Running like a Gauld

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017120112After the encouraging upturn of fortunes I reported in the last post, I embarked on the most awful run ever. From one extreme to the other. 8 games without a win, just like it says there.

Nothing I did worked. Everything I did failed. My results for December:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161014123139

Other than that Wigan anomaly, I can’t account for what happened.

I’m finding PES2017 a high-quality experience, for the most part. The AI is giving me a great game, every game, on Professional difficulty, a season and a half in. Which doubtless says more about me than about PES2017. But whatever it is, I’ll happily take it.

I spoke on Friday about the booboo I made with one F Friday, a player who suddenly became so good that my playfully-bestowed moniker of ‘The Black Schwarz’ started to seem more than just playful. Sadly, he only came good after I’d agreed to sell him.

He’s gone now. I couldn’t buy him back in the transfer window — which is fair enough, really. If you drop a clanger like that one, you must expect there to be consequences. No consequences, no game.

I had another striker lined up.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161014123435

B DOST is my very first press-conference-cutscene signing. He’s a big, chunky striker, not too dissimilar to Friday, but has yet to gel with the side. I’m not writing him off just yet thought. Fool me once, shame on me, or whatever that thing was Bush said. (Oh, and I know who B DOST’s ‘real life’ self is, and where he plays. I am aware that so-called real-life football exists. I deliberately choose to ignore it here. PES is better.)

DOST appears in the following mini-compilation, getting his first goal. My new loan signing, Remy, is also there, getting his debut goal (which should have been Rice’s).

There are also a couple of interesting moments from general play. A professional foul that wasn’t. And finally… well… you’ll see. It used to be said of Pro Evo that you could play it to death and still see something new every session. The explanation of today’s post title is at the end of this clip:

PES2017 is a 9/10 game for me right now, let down by two things.

First is the skewed finances in Master League that make it far, far too easy to buy and sell players. I don’t like being able to get Remy on loan, either.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017123525

And then there’s the peculiar lack of fouls in the majority of matches. There is no question that this is a deliberate policy decision by PES Productions (not Konami). And it is arguably the stupidest game design decision ever made in the history of game design decisions. ‘But nobody wants the game stopped every 10 seconds for fouls!’ Who says something like that? People, of course, and in enough numbers for PES Productions (not Konami) to take heed.

Well I do want the game stopped for fouls – every bloody second if need be! If that’s how the player plays, then that’s just what has to happen. Let the player learn how to play so as not to concede fouls. That’s the proper Pro Evo way. Not this horrible ‘continuous play’ ethos.

Imagine a Formula One game in which you were not allowed to crash – where the car was gently guided back onto the track without allowing any interruption to the gameplay. Where any crashes with other cars were just ignored for the sake of ‘flow’. That would be the stupidest, most insulting thing ever, wouldn’t it?

There are fouls in PES2017, we must acknowledge. There are matches with a proper abundance of fouls – about 1 match in 6 for me. And what wonderful matches those matches are! What a stark contrast they make with the no-fouls matches, which are the majority.

I appreciate that nobody makes football games for the over-20s anymore. I’m a long way outside EA’s and Konami’s target demographic. They both must know that they are never getting any Ultimate shiteClub cash from me.

But would it kill them to give us a simple referee strictness toggle switch, and let us oldies (of all ages) just go and play by ourselves like we want to? Why not throw us this bone?

You know those moments when a player gets clattered, and spreads his arms wide as if to say ‘Ref!’? I would like to see each and every one of those instances given as a foul and a free kick, and play stopped.

This match here was my game of the season so far – the fouls/free kicks count is not a coincidence:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017125745

Even a 6-4 fouls count isn’t really enough for me. 10-10 would be about right.

You can say ‘PC modding community!’ all you like, but I play PES on a console.

Anyway, the medication is kicking in, so onto other things. Here is my squad for the second half of the season:

pes2017-mid-season-2-first-xi-and-squadLICHT, NIVET, EDINHO, and Regen LESCOTT are emergency Youths, plucked from obscurity in the grand tradition of a panicking Master League player who messed up his transfer window and needs to fill some gaps.

