Category Archives: Games

1st Quarter of Everton Season Complete in FM16

I figured the quarter-point of the Premiere League season was as good a point as any to put up an update post on my latest Everton season in FM16.

My season overall has gone reasonably well as the below shot of the table would indicate: (notice where current league leader Leicester sits)

BPL Standings
Standings through 10 games of the BPL 2015/2016 Season

I have been going through a ton of injuries so far, and will most likely need to drop training intensity as I’m consistently having to cycle through players, so I haven’t really settled on my top 11 yet.  I’m got a couple key positions to decide on as I know both Coleman and Mirallas would bring in some nice fees, but without the right people to back fill I can’t really cash in on them.

I did end up making a couple more moves that while not making a huge windfall of profits, the reduction of salary and transfer fees made sense for these moves since the players were never going to find the pitch.  Now that my wingers are getting back to reasonable health and was able to bring some young players, both Kone and McGeady became expendable.  Both of these were high wage players that were just not going to see the pitch, so I figured to get stronger I needed to reduce the team.  The addition of Hjulsager was one of those scouting whims that I took a flyer on since he was cheap and incredibly versatile.  You’ll see that I did loan him out, but included the recall option such that if I get into trouble I can bring him back into the squad.

Final Transfers
Final Transfers for 2015/2016 season

As for the results themselves, I feel like we’re finally starting to get on a bit of a roll.  I lost 3 out of the first 5 matches to start the season, but now have a 5 game un-beaten streak going which includes wins at both Arsenal and Southhampton.  Following the Manchester City game, that West Brom result was very painful but I think I was pushing too hard to get a big away win to right the ship as opposed to playing a more controlled effort.  The Capitol One Cup game was a nice way to shake things up a bit and get some other players a run.  It also was a chance to play some decent football as the scoreline really doesn’t tell the whole story of that game in which I dominated.

But from the onset of the season, I looked at the back to back away games at Chelsea followed by a trip to Arsenal as a good test for the team.  Chelsea proceeded to blow my doors off to start the game, and I feared we’d be blown out.  However, the boys rallied and came back to within 1 goal with loads of pressure to finish the game.  A draw really wouldn’t have been out of the question and probably the fairer result.  But that trip to the Emirates might have been the turning point as my defense held solid and I was able to get that winning goal on a counter.  It also wasn’t a totally lopsided effort, while I was out shot and out possessed, I still put 4 shots on target to Arsenal’s 6.

1st Quarter Results
Results through the first quarter of the 2015/2016 season.

Hopefully by the start of the next window, I’ll have a better feel for where my top 11 is and what players can be let go.  I have roughly 23 million in loan buyout clauses that I’d really like to make happen but will have to move players out most likely to do it.  I’ve been lucky so far in that at this point in the Everton season, I don’t have anyone standing out as performing horribly as well as a decent goal distribution as you’ll see from the stats below:

Stats_Top_1
1st Quarter Stats, top half of team
Stats_Bottom_1
1st Quarter Stats, bottom half of team

For the most part, I feel good about how the team is playing but my starting trio on defense of Jagielka, Stones, and Galloway are clearly under-performing and I’ll be curious how it changes when Baines gets back healthy.  My midfield and attackers are providing pretty decent play and I’m finding quite a few options.  Come January I will have a good problem to solve as I’ll have some nice selling options as opposed to needing to bring someone in.

As for the next quarter of my Everton season, which will conveniently take me to the start of the winter transfer period, there’s a pretty decent mix of challenging games and what should be easier games for me to rotate some players in.  Away fixtures with Man. United and Tottenham along with the Merseyside Darby against Liverpool will all be challenging but I also have both tilts against Leicester which could also prove very dangerous.  The other thing that should be in my favor is a lack of match congestion, so I should be able to get a better feel for my top 11.

