The excitement for a new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game based on the legendary Pokémon franchise seems to have met reality with the release of Pokémon Unite, the new free-to-play (F2P) title on the Nintendo Switch.
Let’s start by listing the amount of currencies that Pokémon Unite currently has.
Gems: The premium currency for Unite. You can only acquire this with money. Can be used to unlock Pokémon Licenses, cosmetics and buying Aeos Tickets.
Aeos Coins: The main free currency for Unite. You can earn this through completing missions, levelling up and playing games. Can used to unlock Pokémon Licenses and Held Items.
Aeos Tickets: You can earn this by completing missions, levelling up and through Energy Rewards. You can use this to purchase Held Items, Item Enhancers (to level up your Held Items) and Battle Point boost cards (Battle Points allow you to raise your trainer level).
Fashion Tickets: You can earn this by completing missions and through Energy Rewards. You can use this to purchase cosmetics for your trainer costume.
Holowear Tickets: You can earn this through Energy Rewards. You can use this to purchase cosmetics for your Pokémon.
Energy: You can only earn this by playing the game. You are able to roll every 100 Energy you receive to get a random role of cosmetics for your trainer or other in-game currency.
I’m sure you’ve seen similar or much worse in other F2P games. The popular Genshin Impact from miHoYo easily has a comparative amount of in-game currencies as well.
The difference is that Genshin Impact is a Role-Playing Game, with a focus on grinding, items and story. It makes sense for different currencies to be available to the player in games like this, because you would need to grind these resources to achieve certain things in game, like unlocking characters, buying in game consumables, cosmetics and also building your home (Serenitea Pot).
Additionally, Genshin Impact currently has no PVP, with the closest competitive thing being whether or not you were listed as the person who did the most damage to an event boss in co-op.
Pokémon Unite is just a MOBA (comparative to Dota 2, League of Legends, Wild Rift etc). You have five Pokémon vs another five Pokémon, all looking to score as much in a game while duking it out with each other. That’s about it.
I understand the main use of Aeos Coins, the main free currency. You definitely need a main currency that you can throw around to buy the characters in game, in this case, Pokémon Licenses.
I also understand that you can use it to purchase other items like Held Items, an item that your Pokémon can hold to increase its stats in battle.
But why is there a need for Aeos Tickets, since the Aeos Coins can already do what the Aeos Tickets can do anyway? The only few things that are exclusive to the Aeos Tickets are the Item Enhancers and Battle Point boosts.
My guess is that they do not want to risk players buying the Item Enhancers with Coins instead, since you can earn Coins by just playing the game (albeit limited to 2,100 coins per week), while Aeos Tickets are pretty hard to come by for free in game. Naughty Tencent (the game is developed by Tencent's TiMi Studios and The Pokémon Company).
If you haven’t already heard, you can actually buy Aeos Tickets by exchanging Gems for them, and hence, are able to upgrade your Held Items to their maximum level just by throwing in some cash to buy the Item Enhancers. Yep, pay-to-win (P2W), but that’s another topic for another day.
Another redundant currency seems to be the Holowear Tickets. I totally understand the need to have a cosmetic currency, but why is there a need to have two different currencies for the trainer AND the Pokémon?
Why don’t these fashion tickets also allow me to buy cosmetics for my trainer AND Pokémon? What’s more, it’s my Pokémon that do the battling in game, so my trainer model is just some eye candy at the starting screen, that’s about it. But obviously, that rift can be solved by using Gems (unsurprisingly), as you can buy any kind of cosmetics with them.
Pokémon Unite is a really fun game at its core. The gameplay is smooth, the mechanics are a great take on the MOBA genre, but there are so many outliers in this game that makes it hard to recommend to people.
The fact that Held Items are upgradable with real money instead of being just a flat boost is a big red flag, and the redundancy of certain currencies really halts the enjoyment of the game.
If you are curious on how upgraded Held Items affect the game, here is a clip of a player dropping 49 kills in-game because he is using the strongest character in the game with all level 30 Held Items.