Never thought I’d have Lombardo hair a decade later

A big decision to be made: do I stick with World Class and the regular thrashings I’ve been getting?

The sack is looming – and another decision, if I get the sack, what happens then?

Or do I swallow my pride, and admit that it was a season or two too early for World Class, for me, with my modest footy gaming skills? I’d revert to Professional, for the rest of this season at least….

I never mentioned it here but a couple of seasons ago I received a job offer from Fiorentina, one of my favourite Italian clubs in real and virtual life. It was when Gabriel Batistuta was there in the 1990s, and I used to watch the matches, usually hungover, on Sunday afternoons on Channel 4. What great days those were.

I didn’t take the Fiorentina job offer a couple of seasons ago, but I made a separate save for a rainy day, just in case, because you never know, etc. So if I did get the sack now, I could probably hop over to that. Or… I could start again with Leeds, and see if I get as many long-rangers with Hernandez in a new Season 1 as I did a few months ago the first time around.

I was getting a warning from the board after every match. I was surprised the sack hadn’t happened yet.

In the end, I’ve put too much hard work into this Leeds save to let it fall apart on me now.

I swallowed my pride, and changed the difficulty down to Professional – where it will stay for the remainder of this Season 4. I need to get my players in over the summer (more on that below), consolidate, and attack the new season anew on World Class.

On Professional I can win 2 out of 3 matches no problem, probably 3 out of 3 if I concentrate properly.

A solid session lifted me out of the relegation zone and into safety – for now. The FIFA board is notoriously fickle and I might get the bullet anyway at any time (most likely at season’s end), depending on which target I miss out on.

I had a decent January transfer window. Had a good look around for great players out of contract, and found this one, Lisandro Martinez. I’ve shattered my wages structure for him, so Season 5 had better go well.I picked up a couple of journeymen to fill out the ranks and see me through to mid-table mediocrity, hopefully, for the remainder of the season.

I also scored a slightly different goal from a corner routine:

My left-back, Bello, was in that position because I was on an Attacking posture, in which my formation is slightly tweaked to make the full-backs wide midfielders. Which makes Bello stand there at corners.

As can be seen I fluffed the initial shot, but recovered to use his decent left foot very well indeed and tuck one inside the post.

This was my first footy gaming session for a few days, and it showed. I was rusty and did well to get 3 wins and 2 draws from 5 matches on Professional.

As ever I remain blown away by just how high-quality the overall experience of playing modded FIFA20 on PC is.

If anything the shift of gaming platforms this year is more momentous than my move to FIFA20.

There’s quite a bit of precedent for me playing FIFA on this blog. In the early years especially, it was part of the routine for me to give FIFA a few months from spring into summer.

There’s no precedent with me going to PC. This really is new ground broken, and it still feels exciting and new.

The only drawback is that on console, I used to play an occasional couple of matches from the comfort of my bed, several times a week, and those matches add up over time. They’re not happening now. The PC is in its own room, at a desk (where it has to stay), so it’s more of a formal occasion. Which leads to a slowed-down progress. So when work and life get busy, as they are for me, things are slow indeed on the PC gaming front.

Updated: 19th June 2020 — 11:57


  1. NG – I don’t like changing difficulties mid season as I like to see how things pan over the entire season, with form etc. There has been many a time I have started on pro and thought this is getting easy now, only to hit a bad patch of form. I also remember in 2019 getting relegated from the Championship on world class and sticking with it the following two seasons afterwards. This made it a more worthwhile experience. I would be more tempted to take the job offer and keep the Leeds save than difficulty hopping. Are you on Legacy Defending or Tactical?

    Paul- as for free-kick it is the Street Fighter post shot combos that I struggle with. My 46 year old brain has a real difficulty with things like that.

  2. Any reason why the ‘Leeds have sacked me but I’ll prove them wrong at….’ wasn’t an option? I view it as a personal journey, and just about every manager gets sacked one day – why not embrace it and apply for a job at a rival?

  3. Uncle Turf – I just don’t want to go back to the start, Impure of me I know, but I don’t want to get to know a new bunch of players all over again, I’ve already got a lot of time invested in this Leeds save, and it’s looking like September or later that I’ll have an unbusy life again. I’ve got Football Manager for the Purity angle (where I am 100% Pure).

    Darryl – still on Legacy. I have been saying for 13 years that I am an average football gamer but nobody believes me. Professional/Legacy seems to be my level. The game is modded in various ways that changes things though.

