To preface, I am a free to play mobile game developer. Monetisation and strategy around this is my bread and butter. My job is to find the right balance between monetising your product and players enjoying it.
This game is WAY off that balance, like in a concerning and highly predatory way.
There are currently 5 monetisation strategies at play, which you usually only ever see a combination of 2 at a time in other games, specifically MOBA's. So you have:
- Battle Pass Levels
- Gacha Pull Increases
- Character purchases (standard faire in most mobas so no issue here, other than their cost being astronomical on a currency per hour basis)
- Actual gameplay boosting items (please don't argue on this point, those items are directly impacting gameplay and increasing your combat effectiveness substantially)
So what does this mean? Well you can play for a bit and enjoy it, as the game is extremely fun, but you will quickly realise that those items I mentioned above are tide turners. They increase your damage percentage, your movement speed, your healing output and received, passive healing tics and more. They are literal pay to win, and can be spent on with real money to increase their power.
The main issue here is that after the welcome campaign is done, the unlock process is glacial. You will spend months unlocking 1-2 characters at a time, as the feed of currency is very low, and even further, the feed of hard currency is non-existant. I have played 15 games so far and received 0 gems for any part of the experience, and enough soft currency to buy one character.
Yes I have unlocked a few characters through the Welcome and Launch campaign, but these are temporary acquisition tools to get you hooked, and not part of the games standard progression.
Be very cautious here, this game is not for children and should not be played without a an adult conscious of finances and how monetisation works on a baseline. I would HIGHLY suggest you do not support this game until they resolve their deeply predatory monetisation schemes. This is a very heavy step for Nintendo to take, as even their other Switch based MOBA (Arena of Valor) is not this heavily monetised, but ill admit it's not far off. It's quite sad they are putting the Pokemon brand on the front of such a terrifyingly brutal "game" such as this.
EDIT: I wanted to add too as it seems people are quite appreciative of this warning, that their strategy is seen in other eastern developed free to plays where the pay to win becomes the only option. Early on the game will be super fun and easy to play, but as people start levelling up their items and leaving you behind you will be blocked out of combat because your items are not strong enough and you will only have the option to spend real money regularly to compete. This is an awful tactic, and something that keeps trying to creep into games.
Regarding pay to win you can buy tickets with gems which are then spent on the stat boost items. This is called a 3 step currency and is designed to stop people being able to work out the cost of items easily. Its another tactic and a very common one. Its why gems come in bundles that are never equal to the gem cost of anything in-game. Its to deter people from working out value. Essentially it allows the seller to generate their own economy and manipulate it freely.
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