Pokemon Unite players lash out as new Emblems revive pay-to-win mechanics

pokemon unite patch dragonite lucarioTiMi Studios

Pokemon Unite’s new Emblem system has revealed, sparking concerns within the community that the game has returned to its pay-to-win roots that previously plagued the player base.

Pokemon Unite’s initial appeal significantly dropped after a quick look at the held item upgrade system — signifying a market marred by pay-to-win mechanics.

But the MOBA’s initial pay-to-win ecosystem was eventually addressed, mitigating the degree it was used substantially. With the addition of a brand new Emblem system though, the player base has grown worried again.

Shown in Sobble’s Unite Data Mines mines alongside official reveals, the new Emblem system in Pokemon Unite could mark the return of a pay-to-win market.

How do Pokemon Unite Boost Emblems work?

This new Emblem system in Pokemon Unite functions very similarly to League of Legends’ classic Runes system. Players can acquire individual stats to place onto their playable characters. The difference is League of Legends allowed players to choose the individual runes, while Pokemon Unite requires them to roll for them in a gacha system.

You have to stack up energy to roll for Emblems in the energy rewards, which used to only provide purely cosmetic items alongside in-game currency. The Emblems are built differently as well, with some being clearly better than others.

Take the Bulbasaur and Venusaur Emblems as an example. The most basic Bulbasaur Emblem provides Sp. Attack +1.5, but also changes HP by -30. Meanwhile, the basic Venasaur Emblem provides the same exact Sp. Attack upgrade without the HP decrease.

Pokemon UniteTimi Studios
Players can attach up to 10 emblems at once

All Emblems have three varying upgrade levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

To upgrade any Emblem from Bronze to Silver, players must use three of the same Emblem and grade and merge them together. This has a 100% success rate.

As for the upgrade from Silver to Gold, the process is the same. Players must use three of the same Emblem and grade, so three silver Emblems, and merge them together. According to data mines, this has a 40% success rate.

Each upgrade boasts significant power upgrades from the previous, making them essential to maximize.

Having more customizable stat upgrades is fantastic for the gameplay aspect of Pokemon Unite. These allow for base stats to individualize a pick. But the way TiMi has gone about creating this system has many in the community screaming pay-to-win.

How is the Pokemon Unite Boost Emblem system pay-to-win?

Players can definitely earn Emblems by simply playing Pokemon Unite, eventually farming up enough energy to roll the units desired. But there’s a massive short cut in the form of microtransactions. Instead of playing, you can easily buy Energy Refills using Aoes Gems (real money) to roll more often.

This then increases the probability of gaining access to the appropriate Emblems, aspects directly related to a pokemon’s strength in game. Hence, pay-to-win.

This doesn’t necessarily mean players cannot grind to acquire these emblems. Honestly, the game is surprisingly friendly this time around for handing out energy for rolls — but it’ll still take an incredibly long period of time, especially when considering the drop rates and sheer number of emblems necessary.

For more analysis, players don’t need 1 of each Emblem. For a maximum upgraded gold Emblem, they need to roll the same unit at least 9 times. This is assuming the player is lucky and happens to successfully upgrade their Emblem from Silver to Gold.

Perhaps players can roll a gold unit off the bat. But even if do, there’s the chance it’s a less optimal one like a Bulbasaur Emblem rather than a Venusaur.

And given players can attach 10 Emblems at a time; imagine needing to farm 90+ Emblems assuming you have perfect RNG.

TiMi has not yet addressed the community concerns with the new system, and free-to-play players might find themselves struggling behind their ‘whale’ counterparts.