Pokemon Unite’s microtransactions are bad, but it doesn’t pay to win

I’ve seen a lot of confusion about Pokemon Unite over the past couple of weeks. The general consensus seems to be that the game itself is great – it’s a MOBA Pokémon that’s not really a Pokémon game or a MOBA, but it takes the best elements of both of those premises and streamlines them into something more. ‘as accessible as it is competitive. One thing people have unanimously agreed on, however, is that his microtransactions are bad. I mean, obviously – anything that contains loot boxes almost always should not have loot boxes. I agree with you.

That feeling, however, has been turned into an entirely different argument without any solid justification: that Pokemon Unite pays to win. There are benefits to pumping money into Pokemon Unite, of course, but I don’t think there’s a reasonable way to claim it’s essential. I’ve played over 100 games and haven’t spent a dime. I’m ranked relatively high and, if anything, I’m slowly but steadily climbing higher. If I thought this game paid off, I would castigate it because it was ranked in lower ranks doomed to be riddled with unsatisfying and messy games. I’m climbing because Pokemon Unite doesn’t have a fee – it’s competitive based on merit and skill. If you are good you will win.

Related: Pokemon Unite’s AI Players Will Ruin The Game

The crux of the argument isn’t about purchasing new Unite licenses, which allow you to play as a specific Pokémon in the first place. With around 30 hours of playtime, I made enough money to purchase at least four of these licenses just by completing challenges and earning daily rewards. The loot box system – known as Energy Exchange in Unite – is primarily cosmetic, with the only reward that can actually improve your chances of winning being item enhancers. This is what people refer to when they mention pay-to-win mechanics – that pumping money into the game allows you to maximize your owned items, giving you permanent buffs with every match. that you play.

pokemon unit pay to win

It’s a big deal, obviously. If I encounter a Lucario with + 5% attack damage and I have zero, they’ll have an advantage. How important is it? Is the player still good? Did you take more than two hours? Do you complete the Battle Pass challenges to earn your own item enhancers? In my opinion, owned items don’t matter much until you hit the top rung of the ranked game. No one playing Veteran or below is good enough to benefit from these buffs – if you’re playing Slowbro and an Absol deals more damage than you, you can pull them into an unfavorable position and use telekinesis to prime it for your team. You can bait Pursuit and use Amnesia to make him vulnerable, you can play in your own zone, or you can – and probably should – just escape because that’s not a fight you should be doing one-on-one, no matter how good you think you are. are.

And of course, maybe this Absol is a great player. Big players are going to climb, however – they’re not going to hang around in the Beginner, Grand, or Expert divisions, and so you’ll never meet someone who can exploit the advantage of their owned item unless you already are. good enough to play at a higher level than that. If you can manage to hit Veteran or higher, of course, it becomes a real problem. But in order to do that, you will have to put in a lot of hours – and by doing this, you will earn item enhancers whether or not you spend the money. This problem is a complete non-problem in many ways that it is actively detrimental to a thoughtful discussion of the real problem of Unite’s microtransactions: predation.

Pokemon Unite is a Pokemon game – obviously. But one thing that Pokemon games all have in common is that they are meant for kids. While the Switch has parental controls that can limit or prohibit spending, not all parents are tech-savvy. There are several currencies in this game which is a common tactic used to make valuing real money cloudy and difficult even for adults. It’s very consciously a system designed to entice kids to spend money on fancy Unite licenses and clothes and – you guessed it! – object amplifiers. Except really, I don’t think five-year-olds are even going to buy object booster devices, which is ironic when you consider Unite’s full spectrum of problematic microtransactions – kids are going to buy Charizard and Charizard clothes, they don’t care about upgrading their Muscle Band. It’s not that it’s pay-to-win. That’s because, for a lot of young people, it’s intentionally done to get paid to play unintentionally. This aspect of Unite is dirty – it is shameless and shameful in equal measure. By moaning about pay-to-win circumstances that don’t actually exist, you distract from the real issue and distract from the important discussions that need to take place.

If you’re playing at Master rank, of course, you can complain as much as you want about withheld items. I mean, I played about 30 hours and already hit half the maximum of four different items so you have to spend pretty inefficiently if you’re at that level and don’t have a bunch of ‘level 25+ items. But that doesn’t matter – who cares if a Shell Bell is level eight or level 18? The problem is, kids between the ages of eight and 18 can spend their parents’ hard-earned money in Greninja without even knowing what they’re doing, and this whole transaction is consciously designed to ensure that this is categorically the case: that the child is not aware of the transaction itself.

Pokemon Unite has some really big microtransaction issues – it’s true. It doesn’t pay off, however, and the more you say it, the worse it gets.

Next: Pokemon Unite’s First Patch Notes Are A Worrisome Sign For The Future


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