A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!
It has now officially been a year since the launch of Genshin Impact. Last year I talked about this game as well, and how addicted I ended up being to it. On that front, not much has changed; I’m still playing every single day, sometimes just for a few minutes while at other times for multiple hours. I won’t deny that I absolutely love Genshin Impact, and that there hasn’t been an online game in years that has made me feel this way. So today, I wanted to take a look back on this year, mention some of the biggest changes, the things that I really liked, but also some mechanics that are long overdue for a change.
For context: I have been playing Genshin Impact since day one–or at least, two days later because I was too busy with work at the time. Since then, I have not skipped a single day, and my Resin meter has rarely been filled up completely. At the point of writing this article, I’m Adventure Rank 57, past halfway to 58. I also haven’t spend money on packs of primogems, and instead only on the monthly Welkin and the Battle Pass, because I feel both of these are worth the price. I am also experienced with Gacha games, so I am very much familiar with how these games evolve over time.
The story thus far
When I initially wrote my article on Genshin Impact, we were still in the very first patch. At that point, the story in Liyue was not completely finished yet. The story for that region was finished just one patch later, where it concluded in an epic finale. Since then, every patch began to tease more lore until we eventually reached Inazuma. The same 1.1 patch also had an event that starred the then-unknown character Scaramouche for example, while 1.4 and patches after gave us more backstory on the Archons, Celestia, and the Abyss Order.
Genshin Impact has a great sense of world-building by slowly giving us a few more hints- and teases as for what is to come. The untold story is definitely where Genshin Impact shines, as most of us want to know more about the events at Khaenri’ah, or what the true motive is of the ”villains”. It’s just that while the hidden lore is good, I’m not always a fan of the actual writing. The latest version was especially guilty of this, with a war going on between the Archon and the resistance… that felt nowhere near as significant as it should have felt. Everyone jokes about Kokomi and how she was done dirty in the latest patch, but the jokes are very much true. Whenever the Fatui was in the picture, everything else about Inazuma was completely irrelevant.
I do genuinely like learning more about these characters though, however irrelevant they may be to the main plot. Fortunately, every patch does add something to flesh out several characters, be it through main quests that often come with new banners, or hangout events. Some characters are definitely done dirtier than others (who’s Xinyan again?), but I’m sure that we’ll see more of them in the future. Hopefully, we’ll also see some continuations to other story quests. The only characters who have seen a continuation, from the back of my head, are Zhongli and Noelle. Though given how we occasionally went back to Mondstadt and Liyue, even to this day, I’m highly convinced we’ll see some more of previous characters. Except for Xinyan probably, since MiHoYo does not remember her at all.
In my initial Genshin article, I also mentioned that the thing I love about the game the most is exploration. That opinion has absolutely not changed; this is a genuinely beautiful world with so much to do, where I can lose hours- or days just roaming around, even after I’ve finished exploring them completely. While there is, understandably, no new lands to explore with every patch, I am completely in love all over again when it does happen.
The first instance of this was actually not that long after release with version 1.2, giving us the chilly mountain of Dragonspine. While being a slightly tougher area to explore due to the warm-up mechanic, I would argue that it may very well be one of my favourite places to explore. Dragonspine had so many interesting puzzles- and environments, particularly the caves and the very top of the mountain. That, and I also have a massive bias for icy areas, so there is an explainable reason as to why I love Dragonspine so much.
The next instance would have to wait until version 1.6, which ended up being the Summer Islands. Unfortunately though, this particular place ended up only being temporarily available for that patch. We’ll probably see it again with a re-run eventually, but I still really liked exploring this big ocean that reminded me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. It came with a lot of fun puzzles, a boat to traverse the ocean, and a whole lot of Klee. And I wouldn’t like to have it any other way.
But of course, the big update would be version 2.0 with the launch of Inazuma… which was surprisingly spread over three patches. I have no issue with this whatsoever though, as it makes every patch a bit more meaningful as a result instead of finishing the entire place in a few days. Unsurprisingly, Inazuma continued the trend of awesome environments and fun puzzles seamlessly–although for this particular region, I struggled to learn the puzzles more so than other regions.
