Pokémon Unite has been a resounding success for the Pokémon brand and its fanbase. Those interested in the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA genre, will find themselves right at home with this goal-oriented team battle game. As a free-to-play game, anyone can enjoy the experience, but concerns of a pay-to-win system or a mechanic that allows players to pay for an advantage, are rampant among users.
Pokémon Unite allows players to spend real-life money for in-game advantages. Each Pokémon can take three held items into battle, which offer passive boosts to stats. Leveling up these items requires Item Enhancers - a consumable that players can buy in the shop. While the game does allow players to earn these items via progression, improving items to their max level of 30 is a copious task.
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It is far easier for players to spend money on Gems - the game's premium currency, and use that currency to purchase Item Enhancers. Leveling one of Pokémon Unite's held items costs players roughly 25,870 tickets or 2,587 Item Enhancers. Check out the full breakdown from Reddit user u/Yepthatsawaffle:
Sufficed to say that the system is designed for an almost insurmountable grind. This is done to entice those tired of grinding to spend money and expedite the process. Not only is the grind terrible, but the cost to pay for these max-level items is egregious. Players can buy an Item enhancer for 1 gem, and they'll need 2,587 for one max level item. To get just one full set of max level items costs 7,761 gems. Buying the $100 bundle gets players 7,100 Item enhancers, meaning users will need to mix and match smaller bundles as well (one $8 bundle, one $4 bundle, and one $0.99 bundle.) The total before tax is $112.97 to max out three held items.
It's an awful blemish on an otherwise excellent game. Fans have expressed their displeasure, and those interested and letting the Pokémon Unite developers know how they feel about this monetization model can visit the tweet below to see the link to their feedback survey.