Upcoming 2nd Quarter
Upcoming 2nd Quarter of the 2015 /2016 Season

One aspect I’m starting to dive a bit deeper into this season are the analysis tools FM16 provides and I’m going to talk about those in my next post as I try to implement some of the things I’ve learned in this next set of fixtures.

Progress and New Toys in TSW

I will admit, I didn’t pay too much attention to the changes coming for subscribers as I was a lifer (purchased the GM pack prior to launch) but I’m pretty pleased with what Funcom has done for TSW with regards to their subscriptions.  I LOVE that xp is now just a flat bonus to everything, and not a clicky for mob kills.  I’m still working on finishing up my ability wheel so that bonus on top of Quest xp is really nice.  There are also some fun cosmetics (along with the continued promise of more) and the same (I think) stipend of points, so no real change there.  The free anima well leaps are a nice bonus but nothing game breaking.  The Hoverboard is just flat out fun as there’s some added animations added when jumping, etc. that are a nice added touch.  Here are a couple shots of the new stuff:

Playing with the new hoverboard
Easy jump and twirl
Templar_Tron
Posing in front of the Dream Palace

The travelling bank is actually pretty darn handy, or perhaps I’m just lazy, but the ability to plop one down whenever I want (on a 1-hour timer) is nice to dump out or swap out items.  I haven’t checked to see if others can use it as that would just be doubly useful.  Other than that, the extra Agartha port could be handy but I’m not sure how useful it will really be.  The weapon mould’s aren’t all that exciting to me, but I like the idea and concept they’re bringing as I love cosmetic weapons!

After all the playing around with my new toys, I ended up running a couple of quests just to try and get my Cyber Aegis up to 1.4, which didn’t take all that long despite getting more cargo keys and not Aegis xp.  I just did some repeats as their cooldowns had expired (much shorter now) and there are a couple I can do pretty darn quickly.  Once I did that, I went in and finished off the Dream Palace story quest.  I had done much of it previously but just wasn’t able to handle any of the boss fights since I just couldn’t rip down the shields quick enough.  Freddy Beaumont was probably the easiest of the boss fights, but they were all challenging (perhaps I just forgot them or was rusty) and yet still quite fun.  I ended up dying a couple times to each of them, until I figured out what stupid mistake I was making and then was able to proceed.  It was a fun quest and certainly one that kept me on my toes as I kept waiting for something else to happen.  I’m pretty excited to get into the Orachi Tower and see where this twisted story leads.

I’m enjoying TSW so far and having a blast in Tokyo but also realize I will probably run out of stuff to do (other than grind) before new content comes out.  And that’s fine with me as it does allow me to play at a reasonable pace.  And who knows, maybe I’ll get some chances to do group content at some point.

New FM16 Season With Everton

After a couple of games since the launch of Football Manager 16 (FM16), although not quite as much as I’ve played in previous versions of Football Manager, I’m started up a new save with my favorite team Everton.  Sadly some of my tactics that worked well in FM15 are not working so well this year, so I’m going back to some trusted oldies but goodies.  So far I’m only 2 games into the actual season, but for anyone who’s played this game before can attest to, the hard work starts well before that opening kickoff.

That first “day” I take over the reigns of a new club takes forever as there’s just so much to do.  Luckily you do have a couple of days before the players arrive to prioritize things a bit but it all happens pretty quick.  I usually want to get my staff figured out that first day, or at least my initial coaching targets and people let go.  Trimming the staff is usually pretty easy, and since it counts against your transfer budget can be quite handy.  I usually try to stick to less than what the board recommends such that I can bring in someone else if something changes.  Here’s a couple of shots of not only my staff movements but how I have things broken up for training:

Transfers Coaches
Coaches I’ve removed and who I’ve brought in.
coaches training
Coaches Scheduling

I’ll probably do some more work on my scouting staff to try and widen my scouting net, but for now I’m ok.

