Co-authored with Oliver Ni
Having generated nearly $250 million in global player spending within the first month of its release, Genshin Impact is a relatively new open-world action role-playing game that is taking the world by storm. In this article, we will delve into the game’s background and mechanics, as well as interview some Genshin players at IMSA to examine the reason for its popularity.
About Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact was released in September 2020 by miHoYo Co., Ltd., a video game company also known for Honkai Impact 3rd. Based in Shanghai, the company was founded by three university students in 2012 and now employs over 1,500 people. They have created several games with influence from both Chinese and Japanese culture. The game itself is currently playable on Android, iOS, Windows, and PS4, with versions for Nintendo Switch and PS5 planned to be released in the future.
The story starts off with two twins, a girl and boy by the name of Lumine and Aether, who are traveling between worlds together. When trying to leave the world of Teyvat, they are intercepted by a mysterious goddess who kidnaps one sibling and sends the other to sleep. The player gets to choose which sibling is the one who sleeps, binding them as the one they play as. When the player wakes up, it is unknown how long they had been unconscious. They meet a small fairy-like creature named Paimon who offers to show them the way throughout Teyvat, in which there are seven nations, each having a patron god of a different element called an archon. The player thus sets off traveling through the land in search of their sibling.
Currently, only two of the seven nations are available for players to explore: Mondstadt, which is inspired by Germany, and Liyue, inspired by China. Other nations to be released in the future include ones inspired by Japan, Russia, France, a culmination of Middle Eastern culture, and indigenous cultures.
Genshin’s selling point is its graphics and lore. Even when not doing quests, there are plenty of other in-game pursuits to keep busy. The open-world feature of Genshin means that there is a large map of different terrains, puzzles, treasures, and mobs to explore in Teyvat. Players can consume stamina to “fly” through the air using a glider, swim in bodies of water, unleash charged attacks, and climb buildings and steep cliff faces as they traverse the continent. The breathtaking scenery and environment, along with intriguing NPCs and stories can be discovered along the way. miHoYo’s attention to detail has also been widely lauded, with Samuel Lee, a junior who was interviewed, stating, “I love the stories. The plot is amazing, and even the collectible artifacts and weapons have their individual stories. There are also hidden storylines that come up in the game in books, robots that flash morse code, temples, and so forth…It isn’t essential, but it definitely translates to a richer experience and miHoYo invests a lot into the game’s plot.”
The game operates with a gacha system, meaning that it grants the player random collectibles in exchange for in-game currency by “pulling” for them. The luck-based system in place focuses on playable characters with a multitude of storylines, abilities, and special quirks, each belonging to a different elemental type. Additionally, weapons with different stats are also offered in the gacha pulls, and together with the characters, are ranked 3-5 stars in rarity.
As players interact with the countless mechanisms throughout the game and complete daily tasks, EXP can be earned to raise their Adventure Rank or AR. The collection of EXP increases the quality of rewards from challenges, defeats bosses, and unlocks new features and storylines. In addition, all playable characters and select NPCs are voiced in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, allowing players to make their choice in the language they want to hear.
1. It’s easy to get hooked, so balance your time
Manasvi Thumu, a senior, advises, “Don’t spend that much time at the beginning because you will get burned out, I promise you. Don’t try to rush through the AR levels and spend as much time on each level as possible, because you’ll get to AR50 eventually and there is no point in rushing it. You’ll just run out of content.” As IMSA students, it’s especially important to have a balance between doing schoolwork and setting aside time for gaming.
2. Manage your resources wisely
Since Genshin is a game that involves grinding for materials and is very time-consuming, “Try not to level up every character you get, you’ll definitely run out of stuff and you won’t need all of [the characters],” as advised by an anonymous interviewee. This was an important point, explained by Gloria Wang, a junior, as well, “Don’t level up too many characters at once.” Pick 4-6 characters for your main team to invest resources into and build.
3. Don’t meta-chase or follow character tier lists
It might be tempting to start comparing characters and try to only go for the ones that other players say are the absolute best, but according to an anonymous interviewee, “Don’t be too consumed by meta,” or the idea that there’s a select number of characters who are superior. “Choose whoever you like the playstyle of, and build them.” When it all comes down to it, Genshin is a game for you to have fun using your favorite characters, not the ones other deem as good. Samuel reasons that “Genshin is designed to be experienced individually. It becomes hard to enjoy the game when comparing yourself to others, so it is important to treat Genshin as a fun game, rather than a ‘homework game’ by investing hours in grinding for resources.”
4. Beware of the gacha
Such a system can be a bit of a downside, as players are often compelled to spend money and continue pulling if they don’t receive their desired character. As an anonymous interviewee mentioned, “It enables gambling… and might be unhealthy, especially if this is your first gacha game.” The Genshin experience is not dampened in any way even if you are free-to-play (F2P).
5. Anything else?
“Stan Xiao!” – Anonymous
“The Chinese voice actors are the best, in my opinion.” – Gloria Wang
“Save your primogems.” – Anonymous 2
“Please get yourself a DPS Barbara build. I’m begging you.” – Anonymous 3