In off the bar humbug

Firmly back in the routine now, after the fever dream that is the end of the calendar year. Could we have a Brexit-style movement to pull out of Christmas and New Year now?

I’m on Season 9 in my Master League. The August transfer window was a quiet one. All my Season 8 Loanees returned to their clubs. I didn’t sign any new players.

I had 19 players of my own and just enough money in the wages budget to pay them, with about £300,000 surplus left over.

I could have picked up a random Youth squad player to bulk out my bench, but I decided to wait until mid-season. My wages budget by then should be around the million mark due to various revenue streams.

This is the First XI and squad that will take me through the first half of the season:I still needed cover in a couple of positions, so signed two Loanees to tide me over: S BERGE at DMF and C MILLER at LB. Berge was a particular coup, being extremely competent at DMF’ing, one of the key roles in any PES setup.

The squad is still a bit thin currently, but I’m not in Europe, and only have to worry about the League and FA Cup.

The season started badly – two defeats and a draw in my opening three matches. I really do need to crack on and get into the Europa League at least this season. That’s the target.Results did pick up, though, as I focused and rallied and started banging a few goals in.

Gomez and Aduriz up front are starting to show signs of a good partnership., despite being such similar players.

I mostly play Forlan in a central AMF role now. He’s not going to be what he was in PES2012, but he can be a force of a different kind in PES2019.

The table after 6 matches:I’m not at all happy with what feels like a sudden pivot toward the nuPES side of the fence in PES2019.

Master League looks odds-on for getting well into double-figures in seasons, for the first time in a while. Largely due to the excellent first 5 seasons or so.

Things have levelled off recently. I suspect foul play on the game devs’ part. I think they’ve tweaked the game (via patches) to be more in keeping with the expectations of online players.

PES2019 is pretty much a zero-fouls game again for me now. Average 1 per match.

Most matches pass in a semi-blur. All sprinting and lunging and strangling the controller. There are still enough great matches to keep me going, but PES2019 started out with that formula exactly inverted: most matches in the first months after release were great, with only around 1 in 7 defaulting to the nuPES garbage that somebody, somewhere, actually thinks is good football gaming.

And now it’s back as the norm.

Is it patches? Is it Team Spirit? Is over-familiarity breeding contempt?

The change has been too sudden (since the late December patch) for it to be anything other than Konami-side tinkering, in my view.

Overall experience is an 8/10 at the moment. The better matches are sustaining the overall quality.

But, oh dear, we say it every year now. By kowtowing to the market, PES is shaped to meet the expectations of its lowest common denominator – a constituency that neither knows nor cares anything about PES or football gaming in general. Idiocracy rules.

Updated: 8th January 2019 — 11:40


  1. Shame the tide has turned towards a negative curve for youNG, is it just a patch change, or more a result of familiarity with the game after all these months, a diluting of the early great reception, and other elements combining to show that PES under the initial polish, is still a bit of a turd?

    Pleased to sat my FIFA blip was just that, saving the details for Thursdays post but some tactical tinkering and maintenance behind the scenes has rejuvenated my career mode again and season 6 has gotten off to a great start.

  2. Paul – more of a patch change I think, but if anything that’s the greater of the evils. Over-familiarity can be dealt with a lot more easily by taking breaks etc. Still heavily invested in ML, but once again I’m at the point of lambasting the clear demonstration of contempt for the single player. Online multiplayer is the enemy of all football gaming.

  3. It surely is NG. Looking back I guess PES 2019 for you can only really be considered a huge success, considering in the months pre-release you wasn’t even expecting to buy it, and to get so many (mostly) good seasons out of it, is a bonus.

    I guess with FIFA you always have the sliders to tweak if a patch changes the game in a way you dont like, which is mostly a hugely positive thing, but also can lead to over-tinkering and not actually playing the game, both games suffer from the having to please the online gamer crowd first and foremost, but I have been pleasantly surprised that EA have largely stuck to their guns with keeping the core sim elements in that they implemented for this year and refusing to bow to all out online fan pressure.

  4. Season 14 and a place in the Europa League hinges on beating Spurs in the FA Cup Final. If not, then a second season of no Europe beckons. Onwards!!

  5. Paul – for the umpteenth year in a row we relearn the lesson: whatever they show in the summer, and whatever they say in the summer, and whatever is released in the autumn – the game will be different within a couple of patches.

    One of my New Humbug resolutions was to play games a touch less. That means PES and the others that I mention occasionally (XCOM, Civ etc.). So I think progress from here will be slow. Considering I won’t walk away from PES2019 until there’s some sort of endpoint, I could feasibly end up playing it all the way through to PES2020.

    Lloyd – I have a feeling Superstar, cheaty as hell, will keep me going for a long time yet. And I have yet to sample PA0 as I keep meaning to.

