Posts tagged everton
I just wanted to put up a quick post to let folks know what’s been going on with me lately. Things are a little chaotic for me IRL and as such my gaming habits have changed quite a bit. For the most part I’ve been playing single-player games that have the benefit of a pause button such that I can deal with interruptions without a fear of dying So this post will just be a quick summary of what’s going on and hopefully soon I’ll get back to my MMOs of choice!
The majority of my single player gaming has revolved around 2 sports games, which I must admit have grabbed my attention more then I expected. The first game is Football Manager 2012 (available on Steam) which I’ve talked about before and I’m still really enjoying. I’m still primarily just managing Everton and my last save I ended up pretty much winning everything in my fifth year after some pretty close calls. One of the things I enjoy most about this game isn’t so much the actual games themselves but the player management and dealings. After a while, once you build a successful team it can become a little boring from that aspect and I usually end up restarting. With the start of the actual real life Premier League this past weekend I decided to start another game off with Everton as I get the most enjoyment out of those first couple of seasons. While some aspects aren’t 100% accurate every once in a while a story from the current news occurs in a VERY similar manner to what happened in one of my games which I always find pretty cool. I think I’m going to have some very hard decisions when FM13 is released as one of my favorite players (Jack Rodwell) is now playing for Manchester City. For whatever reason I just don’t find playing the bigger clubs as intriguing, but we shall see when it is launched.
The other single player game I’ve really gotten very deep into is Pro Cycling Manager 2012 (another one available on Steam) as the combination of the Tour de France and the Olympics have gotten me following cycling more then I have in a long while. Unlike soccer, I really know VERY little about the workings of professional cycling so there’s been a pretty steep learning curve on that aspect. Because of that I’m actually finding this game pretty darn challenging to actually do well in. I’ve started with a custom team revolving around the 3 big names from Team Sky (Wiggins, Froome, and Cavendish) as well as Phinney and TJ VanGarden from the US and a host of other Brits and Yanks to fill out my squad. But despite all the big names I have, I find it really hard to consistently do well – which of course is what drives me to continue to play the game! I’ve restarted probably at least 6 times as each time I get a certain way in and then realize some part of the game that I didn’t even know existed, or realized that the way I was racing was totally wrong.
Both of these games have similarities in the ability to micro-manage training and individual progression but with PCM you have much more control over the actual outcome of each event. The actual games in FM are much more like traditional simulations where you set things up and just let the computer figure out the outcome. Where PCM you have much more control over all aspects of the race, or at least you can choose to control those if you want. You can run it in more of a sim mode, but I like to actually do the races. Of all the career games I’ve played, these 2 seem to be amongst the best when it comes to individual and team progression. They’re not the most graphically or aesthetically pleasing (go play an EA game for pretty graphics) but the depth of these games is pretty amazing.
As for MMOs, I’m still “playing” both LOTRO and The Secret World. TSW probably has more draw for me right now, but I haven’t been playing that much as I really want to be able to take time and dive deep into that game. I’ve been VERY impressed with how well they’ve been able to not only maintain things but continue to push out new content. Even though the press is hammering them, I think TSW is one of those rare games that might have a larger community 6 months after launch then the first month of launch.
As for LOTRO, I really haven’t done much of anything in Middle-Earth lately. And that even includes the Rohan beta, which yes I am a part of but really haven’t done a whole lot of. I really want to be excited for Rohan and mounted combat but for some reason I’m just not. And maybe (I’m hoping) it is just because of everything else that’s going on such that once that’s resolved I’ll get back into a better grove. I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t liked as the region is absolutely gorgeous and everything I wanted Rohan to look like. Mounted combat is actually better then I had expected, although probably slightly worse then the Mount and Blade series (which I realize is a pretty darn high bar). I’m actually quite impressed that Turbine pushed back the launch date for Rohan as that’s something I’ve ripped them quite a bit for in the past with the various updates and expansions.
