It's 2021 and I'm still playing Pro Evolution Soccer 2019. The game-play clip below is a great example of the core game-play loop that keeps me coming back for more.
After a few moments of terror, frantically trying to clear the ball out of the box, I get a second or two to breathe. Then it's straight into a counter attack. My excitement building as I start to see passing lanes forming before my eyes. It culminates into a shot at goal, at which point I get off my seat and silently scream (because the kids are sleeping), GOOOAAAALLLLL!
This is what my typical lineup looked like, during a game in the 2022-2023 Master League season.
Had an amazing game against FC Barcelona.
Due to the way they were defending, I couldn't keep the ball in the center of the field. Once I pass the ball to my AMF, he would have just a few seconds before he is dispossessed. It's just not enough time to build up an attack. So, I tried a different way of attacking. I went from sending short passes into the center of the field, to lobbing through balls over their defenders.
I noticed that Goios times his runs perfectly. But even after a perfectly timed pass, Goios is just not fast enough to get to the ball before the defender clears it away. This happened 2-3 times before I realized, it is not going to work with Goios. That's because Goios only has a Speed rating of 70.
So, at the 55 minute mark, I decided to take Goios out and brought in K. Gameiro — one of my more promising strikers. The important thing to note here is that Gameiro has a Speed rating of 90. That makes him the fastest player on my team.
Finished my 4th Master League season (2021-2022) and I finally won a title as a manager. My team, Paris FC, were crowned Ligue 1 champions. It was a welcome result after a heart-breaking loss to Real Madrid in the European Club Championship. For next season, my goals are to win the French Cup and progress farther in the European Club Championship.
Arcas is just about to unleash a shot at goal. The defender tries to close in with a sliding tackle, but he's too late.
Arcas is one of the players you get when playing Master League with the original lineup. He's the most expensive player in the lineup. So, you might be tempted to ship him off to try and save money in your salary budget. I think that would be a mistake. If you hang on to him, he will bloom into your team's very own superstar. Later on, he'll have the chance to become a “Legend” at your team.
In my previous PES2019 Game Log entry, I talked about contract renewals. In this one, I'll share some tips for managing your Master League lineup and keeping your salary budget in check.
Prioritize Contract Renewals on Transfer Windows
What I've started doing during Transfer Windows is before even looking to make a new signing, I try and get contract renewals for my players whose contract's are expiring within a year or two. Some players who are already old, or have already peaked, or have a lot of love for the team will be looking to extend their contracts for longer than 2 years. This is almost always a good deal as it will save you a lot of money in the long run. I was able to secure 4-5 year contract renewals from role players using this approach. This frees me up from not having to worry about them in the future, which means I can then focus on keeping or getting star players. Most star players in my experience will only extend their contracts for up to 2 years using this approach. So for those players, you will just have to wait until they ask for contract renewals themselves when their contracts are about to expire.
Contract renewals in Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 caught me off guard. I spent so much of my salary budget trying to get more players, I totally didn't expect my star players to want a lot more money on their contract renewals. Now I understand what the Sport Director means, when he says that I should consider renewing player's contracts early to stop excessive salary demands.
I think a good rule of thumb to follow, is to expect a player to demand around 30% of their market value as their annual salary. So, a player that has a market value of 30 million, would want an annual salary of around 9 million. This means that going forward I need to periodically check my player's market value, to make sure I have enough in my salary budget to renew the contracts of players that I want to keep. This also means that I can't continue going on spending sprees during Transfer Windows. Oh well.
I have a number of gaming journal entries scattered throughout my bullet journal. I'm going to start a “Gaming Journal” collection page to better organize them, but for now, here are the entries that I've fallen behind on.
07/06/2019 – Saturday
Physical Contact seems to be a very important attribute in Pro Evolution Soccer 2019. For defenders, it allows them to get in front of attackers just before they make a shot. The Center Back K. Manolas exemplifies this attribute a lot.
One of the biggest threats in PES 2019 is the low cross. Typically what would happen is, a low cross comes in and the opposing team's striker will seal off my defenders to allow themselves an easy volley in front of goal. I see this happen a lot when playing against elite level teams. When I finally got K. Manolas on my team, I noticed that he was a lot better at defending against the low cross. He would get in front of strikers to clear the ball away.
I played my first two international friendly matches as the coach for the US Men's National Soccer Team. I won both games against Wales and Slovenia. I used the same 4-4-2 diamond formation that I am using with my Master League team. A couple of notes on this:
The striker Weah for the US Team is super fast. Opposing center backs can hardly keep up. I need to look into feeding him the ball in counter attacks. He does seem to have trouble finishing. Not that he's not accurate with his shots, just that they get blocked often. That's probably on me and my shot selection, and not on the player stats.
I need another “fast” center back. Miazga is fast enough, but his partner is not. When I played against Wales, Bale ran circles around my slower center back.
Similar to what I see happen with Casteldine, Ogilvy who is my AMF, can sometimes have trouble keeping the ball. Need to make use of more one-touch passes. He also will run out of stamina just like Casteldine before the game ends.
I don't have good substitution options for LMF, RMF and the fullback positions. I don't think I have a choice though as I already have the best possible players in the lineup.
After playing the international friendly matches, next up on the schedule was the European Cup Championship. The first game was against Paris-Saint Germain. I have not kept up with European soccer but I still know some players. As soon as I saw Neymar and Mbappe in the PSG lineup, I knew it was going to be a tough game. Mbappe in particular was a handful, tearing down my left flank. My fullback Giorza is a strong defender, but he is slow (69 speed stat) and Mbappe kept blowing past him. I lost that game 2-1. I was surprised I only conceded 2 goals. I chalk that up to learning how to defend better after playing against Real Madrid earlier. I nearly tied it up but ran out of time.
I am having a tough time playing against teams with really fast wingers.
The problem that I have now is that I am doing so well in the PEU League, which means I am getting qualified to play against elite teams like in the International Champions Cup and European Cup Championship. My players who are good enough for the PEU League (you can think of the PEU League as like a Division 2 league I suppose) are not at the same level as the players on elite teams. So I need to find a way to bolster my lineup.
First things first, I need to find faster fullbacks, with at least a speed stat of 80. I need to be able to defend the flanks properly next time I go up against top level teams.
So here's what I've learned so far with regards to Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2019.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
This game is hard. Like really hard. I'm only playing in “Classic mode”, which if I understand correctly, is the normal difficulty level. Fights are hard. I've seen the “Game Over” screen more times than I care to remember.