The Major new content
Every version added something new to the game, with some being more major than others. The new artifact domains and some new items to make exploration easier are cool and all, and so were the awesome QOL-updates like private chat, but I wanted to cover some of the bigger changes to the game, and my opinion on them.
Version 1.1: Reputation System
A new system for every region was introduced with the first update. An overall pretty simple system where you gain reputation points for exploration, finishing quests, or helping the town with bounties- and requests. There were definitely some nice rewards to gain as well, particularly the Treasure Compass that would point you in the direction of a treasure chest nearby.
While this was definitely a nice feature to have, it quickly became repetitive due to the bounties being… not that fun in my opinion. It just consisted of the same enemies, being hidden somewhere in the same area, and then finding three clues before you can fight them. This fortunately got changed up with Inazuma, where the clue finding is not relevant anymore and instead, you find the enemy and kill them. That doesn’t make it much better, but the clue finding was really annoying.
Version 1.5: Serenitea Pot
The Serenitea Pot is the equivalent to the housing system in other games, where you have a realm to construct your own house and garden. The realms can end up pretty big the more you progress through the ranks, going so far as to have a total of four separate islands. The amount of furniture is also pretty high, so you can basically let your creativity go loose! …That is what I want to say, but the ”ugh” wasn’t for nothing.
The Serenitea Pot has a massive issue that holds everything back, and the words I’m about to speak gives veterans the shivers. I’m talking about nothing other than the Load Limit. What is the Load Limit? It’s a system that prevents you from placing more than the given limit. This is a very understandable limit, because phones would explode if the limit wasn’t there. But I’m not playing on a phone. I’m playing on a PC. And while you can still let your creativity go loose if you want, this limit more often than not prevents me from wanting to build what I want.
Shown above is a picture of my current garden. I had a lot of ideas for it, but none of them will happen simply due to the fact that the entire load limit is pretty much taken by the fences and bushes. I cannot even place a character in the garden, because they too are part of the load limit apparently. I could definitely remove the bushes, but then I would be left with a pretty empty-looking teapot still. It wouldn’t look as nice as I want it to be. And as a result, I pretty much don’t visit my teapot anymore. It has literally become dead content for me, simply because of this limit. If this limit ever gets removed- or risen, then I would gladly go back to my teapot again.
Version 2.1: Fishing
Fishing is the most recent big addition and, as the name implies, it involves catching fish. Shocking, I know. And while fishing is not necessarily something I enjoy doing in video games, I find it surprisingly relaxing to do here. I think what helps is that there isn’t really any major reward attached to it aside from the new 4* weapon. Everything else that you can buy from shops with the fish you catch is rods and… that’s about it. There is no sense of ”oh, if I don’t do this, I’ll miss out” and frankly, I like that. The teapot has actual in-game rewards to it, including a lot of primogems, but fishing is just fishing. For that matter, I don’t really have much to say about it either. Whenever I’m bored when playing Genshin Impact, I’ll just go check out the world and see if there’s any fish to catch.
My Favourite- and Least Favourite Events
Events in Genshin had a slightly rough start. They required the player to spend Resin, and get rewards for it that didn’t really feel that impressive. But MiHoYo got the message and very quickly, Resin was no longer needed for rewards. Events ended up becoming a major part of every patch, filling the void whenever there was no new content to enjoy such as story- or lands to explore. Some are obviously better than others, so I wanted to look back on the ones I enjoyed the most, but also the ones I didn’t enjoy at all. I’ve decided not to include events that came with a new region, simply because I felt that was cheating. They are all very good though.
