic to win my first madden 17 game on Pro difficulty last night. Very close game which I edged 22-21. New focus on my defence skills next.

  21. Darryl – well done, and if you’re familiar enough with the game not to be forever going for 4th downs, even more well-done!

    In my own ‘off the books’ gaming at the moment in FM2012, the season has started indifferently for Coventry with 2 wins and 3 defeats. My players can’t cope with better teams.

  22. Darryl6464 – I used to love those Madden games back when I had a lot more time to play them. As you mentioned before, the finer points of the game are hard to understand let alone master but you can get by with at least a basic knowledge of the sport. I always had a good running game going.

    My search for a gamey-game to settle on is on hold having fired up midi-Shed’s copy of Fallout 4 only to chicken out at the character creation screen and baulked at the commitment needed for XCOM 2 having downloaded it. I might just stick with the odd Star Wars Battlefront 2 spawn-die-repeat session and maybe dig out No Man’s Sky after a very long pause to my quiet exploration of that game.

  23. NG – hardly ever as I always opt for the punt or field goal if I am in range. As far as I am concerned the only time to go for it on the 4th down is if you are very close and in the opponents half. I have tried to keep away from forums or any type of tips site and have gone for a learn yourself experience. Not sure if I am doing the right thing or not but feels rIght.

  24. Shed – I have never experienced sweaty thumb more than is current in fortnite. You have to hold the stick forward to sprint (if you don’t sprint and jump you are effectively a dead duck walking) and I’m just glad I have those hard rubber grips stuck on mine. Like a Turkish bath on my palm.

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