Written by Haoyang Wang and Kevin Yu
Edited by Bhromor Rahman
Hey, you! What is ‘‘Genshin Impact’’ you ask?
If you have no idea, then your wi-fi either stopped working since September or Dwayne Johnson is living on the floor above you. Let me enlighten you. Genshin Impact is a game that shares many similarities with benzodiazepines: once you have tried it once, you won’t be able to stop and if you fall too deep in this rabbit hole, you’ll see your savings evaporate into primogems and you’ll descend into madness because you just can’t get your hands on Keqing (刻晴)!
In the end, the only thing that goes “Ka-ching” is Mihoyo’s wallet. No wonder that within a month of its release, the game made over 250 million in revenue. In any case, Genshin will transform you from a working member of society to a husk whose sole purpose is to wander around an open world map grabbing chests. You will often find yourself playing Genshin for a whole day, even if you are already Adventure Rank 35 and already finished the game’s story until the next patch. Rip-off? Pay-to-win? Thou art mistaken: this game is not ‘‘pay-to-win’’; it’s pay-to-flex-on-your-friends. Now, allow me to introduce you to the beautiful world of Teyvat and all its secrets!
A brother and a sister, Aether and Lumine, are travelling world to world. They reach Teyvat and realize that it is a messed up place, so they decide to ditch it (just like Timmy’s dad). However, a goddess, who is DEFINITELY not Herrscher of the void from Honkai Impact, pulls a Karen and stops them by sealing their powers and separating them from each other. At that moment, you choose the character you wish to play (so the female one basically).
After wandering around in Teyvat with neither power nor money for some time like a hobo, you fish out your travelling companion and guide, Paimon, aka your emergency food, out of the ocean.
Thus, you go on a journey to master all seven elements to bring balance to the world in order to find your lost sibling. However, many obstacles stand in the way of your goals and the biggest of them all are the distractions known as chests.
World Exploration and patch 1.1
Some have nicknamed Genshin Breath of the Waifus since it is mainly inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You control a party of 4 characters, explore the world and complete quests while committing genocide, overhunting endangered animals and stealing other people’s property. Unlike many RPGs, you can climb almost any wall instead of going around them and glide to not die from fall damage. There are many puzzles scattered all around the map that will require a brain to complete and will give you chests depending on how many brain cells you spend. Of course, the truly 5head will likely just search and watch a tutorial on Youtube. The game can be played on multiple platforms such as PC, mobile and PS4. Even though the story can only be played in single player mode, you can join someone else’s world (Genshin supports cross-platform co-op) to help them fight bosses or steal their resources. Resources respawn over time, and it can easily take you more than 80 hours to explore the current map. The thrill of exploring and finding new puzzles is the selling point of this game. Only 2 out of the 8 regions are explorable so far: Mondstadt (basically Germany) and Liyue (basically China). New content will be added in the near future to expand the map further with patch 1.1 due tomorrow, November 11th. Make sure to check it out!
Of course, exploring the world is not without risk. Many monsters populate the world, and they are always ready to be turned into upgrade material, but you will need to defeat them first!
But before explaining the combat system, here is some of the jargon you need to know.
–ATK, or base attack, is whatever your character ATK + weapon ATK is. When a stat gives ATK% or flat ATK, it adds to that number.
–Elemental Mastery (EM) boosts the damage of the elemental damage you make, as well as the damage of the elemental reactions that occur. Do not completely focus on EM, even if you are building a support character, as the way the game calculates damage is still based on base ATK.
–Elemental DMG and Physical DMG are bonuses applied at the end of the calculation. For example, if after everything your character is supposed to deal 100 physical damage on an enemy, but your sword gives a 10% physical DMG bonus, then you will deal 110. The same would go for a character dealing Elemental DMG with an artifact boosting Elemental DMG. This is generally the most desirable stat, as it is a multiplier applied at the end of all the other calculations. Finally, each character can unleash a normal attack, a charged attack, an elemental ability and an elemental burst.
The game also has an elaborate element system consisting of Anemo, Pyro, Hydro, Electro, Cyro, Dendro and Geo. All the elements have unique interactions with each other: combining Pyro and Hydro causes Vaporize, and Cyro with Pyro causes Melt. These elemental reactions are often the difference between winning or losing fights in Genshin Impact, especially later on when enemies will have very high physical resistance. Because of this mechanic, the game is based on switching between characters and starting reactions with their elemental attacks. Moreover, elements react with monsters and the environment. For example, a wooden shield can be burned by a pyro attack, and water can be frozen with cryo abilities. If you lack a brain (or refuse to use it), you can always try to brute force through your enemies.
You can also equip up to 5 different artifacts on each character which offer certain buffs. Artifacts have set bonuses, of either 1-set, 2-set or 4-set variants. In the same way you would look for stats on a weapon, you also want stats that would benefit your character the most.
One common mistake when choosing artifacts is the reluctance to level up lower starred artifacts. When you are upgrading artifacts, the cost is calculated in terms of “Artifacts Used” not in “EXP given”, and the EXP penalty is not that terrible, so you should level an artifact with the stats you want and the set effect you want immediately, and when you find the corresponding artifact with a higher star rating, you can simply feed the previous artifact to the new one. This will give you around 85% of the EXP, and only cost a couple hundred Mora (the game’s basic currency).
In addition, characters use different types of weapons that allow different playstyle. Here are some recommendations on the house to save some time for the hardcore gamers out there:
–Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers: Perhaps the best weapon for any Catalyst support: at refine level 5, it gives an extra 48% DMG to whoever you switch to for 10 seconds, and the cooldown is 20 seconds. This means you get 48% extra DMG half of the time!
