Multiplayer online battle arenas (AKA MOBAs, if you want to keep it brief) have been around for quite awhile now. They’re often an easy way for game developers to consistently rake in the cash, as an online game type that can be played competitively.
From a player’s perspective, they can be pretty addictive. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of taking out a team of several other people or defending your base skillfully from an onslaught.
One new MOBA has become the talk of the town: Pokemon Unite. If you’re a Pokemon fan, a MOBA fan, or both, we’re here to help you get into Pokemon Unite by giving you advice, as we’re current actual players of the game.
Quick Overview of the Game
As we like to say, it’s never a bad idea to start with the basics, so that’s where we’ll begin. We mentioned above that Pokemon Unite is a MOBA, but how exactly does it work?
In Pokemon Unite, players play on one of two teams. Players can choose from a roster of Pokemon, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The ever-popular Pikachu, for instance, is an excellent ranged attacker, while Snorlax is a massive tank (unsurprisingly).
There are several different game modes at this point in time, but overall they’re similar. Each team’s objective is to earn points by defeating wild Pokemon spaced across the map in battle. Once a player has garnered a larger number of points, they must make their way to one of the opposing team’s goals and cash in their points to score. The team with the most points at the end wins.
As you gain experience by defeating wild Pokemon or opposing players, your Pokemon will level up and sometimes evolve. The exception is if you’re playing a Pokemon that doesn’t have any additional evolutions, such as Zeraora.
We won’t get into the slight differences across the game modes. Just keep the above description in mind as a bird’s eye view of how the game works.
Tips for New Pokemon Unite Players
Ready to play? Not so fast – let’s cover some basic tips you can use to give yourself a leg up on your competition…
1. Don’t get lost in the blood lust.
If you’re new to MOBAs, one of the greatest challenges you’ll face is knowing when to call it quits. When you’re fighting another player and you drop their health low, they’ll naturally flee the battle…and you’ll want to chase them.
Sometimes, chasing is warranted. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can get the kill without dying in the process, or you have a couple teammates to back you up, it may be worth it.
Ultimately, though, we recommend prioritizing farming (defeating wild Pokemon for experience and points) and defending your own goals over fighting. That way, you’ll level faster so you have an advantage in late-game fights.
2. Do your best to get Zapdos.
In most game modes, a wild Zapdos will appear in the center of the arena shortly before the end of the game. Defeating it briefly doubles the value of the points you score afterward and makes the enemy team’s goals defenseless, so it’s a huge boost.
We’ve seen situations that look like certain losses turn into stunning victories after capturing Zapdos. Try your best to muster your team and defeat Zapdos as soon as you can once it appears.
If you don’t capture Zapdos, though, don’t lose hope. Zapdos’s boost won’t mean anything if you can defend your goals well enough to stop the opponents from scoring.
3. Scoring early doesn’t matter.
As we mentioned above, getting Zapdos at the end of the game doubles the value of any points you score. In other words, it’s more impactful to score at the end of the game if you capture Zapdos than to keep cashing in small handfuls of points throughout the game.
That being said, the number of points you can carry at once does max out to different amounts at different points in the match. In the beginning, you can only carry 30 points at a time, for instance. If you reach the maximum number of points, it’s a good idea to score if you can before an opponent takes you out and makes you drop some of them.
4. Declare your lane in the Pokemon select screen.
Before the match starts, you’ll have an opportunity to communicate with your team during the Pokemon selection phase. If you press ZR, a menu will pop up that lets you equip your Pokemon and declare which lane you’re going in.
Even if no one else you’re playing with does so, declare your lane – whether it’s top, bottom, or the central area. If you’re not sure which one to choose, the game will give you a recommendation in green, and it’s never a bad idea to go with that, provided it’s not already filled with other players.
Has the lane you want been claimed by a couple people already? Be flexible, then, and try to farm in and defend another area.
5. Take some time to research the Pokemon in advance.
Each Pokemon in the game has its own advantages and disadvantages. While you certainly can just jump right in and play with whoever is available if you want, it’s never a bad idea to check out any Pokemon that interest you in advance.
That way, you’ll know which Pokemon best suit your playstyle. If you’re planning to be a bit more competitive, you’ll also know which ones are at the top of the meta at the time. (Keep in mind this can change as updates are made and Pokemon are nerfed or buffed.)
6. Resist the temptation to use your tickets on clothes/cosmetics.
As you log in and complete matches, you’ll earn a couple different kinds of in-game currency. One of them is tickets. Tickets can be used to purchase a couple things: items and cosmetics.
We know it’s tempting to make your trainer look stylish but resist that urge. Your tickets should go towards items that you can equip your Pokemon with in battle. One of our favorite items to purchase, for example, is the Eject Button, which works like Flash if you’ve ever played League of Legends. (If not, don’t worry – it just means you can periodically teleport a short distance, which helps you escape a battle when your health gets dangerously low).
7. Self-conscious? Practice against CPUs before playing against people.
If you’re new to the game, you might feel a little embarrassed about playing against a team of real players. We’ve all been there. Should you feel anxious, you can rest assured that it’s possible to play a CPU match in Standard or Quick modes. You’ll have the option to choose between Random Match, Friendly Match, and CPU Match in a purple oval on the right side of the screen in the lobby before you start searching for a match.
Playing against CPUs is great for beginners, but it has other uses, too. It’s also excellent for when you’re trying out a Pokemon you’ve never played before, and you don’t want to have to worry about being wrecked by an experienced team of human players while you figure things out.
Keep in mind, however, that you cannot play against CPUs in Ranked matches, as far as we know.
Pokemon Unite is shaping up to be an addictive and fun game that’s suitable for MOBA lovers, Pokemon fans, and gamers of all types. If you have a Nintendo Switch, there’s no reason not to give it a try, since it’s free to play. (Just be aware that it does offer in-game purchases, in the event you have children who are going to play, or you tend to get tempted by these things.)
We personally look forward to seeing what other Pokemon they add to the game, and to keep trying out new Pokemon ourselves. Hopefully, these tips will help you do the same.