Pokemon Unite Needs To Slow Down With The New Characters
Decidueye marks yet another misstep for Pokemon Unite.
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Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the dastardly Decidueye is officially making its way to Pokemon Unite. In a way, this is pretty cool – Rowlet is a widely beloved starter and Decidueye’s archery gimmick is objectively great. There are, however, two significant problems with its addition to the Unite roster: a) no more Attackers, ever, and b) it’s already broken, just like every new Pokemon is at launch.
If I were a cynic – which I sometimes am – I would diagnose the latter issue as a greedy corpo attempt to incentivise succumbing to steep MTX prices in order to pick up a powerful new character who will enjoy a temporary window of running amok among the free-to-play peasantry. Almost every single post-launch character in Unite has been subjected to aggressive nerfs not-so-shortly after their debut purely because they are, in fact, broken, but also, in fact, making a quick buck. This exact thing happened when Greedent received at least four nerfs on Wednesday – I say “at least” because Pokemon Unite’s patch notes are usually cryptic nonsense.
Still, the former issue is the major one. Since Pokemon Unite launched, six characters have been added to the game: Gardevoir, Blissey, Blastoise, Mamoswine, Sylveon, and Greedent. It’s a bit weird that half of these ‘mons are Defenders and we’ve yet to see a Support or All-Rounder make it into Unite, although given the niche nature of Defenders and relative shortage of them at launch, it’s forgivable. What’s less forgivable is that both Gardevoir and Sylveon are ranged DPS, meaning that 33 percent of Unite’s post-launch characters to date have just added to the already enormous Attacker roster. Decidueye, it seems, will up that stat to 42 percent.
There are a variety of problems with this, the most obvious of which is that there are simply too many Attackers in Unite. 42 percent is quite a big number when you consider it leaves just 58 percent for four other roles. It’s one thing that most people who play online games selfishly main DPS regardless of team composition – just this morning I had a Pikachu, Cinderace, and Greninja on my team – but it’s another thing entirely when a developer actively caters to that mentality by consciously allowing DPS to outnumber every other role. There is no need for Decidueye in Pokemon Unite right now. What we need are All-Rounders in the vein of Dragonite and Tyranitar, Speedsters such as Barraskewda and Crobat, and Supports like Umbreon and Sableye. It would also help if Timi accurately matched ‘mons with their respective categories – Sylveon as an Attacker? Please.
When you consider both of these issues – that new ‘mons are broken at launch and that there are already too many Attackers in Unite – the solution becomes remarkably clear: Timi needs to stop thinking it’s Whitney’s Miltank and slow down its Rollout of new Pokemon. Attackers are the easiest ‘mons to design because their kits have the least nuance – compare Mr. Mime’s Barrier, Blastoise’s Rapid Spin, and Gengar’s Sludge Bomb and Hex combo to Pikachu’s ‘shoots lightning’ and that much is obvious. It’s worth noting that of those three Pokemon, Blastoise is a post-launch Defender whose addition to the roster was delayed, serving as further proof that it’s more difficult to integrate ‘mons who aren’t just ‘do damage’ into the game.
On one hand, I understand the excitement. Pokemon Unite is a new MOBA with a relatively slim roster and it’s fascinating to see who’s going to be added next – something that is further compounded by some of the more unpredictable picks. We’ve got Crustle and Cramorant but no Heracross or Scizor. What’s Timi’s game here?
On the other, putting out a character every few weeks for the foreseeable future surely isn’t reasonable or sustainable. The game regularly needs balance changes and the meta swings like a Newton’s cradle that’s been smacked with Gyarados’ Hyper Beam. I would much prefer a version of Unite where changes are few and far between but actually meaningful. New characters should undergo rigorous testing before being introduced to the game to ensure they don’t immediately break it. Additional Pokemon should be implemented across all roles, as opposed to just being integrated as yet another DPS. The picks themselves should be intriguing and deserved – again, just put Heracross in the game already, you cowards.
For various reasons, I haven’t been impressed with Pokemon Unite’s second season so far. My prognosis for why that is largely has to do with the changes to ranked matches, but I’m also concerned about how rushed each and every new character feels. At launch, Pokemon Unite felt airtight. Some post-launch characters like Blastoise and Sylveon have become similarly balanced through various patches, although each and every new introduction has at least temporarily been a mess. Just slow down. Think it over. Bolster the Support lineup with some fan-favourite ‘mons. Allow Pokemon Unite to be the brilliant, ambitious, and thoughtful game it could be.
Ah, who am I kidding – we’re getting Bruxish as an Attacker, aren’t we?
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