To wrap things up, I’m still gaming and hopefully should be back into MMOs here soon and am still quite available via email, skype, and twitter for those who want to chat or carry on via other means.
One last thing I want to toss out is that I am planning to support CSTM in their Child’s Play fundraiser this year and am looking for ideas of how my time could be used. The concept they’re introducing this year is to auction off people’s time such that the winner would get something, for instance Pineleaf has offered to run skirmishes with the winner (assuming server issues can be resolved). So I’m certainly open to run skirmishes or instances as can be arranged on Silverlode or just have a general skype/vent chat session to talk about the various classes I play or even other games if folks want. I may even try to convince a certain suicidal Minstrel to see if we can arrange for a “let’s see how much we can pull” session if someone’s interested in that kind of chaos Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?
This season didn’t go quite as I planned (here’s my initial hopes post), but there were some parts that pleasantly surprised me and others that were downright frustrating – but I guess that’s life in Football
To start off the season, I didn’t go all that heavy into the transfer market and didn’t add too much during the year either. I was only able to loan players out and not get full transfers for Tony Hibbert, Victor Anichebe, and Joao Silvia but I was able to get some decent up-front money for them as well as covering for their wages. I ended up brining in Right Back Vegar Eggen Hedenstad who quickly became a fixture there for a modest $1.9 million and also added Arne Friedrich as a free transfer mid-year who helped add extra depth for me. I then picked up an attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison in the January period for $1.9 million but he promptly got hurt and spent much of the year with the training staff :( Despite not making too many moves, I was able to hold my own with the big boys (Chelsea, Man City, Man. U., etc) but what sunk me in the Premier league was my performances in games I should win. Losses to folks like Blackburn, Wigan, Swansea, and the like made the ties and losses to the big clubs absolute killers. I had originally hoped I could sneak into 4th place if I could hold my own against the big boys and win the games I should, but I lost just a couple too many games and wound up in 6th place. However, the struggles I had on the league side were tempered by the success I had in tournaments as I was able to win not only the League Cup but the FA cup as well. However, I think that is as much due to luck in teams losing as it was my good play.
After a more or less successful season of not only on the field progress but pretty tight control of the finances I was allowed to spend a decent amount of money during the offseason. Given a budget of roughly $25 million, I set my eyes upon a striker since during the previous year Rodwell was my leading scorer with 14 goals, and Baines was tied for second with 9. I zeroed in on my new-found favorite player Andre Shurrle but although I could afford him he had no interest in joining the squad. After my initial heartbreak I started looking around and set my eyes on the glut of strikers over at Manchester United and was able to pry Welbeck away for just under $25 million. Welbeck fits in very well as he’s young, fast, and English :) In addition I also picked up another young English talent James McCarthy who will be a nice utility midfielder for me. To offset these transfers, try to clean up my jam packed roster, and dump the overpaid and/or unhappy folks I unloaded a number of players either on free transfers or actual full transfers. By getting rid of Seamus Coleman, Joseph Yobo, Jan Mucha, Victor Anichebe, Tony Hibbert, and Joao Silva I was able to bring in $32 million which covered completely the 2 stars I brought in.
One of the problems I was running into towards the end of the year were just too many people competing for too many spots. And with the talent I have on my youth squad as well as the good prospects coming in, the older guys are just too darn costly to keep around, especially when they expect to start over clearly better players.
The only other big change I’ve made this year in the hopes of more offense, and since my side is changing slightly, is to install a 4-1-2-1-2 formation. I still have my previous 4-3-3′s training as well but I think having 2 strikers up top playing off each other will work better then the pseudo wingers I was trying to force in there.