  4. Turf – He may not get sacked but personally feel he has to go. We can’t carry on with the situation as it is. We want Not Greg out, say we want Not Greg out….

  5. Why Not persevere with World Class but adjust th sliders slightly, just increae the AI passing and shooting error percentage by a few, might give you just that little leeway you need to compete rather than dropping to do a much lighter level in professional.

    My season 7 on Legendary is going well, interesting, certainly a shift up in difficulty from World Class, add to that the multiplier of the FIFER mod gameplay tweaks and it really is a challenge, that requires focus and attention.

    All but confirmed that there will be no PES 2021 in its own right.
    The Australian board of arts and entertainment have had a listing added that shows that PES 21 will be a digital only season update for PES 20, new kits, and new team rosters likely, maybe a few other bits but certainly nothing in the way of major new features, or ML additions or anything.

    It’s way beyond laughable. Obviously poor old little Konami cant possibly get a game out amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, meanwhile EA announced at EA Play last night, 8 new games, Star Wars Squadrons will looks insane, a new SKATE game, and Madden 21 and FIFA 21 for PS5, so EA can produce multiple new games, across new generation consoles, but Konami can’t release an updated version of PES. Embarassing isn’t the word.

  6. Paul – I saw that on the PES forums the other day, felt suprisingly little to nothing. I want my next PES experience to be a retro one, the new games have been updates on the preceding for a few years now, with the PESness progressively watered out of them. PES missed out on the PS4 launch as well, and that’s without a pandemic for an excuse. Konami is just the publisher of PES of course, not the developer, so they’re the wrong target – it’s a little like blaming Penguin for JK Rowling not writing another book. PES productions, the company that produces PES is the culprit. Authors can ask book publishers for more time of course, and in software development they’d have had the option to ask their publisher for more time and resources, so I wonder if that either didn’t happen, or was requested and refused. So, another new console generation, and it’s yet another FIFA solo party, history just keeps on repeating itself. PS3 had PES2008 and that was a technical disaster that Seabass said at the time should have been delayed or even skipped on PS3.

  7. I read on Twitter somewhere of a new engine for PES so they’re skipping a year. I’ll pick up the PES update anyway and the good news about no new game is that mods will still be relevant. In the meantime, FIFA 20 is excellent so I may start career mk2 whilst I wait for the next FIFA to iron out the inevitable issues. In an ideal world I’ll wait for the patch cycle to finish but I’m too impatient for all that.

    I see Cyberpunk has been delayed again…

  8. NG/Paul – I always think just knocking the acceleration slider down for the CPU by one point from 50 to 49 can make a big difference to balance out the difficulty. Then just pop it back up when you feel like you are getting to grips with it.

  9. Trouble with that Darryl is that the sliders have linked values, so when you slide accelleration up or down, it intrinsically links to and adjusts other stats based values, so changing accelleration affects the players other stats, so you’re fundamentally altering the game, making players less able than they should be, whereas chaning shot/pass error just leads to the AI not being quite so clinical all the time.

    The AI is still smarter and tougher and more aware and better as its still on World Class but the error % increase just adds a little bit of give.

  10. NG, Manual passing is another option in terms of making the Professional level more challenging. And the rumour was floating around for previous iterations of FIFA that Legendary was more difficult than World Class. I experimented with that on FIFA 16 (I think) and found it to be plausible. I remember toying with the theory that the CPU was more respectful of players who chose Legendary and played more conservatively on the grounds that “this guy’s on Legendary so he must be pretty handy so I’ll be wary of him”. Dubious theory I guess:)

  11. Apologies for no post at midday today – I’ve been in bed with a spot of nausea/vomiting for 24 hours. Feeling bit better now and avidly looking forward to playing some FIFA this afternoon, and then really getting stuck into my FM2019 save this evening. Everyone reading this will know the misery of pacing the floor, then laying down, then getting up FAST to get to the bathroom, then not being able to rest… And all the while thinking how taken for granted all the things we love to do are.

    I’m planning to play match or two with Manual settings on Professional as rhymes suggests, and will upload it later as a new post if it’s decent.

  12. NG – glad you are feeling better and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Manual/Pro.

    18 games into season 2 now and getting through the games at good speed. My objective for the Championship was to try to build a team that was more consistent and hard to beat as well as consolidation within that league. So far, so good as I have won 8, drawn 7 and lost 3 and find myself in 8th.

