Pokemon Unite World Champions BLVKHVND Tell Us Their Top Requests For The Game
The first Pokemon Unite World Champions were crowned at the Pokemon WCS 2022 in London last weekend. The North American team BLVKHVND (pronounced Blackhand) crushed the competition, going completely undefeated throughout both days of the tournament. I sat down with the team after their historic victory to find out what made them such an unstoppable force, breakdown some of their best plays, like Kyriaos incredible Zapdos steal, and ask them about the changes they’d like to see in Year 2 of Pokemon Unite.
“I think it would be great if we could see more balance patches more often,” Junglebook says. “A lot of times it feels like we’re just stuck on one patch, one meta, for two months, and it gets quite stale.” Junglebook would like to see balance updates occur every two or three weeks going forward, similar to other MOBAs. “It would keep the game fresh and keep people practiciting a lot of different picks, and overall improve the playerbase.”
Unite tends to add new Pokemon every three weeks, but balance patches typically only come through when a new ranked season begins. It was announced today that three new Pokemon will be added throughout September: Mew, Dodrio, and Scizor. New Pokemon tend to shake up the meta a lot, but more frequent balance changes could help bring more Pokemon into the meta and open up new playstyles for the Pokemon with underperforming move sets. The recently added Public Test Server is used to ensure new Pokemon arrive in a more balanced state, according to producer Masaaki Hoshino, but hopefully it will also be used to experiment with more-frequent balance changes in the future.
Overlord, who secured the highest number of BLVKHVND’s MVPs in the tournament, would like to see some improvements made to Ranked Mode. “I think the ranking system right now is mostly just a grind more than anything,” he says. “We don’t really get rewarded very much other than your name being on the leaderboards.”
Ranked has been a huge point of contention within the Unite community from the very first season. While the rewards have improved in recent seasons, players still have the ability to climb to the highest ranks simply by playing lots of games, even if they’re losing most of them. In an interview, Hoshino said that his team receives lots of feedback about matchmaking and recognizes that there’s room for improvement. “There are some things that we are considering that we aren’t ready to share yet,” Hoshino says. “But it’s something we definitely recognize is a problem that we’re trying to fix.”
Slash, BLVKHVND’s mobile player, has a simple but important request. “I would really like the ability to customize your control layout on mobile,” he says. “[I want to] adjust the sizes of the joystick and buttons.” A lot of Unite players prefer mobile because it provides a better view of the map and easier aiming, but the lack of customization options is definitely something that needs to be addressed.
Finally, Kyriaos is hopeful for changes to the Emblem System. “The emblems do make the game more interesting, but they have to make it less random,” he says. “It makes the whole idea of it weird. You could play a ranked game and your enemy team has a lot of gold emblems and is stronger than your team. That makes it weird for me. So if there’s another way to get more emblems or rewards that include emblems, or even purchasable would be good. I think emblems open up opportunities for more Pokemon but it’s unfortunate how the system works right now.”
Dataminers have discovered new emblems are on the way that complete the original 151, but it’s unclear if changes are coming to the way players earn them. Currently, you can earn a handful of emblems on the season track, but the rest have to be collected via lottery, AKA Energy Rewards. Hopefully there will be a more deterministic way to get new emblems in the future so that players don’t have an unfair advantage simply because they got luckier at the slot machine.
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