As for expectations, I really don’t think I’ll be able to have the same tournament run as I did last year but hopefully I’ll get somewhat far in the League and FA cups. I really want to do well in the Euro Cup and am going to push VERY hard for a top 4 finish in the premier league. That should then set me up very well for a strong Champions league run the following year as I should be able to attract some big time players and pay for them as well
I’m sure some of you have noticed that I’m not posting a whole lot and part of that is due to me just not playing MMOs much recently. However I have still be gaming (as you may have noticed from my Raptr profile), as I’ve found a new addiction thanks to the crew over at LOTRO Academy – Football Manger 2012. Part of it is the gameplay fits in well with my life right now, but I’m also very much caught up in the recent excitement in the soccer world with the amazing end of the English Premiere League and the current Euro Championships. For those of you who haven’t heard or seen this game (and are still reading since I’m not talking about MMOs) FM2012 is more like a soccer simulation then a twitch based sports game like any of the EA versions. Both have their places, but for some reason I’ve never been real good at console based versions of games like soccer and hockey. What FM2012 excels at is all the details around setting up and managing your team, while the actual game itself is a “hands-off” simulation based on how you’ve set up your team. Now you can make changes and micro-manage during the game, but you can’t actually control any of the players. Not only do I really enjoy these kinds of simulations (I’m also a big RTS fan) but this also fits really well into my current gaming availability that consists of many interruptions.
This post will essentially walk through how I approach this game and the various settings in it. So if you’re not a soccer or FM2012 fan you might not be terribly interested in this particular post
For the actual game itself, I’m mainly working on two different versions both managing my favorite club Everton out of the English Premier League. I think my tie to this club is partly due to the American stars that have played well for them (Howard and Donovan) as well as the general underdog spirit of the club as they always seem to be low on funds when compared to the other bigger clubs. Like I mentioned, I have two current, one being more of a “fun” one in that I will firmly admit I’ve cheated quite a bit by saving before kick-off and re-loading if I don’t get the result I want. This was primarily during the first couple of seasons as later on (I just finished season 7) my team does pretty darn well for the most part. I look at this game as more of my learning curve where I’ve tried to understand how things work and what the various options are. There are tons of options and after reading various sites I’ve actually started to realize that many of the settings and tabs I never touched can actually be quite important. Specifically, I started toying around with Training pretty early on, but I’ve come to realize not only how important it is but the keys regarding timing and workloads. In my reading I’ve figured out that I’ve quite possibly been over-training not only in my schedules but in how I handled match preparation. I tended to get quite a few people complaining about their training workloads and I also did WAY too much match tactics preparation early on in the season. I’ve grabbed one of the popular training routines off the web and have tweaked it a little bit to match my personal preference. I’ve also taken on the suggestion to start off with very low match preparation early on in the season such that I get the most out of my primary training. With regards to match training, the other aspect I learned was that you can use Teamwork as the secondary focus and then switch the day before a game to maximize your match preparations. I’ve noticed this has made quite a difference especially when I’ve switched from things like attacking to defending. Overall in my “cheat” I did try to stay with mostly English players, but picked up a number of international stars as well. I mainly tried to only bring in a couple of players per transfer window as not only do I not have all that much money but any more seems to really flip the club on its ear. Some of my most notable signings were:
- Ryan Shawcross
- Nigel de Jong
- Dimitar Berbatov (on a free transfer)
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Andre Shurrle
- Edwin Bakker
- Mario Goetze
The last couple were a little ridiculous as I just built up a nice $100 million warchest based on my success. Not to mention that this last year, Fellaini requested a transfer as he was bored with winning win which brought in an additional $62 million. I did get my new stadium built this year, but as much as I have enjoyed this particular game-save it does feel a bit hollow.
With that game more or less on hold, I’m starting up another Everton game this time not “cheating” and really trying to focus on English (or at least UK) players mainly. Although I have to admit I’m going to try to sign Shurrle as early as I can since he scored almost 150 goals in two years for me :) The actual setup of a season takes quite a bit as I need to clean out some of the current players (sadly I just can’t get rid of that dead weight Junior) via transfers or loans as well as clean up the staff. There’s a lot of fluff there and quite a bit of people that just aren’t all that good. In this game training is SO important so I try to get the best staff I can early on. I also ask the board early on for training/youth upgrades in addition to getting a feeder club. I’ll admit I probably don’t use feeder clubs as well as I should but I mainly use them as a place to bury people who are un-happy or if I have too many young guys to deal with that I can’t get time on my reserve team.
