Hoyoverse’s hit gacha RPG has taken the gaming world by storm, but, while you’ve certainly heard its name before, you may still find yourself asking what is Genshin Impact? Some have harsh opinions about it as it originated on mobile platforms, but once you scratch the surface, you find that there is a lot more than simple waifu collecting, microtransactions, and gacha mechanics. Let’s take a look at what the game really entails, and break down the terms used by the player base.
For even more Genshin goodies, we recommend our Genshin Impact codes page for any new redemption codes, and to keep an eye on our Genshin Impact tier list to see where we put all the new releases. While you’re here, check out our Honkai Star Rail tier list and what we know about any Honkai Star Rail codes.
What kind of game is Genshin Impact?
Genshin Impact is an RPG – a role-playing game – where you take on the role of the Traveler as they venture across the vibrant world of Teyvat. You choose either the male or female option and then begin as that character. Canonically named Lumine and Aether, the two options are twins, and the one you don’t choose will feature in the story.
The Traveler’s mission is to find their lost sibling, which leads them to traverse the seven regions of Teyvat. Currently, there are four regions unlocked, with more to come in the future. As you go, you discover the seven elements that feature in Teyvat, and how they can be used in combat by different characters (for a deeper look at what they are, check out our Genshin Impact elements guide here!) Each region has a god (known as an Archon) presiding over it, embodying an ‘element’ and its own ideals. Here are the regions, gods, and elements that feature in Teyvat:
God of Freedom
God of Contracts
God of Eternity
God of Wisdom
God of Justice
God of War
Currently unknown ideal
Hoyoverse’s gigantic title is a live-service game, which means that it’s always online, and you can’t play it without an active connection. It’s always updating, with things refreshing in the game, and more content unlocking. For this reason, we can’t sum up the entire story as it isn’t in the game yet!
Genshin Impact offers plenty more than the average RPG. Yes, there are plenty of adventures to embark on and monsters to fight, but there are also multiple Genshin Impact events taking place every week, bringing in a bunch of different gameplay modes. For instance, an event called Windtrace took place recently, which had a hide-and-seek mechanic for players to try. There’s also the new Genshin Impact TCG, Genius Invokation, available as a permanent game mode, where players can build decks and challenge opponents as the Traveler for a bit of downtime between beating up evil monsters.
Is Genshin Impact a gacha game?
Yes, Genshin Impact is a gacha game. However, compared to many more on the market, it does not require a large sum of money (or anything at all) for you to have an enjoyable experience. The game itself is completely free to play, and there is absolutely no obligation to spend any money if you do not want to. Free players can still collect enough gems to get a good range of characters in the game.
The ‘microtransactions’ involved in Genshin are mainly to do with buying gems in order to try and get new characters, but some other monetisation exists in the form of a battle pass providing a range of rewards, or some premium skins for characters that may add a quest or story into the game, too.
How do I get characters in Genshin Impact?
Speaking of characters, let’s get onto the confusing bit. We know that you play as the Traveler, but who are all the other characters we see? Well, there are over 50 playable characters, with more being added in most updates. You can have up to four characters in your party at any time, which does not need to include the Traveler.
Along with the seven elements, there are five types of Genshin Impact weapons and different roles that characters can have. Most of them are self-explanatory with the names, except for the Catalyst – a vessel for magical elemental attacks, often in the shape of a book or a circular instrument. This means plenty of combat options in your party and lots of combinations for you to try out. For instance, if you have different elements in your team, then you can create elemental reactions that can seriously help on the battlefield. Not your thing? Then you can create a team based around physical damage units, instead!
Everyone that starts Genshin Impact gets a handful of characters for free. These are all good units, and very usable, but most characters are sort of kept behind a paywall. The free characters are as follows:
|The Traveler||Sword||Anemo, geo, electro, dendro||Five-star||DPS|
You can earn Genshin Impact Xiangling and Genshin Impact Collei as rewards for completing certain levels in the Spiral Abyss – an in-game challenge designed to test your strengths as you progress. But don’t worry, they’re easily achievable once you’ve got to grips with the game. New players are also basically guaranteed to get Genshin Impact’s Noelle, a geo user with a deployable shield when they ‘pull’ on the Beginner’s Wish banner. Didn’t get that? Then we’ll explain it right now!
To get a new character, you need to wish on Genshin Impact banners. A single ‘wish’ costs 160 Primogems – a premium currency that you can either purchase or earn in the game. Every ten wishes, you’re guaranteed to get at least one four-star unit, be it a weapon, or a character.
Each wish has a chance to get you a five-star character; these are the super-strong and useful characters that appear on the banners. These banners are the specific pages where you can choose to spend your wishes. There are usually three or four going at a time, and they last about three weeks each. One or two of the banners will have a specific five-star character available at a boosted drop rate, with three four-stars getting the same treatment. There is also a weapon banner that features the weapons made for the current five-stars, and some good four-star picks. The last banner is a standard banner, called Wanderlust Invocation, which has every four-star character and weapon, with a handful of five-star characters and weapons available all the time. The standard characters are:
Every wish you spend gets you closer to a five-star pull, though it can happen at any time. Essentially, the more you wish, the higher the chance of getting a five-star, though there is the possibility to ‘lose the 50/50’ – this means that there is a 50% chance you will get the character featured on the banner, and a 50% chance you will get a five-star character from the standard pool. Luckily, if this happens, it means you will be guaranteed the banner character the next time you get one.
How do I make characters stronger?
So, you’ve got some characters, and now you want to make them stronger so you can beat up bigger monsters. This is what makes up most of the game other than the story quests. You can level each character up using items called EXP books that you earn in-game, but you also need to ascend them every so often, which requires a few materials. Every character needs a boss drop, a local speciality item, a monster drop, and elemental gems to ascend at set intervals. If you want more specifics, you can check out all of our character guides to find what they need.
There are also different equipable items for each character – first is their weapon, which you can choose from a huge variety with different stats and abilities. Next up are your Genshin Impact artifacts. These are a set of five items that every character can equip to build certain stats and improve how they work. Artifacts are an important part of each character’s ‘build’, but if you don’t want to go down a route of micro-management, any set will do. Again, our character pages have tailored lists of what you should aim for.
We’ve got plenty more recommendations for mobile games, too – check out our My Singing Monsters breeding guide and these Pokémon Go codes for some in-game freebies! Or, perhaps, you just want to know: what is Pokémon?