As for tactics and transfers, I usually lump these together as without the right players, it doesn’t matter what tactic you run.  This initial season I’m basically running with 2 flavors of a 4-5-1, one with the Defensive Midfielder, and the other with an Attacking Midfielder.  Hopefully its pretty obvious how I’ll split those :)  So with that in mind, I knew I needed to make some changes as well as the changes I like to make.  I’m a big fan of bringing in youth so I usually figure out what older players are ready to make their way out.  There still is time left in the opening window, but I only have 2 bites on people to move out with Naismith and Barry finding the exits, and both fit the mold of moving out the older to bring in some better youth.  Oviedo was a random incoming request that while not as high as I’d like, he’s never been a player I’ve featured or worked with so I figured I might as well get rid of him now.  I do have a few others transfer listed so hopefully towards the end of the window I’ll get some bites.  Here’s who else I’d love to move on from:

  • Aaron Lennon
  • Arouna Kone
  • Steven Pienarr (starts season hurt)
  • Derron Gibson  (starts season hurt)
  • Aiden McGeady  (starts season hurt)

It will probably be toughest to move Gibson this window but all three who start hurt will be hard to get healthy in time to ship out as most teams don’t want damaged goods.

In looking over the team, I found 3 areas I wanted to build:

  • Defensive depth
  • more midfield options
  • Finding someone else (preferably 2) to fill in if Lukaku gets hurt, which he already has been.

Here’s who all I brought in this season with some on loan which I’ll come back to that: (some I did find through the folks over at FM Stories Site, so their profiles will be linked)

Transfers

Player Transfers

Defensive Tactic
Defensive 4-3-3 with a Defensive Midfielder
Offensive Tactic
More offensive tactic – 4-5-1.

 

  • Defense
    • Balanta – Central/Left Defender – FM legend for how strong and cheap he is
    • Alex Meret –  Goalie – long term replacement for Howard
    • Borja San Emeterio – DL/DR – flexible outside back mainly for backup since I start the season with Baines not only hurt but not getting any younger
    • Rick Karsdorp – ridiculously flexible, can play almost anywhere on the pitch.  I picked him up when Coleman went down for an extended period.
  • Midfield – these are all central middies, and most can play at least 2 if not all 3 of the central positions
    • John Hou Saeter – cheap option with good upside.  I’ve had him in numerous games.
    • Andre Dozzell – An unknown to me that one of my scouts dug up, seemed cheap enough and worth a shot.
    • Lucas Romero – Another famous name for FM’ers out there, and I was shocked that not only was he cheap but he’s actually sign with me.
    • Andres Cubas – loads of upside, and reasonable loan.
  • Wingers/Strikers
    • Carlos – He’ll primarily be used as a Left winger, but probably as a backup striker too.
    • Jonathan Calleri – he’s going to fill in as a backup Striker but also chip in on the right wing as needed, especially while I’m dealing with early injuries.

So this was the first year I’ve tried loans, so we’ll see how it works out.  But for each of the loans, I was able to work out a more reasonable buy-back fee and one that should be attainable next season, or at least that’s the hope.  But the 3 on loan are only a total of 23 million in next years budget, so I should be able to do that even without selling anyone.  And depending on how this window closes and certainly January, I might have enough to pull the trigger sooner.

As for my results so far, I’m pretty pleased.  I always try to get in a lot of pre-season games and usually play then away as that seems to generate not only more money but better merchandise sales.  Both of my actual games were very close, and while I was able to pull out the victory at Swansea, a late Aguero goal sealed that game up for Cityy.  But they were both fair results, although I was hoping I could hold off City for at least a draw.

Results so far
Results so far

My goals for this season are ambitious in that I want to finish in the Top 4 to get that Champions League spot, although I only told the Board top half.  I’m just not sure that with this team and having to bring in a lot of your, I’ll be able to handle any big injuries that will happen.

It should be a fun year and I’ll have some updates sprinkled in before another big post in between the 2016 and 2017 season.