  13. Coincidentally I was curled around the bowl yesterday morning with what felt very much like excessive lager intake vomiting. No idea what it was but it wore off by tea time. I haven’t been anywhere or seen anyone that could have passed it on surely?

  14. I didn’t make it to my PC… the only comfortable spot for me all day flat on my back in bed, and not moving (very important, the not moving part). Slight respite this evening, 24 hours after the onset. I’m having the classic rice and crackers. I’ll try and get something up tomorrow, but this is more than likely a rollover to Friday now.

    Darryl – a few more draws then! I think it’s tied to your team strength and profile. I.e. if you have a middling team, with a decent but unspectacular squad, lots of draws.

    Uncle Turf – among the interesting things I read today in my Google vision quest for causes, symptoms and remedies, was some info that was new to me. You can acquire the bug from yourself through not washing your hands after the toilet (number 1 or number 2).

  15. Really? I never knew that, I always assumed you were your own little cess pool but effectively inert to yourself. That’s quite a thing to learn at our age. How can we never have been told that. I don’t actively indulge in the equivalent of dirty protests but I’d have likely been a lot more careful over the years.

    A 0-0v Bristol city after they had a man sent off was a reassuring score tonight. It doesn’t need me to say it but yes, it is comfortably the best football game made in years. Still hugely disappointed by the free transfer lists at the start of the game though. Completely token and not remotely accurate.

  16. Hope you’re both feeling better. Surprised about infecting yourself from a wee, in fact I’ve known a rugby playing doctor whose party trick was a pint of their own. There is a risk of infection from flushing with the lid up in a shared house as you can inhale airborne droplets.
    Keeping the conversation in the lavatory, my wife found out on her last shift that a poo transplant is a real medical procedure…

  17. NG – that is exactly it as my first team is very balanced and all are rated from 70-73 OVR. I feel now I have a good base to build on with some good young players, who will improve. My next objective is to bring in some quality players in each area now. By finishing in the top 10 it will mean I get the funds to allow me to do so. You have to build the walls before you put on the roof of a new house.

  18. Won a crazy 3rd round replay 5-3 last night against Chelsea and scored a memorable goal. My form has dipped since and lost 5-0 at home to Man City since in the 4th round but the goal had me on my feet.

  19. Get better soon NG!
    Again, No FIFAFX post this morning, I just haven’t been indoors/at my PC/gaming in any way over the last 5 days or so.
    I will absolutely 100% have a new post up later today/ny tonight though, even if it is a concise one, with not too much to chat about.

  20. Sneak preview of my post tomorrow, the changes to passing and shooting levels of assistance (i.e. from full Assisted to Semi-assisted) is a massive game-changer for me in FIFA20. I’ve played two full sessions with the new settings now (luckily chose the best match of the two sessions to record). No going back to full Assisted mode, ever.

    I was looking on EvoWeb for the first time in months this week to see what the state of play is there on the other side. First, PES2021, what a shame. Expected, but still a shame. Even if I only play FIFA from now until my dying day, I will still be a PES fan at heart. That’s the school where I was, er, schooled in footy gaming.

    Second – they’re talking about PES2014 in a hugely positive light! I was thrilled to see that as I know PES2014 to be the Great Undiscovered PES for many a footy gamer. If David Lynch made a PES game, it would be PES2014.

    I was most interested at how excited the EvoWeb thread commenters were about PES2014’s PA1 setting, which they describe as the perfect halfway house between manual and assisted.

    Well, FIFA20’s Semi settings accomplish exactly the same thing. I’ve got PES2014 on my PC and I did a direct comparison. If I’ve got time to do a comparison video I’ll do that, but there’ll at least be discussion of it tomorrow.

    In a nutshell, FIFA20 on Assisted is good, but FIFA20 on Semi-Assisted is the perfect footy gaming experience. I’ve chickened out and left through-balls on Assisted for now though as there’s no Semi setting for that, only Manual.

    I’m still feeling occasionally queasy and not eating very much but feel 90% all right again. As ever nowadays I was thinking it was Corona.

  21. Darryl – lovely goal, keeper beaten by placement not power, delicate flight through the air. A proper long-ranger for sure. Close to 30 yards. Hard to estimate on FIFA as the pitch lines in the 18-yard box don’t give us a good ready-reckoner. 28-30 yards for me.