First on the list, we have the Windblume Festival from version 1.4. This is kind of a cheat as it consists of two different events combined in one, but I digress. The first one is something similar to a then-popular game Fall Guys, except that it doesn’t suck. It’s a bunch of random minigames back-to-back, ending in a boss battle with buffs depending on how well you did in the minigame. I really liked these minigames–even if they are very simple. The other part of the event consisted of gliding challenges, a rhythm game on a harp, and a shooting gallery. All three are a ton of fun, and I would gladly play them again when a re-run drops.
Wishful Drops, yet again from version 1.4, follows another trend many other events also do: go to a specific place on the map and search for stuff there. This one is easily the best though, as you take a small Oceanid around and capture rogue Oceanid creatures a la Pokémon. Of course, it’s not exactly Pokémon but eh, I like it still. And the event also came with a unique Oceanid fight that felt far different from the normal Oceanid fight.
I’m solely putting Windtrace from version 1.5 on here because I really love the concept of playing hide-n-seek while disguising yourself as one of the many objects lying around the map. It’s really fun to play as both the hunter- and the prey, but a slight problem with it is that it can be very unfair. There were some very nasty hiding places and, if the hunter discovered it, moving away from it was pretty much a non-issue. But the worst part is the blessing that appears halfway through the game, which is practically an instant game-over if the hunter finds it. Yet again, would love to see an improved re-run of this.
Hyakunin Ikki is a pretty recent event from version 2.1, where you had to make six parties of two characters, give them buffs and go at it. Genshin has seen a lot of combat-oriented events, but most focus on a difficulty multiplier with extra debuffs to make it harder for yourself in return for more points. While there is nothing wrong with them, I like the change of pace this event gives. It doesn’t really feel like a difficulty increase, and more a way for you to get to know what characters synergize well with each other.
Least favourite events
The best thing I can say about the Marvelous Merchandise event, which has appeared three times so far, is that it is at the very least short. But there genuinely just isn’t anything else to this event. You talk to a guy, give him some items, and you get a reward back that has never really been anything that noteworthy. It’s a lame event, and I have no idea why this one returned three times instead of other events.
Theater Mechanicus, first seen in version 1.3 and then again in version 2.0, is honestly not that bad of a Tower Defense knock-off. The mechanics are fine, and I appreciate that you needed some actual tactics in the re-run. The problem though, is that one round of this event takes a seriously big amount of time, of which most is wasted on just waiting. It’s also very much possible that you fail towards the end, and then all the time has been for nothing. If there was some kind of speed-up feature, this event definitely would not be amongst my least favourite.
Wishes for the future
I’m about to wrap this article up with my overall opinions on the current state of the game, but before I do, I wanted to have a short bullet-list of wishes for the future. They aren’t really in any order, but I wanted to mention them regardless.
- More 5* characters in the standard banner. Since the beginning of the game, the only characters we can get from the standard banner are Mona, Qiqi, Keqing, Jean and Diluc (of which I only have 1 ;_;), and that has never changed. I feel it’s about time more get added, especially some characters that don’t really feel that relevant to the main plot. I’m specifically talking about you Yoimiya. The same could arguably apply to Hu Tao and Eula as well, though I guess they probably won’t appear in the standard banner given the amount of hype they have behind them.
- Better rewards for building friendship with characters. The only thing we get at this point is multiple voicelines and a namecard. Now, nothing against namecards, but they’re kind of a terrible reward if they are the only thing you get for that long grind to level 10. Take it from me; I have 16 characters at friendship level 10 right now, and I do not feel any satisfaction from it.
- More meaningful pets. I do like the inclusion of the coloured seelies and the mini Oceanid pet, but not only do they take up the space of the gadget slot, but also don’t really do much aside from floating around your head. I want an actual companion that runs with us, or something we can probably even mount.
- A daily log-in bonus. Pretty much all Gacha games do this, so why doesn’t Genshin?
- Expedition rewards… it’s better than nothing?
- Adventure Rank rewards… it’s better than nothing? No really, please change them. It takes months to get from AR55 to 56, and the rewards for achieving it are hilariously bad.
- Did I mention the load limit of the teapot yet? If I did, I just wanted to mention it again.