–Crescent Pike: An extremely powerful lance. The skill activates every time you pick up an elemental particle, which is almost all the time, therefore the effect has a quasi-100% uptime. The extra 20% ATK is separate damage, meaning if you do 100 white DMG on an enemy, there will be a separate 20 white damage on your screen, which will crit independently of the main damage.
–Prototype Aminus: The skill allows the character to deal a whopping amount of damage every 15 seconds. Despite its “burst” characteristics being more suited for a support, this also works as a main weapon for a DPS. Very useful to “snipe” mages and squishier enemies before they can activate their elemental shields or use their magic
–Debate Club: If you don’t have a highly refined Aminus, then this is probably your best claymore. Extremely satisfying effect that lets you deal AOE DMG every 3 seconds, for 15 seconds. This means that if you have it at max refinement, you can deal 5 times extra 120% damage during those 15 seconds. Very strong against mobs.
Of course, some characters and weapons can be unlocked by playing the story, but the top tier ones are obtained through the game’s gacha system.
Gacha is like gambling, but you receive in-game objects instead of money. In-game premium currency (primogems for Genshin Impact) are used to obtain characters and weapons. You can get primogems by playing the game or by using your credit card. You must resist the urge to spend money or you may very well end up spending the equivalent of a Marianopolis semester tuition to obtain a specific character. After seeing such numbers, you may wonder if the game is pay-to-win. A 5-star character (the rarest and most powerful) can give a huge boost to your team’s damage, but all the story content can be unlocked and completed for FREE. You are guaranteed to get a 5-star character after 90 pulls (this is hilariously called a ‘‘pity” count), but it can be any 5-star from the pool of characters. Having your favorite character can enhance your game experience, but it is not essential to enjoy the game. Paying for rolls is mostly used to flex on your free-to-play friends that did not manage to obtain all your characters and to enjoy them begging you for help with elites you would have no problem soloing with your 5-star roster.
If people can pay upwards of 3000$ to obtain a character, there must be a reason
Well, some people love characters for their design…
Some for their combat capabilities…
And some for their personality…
Now, let me present to you some characters that might pique your interest.
Let’s start with the free characters.
Amber, the absolute territory, is the first one to join your party and has thicc thighs.
Kaeya is the lazy, but cool cavalry captain of the Knights of Favonius.
Finally, Lisa, the electrifying librarian witch who gives off big time ara-ara vibes.
And here are some of the 5-star characters you can try to obtain through gacha.
There is Venti, the beautiful femboy that makes you question your heterosexuality.
Followed by Diluc, literally Batman who dishes out more damage than even Flex Tape can fix.
Next is Mona, an astrologist hydromancer with a VERY stylish attire, to say the least.
Finally, there is Klee, the fire loli…
and Qiqi (七七), the ice loli.
This is a list of a few of the characters, but with 1.1 adding even more characters on top of the current 23, fujoshis and the female fanbase at-large are already salivating over Zhongli (钟离)…go figure why.
Good content > Greed
Most importantly, unlike EA, Mihoyo understands that it doesn’t need to be greedy because good content sells itself. As such, the game will literally give you good 4-star characters for FREE relatively early in the game that will greatly contribute to your roster on top of Amber, Kaeya and Lisa who join your party outright as you progress in the story.
First, you get 10 free gacha rolls where you are GUARANTEED to obtain Noelle, a maid knight. She is a Geo DPS/healer claymore user, and much stronger than her skills would suggest: first of all, her skills scale off DEF. What other character scales off DEF? None? Which means all your “garbage” artifacts are now suddenly useful. This lets you allocate more ATK-oriented artifacts for your other characters.
You also get Xiangling (香菱) after completing the 3rd floor of the Spiral Abyss, the Pyro star chef and the only pike user pre-1.1. She can use Guoba, a panda who breathes fire by eating chili pepper which causes fire damage (duh) and her elemental burst, the Pyronado, is excellent for wiping out mobs, but also useful for a reaction as it lingers for a short time even after switching her out.
Finally, you receive Barbara, the deaconess of the Church and an idol, after reaching AR20. She is a powerful Hydro healer mage who can ensure your damage dealers can stay in the fight with full health. Her healing cap scales off her own HP which is a good indication for what kind of artifacts you should equip on her.
Another favorite of mine is Fischl, the stereotypical, eccentric, edgy teenager who speaks in an almost incomprehensible way to normal people. An Electro archer that can summon a raven named Oz, she can play both as support and DPS. Fischl is due to be a free character after completing an event following the upcoming patch.
Genshin Imapact’s late game is very different from the early game. After exploring the entire map, finishing all the story missions and looting most chests, the game’s pace slows down, and it feels like a traditional gacha game. Most of your time in the late game will be spent collecting material by farming bosses to level up your characters and weapons. After doing your daily tasks and spending your raisins, you feel as though you hit a wall. The time you spend in-game doesn’t feel as rewarding as before. There are side-quests that you can do to obtain some rarer chests and get more adventure experience to increase your rank (which you can do to prepare for the next expansion patch). And besides, you can still wander for hours to collect common chests and mushrooms. Primogems do not come as easily as before, and you start saving them for the next banner. I recommend you to not play too much in the beginning to avoid such a dilemma, but even if you reach the late game too fast, you can still get the fun of pulling a 5-star character and finding a random luxurious chest.
Despite its flaws, Genshin Impact is a must-play. It is very accessible as it is free-to-play, has multiplatform support and cross-platform multiplayer. You can enjoy the game, whether you are a casual or hardcore player, whether your appeal is the esthetics, the story, the gameplay or the open world! Even without paying, you can play through all the content. With the new update coming tomorrow, the game is sure to become more interesting…
OR it might completely disappoint its entire player base. Just speaking from experience here.