How Pokemon Unite Microtransactions Affect the Game
Pokemon Unite is a free-to-play game, and that of course means microtransactions. There’s nothing wrong with a f2p game monetizing itself. That’s how it sticks around, after all. However, the talk right now is that the Pokemon Unite microtransactions overemphasize a pay-to-win nature. You have a series of “Free Currencies” in the game, and one “Premium Currency”, which are Gems. These are the real-money currency, and with a few hundred dollars, and a knowledge of the game, you can genuinely get an advantage over the other players in Pokemon Unite. Personally, I’ve been playing Pokemon Unite in my downtime, and have spent nothing. I still have a 100% win rate, but that in no way means the Pokemon Unite microtransactions are balanced and fair.
What Can Your Money Buy You?
Right now, there’s no way to acquire Gems through the in-game mechanics. No achievements, Battle Pass rewards, et cetera. That’s pretty dangerous right there. You can get Aeos Coins though, which is the generic free currency used on Held Items, Enhancers, et cetera. Pokemon Unite also has a cap on how many Aeos Coins you can acquire in a week, which is a terrible idea. There’s also a hard cap on Aeos Energy per week (how you roll for cosmetics in the little gacha machine). But let’s start with the Real Money Currency, and we’ll go from there.
The game doesn’t feel pay-to-win right out of the gate. It isn’t made immediately clear that you can go around and spend hundreds of dollars to max out your Held Items. Held Items are items your Pokemon can hold, up to 3. At Trainer Level 10, you can hold three at once. They give you a variety of incredibly useful powers, and they can also be leveled up (cap of 30). You can also purchase items called Item Enhancers using Aeos Tickets. They’re pretty cheap through Tickets. However, you can also use Aeos Gems (real-money currency). The game doesn’t show you can use Gems though. When you try to purchase more than you have the capacity to afford, the game will ask you if you want to spend Aeos Gems to finish the purchase.
Once you Trainer Rank 9, and can start upgrading items, you suddenly have a serious advantage. After a few hundred bucks invested into the game, you suddenly have Level 30 Held Items. I’ve seen many videos of someone just 1v5ing enemy teams over and over with maxed-out items. It takes little-to-no effort. Between this, and buying the Battle Pass, you get plenty of Item Enhancers. Most of the Item Enhancers here are free, but you can spend Gems to purchase the Premium Pass and get +10 Levels to give you a headstart. So yes, you can grind these Item Enhancers, but the grind is deliberately made as slow as it possibly can be, so you have little choice but to spend real money if you want to keep up with the Whales. You can repeatedly spend money on the Battle Pass to get through it faster, making it so you get those easy Item Enhancers too. Then we have Pokemon themselves.
Pokemon are the characters you control in the game. Like any f2p MOBA, the characters all cost something. You can buy them with Aeos Coins or Gems, with the Gem costs being cheaper. Since there’s a cap on how many Aeos Coins you can earn in Battle, and they’re already pretty slow grinds to begin with, the idea is that you need to spend real money on them. I don’t mind spending real money on a f2p game, as long as it doesn’t feel predatory, that I need to. The prices and grind just don’t feel worth it right now.
It might feel pretty fast now, but that’s going to change. There are minor, unimportant things you can buy with Aeos Gems too though. Pokemon Skins, Trainer Skins, for example. These are just cosmetics that look cool. Zero issues with this. You can also purchase Miscellaneous Items in the shop with Gems. These are Boosters – double the Battle Points, Coins, Aeos Energy, or rename your Trainer. These I have no problem with because they have no impact on the actual game.
But that Item Enhancer stuff feels very shady. We’ll be going back to this soon. So Gems are powerful, and can only be acquired with Real Money. What about the Free Currencies?
There are four free currencies for Pokemon Unite microtransactions, and that’s potentially three too many. It feels very confusing, but we’ll break down what you can get with each of them. These are a bit more plentiful since you can get them by playing the game. First, we have Aeos Coins!
There are a few ways to get Aeos Coins weekly. You can complete Challenges & Missions (1700 Coins per day for doing them all). You can also do events, which grant around 600 Coins, and Daily MIssions for about 250 Coins. Battles can grant you Coins whether you win or lose, but the cap for 2100 Coins per week is hard-capped. For winning, you gain around 40-500 Coins, and losing nets you 20-80. Finally, you can complete tutorials.
What can you do with them though? You can unlock your Pokemon Licenses (unlock characters for play). These range from 6000-10000 Aeos Coins, so they aren’t cheap. You can also buy the Held Items, which run 1000 Aeon Coins apiece, or 625 Aeos Tickets. That’s pretty much all they’re good for.
Aeos Tickets are one of our free currencies in the game, but they aren’t quite as easy to get. They are a Seasonal Reward from ranked matches, rewards from events, and Trainer Level Up rewards. You can also get them from the Battle Pass and can be from the Energy Reward pull. So they’re a little harder to get compared to Aeos Coins. However, in Ranked, you can unlock a lot of these:
Cup Aeos Ticket Rewards:
- Beginner Cup: 2,000 Aeos Tickets
- Great Cup: 4,000 Aeos Tickets
- Expert Cup: 6,000 Aeos Tickets
- Veteran Cup: 10,000 Aeos Tickets
- Ultra Cup: 15,000 Aeos Tickets
- Master Cup: 20,000 Aeos Tickets
The most important thing you can get with Aeos Tickets is Item Enhancers, as we said earlier. You can get Held Items with them, but the Aeos Coins work for that too. We suppose you can buy Boosters if you’d like, or Trainer Skins/Cosmetics, but the big point of these are the Enhancers.
Fashion Tickets/Holowear Tickets:
Fashion Tickets are used for Trainer Skins/Clothes, and that’s the only use for them right now. They can only be used in the Fashion Ticket Exchange Shop as well. Only certain items can be found here though. You can get these from Energy Pull Rewards, and Research Institute Missions (limited-time quests). Holowear Tickets are similar, but for Pokemon. It’s a currency to buy specific Holos (Skins) for your Pokemon. This is a setlist of Holos as well. You can only get them from Battle Pass Prize Boxes, and Energy Reward Pulls right now. That may change in the future. These ultimately aren’t that important unless you come upon a great deal of them. Significantly less important than Aeos Tickets, Aeos Coins, or Aeos Gems.
So as you can see, the most important currency is Aeos Gems. You can use them to suddenly increase the power of your Pokemon Item Enhancers.