I sold Castledine, which brings down the curtain on last season’s Lennon-and-McCartneyesque partnership, one of PES2016’s highlights.

I’m still not out of the running for the playoffs.

9 points adrift, a few wins will see the table obliging me:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017125819

I’m on Professional, and I’ve shown that I can get a run going. Once all the new players gel – and that Team Spirit of 80 shows they are gelling – things will change, I’m sure of it.

My noob errors in the transfer market have probably crimped my style this season enough to consign me to a Season 3 in Division 2, but we will see.


Updated: 18th October 2016 — 10:05


  1. Jay – it did, and it’s not there this year. I for one am happy about that. It made any team with a high TS play like Barca.

  2. Paul – here’s a full game. Not sure it shows what you’re looking for, it was pretty scrappy until the end. Peach of a goal to finish though! Forgot to snap the control settings, it’s default all the way, so basic shooting and 1 bar. Teammate controls are assisted, which I think is default anyway?

  3. Three games and three wins last night means I’m now third and just three points behind Hull at the top and one behind Bournemouth in second. I know the game is letting me get within touching distance of promotion again but this time I’m going to be ready when it inevitably throws me another shit* run of form. 12 games to go in season two.

    *Using “shit” as three posters in a row said shit on page one and I wanted to be in with the in-crowd. Shit.

  4. Shed – watch out for the post-January “slump”.

  5. Wicked Tommy – will check this out asap and comment back. Cheers
    I tried experimenting last night with advanced shooting, first shot was a 40 yard screamer which cannoned off the crossbar, right in the corner, very impressed as hadn’t been able to hot long rangers with as much accuracy on basic shooting.
    But then after a few matches I had to turn it back to basic as the advanced control scheme is very odd, as in you push LS towards the top corner for high, top corner shots, and for bottom corners, you have to push the LS back away from the goal, which is counter-intuitive.
    I was finding that even a very short feathered stab of the LS towards a top corner was seeing my players balloon the ball over the bar even from close range.

    Shed – welcome to the shit club!!

    Theres a guy who frequents the forums over on a certain website, who’s always posting about tactics, team play etc, Klashman.
    Anyway, he’s released a guide with videos of how to edit every premier league team to imitate their accurate, real life tactics, maybe be worth a look, I know the WERD’s amongst us may fancy a look.

    I may instigate these before starting Season 4.

  6. The development curves change depending on the type of training chosen so I assume players will turn out differently depending on circumstance. Glowing arrow has an effect too but not sure what triggers them yet.

  7. Cook — if that’s true it’d be wonderful, but I have dark doubts. Remember when the tactical sliders first appeared in PES and the community was split between those who swore they changed everything and the rest (me among them) who swore they did next to nothing (I thought they did nothing at all). Well I’m waiting to see which camp I fall into when it comes to this ML’s training regimes. I thought that the old tactical sliders were litttle more than placebo switches, something for the player to do to provide the illusion of doing something. This year I’m happy with the effectiveness of ATT/DEF levels, the most effective we’ve ever had in PES? But some of the strategies leave me bemused. I currently have Hug the Touchline and Attacking Fullbacks mapped to my d-pad, and can’t honestly say I see any difference between my team with them on and off. With Hug the Touchline on I’ll still often see my wingers or wide men operating in CMF positions. With it off, I’ll see them operation along the touchline to just the same extent. Likewise with Attacking Fullbacks on (and ATT level 3 or above) there’s no noticeable change in the LB and RB behaviours.

    So if PES Productions are capable of offering up tactical and strategic options that are little more than cosmetic placebo switches, they’re capable of rigging up something similar with the Training. IMO. All remains to be seen.

  8. Not likely to go up this year – seven games without a win has brought mid table obscurity with ten games or so left. I concur with the strategy options – I have centres for heading, false 9 etc and see nothing happening at all. Maybe superstar negates your movement, like 2014 seemed to put the knackers on more deft approach work?

  9. Jay – it was in last years game yes and I too have wondered why it was taken out. You used to see it displayed against the next opponent before entering the match screen. It was a useful tool to help you approach the next game. If I had a bit higher TS I knew I could afford to be more attacking.