    Chris99/Uncle Turf – the relevant bacteria can live in the vicinity of the wee-producing organ. Although in my wide-ranging reading on the topic on Monday-Tuesday in good moments, it seems they can live pretty much anywhere. We’re pretty much made of, and surrounded by, and breathing/ingesting all the time, a constant cocktail of bacteria.

  22. not-Greg – interesting, and that was indeed the way I played the great PES2014. So is 2021 confirmed as squad update only? My only remaining hope for PES is that they release a Switch version which has some vestiges of classic values. No evidence that this will happen though

    On FIFA absolutely agree about semi shooting, gives sublime control and satisfaction of hitting a shot just right. Not sure about semi passing though – obviously an extra degree of difficulty with the misplaced easy passes but I couldn’t see any advantages v assisted e.g. the ability to pull off better passes. Might be different on 20 however

  23. I’ve always played all semi-assisted settings on FIFA, does give more freedom when passing, not so much standard passing, but when using the ‘into space’ passing with L1&R1 together.

    PES is just a waste of time, they should knock it on the had, it had a good run, but is more of a laughing stock these days, and not to produce any type of game this year is just laughable.

  24. NG – that is where I may venture if World Class starts to feel to comfortable. That may be a better option than Legendary.

  25. Still dabbling with fifa 20 off and on, but I’m back playing PES 2019 now. I’m becoming quite ambidextrous. PES 20 has been sold, and good riddance. The death of PES that game, or the final nail in the coffin anyway. PES 2019 has it’s many faults for sure, but it’s still the superior game. One thing is it’s just nice to be able to cross and ball and score with a header from time to time!

    New ML on the go, a slow burner with a few house rules, no PES 21 patch for me!

  26. abbeyhill – the full match replay I have for tomorrow shows just how much Assisted shooting has mis-educated my muscle memory – my shots missing by mile before I readjusted.

    The allure of Semi-assisted passing for me isn’t to provide extra advantages, but to introduce extra difficulties and subtleties.

    Paul – even if there was never another PES, the games from ISS all the way through to, yes, PES2019 (89934 out of 10, etc), with a few notable exceptions (PES2016 and PES2018 might as well no longer exist for me), woould still be the football gaming equivalent of The Godfather plus The Sopranos plus Breaking Bad plus… you get the idea. I don’t require anyone’s agreement or support to believe this, and no argument of any kind, reasoned or emotive, will ever shake that view. Whenever FIFA20 does run out of steam for me (no sign yet, but it inevitably will), I’ll almost certainly play a past PES for a while. Or FIFA21. Loving this new world but will never forget the old.

    Darryl – no harm in trying it, just for one game, really opened my eyes to just how depraved the PES-schooled muscle memory has become, the expectation of every pass being perfectly guided has to go. Remember my dalliance with Manual on PES2019 last year? I wish I’d followed through on that now. When PES2020 came along I was too keen to stick to my tradition. Well, tradition is out the window.

    Tommy – totally agree. What is it with the even-numbered PES games on PS4? They’ve all been weak efforts. PES2019 the clear standout PS4 title.

  27. nG – I’ve also been dabbling with PES 2017 on PC which doesn’t seem too bad either. Got a 2019/20 season patch (smoke) for it too. Nice to see the AI shooting from any kind of distance in that one.

    PES 2018 on PS4 was OK if I recall. The last time the AI was relatively potent yet fair with it.

  28. NG – I agree, the history of PES of old, for me PES 3, Pes 5, PES 2010, PES 11, PES 13, and even PES 17, have all been enjoyable and held great memories which shall never be forgotten, those games, the earlier ones especially formed the foundations of my foootball gaming growing up, but everything since PES 13, so 14 to present day, has been a total shambolic mess.
    And no amound of emotive, reminiscing, glossy eyed fanboy adolation will convince me other wise.

    since PES 13, there has not been one single stand out PES game, no game that has been superb in its own right, its just been a case of ‘well at least this year isnt as poor as last year’, the constant stripping of features, the constant watered down, no direction mess of a ML, the removal/losing of the few licences they did have, including the current game now having less than half he amount of stadiums that PES 13 had, the series just takes giant leaps backwards every single year, so not trying to convince you or influence your thinking, I have no need or reason, and don’t take any pleasure in the fact thsat PES is total shit, i wish it was superb and we had 2 great games to choose from, but we dont.