  6. That’s a good side NG, huge team spirit and high individual overalls. Rice and Jarvis are clearly out of their depth. It’s not my sort of formation but if I had that team I’d expect to be doing well. That you’re not suggests the game is harder and more prone to scripty shit imho. The alternative is you are getting older and slower…

  7. Boom!! Vardy in extra time. 1-0 to the Millwall.

    I’m going to play the Testimonial this season as PES 2019 Legend Jani Rice is retiring this year.

  8. (John) Rice offers nothing beyond a big shot. So post patch he offers nothing 99% of the time. Metz would drive him to the airport if a decent offer comes in. The worst defaults eva 0/100.

  9. Uncle Turf – a lot of how you find the Defaults depends on your playstyle and your expectations. You’re more of a numbers game man, to you this is a game to be ‘beaten’ in the American gamer sense. To me, it’s a meal to be enjoyed rather than simply analysed for its nutritional qualities. Rice and Casteldine and Giorza and Jarvis are still with me because they bring an essential dash of piquancy to the dish. Rice in particular is an indispensable deputy at CMF, and even without the big shot (3 or 4 ‘BOOM’ goals in hundreds of matches is a paltry return) he is a great scampering annoyance to the opposition. I’d say the late PS2/early PS3-era defaults were the worst ever seen in the series.

  10. Well then, 2-0 down in the Testimonial and who scores a brace to salvage a draw?



  11. On professional with full assistance I reckon a half fit Dodo could get a couple of goals….

    I repeat, none (0) of the current defaults offer any kind of flavour. It’s all in your minds.

  12. This months results….0-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0….that too easy, no grind comment a bit too soon. A really low level van der vaart has popped up in my youth team at 175k. A gem from past ml’s, no doubt not as individual in 2019 but I’m definitely adding him.

  13. Rice has just scored for me, BOOM!

  14. Rice, Rice, Baby

  15. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the decision is yours alone…

    Even after multiple seasons Rice remains a 71 overall.
    His supposed booming shot rarely results in a goal – 2 yards or 30, they all count the same. Goals pay the rent and Rice doesn’t get his share.
    What else does he offer, a scurrying presence? Is that really more useful than another scurrying player who can also head, pass and score?
    He has an identikit face, the true mark of ordinariness.
    He’s a supposed ‘bad boy’ – for what? When did he ride a motorbike through a set of hotel glass doors? You’re no peter beagrie.

    It’s so clear I’m not even going to post the usual courtroom image…

  16. RICE just crawled out from under the pitch in my FIFA and took possession of Solanke’s body and scored 6 for the win!!!!

  17. Uncle Turf – it’s almost as if there is no objective experience of Rice or of PES in general, and it’s entirely a subjective matter. Rice currently sitting out his 3rd suspension of the season for me.

  18. I haven’t had a player sent off since my very first season way back in September. Nobody has ever served a suspension for bookings. Piano players and piano shifters…I think we all know what Rice is.

    I’d love a default, or even better a made up youth teamer to emerge a la 2011-13 but those days are gone. Chris Samba popped up way down the list in my youthies this first season – immense in days gone by and worth a patient stab.

  19. Chris Samba of ex Blackburn infamy?
    he was a unit !!!

    Never ever see a Jay-Jay Okocha though!

  20. There is something distinctive about Rice’s brand of midfield scuttling. That development to 71 OVR in 9 seasons is a bit discouraging though

    As always I am fighting for my life in season 1 of ML. Approval rating is down to 16% but with 6 games to go Chateauroux is hanging on grimly in 9th place, the chairman’s target. After a decent first half of the season things went badly wrong on January deadline day, when our talismanic striker Weghorst was stolen with 3 hours to go by a team matching his reserve fee. Narrowly survived a ‘must win’ game in February, following 3 successive defeats, thanks to a late 20 yarder from Rice! Amusingly ML is treating the battle for 9th place as ‘a thing’, with heavy scripting on and off the pitch to ensure it goes to the last day

  21. Abbeyhill – season one?
    how many restarts have you had?

    Think PES 19 has garnered the most amount of restarted ML’s across more people than any year I can ever remember.

  22. Erm definitely more than 20 Paul. Determined to survive just one season on Challenge mode, regardless of whether this is a sensible use of my time

  23. Bloody hell Abbeyhill !!
    When you pay your money for a game you play it how you want, no rule that says otherwise.
    If surviving a season on Challenge mode is your Winning a ML treble then so be it.

  24. Turf – Thumbs up for the Dodo mention. A god amongst men!

  25. As in both Master League and real life, not-Greg, being sacked tends not to be a voluntary decision

  26. But only in the football world, a la Mourinho, can you get sacked for dismal performance and alienating your employees, and not only get a multi million pound pay out, but walk straight into another job at one of the worlds top clubs (Real Madrid)

    If it wasn’t for the above, Pulis, Allardyce, Pardew and a number of others would be forever unemployed.