  10. Could have sworn TS for CPU was in… Must have imagined it. NG – as far as strategy goes I notice it immediately when I choose overlapping full backs or tiki taka.

    Paul – don’t you have to do that before the start of a ML though? I did that before btw – tweaking the tactics of each team – and if I remember correctly they get overwritten during an ML as CPU teams acquire new players and stuff like that. That’s not to say it doesn’t work on this years edition of course.

  11. Rafa Silva (Benfica), another one with the Gauld saunter.

  12. Keiren dowell is another, I’m sure it makes them feel slower than they are.

    NG, I’m going on my maybe flawed observations when I change the training from role orientated to focused training. It may not translate into actual growth.

  13. Attacking full backs definitely has an effect for me. I use them to overlap as an option when I cut in with my wingers, working upfield with one twos. I was threatening to absolutely smash a team and then Burnet my Dutch left back found Oularé, my excellent target man combined three times for a headed hat trick, before adding another 2 from Oularé for a 5-1 win. I’m 11th off 6th with 7 games left. Even if I win all 7 i don’t think I’ll manage it. A third and surely final season in the championship awaits.

    NG – Adam Le Finder plays PES ML and guess who his striker is?! Friday!

  14. Paul – I am well aware of Klashman as he does a fantastic job and have followed his work in the past.

  15. NG – have you experimented with the effects of the Malicia skill on the number of fouls?

  16. Jay – but who does his cousin Adam Le Windows Explorer have up front?!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

    I’ve got everyone who can be trained up with Malicia, trained up. Doesn’t seem to make a difference. A lot of my cynicism re the tactics and strategies and skills comes from knowing that if I was developing a game like PES, I’d pack it with miscellaneous buttons and levers and doohickeys that did little or nothing too.

  17. Uncle Turf – I have seen False 9 make my nominated CF drop deep. There are a few others that have palpable effects on the pitch that I can see and feel. So I don’t think all the strategies are bogus. Maybe most of them do something, but I’m sure that some are just makework, I really am. The simple ATT/DEF levels switch is the most potent strategy modifier this year by a long way. Combine ATT/DEF with formation switches, and many of the strategies seem underpowered or nonexistent.

  18. Season 4 got off to an unexpected start last night.
    Spent most of my allocated hour and half gaming time dealing with pre-season, shipping out 4 or 5 fringe players and bolstering a few positions.
    I didn’t want to change the team up too much, so to keep team Spirit high, and was fairly happy with my current squad and wanted to develop it further rather than just insta-buy players, also like to keep my squad size at around 25 or 26, easier to manage.

    17yr old Adebayor returned from loan, and I shipped him straight out on loan again, I signed C Hunnam, an Iranian CF, 78 OPR withy excellent speed and finishing stats. He will provide cover for 18yr old Gyan.
    Also promoted E Lavezzi from the youth team, only 72 OPR but a superb growth curve and already good key stats. And finally signed a Russian CB, 79 OPR but high 80’s stats for defensive prowess, ball winning, tackling, heading, and he’s only 23.
    After my wheeling and dealing I’m left with a £40mil transfer budget and £17mil wage budget.

    Loaded in 4 new kits, Home Away, 3rd and GK, and started the new season full of hope, and to build on last seasons over-achieving 5th place, first up was Watford away.
    I took the lead inside 15 mins with a great downward header from Correa, but ended up losing 2-1, Watford were rampant. Should have had about 10 fouls, including a penalty, was only awarded one, not the best start.

  19. Paul – I remain shocked at the finances that can be generated in ML nowadays, but last year’s had a built-in limiter at the highest end where you ended up not being able to buy anyone due to truly ridiculous transfer fees and salary demands. You could afford maybe 1.5 players per season, on average. So we’ll see if the same obtains this year.

    And re. the fouls, like I’ve been saying, every single instance where we see the animation of a clattered player spreading his arms in protest while play ‘flows’ on (groan) should be given as a foul. I want that to happen. I don’t want this ghastly pissing ‘flow’ at all. That’d be the true PES gameplay that they no longer want to give us. We all know why. Those fuckers online.

