Original Articles

Pokémon UNITE: 5 Changes the Game Needs

TiMi Studio Group need to level up their Pokémon MOBA.

by Connor Christie

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With the release date for Pokémon UNITE on Android and iOS coming in less than a month, the already active Nintendo Switch community has a few changes they’d like to see before a wider release. While it’s clear that the game can be both competitive and fun, with some of the original mechanics adding an enjoyable twist on the MOBA formula, there are still some tweaks needed from developer TiMi Studio Group to live up to their concept.

Here we’ve collected some of the features and elements of the gameplay that we’d like to see adjusted to suit the needs of the meta. It might not feel like a big deal now, but like with anything else, the Pokémon Company will be expecting big things from this game. If the developers are looking for success, they might benefit from listening to those already actively playing the game.

These are the five changes needed for this MOBA to try and be the best there ever was.

Pay-to-Win

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The most obvious problem, and potentially the most controversial. In-game purchases are standard fare today, especially with free games. Still, there is a distinct difference between the type of purchases available in games like Fortnite or Dota 2 compared to the new Pokémon MOBA.

Pokémon UNITE’s pay-to-win element is in the option to pay for upgraded Held Items with real money. It is possible to upgrade Pokémon’s in-game items with in-game bonuses like Aeos Coins or Aeos Tickets, but once these are depleted, you’ll notice that you can keep leveling up provided you part with your cash. The most staggering element of this feature is that it will cost you around $40 per complete upgrade, and each monster is allowed up to three held items taking you well over the $100 mark. That’s a lot of money for a battle-ready Machamp.

While it’s becoming less of an issue for those who have played long enough to collect the necessary currency via in-game bonuses, it’s almost sure that this paywall could scare off potential players for the coming formats.

The Zapdos Effect

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This issue is more divisive but has seen enough ridicule to earn a place on this list. If you’ve played even more than a few games of Pokémon UNITE, you’ll know the table-turning force of this end-game spawn.

When Zapdos appears at the two-minute mark, each team can try and take down the legendary to either cement a victory or pull off the comeback. Whichever team delivers the final shot is treated 110 combined Aeos Energy and free hits on their enemy bases that each score double. Though undoubtedly an exhilarating addition to the meta, this game-tilting addition can boil the blood when flipping what should have been a well-won game.

We’re not saying that Zapdos necessarily needs removing from the game, but it could benefit from a well thought out nerf. However, fan’s have been calling for this from launch, and so far, there’s been no answer from the developer.

Idlers / Griefers

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Whether it’s the early quitters or the common trolls, this problem keeps coming back.

Online gamers will be more the accustomed to this issue, but Pokémon UNITE does not seem in a hurry to deal with their own problem idlers and griefers. You might not notice if you’re in the heat of battle, especially if you’re under the gun, but those who can’t take the heat can leave the game, and their Pokémon will stay in place until defeated and then return to the spawn point where they’ll wait for the rest of the game. This is a big deal in this MOBA, as losing even one player in a 5v5 puts you at a massive disadvantage.

We know it’s impossible for TiMi Studio Group to completely eradicate this issue, but UNITE would benefit from a more robust and reassuring reporting system. We won’t say no to the fair play bonuses though, they can stay.

Simplified Currencies

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Back to in-game purchases, and this issue will leave you confused from the outset as you try to collect, upgrade and style your favorite fighters.

The superior currency in UNITE is Aeos Gems which are currently only available to purchase with real money. Then there are Aeos Coins which can buy you in-game characters, though these are currently and controversially capped at 2,100 a week. We also have Aeos Tickets for item upgrades and in-game fashion items, Fashion Tickets also for the latter, and finally, Holowear Tickets that can be exchanged for unique stylized Pokémon skins. You do get your starter currency-free but from this point onwards you’ll need to know what’s what to get all of the other playable characters.

It can be hard to keep up with your resources in Pokémon UNITE with those five individual currencies. So we’d like to see the game slimline its tokens so we can keep up with exactly how much more we need to get Snorlax that sweet beach look.

Balancing

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This one might yet still come, but we want it sooner. Even after a recent patch, some Pokémon are still too top tier to be left out of any team.

While it seems that the opinions on who might be overpowered in Pokémon UNITE are split, it is clear that there is a select group of untouchables. Gengar was an early OP, and even after an almost immediate nerf has been riling opponents with a Sludge Ball, the similarly de-buffed Zeraora is still number one on nearly all tier lists. While it’s great to use or feature alongside these Pokémon, it’s not quite as fun to be on the receiving end of these two heavy-hitters.

It’s no real surprise that there are some balancing issues in these still-early days of the meta, but we hope to see a gradual improvement in how the roster is balanced.

All this isn’t to say that Pokémon UNITE can’t be a great time because it can be, and it quite often is. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t think it needs to implement some of these changes to achieve the staying power of some of the other MOBAs it’s taken influence from. It’s impossible to know what, if any, changes will come to Pokémon UNITE before it releases wider next month. However, the inclusion of so many new players is bound to shake up the meta to some extent, and it’s up to TiMi Studio Group to keep newcomers and the old guard shooting hoops without too much frustration.

Pokémon UNITE is out now on Nintendo Switch and arrives on Android and iOS on September 22.

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