Slowly Working Through Tokyo in TSW

My last adventures through Tokyo in TSW highlighted the fact that I needed some work on my Aegis items in order to progress.  I was originally thinking I might be able to focus on the story missions and not have to do too much outside of that if I didn’t want to – but that is just not possible.  What was also very evident was that I needed to do some tweaking on my build in order to not only kill stuff but survive.

For my build, I had been spec’d Blade and Assault Rifle focusing mainly  on afflictions and penetration to generate self heals and leaches.  While that worked well in many places, leaches just don’t work well at all when ripping down Aegis shields and recovering from that initial beating with little heals becomes a rough mountain to climb.  I also didn’t feel like I had enough interrupts to counter not only all nasty special attacks out there but the shield regeneration abilities certain mobs have.   I toyed with making a switch back to Blades and Blood for a bit more healing and shields but chose to try just tweaking my abilities with my current weapons.  Here’s a snapshot of my current deck:

TSW slotted Skills
My slotted Skills

I’m basically set up such that every time I hit I not only afflict mobs, but set of a 3 second explosive timer and a Heal over time (HoT).  Then each time I hit an afflicted mob with my Blade Consumer I have a 40% chance to penetrate which then kick off another HoT and a barrier.  I also then have 2 interrupts with one of them being an AoE which can be quite handy when multiple mobs want to do special attacks.  Finally I have 3 active Rifle skills that will trigger heals if I find myself getting low on health.  I would like to find another Rifle consumer to do a little more damage, but so far the damage and heal has been handy.

As for the quests, I am enjoying them even though they certainly are a step up in difficulty and I find myself dead quite often.  For the most part, I do at least make an attempt at figuring out the quest but I will admit that for some of them (Love and Oragami for example) I am not shy about blatantly cheating.  It also does depend on my mood, although I do try to vary the quests if I’m not in the mood to think, as opposed to just walking through someone elses footsteps.  I’ve made it through probably half of the quests so far and haven’t done too much repeating (probably a quest or 2) and have my Cyber Aegis (the ones that are blocking progress in the Story quest) up to level 1.3, so I am l mildly pleased with my progress.  I’m using the Sidequests from the Bathhouse (kill various named dudes) as a measuring stick to see how I’m progressing. They’re still really tough and in some cases I end up retreating as they become a stalemate.  Once I get to a point where I can finish those more easily, I’ll make another run at the Story quest.  On other system built into TSW that I’m finally making use of is the customizable map as I’m making notes of quest locations such that on replays I’m able to move through quicker.

Getting back to the Aegis system itself, I do like the concept and the idea of it.  Especially when you get into fights against multiple shields and regeneration plus restoration tossed in there.  The grind while probably frustrating for many, has been reduced as I understand it, and probably isn’t as bad as it could be. The only thing I could see that would make it “better” would be if all kills rewarded Aegis experience such that other content would be rewarding and not just Tokyo.  There’s still a whole other system (Augments) that I really haven’t even gotten into yet because of the high Ability Point grind as I’m still working on completing the rest of my skill wheel and Auxiliary weapons.  I’m not sure how much of a benefit that system would have for me in Tokyo, but right now that’s 3rd on my list of things to do behind the Aegis items and my ability wheel.

Like I mentioned before, I’m still playing TSW as a single player game with periodic times as a duo co-op but it does seem like there are some new things being added to make grouping a bit easier and more enjoyable.  At some point, I would like to at least see some of the dungeons and such but I’m in no rush to get there.

The Secret World Fun

It seems like all I needed to do was write about my lack of actually playing MMOs to be able to carve out some game time and convince a friend to join me for some fun in The Secret World.

I was actually able to get my friend addicted to this game, so I will take blame (credit) for that, but now he’s surpassed me in progressing in the game and many times he’s there to help me run through quests or when I get stuck.

