Most people engage with some form of escapism, whether that be books, movies or video games. But certain, necessary standards must be met to make it worthy of escaping into. For many who prefer video games, the smooth gameplay, gorgeous graphics and impeccable storytelling of Genshin Impact hit the spot. The developers at miHoYo crafted a game almost too easy to fall into, and recent updates made it even harder for players to leave.
With 50 million players, tens of thousands of viewers that attend daily livestreams on Twitch and the game’s one-year anniversary approaching on Sept. 28, miHoYo must live up to some high expectations. The two most recent updates introduced a slew of new content for players to wade through, including new sections of the world of Teyvat and new casts of characters. However, along with all the excitement came a little bit of disappointment and criticism for what miHoYo could do better next time.
The Gacha Mechanic
One of the most appealing aspects of Genshin Impact is the mechanic with which players attain their characters. Unlike other role-playing video games (RPGs), players cannot create their own characters; instead, the game takes on a gacha style of distributing characters.
The phrase “gacha game” refers to a genre of video games that implements a mechanic similar to a toy vending, or gacha, machine to distribute in-game items. In Genshin Impact’s case, the gacha mechanic distributes both characters and weapons, meaning players must spend an in-game currency to gamble for the character or weapon they desire. Players scramble for the five-star characters and weapons, which are available only for a limited time. They’ll often spend real-life money to obtain more of the in-game currency to continue gambling.
The gacha aspect does not necessarily make the game a lost cause, since there are only so many pulls a player can make before they’re guaranteed the five-star asset they were hoping for. The price for the guarantee, if players didn’t save up the in-game currency in advance, is the only problem.
Players would need to spend around $100 to obtain 90 wishes — a guaranteed possibility for what they want — but must spend closer to $200 to obtain 180 wishes, which is when they would be guaranteed whatever or whoever they’re hoping for. It’s safe to say players waited with their wallets ready for the four new five-star characters and abundance of new five-star weapons that arrived with the recent updates.
The New Characters and Nation
The first of Genshin Impact’s big updates occurred on July 21 with Version 2.0, titled “The Immovable God and the Eternal Euthymia.” Fans and content creators alike were ecstatic for the new Japan-inspired island-nation Inazuma that came with the update. With the new environment came new enemies, characters, quests and items.
Creators livestreamed for hours exploring the new nation, from Ritou covered in auburn autumn leaves to the mysterious giant snake skeleton on Yashiori Island. And, of course, they pulled for the new characters. Kamisato Ayaka and Naganohara Yoimiya were the only two five-star characters released with Version 2.0, and the streamers came prepared for them.
In addition to the new main story quest (Archon quests), which add to the overall plotline of the game, the new update brought story quests for Kamisato and Naganohara. The story quests give players a chance to get to know the characters in addition to the role they play in the nation of Inazuma.
Players were even more excited when Version 2.1 released on Sept. 1. Titled “Floating World Under the Moonlight,” the update seemed to include the same new aspects — another new section of the world and another new cast of characters. However, whereas not every streamer pulled for Ayaka or Yoimiya, it felt like everybody was online when Version 2.1 dropped so they could pull for the Raiden Shogun.
The Raiden is the deity who rules Inazuma. MiHoYo teased her involvement in the story the most. Players already found her playstyle with her spear-like polearm enticing, and miHoYo revealed she’s an antagonist in the Version 2.1 Archon quest.
The character Sangonomiya Kokomi will be playable after the Raiden is no longer available to pull. Players fell in love with her mermaid-esque theme and personality in the Archon quest. Kokomi’s island, Watatsumi Island, entices players with its pastel pinks and blues, waterfalls that come out of giant clamshells and bubbles that meander through the air. But no matter how excited fans are for the sea-inspired magic-user’s release, players are still hesitant about her playing style.
The hesitation regarding Sangonomiya presents itself in her statistics — the numbers that increase a character’s attacks, defense and health. Critical damage is vital to the game and difficult to build on a character, but it leads to incredibly increased damage against opponents. A good critical damage statistic can be the difference between dealing 1,000 damage and 400,000 damage.
However, with the announcement of Version 2.1 of Genshin Impact came Sangonomiya’s statistics, including her -100% critical damage. This means it’s impossible for her to deal a critical hit. She does have a healing bonus that will boost her attacks; many argue the bonus makes her worth pulling for, but other players are still hesitant about the amount of damage she can deal.
For players, the lack of rewards is another critique of Genshin Impact’s recent updates. Fighting enemies, completing domains and finishing quests result in chests for rewards, which include basic materials necessary for gameplay, such as books to level characters up or crystals to level up weapons. An easier task is often rewarded with a common chest, which includes fewer, lower quality items, but harder tasks yield big rewards with precious, luxurious or exquisite chests, which include more items of higher quality.
Unfortunately, most of the chests awarded to players on the islands of Inazuma are common, regardless of the task’s difficulty. Many players made the same complaint in the past, and it was disappointing to discover that the game creators left the problem unresolved in Version 2.1.
There aren’t many critiques for the recent Genshin Impact updates — a good sign, for sure — but the critiques that exist are valid and should be thought over as miHoYo plans their next update. Overall, players are having a blast with the Version 2.0 and 2.1 updates. The excitement for future updates only seems to increase as the plot thickens and the lore expands, leaving a lot of pressure on miHoYo’s shoulders and a lot of faith from fans that they’ll continue to deliver.