Hold Items are one of the most important aspects of Pokémon UNITE, with players equipping three before each match that each have their own unique benefits and can completely change how a Pokémon plays.
Once you start getting into the details, the free-to-play MOBA gains a new layer, and not one that many players are prepared to tackle.
After playing UNITE for a while, players will be able to equip a total of three Held Items, each giving Pokémon a permanent boost in certain areas. It can be purely stat-based, a form of healing, or even a shield when scoring points. These items can be obtained by completing challenges or using currency in the shop.
You can equip all types of items in the Battle Prep menu from the home screen, or right before a match begins. But as you get into ranked mode and start playing more competitive games, you will need to start upgrading the items you have been using to get better boosts.
In order to upgrade your Held Items, you first need to reach Trainer Level nine.
Once that is done, you can open up the main menu and head to the Battle Prep tab, where you can view all of your items and preset loadouts for your Pokémon. The game actually provides a short menu tutorial for how to upgrade your items when you first enter this menu.
Essentially, every Held Item requires a certain number of Item Enhancers to level up. The max level for every item in UNITE is 30, though the image on the upgrade menu only shows up to level 20 on the graphic.
Item Enhancers can be obtained multiple ways, including through challenges, the Battle Pass, and by exchanging Aeos Tickets in the Aeos Emporium shop. The exchange method is what you will be using most often if you are a ranked player because you will need your items to be up to snuff if you want to keep up with the competition in higher ranks.
If you don’t have enough Aeos Tickets, you can use the premium Aeos Gems to buy Item Enhancers. This essentially means any player willing to pay for microtransactions can get a competitive edge on other players by maxing out their items.
Using Item Enhancers is the only way to upgrade Held Items in the game at the moment.
You can still upgrade your items without paying real money, but it will take much longer to grind your necessary set to the max level. It shouldn’t impact your standard games or low-rank matches much, but if you plan on grinding up into higher levels, things could get dicey.