  27. You missed Lloyd off that list of managerial failures…

    Yes, samba of the Russia to qpr to Russia saga. A man mountain, who I didn’t realise is still playing.

    Abbeyhill – time to let it go, 9th in season one is broken. IRL you could finish second and be sacked or 23rd and survive. 9th is a random AI figure with no meaning and no variation across the leagues. I’ve decided I won’t chase a vacancy and will only take what’s offered, beyond that it’s whether I feel I’ve done a good job.

  28. Turf – the time to let it go was three months ago, unfortunately it will not be possible now. Next restart coming up….

  29. Some early transfer changes for me – you are right about Plea but even worse was his strike partner Gonzalez – 19 starts, 0 assists, 0 goals. Out he went and in came Gomis. I don’t need to worry about his huge next contract demand as he’s 34. Also out was an identikit amf, dmf, giorza the useless full back and Rice, who rather appropriately was the subject of a bid from a Chinese club. Sub editors would have had a field day.

    Rather strangely for January season one I’m seeing a lot of very low level regens and am trying to bring in a few with the long term in mind – vdv and samba are in, cahill and krancjar in negotiation. This normally doesn’t happen till January season 2.

  30. is that the same Gonzalez I keep signing, N.Gonzalez? Cheap, 74 OVR and only 20, looks like a great prospect, probably better out wide on the left than up front though given lack of strength. Would not class Giorza as useless but he is the one good default that seems a bit bland. Starts off as decent at everything and after a few season’s development is very good at everything but lacks a key defining attribute. There has never been a time when I have thought ‘Only Giorza could do that’, ‘Giorza at his finest there’ etc. What is he like after 9 seasons not-Greg?

  31. For my fast attacking wing back play Giorza is slow, poor at crossing (not that they have ever been effective in 2019), and offers no real shot. I accept he may be a useful full back but he’s a square peg, etc.

    Yes, it’s that gonzalez! An easy free agent signing who you think could be a long term keeper. Instead he is less useful than a default as once again he has no stand out feature – I’d rather play a slow but accurate Jarvis, a clunky but muscular forward or a fast but wayward winger. I got 6m for my half season 5.7 average ‘high price due to his consistency’!

    My strategy with Metz is the right players for the future, even if currently they are poor and I lose. I’ve dropped and listed a 72 overall Sandler at CB to accommodate Samba at 64. Barazite at 74 amf has been sold to allow van der vaart at 65 the shirt. Gomis will keep me in mid table with his goals. Challenge wouldn’t let you do this.

  32. Turf, you run the risk of being a Dario Grady, putting faith in youth and future stars, who never actually make the step forward and you don’t get to see the fruits of your vision as you get sacked, although you cant get sacked on PES if its not challenge mode, where you get sacked anyway regardless 🙂

  33. Game was pissing me off last night with ML scripting. I made a mental note to check and through a 9 game session my results were either better than, or the same, as all the top 6. It started with me in 6th, 8 points behind Liverpool, and ended with me top, 2 points ahead of them.

    The wages structure is a joke, but it seems easy to cheat. Heading to the end of January I had 5 or 6 players wanting renewals, I couldn’t afford even one of them so sold who I could (including Ruben Neves) but as I’m sure you all know, all that happens if you go over budget is that your wage budget goes negative, there is no actual punishment, and I’m fairly certain you can just carry on until you get it back to a positive level.

    I’ve not felt negative about the game for a long time but it’s creeping in now.

  34. Mike – you certainly can go into negative wages and stay like that indefinitely. The drawback being that you are strictly forbidden to sign ANY new players from anywhere, and have to make do with what you’ve got and Loanees that you can get. I ran my ML club for about 3 seasons on a minus-figure for wages, with up to 8 Loanees at once to make up the numbers. It turns around quite fast in the Premier.

    I don’t know if you have ever played the kind of racing game in which, no matter how far behind the leaders you are, you know you will catch them up if you focus properly and drive well – and if you’re ahead, no matter how well you drive, you will always have the AI cars on your shoulder ready to nip in if you make a mistake. That’s the video game programming ethos behind the ML table.

    abbeyhill – Giorza after 9 seasons is a high-statted player who doesn’t really stand out. I also never really say/think of him that only Giorza could have done something that he does. Once or twice he’ll cut inside and unleash a shot that never goes in. I miss full-backs who could score from 40 yards from the wing. I had Enomoto on loan for a few seasons at RB and he was much more individualistic than Giorza. As my finances slowly get to a normal state, I’ll be looking to move Giorza on and replace him with somebody more individual.

