Pokémon Unite just released last week and many people are downloading and playing the game already. With it being a free to play game, there are going to be a lot of players willing to spend more money on cosmetics and other in game purchases. Micro transactions are the main way for free to play games to make money. These can be seen as a good thing, as they help support the game developers and makes updates and DLC more likely but they’re infamous for making the game “pay-to-win / P2W”. Pay to win means that there are purchases you can make with real money that will give you an advantage over your opponent in-game.
There has been debate and evidence lately that Pokémon Unite is pay to win. Recently a Twitch live streamer by the name of Charlie, largely known as MoistCritikal or Penguinz0, was streaming himself playing Pokémon Unite. His goal during this stream was to spend real money on micro transactions until he had a complete, unfair advantage over his opponents. His strategy was upgrading his held items until they gave him buffs that couldn’t be matched. He upgraded some passive items all the way to level 30, which would take a long time to get without spending money. With this he was able to solo 2 opponents at once but it wasn’t the type of overpowered-ness he was looking for. He then upgraded a passive buff that increased his critical hit chance so much, he was getting crits back to back sometimes. This not only allowed him to have an advantage over one or two opponents, he was able to take on the entire enemy team and pushed them into their spawn.
By the end of the livestream, Charlie spent more than $100. There aren’t many people that are willing to drop that much money on a game, so hopefully you won’t run into overpowered players often. That being said, there are definitely some people that ARE willing to spend $100+ on Aoes gems, as MoistCritikal did. This means there are players that will have an advantage without earning it.
The good thing about held items being an advantage is you can obtain these beneficial items without paying real world money. As you level up your Trainer, you unlock items that can be held by your Pokémon and give them buffs. You’re able to unlock all held items just by playing the game. The only items that are exclusive to micro transactions are cosmetic holo wear.
There obviously is evidence that if you spend a lot of money on Aoes gems, you can give yourself an advantage but the same goes for high level players. You shouldn’t have to worry about running into players that do this often but it will be frustrating for the people that do. Hopefully the developers address this issue and balance the items more so specific players won’t dominate matches single-handedly.