  20. I’ve just signed De Jong on a free, less than 12 months after selling him for 8million or thereabouts. I think by season 4 or 5 we could all be rolling in it. I’ll happily sell De Jong again if I get an offer. It’s something I don’t like but I’ve seen before the impact of sticking with the bulk of a squad – while you make steady progress the following season everyone else is 6-8 points overall ahead of your team. Buying in the quality or getting regens is the way, you win nowt with Rice…

    (if ever there was a set up for a picture in a few weeks time of Rice holding the trophy aloft).

  21. Uncle Turf – for me that conscious self-limiting re. the squad is a very handy difficulty modifier. It won’t be long before I’m conspicuously disregarding opportunities to sign ridiculous players relative to my level, and pull outlandish deals. When Remy goes back, there’ll be no more. Last year I did it all and had that squad of Galacticos (but still never won anything on Superstar).

  22. I’m not assuming that mega money pots and signing galacticos will be too easy just yet as even with a near £20 mil wage budget, after 5 or 6 of my squad agreed contract renewals, each wanted at least an increase of 500k – 800k per year, so there’s 3 mil gone just like that.
    Had a look around, Harry Kane at spurs was valued at 34 mil and he was on a 6.4 mil a year salary ….. so it all adds up quickly.

    I also tried, and failed, several times to sign other more well known, costly players, and they refused to join.
    Whether the finances accumulated once you start winning the league, champions league etc make it too easy to sign anyone, time will tell.

  23. Hmm, that’s interesting Paul as Harry Kane was one of my regulars last couple of years, often available for free. Perhaps the stars really will be limited to one a season then.

  24. The contract renewals bled me dry and left no money for signing anyone. Sell to buy by the looks of it for me. Once you’ve had a player for 5 seasons, their next renewal really hits you hard. Had to sell Toure just to balance the books. That may well be my Friday moment as I’m regretting it already.

  25. Valeron is on £2.5 million at the moment. Next season he’ll probably want loads more and as he’s an integral part of my midfield, he’s going to get it the swine.

  26. NG – No sign of the Messiah appearing in Fleetwood soon as I have slipped to 7th with a tough run, so Superstar will wait a while. I would never change difficulty mid season as the difficulty can only be gauged over a full season, with the ups and downs along the way.

  27. I remember getting to the stage quite quickly with PES2016 – by season 5 or 6 – where I could only afford one new player per season (and they were all disappointingly much the same as each other, but that’s another issue).

    Darryl – if you’re wondering why your last innocuous comment was held for moderation, the word ‘Messiah’ did it. I’ve still got a comprehensive WENB/Adam filter operating, and that’s one of the keywords used by their/his many enemies.

  28. I quite like these reports of players being hard to keep somehow. Hope it’s not a broken feature in practice but I like the premise.

  29. There does appear to be some kind of Pyramid wage structure in place whereby players who start regularly, will demand higher wages for renewals, as I managed to sign my new Russian CB, 79 OPR, and he only asked for 490k a year wages, yet Acedo, my regular right back whom I’ve had for 2 seasons and starts every game, wanted an extra 833k to renew his contract for another year.

  30. Darryl’s not the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy!

    I think my youngest has spent so long looking at PS4 bundle deals that he’ll be able to go on Mastermind soon.

  31. Just got the PSVR, missus bought me it for xmas so have to wait but it looks like an amazing bit of kit.

    anybody had any of their players given a nickname by the fans yet? 4 seasons in and not one here so far.

  32. My CF contract renewal demand was £8 mill per year for one season. I still have a young squad so will be hit hard by this as time goes by.

  33. Paul – Lobato has been given the snappy nickname ‘Joy of the People’, Season 5 I think.

  34. There is a direct correlation between me coming on here and mouthing off about how easy I’m finding it and a ball-aching shit-fest of a run of not winning. 9 games now and I’m not even winning the possession battle. Every match the AI seems stronger, faster and more lethal. They may only have 1 shot but you can guarantee it will go in. I’ve gone from 5th to 13th.