  35. Surely being able to sign loanees when severely in the red is still wrong?
    When a club signs a player on loan, a vast majority of the time, the wages are either split, or paid for by the loaning club, its rare that the parent club ever pay 100% of the players wages who they loan out, only in cases where the player may be deemed an exceptional talent and they strike a deal with the club who’s loaning him, that they will pay all the wages as long as the player plays say 90% of the matches.

    So if you are in deficit of wage budget, but still allowed to sign players when you can’t afford their salary, is poor, unless of course PES treats every loanee as being paid 100% by their parent club, which is also, very unrealistic and poor.

    And this is why PES needs an editable budget slider like in FIFA.

  36. Paul – PES does indeed have every parent club pay 100% of the wages. Realism schmealism.

    What’s your view on the absence of trophies from PES?

  37. NG – doesn’t surprise me.
    The trophy remark is sarcastically irrelevant 😉

    I guess PES needs to bend the rules to support its highly unrealistic framework that holds ML together (albeit with masking tape)

  38. Well at least Konami are trying their best.

  39. I honestly don’t know if thats a genuine comment or not, either way …. LMAOOOOOOOOOO !!!!

  40. It’s ok, the parent club uses the loan fee you give them to pay the player’s wages, so the in-game economy is still 100% robust

    Turf – does this new focus on youths mean you’re committing long term to Metz? I still reckon there has to be a player in Gonzalez. He is fast, and all of his other stats are low 70s meaning you can play him literally in any position – CF, LMF, DMF, CMF etc – with no OVR penalty. With a few years of rapid development through his early 20s he should be awesome across the pitch. What formation are you on at the moment, some sort of 3412?

  41. Paul – indeed, and I know other players have struggled to find anything in eg. 2019 Cahill. I’m going big on the potential and trusting myself to manage the inevitable third year wage inflation. But, yes, the lack of sacking helps.

    Abbeyhill – I think so, France ticks all the boxes, but then ultimately it’s France so if I do well maybe I’ll jump ship, it depends where my squad ends up. The first six months really have been a case of trading to get a decent start and build up a lump of cash. No defaults and 25m in the bank by Jan season one feels a solid platform.

    Formation is the old faithful 5-1-2-2 according to the book, but with full backs always set to attack it’s really 3-1-2-2-2. The dmf, cmf and amf play in a slightly offset line, like a zig zag lightning bolt so they cover both sides of midfield.

  42. My PES 2019 journey is very close to its end nearly 1500 games all played online in MyClub killed by the December patch. I can honestly say for me I have kept hanging on hoping I would become accustomed to the new way of play but no its just not to be.
    Before the patch I could effectively kill off any “prick” online shenanigans and hold out but after the patch relentless chasing down, heavy script, kick-off goals, nerfing of anything from outside the box has ruined what I will remember as one of my best ever footballing experiences. It really is a shame that a game I enjoy is lost to its overlords. I have enjoyed your ML tale NG but fear myself that I don’t think I will ever return to ML (probably will start one tomorrow) I want a challenge mode that is in some way reflective of reality, I want a ML world that grew instead of shrunk. PES 2019 owes me nothing 1500 games is testament to that! On the flip I finally played Detroit Become Human and for any of you who like a Heavy Rain style game what a play it is most enjoyable! RDR is finally going to enter the console. I look forward to your European push!!!! Time for a proper big name signing!

  43. Gary – I loved Heavy Rain so much and I bought Detroit on release day but its still in its plastic wrapper to this day, limited gaming time and that is being spent on FIFA 19 and RDR2.

  44. Paul- Same as that until last Wednesday Detroit was gathering dust. Heavy Rain was a great experience but Detroit for me surpasses it and any other interactive drama by a mile, its that good and it looks amazing! Also rumoured DLC coming.

  45. Gary – I’m quietly more annoyed about December’s ‘give PES2019 to online multiplayers and fuck the non-paying proles on single-player’ patch, than about anything else in nuPES history.

  46. interesting perspective on the patch from a MyClub point of view there Gary, thanks. Can’t recall us discussing it much on here at the time, anyone remember what the patch notes actually said?

  47. Ng~ sir that should read give it to the ‘under 20’s age bracket’ as large sections of the online community are not impressed. The tampering in this case really does not suit anyone who want to play football not ping pong.

  48. Not the worst I’ve ever had but an indication of what we all know – penalties don’t exist, if you got one it was a mistake, nothing to see here. Replay is a bit poor, I forgot to save the bit where I rotated the stopped action but you’ll get the point

  49. Well this season will probably be the last in terms of Posting on FIFAX. I posted a new post this morning at 10am as per the schedule and not a single comment.

    Obviously no one is that interested, and really isn’t worth my time staying up until 1am Playing and capturing and editing material then composing the post if no one can even be bothered to view it.

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