  29. NG – to fully appreciate semi assisted/manual you need to up the half lengths.

  30. Hope everyone keeping well. I’ve tried to jump into the new football manager again but every year it seems to get less welcoming. I’ve played 12 warm-up matches and still not started the league in Serie B. Been away from PES so long that I think I’m looking back on it more fondly than I should.

  31. Paul – yes indeed, there never has been a time when there were two good footy games to play, because the dominant character of FIFA until ’20 was – emptiness. Just empty emptiness….

    Tommy – PES2018 is on the villain’s list for me. Every PES that was a sop to multiplayer, fast, frenetic trends, is on that list. There’s some good games on that list, mind. PES6 being the Scooby Doo villain that started the list…

    PES2019, though, a solid million out of 10 game.

    prsgame – 12 warm-up matches in FM?! 4 or 5 would be too many. If you haven’t already, take responsibility for arranging friendlies away from your Assistant Manager.

  32. LOL NG I long for the day for you to define ’emptiness’ as you associate it with FIFA so freely.
    What does emptiness mean to you?

    FIFA 16 was a great game, FIFA 18, 19 and 20 are all great games and each one has had a faurky solid CM, with 18,191, and 20 having every single teams stadium licensed, plenty to do in your CM, solid youth setup, player training, staff hiring/utilisation, a good transfer system, and actual trophies when you win a competition, I really do struggle to get where ’empty’ comes from, and if you’re gonna say the game play itself felt empty, then again, I’d love a definition, as 18,19, and 20, and even FIFA 16 have all had great game play, weight to players, solid feeling, a well rounded package, with FIFA 20 admittedly upping the level and being the best version.

    I just dont get how anyone playing a game with no licensed teams, hardly any stadiums, abysmal incorrect commentary, a ML mode thats a hollow shell of nothing to do except pick team, play games, and gane pay with a shocking AI, abysmal tactical mechanics and so many glitches its laughable.

    Just to be clear, not looking for an explanation, or definition, just saying… ‘I don’t get it’.

  33. I did it! I got him to say it all again!

  34. Oof, I’ve stirred the pot here. Good to be back.

    nG – they all start to blur into one, and trying to remember back just gets me in a mess. 2018 was fast, but at least the AI did something, without resorting to as much blatant cheating/slowdown mechanics (2020). 2019 lacks any kind of inventive AI, but it’s still better than 2020.

    I will probably pick up fifa 21 this autumn, the only way I’d consider the pes 2020/21 season patch is on PC with a heap of AI improvement mods (do any exist?) and if it was cheap.

  35. Tommy – I idly did a search for ’empty’ and ’emptiness’ in the comments history for the site and there’s real gold in there.

    We’ve still seen nothing truly official about PES2021. The games listing on a trade website (I think it was?) saying that ’21 would just be a season update has been taken to mean what we all think it means, but see The True Brits vid here where he debunks the whole thing and seems pretty certain that PES2021 will be a separate game in its own right. Which probably means an iterative update of the PS4 PES series. If they follow the odd-numbered trajectory it should be a decent game. But can it be better than what I’m playing in FIFA20 on the PC? Quite hard to imagine that now.

    TTB’s vid is 2 weeks old and there may have been some definitive update on PES2021 since then that I’m not aware of, would like to see it if so.

  36. I’m still going off news from a few weeks ago, and haven’t see that video, so I’ll take a look, thanks. It’s s easy to jump to conclusions, and easy to forget we are dealing with one of the biggest disruptions to business across the globe. Nothing makes sense right now, and nothing is certain.

    Let’s hope for some news soon!

  37. Essentially TTB says the trade website is just awkwardly phrased Japanglish and it’s really saying that PES2021 will be a distinct game that is the same sort of iterative update we usually see, while talking about how PES2022 will be an all-new engine (groan at the perception of ‘engine’ as an automatic pro-word).

    And the only other source is a completely unofficial fansite with the ePES logo in its Twitter handle that everyone seems to have taken as official confirmation of the Japanglish trade website entry. All the fansite tweet says is ‘if what this seems to be saying is true, would it be good’ etc.

    If there’s another source I’d like to hear it.

    The thread discussing this seems to have vanished from EvoWeb so maybe it’s all been properly debunked while we weren’t looking. Edit: just found that thread near the bottom of the front page, last entry Sunday, they all seem to have accepted it’s a done deal (i.e. no PES2021) but TTB’s vid does make a case against the case.

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