We’ve all been there: you’re playing an online game and having a whale of a time until – oh no! – miserable idiots who live to ruin other people’s day show up and the entire concept of “fun” is hideously wrenched into endless streams of swear words and seething scorn. In most games, you can report these players for griefing or inactivity or offensive language. In Pokemon Unite, unless someone stands still for several minutes or leaves a ranked match prematurely, they’re off the hook before they’re ever even on it.
I’ve sort of written about this before – how Pokemon Unite has a serious idling problem, which is compounded by the game’s own distinct lack of knowledge about how support roles are supposed to work. Really, though, it goes much further than this. As it stands, Pokemon Unite’s entire reporting system is completely busted. Not only are there far too few options to possibly represent all of the ways people can misbehave – it’s also incredibly easy to just… get away with it.
Admittedly, Unite does not have voice chat and all of the text commands are pre-written, meaning the most aggressive thing you can do in terms of actually communicating with other players is just spam messages, which… Yes, it is annoying, but not an atrocity worthy of being brought up in court. I can understand the stance that once this curbs toxicity – at least in-game, during matches – the reporting system can be significantly more lenient. On the contrary, I think this should make it easier to identify report-worthy behaviour on account of there being fewer people doing bad things. Fighting toxicity should theoretically get easier the narrower your scope becomes. You can’t just say, “Voice chat is gone, another job well done.”
The main problem with how reporting works in Unite is its fair play system. Essentially, you are rewarded on a daily basis – I say rewarded, but 20 Aeos coins is the equivalent of the dust on a dime – for not being reported. If you are reported for toxic behaviour – read: idling, as no other option exists for actionably calling out other offenses – Timi will investigate and, if you are found guilty, you will lose some points. Your first offense will not get you banned, and a second one will only temporarily prevent you from queuing ranked until you get your point total back up, which, like… is easy. There is absolutely no fear of repercussions here – people can just do whatever they want and, come tomorrow, they’ll still be able to log in and take the piss.
This entire structure needs to be overhauled. Slight revisions or patches are not enough – the fundamental framework of how reporting players in Pokemon Unite operates needs to be rebuilt from scratch in order to successfully box off people who only want to play the game to ruin it for others. Also, it’s a free game – I have seen some absurd arguments in my time that perma-banning someone for toxicity is unfair because they paid for a certain game. They also knew not to behave in a stupid, potentially bigoted way, so the loss is their fault, not the devs’. Even if you subscribe to that nonsense though, Pokemon Unite is, I reiterate, free. Nobody loses anything other than the ability to play if they are banned, and if they’re banned, it’s almost definitely their fault. Increase the number of options we have for reporting people and make sure those guilty of actually griefing or trolling are blocked from the game for an extended period of time. This is basic logic.
Just this weekend, I wrote a post about how I wish Pokemon Unite players would learn how to play MOBAs properly. In one of the most batshit moves I have ever witnessed, some complete stranger found my YouTube account and left a ridiculous – and frankly stupid – comment on an unrelated video about Breath of the Wild 2. Toxic and remarkably weird people like this are the ones who need to be banned – I guarantee they’re a career griefer who thinks it’s funny throwing matches in a kids’ game.
Pokemon Unite’s reporting system is broken. Until it’s fixed, this game will never be as great as it can be.