- God costume and swimsuit for Venti please, you know it will sell like hotcakes.
- More issues that I will mention in my overal thoughts on the game.
My overall thoughts on the current state of Genshin Impact
If you’ve read everything up till this point, then you’ve probably realised that I’m very passionate about this game. That much hasn’t changed, and I still very much love this game to bits. But there are… definite issues that I wanted to talk about right now. Issues that may eventually get me to stop loving this game, depending on how it’s being addressed in the coming months.
I love this game to bits, but there are definite issues.
So first of all, I wanted to address the fact that many people call this a dead game whenever there isn’t land to explore, a story to do, or an event to participate in. I disagree. This is very normal for a Gacha game and even then, Genshin offers a lot of content that doesn’t require Resin, like exploring the map and gathering materials. While I would like new regions to come out faster as much as the next person, I don’t really feel it’s that much of an issue. Gacha games are meant to be picked up for a few minutes a day, after which it is dropped again.
The actual content problem with Genshin Impact is that there isn’t meaningful content to do whenever you’re not spending Resin. And what I mean with this is simple: there is no endgame or challenging content that demands that you build a character to its uttermost potential. The only challenging content is arguably the Spiral Abyss, and that’s something I’ve actually gotten pretty tired of after doing it twice every month. And if there is no challenging content, why should I bother levelling up as many different characters as possible?
And that is exactly the issue I’m having right now with Genshin Impact. It takes a serious amount of time to build a character to its utmost potential. You need to level them, get materials to ascend them from bosses, level their weapons, and finally level their talents. If you’re starting from scratch, it can easily take a month to build a character, and this doesn’t even include the atrocious artifact system.
From a recent stream of mine, I’ve decided to spend a total of 33 Fragile Resin on the artifact domain for Raiden Shogun. This comes down to about ~2000 Resin in total, which is about two weeks worth of Resin. Do you want to know how many good artifacts I’ve gotten from this amount of Resin? Only 1. And it started at 3 substats, so it’s nowhere near optimal. Not only is there a 50/50 chance of getting an artifact from a set that I don’t desire, but then there is also a big chance that the artifact I get from the set I desire is complete garbage. Flat substats are the bane of my existence–especially when they increase every 4 levels instead of an actually useful stat.
Oh, and for the record, that stream happened on 10 September. We are at least two weeks ahead now, and I still haven’t gotten any good artifacts.
I am completely fine with building a character, but the artifact hunt genuinely breaks me. I can spend weeks not getting anything useful; weeks that I could have spent way better, like getting talent books. And the worst part about it is that it demotivates me from building characters. I really like characters such as Razor and Beidou, and I also still got a Diluc. But all of them are currently at a very low level for the simple reason that I don’t want to go through the character-building process. And even if I did build them, I technically wouldn’t need them because the content doesn’t warrant me using them.
It gets even worse though, as it’s gotten to the point where I’ve skipped some characters that I may have wanted otherwise. I liked how Ayaka plays, but I know that I couldn’t fit her into my party, and that I would have to do a serious amount of building for her. Kokomi is someone whose design I like, but I have a Barbara at C6 so why should I go through months of painful building? I want these characters and I want to play with them, but I don’t have a reason to, and it will take a very long time before I can even use them.
These are genuinely the only issues I have with Genshin Impact though. I could complain about the Gacha and the rates, but with me skipping characters, I end up getting everything I want because I save up a lot. Not once have I felt the desire to swipe the card and purchase primogems. But I will admit that if it wasn’t for the character-building issues, I might have swiped. But oh well, we’ll see how it goes.
That ended up being a long post. I just really love Genshin huh. We’ll see if there will be a ”Genshin Impact – Two Years Later” next year. I just really hope the artifact issue is addressed because it starts getting worse and worse. I want to build characters and try out different team compositions, but not like this.
Anyhow, that’s all I wanted to talk about today! Happy Birthday Genshin Impact, and thank you so, so much for this year of excitement. I hope our story together will be one that will continue for many years to come.