So last night we set out on the goal of trying to work on some of the story line in Tokyo.  I had last left off mid-way through the “One Kill Ahead” quest chain so we finished off that and did a good chunk of “Nightmare in the Dream Palace” before my lack of Aegis power stalled my progress. This combined story is the kind of material that makes The Secret World (TSW) the game that it is.  It sprinkled in enough challenge to make it hard and thought provoking, but yet not too hard that I wanted to quit.  There were enough things that I had to piece together to force me to pay attention to what was going on.  And while there was some jumping involved, it wasn’t overly complex, touchy, or unforgiving.

I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t done it, but the dream sequence is some really good stuff and especially if you’re playing with headphones it gets downright creepy.  I’m pretty sure I did jump a couple times in my seat, and if I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I was on skype, I might have blurted it some other things too.  Mixed in is one of the best (if not the best) implementation of being drunk in a game that not only blurs your vision but screws up your controls.

There was a portion of the chain that is solo only and while I don’t normally like group un-friendly quests, I think this actually helped my enjoyment of the quest and worked well.  Not only would I have continued in my “follow the leader” mode, but the additional person really would’ve impeded my immersion.

Overall I think this quest line is probably my favorite in the game, right up there with the Tyler Freeborn line from a few episodes ago.  Granted it is also quite long, with some areas not quit “pausible” but it is well worth it.   Needless to say, that time spent questing has sparked my interest in TSW and is making me better understand that whole Aegis thing.  But I’ll continue that in another post.

My only regret was that I didn’t take any screenshots as I was paying too much attention to what was going on – but certainly you can google the quest name and find more about it.  But that’s something I plan to work on as I get back into the swing of things.

 

MMOs I’m Currently Tracking

You’ll notice, I didn’t title this “currently playing” as that would be a very short post.  However, I am keeping tabs on a number of MMOs and when the time/motivation strikes me I will certainly be hopping back in.  I’m not going to talk about Football Manager (it isn’t an MMO anyway) as I do plan on a whole separate series for that since I actually do play that game.

The top of the list still is The Secret World as it still has a really appealing combination of factors surrounding it.  I also have a good friend who’s always willing to hop in and help out, which can be quite beneficial in many zones.  My main issue with TSW has been the lack of dedicated chunks of time where I can feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Although I will admit I’m not sure I really will ever play TSW as an MMO, for me it will at best be a co-op game.  But that’s perfectly fine for me as it is still a game I enjoy.

Also out there is LOTRO, which while not the draw it used to be for me is still something I’m paying attention to.  I’m intrigued to see what they do with these rumored (I refuse to call anything coming from Turbine an actual factual announcement) instances coming as the server consolidation could make “raiding” fun again with both old friends and new ones.  I ended up moving over to Landroval during the server consolidation with a bunch of others I know, so there’s all the others I know there and the potential for random RP events.  At some point I will probably go in and re-learn my Warden and would totally be all-in for an auto-level for my other toons (Captain and Minnie) IF the new instances actually come out and are decent.

The other game lurking out there for me is Camelot Unchained, which would be a return  to tri-realm PvP and mass chaos like I enjoyed back in the DAOC days.  I am a backer so I’ve been following it for quite a bit and have had some time in the game already.  Sure it is raw, but there’s some really cool stuff going on and their core tech seems really solid.  I’m trying not to get too excited about it since some things are just blowing me away with potential, but since we’re still a ways out from launch it will probably be pretty fluid.  I definitely see myself playing this game if it is remotely like what I’ve seen, read, and heard them pitch it as.

Those are the main 3 that I’m really excited about, but there are a couple others like SWTOR and Eve that from time to time become interesting to me.  SWTOR is at least free, so I might hop in there if the force awakens but I wouldn’t be opposed to a 3 month sub for Eve to check things out again as it clearly is a vibrant and viable long term game.

I’ll be posting some more in-depth posts on these (and other random MMO stuff too) as I continue to follow them and certainly if I decide to play any of them more than just logging on.