The next big key will be settling on a formation and tactics and I think I’ve settled upon a 4-3-3 with 2 wingers, a defensive midfielder, and a defensive minded central midfielder. This seems to fit pretty well with the starting personnel as there are quite a few wingers (Osman, Barkley, Gueye, Pinear) and not all that many folks that can play down the middle. I mainly plan to play with Cahil as my attacking central midfielder, Rodwell as that defensive CM, and Fellaini as my defensive midfielder. This not only puts some of my best talent on the field but gives my young guys as chance to grow very quickly. Rodwell especially shoots up quite well if he’s played early on. I’ve tried to play a pretty fluid and roaming style but I may have to dive a bit deeper to see if that really fits best with my players available. When it comes to tougher games, I also have a slightly different 4-3-3 trained which has 2 DMs and one CM, without the Attacking midfielder, that’s very defensive and rigid, but again I might switch that up a bit this time but it did seem to work very well in clogging things up as well as providing some good counter attack options.
Another aspect I’ve started to look into this time around are the various shouts that are available during the game. I’ve never really used them, but I’ve set up a couple of combinations to use while trying to hold a lead or come from behind. It seems as though these are better of your overall teamwork then swapping out completely different formations.
The last aspect I’m just now starting to play with is the Opposition tab of the pre-match setup. I had NO idea you could actually change stuff here and change how you play your opposition. Essentially on this tab you can decide to mark closely, harass, push onto a foot a particular player if that makes sense. This allows you to do things like focus on their key playmaker or if there’s someone weak you can try to force mistakes. The usage of this tab also assumes you’ve set it up for one of your scouts to do pre-match scouting
Speaking of scouting, this is one area that I know (in addition to the opposition tab) that I’m not utilizing all that well. I pretty much set them up and let them do their thing but I have a feeling I could get more out of them if I tried to do more stuff with them.
One of the main things I’ve realized as I’ve played through parts of many seasons with different teams is that you can play this game to whatever depth you want to. You can go super micro-manager and get involved in all the details, which is sort of the route I’m walking down. Although I have to admit I more or less fast-forward through the actual games themselves :) Or you can focus on the games solely and leave the rest to the “defaults” and play it more as an action game.
As for my hopes for this upcoming game, I’m hoping for at least Euro qualification although I’d love to sneak into a Champions league spot if I can get some help from the other teams. Hopefully my third season will see me strong enough to actually do some damage in the champions league such that I can help fill the coffers a bit. Much of this hinges on how well I can hold on to my core players as Baines, Heitinga, and Fellaini are all in high demand and I may be forced to deal someone without being able to grab a decent replacement. In one of my games Fellaini put a $30 mil buyout clause in his contract and you just can’t easily find a replacement of his caliber at that dollar amount. If anything, that’s one of my complaints with the game is that the dollar amounts for players seem to be skewed towards the AI managers. Although I guess that does add a degree of difficulty to the game, so that’s not a terrible thing :) I’ve also found that in many cases it helps to hop in when there’s a bidding war for players as you can then see their bids (sometimes) which usually are MUCH lower then what I can usually get players for. Of course the other cloud hanging over Everton is the always present fear of a buy-out and coaching change. In my other games, I’ve been able to successfully navigate buy-outs, but there’s always the possibility of the buyers brining in their own management team.
As this season progresses I’m sure I’ll have some updates, and you’ll notice quite abruptly if things in my life change such that I’m playing MMOs more frequently
If you’d made it this far in this post, you either enjoy soccer or FM2012 and I’d be very curious what you think on either subject