  35. Theres hope for my Arcas yet then Cook.

    Turf – I think the game senses you are doing well and thinks ‘we’ll put the brakes on that immediately’.
    I went 9 games unbeaten last season (7 wins 2 draws) and then went on a run of 0 wins in 6 games. Just couldn’t buy a result.
    Commented before that I felt its the game mechanics way of simulating ebb and flow of form, but sometimes it goes from one extreme to the other.

    So who here has a 4k TV? whos buying a PS4 Pro? just to Play PES 17 in 4k. 🙂

  36. Paul – The outlay for all of that makes my eyes water. It would be nice, but I can’t bring my self to part with £350 pro + £400 for a 4k TV, let alone the virtual reality kit on top. I’ll be quite happy with my slim as long as Red Dead 2 runs ok on it (trailer at 4pm wild west fans).

  37. Uncle Turf – I remember your PES2012 trajectory probably better than you do, and it sounds like you’re having a similar one this time so far, barring the tropical growth of the transfer kitty of course.

  38. Paul – sorry, no, it’s been scientifically proven by Donald trump’s fact checkers that posting on here causes the game to change. I beat Fulham in the next match 3-2 with the last kick of the game. It should be in jail.

    One slightly nigglesome thing is that when I bring subs on my forward line can consist of all four loanees – depay, iheanacho, pato and origi. None of them feel particularly better than my own squad players. I don’t just mean individuality, we all know that’s gone, but actually faster, more accurate, etc. I’m not sure what we are getting for our money beyond say 70ovr. Happy to be proven wrong by a Lloyd video showing Suarez doing an overhead rabona…

  39. Tommy – Red Dead Redemption (minus the zombie add on) remains my favourite game of the PS3 era so I’ll definitely have a look at that trailer. It is however slightly odd given the game isn’t out for another year yet – at least. I suppose that’s how game marketing works. I even had an email from Game the other day inviting me to pay for a pre-order!

    One game of ML last night and very enjoyable one. 3-0 win vs QPR with three very different goals – an opportunist one, a spectacular volley from 25 yards and an Arsenal-like team goal. Now just one point off the top of the Championship with 11 to play.

    I’m no great fan of Team Spirit but it does at least seem to be applied better this time. I’m finding certain low rated players are working better in my starting XI than the higher rated signings I thought would replace them by now. A case in point being my Croatian CB Pavlovic. He’s just 66 rated but plays way above his stats to the point I have two 75 rated CBs in the reserves.

  40. No me either, getting Sky Q installed next week so a 4k TV will be next but not about to fork out for a PS4 pro just for 4k gaming.

    whilst its undeniable that player individuality has been watered down year by year, I still feel some sense of individuality with certain players, their style and abilities. more so from the defaults than any ‘bought’ players though

  41. Just finished Season 2 in ML. Having started with team spirit of 32, I didn’t win any of my first 15, drawing 6 and losing 9. I was second bottom!

    After that I won 16, drew 8 and lost 7 of the remaining 31 games and finished 16th. TS is now 83.

    I’m aiming for the title in season 3!

  42. The thing is with retaining players is it isn’t to difficult as you just have to keep more of an eye out on the squad list screen and look out for people interested in your key players and extend thier contracts early. I lost a couple first season but soon got used to the system.

  43. I’m not finding any incentive to buy anyone because they are all ludicrously priced!

  44. So much for expecting a title challenge this season after finishing 5th last year.
    Have lost my opening 3 premier league games, rock bottom of the table on zilch points, and had to come from behind twice to eventually scrape past Huddersfield in the FA Cup. then won my opening group game in the Europa League 1-0.

    Its suddenly like this year all teams have ramped up, I even checked to make sure it was still on Top player, it was.

  45. £14m for Sam Gallagher of Blackburn. Good player, but I’m not paying that!

  46. Jay – Might be worth keeping Dele All on your radar. I picked him up for a snip at £10M. Can play anywhere in the midfield and has great stamina. Luca Vido is another. Picked him up on a free early on, has spent two seasons away on loan and now has just bagged his first hat-trick against Man Utd.

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