With the 1.4 update pre-installation available on the 14th of March, here is a guide to Genshin Impact for new players joining us on an epic journey across the continent of Teyvat!
Genshin Impact is a gacha RPG developed by miHoYo and released in late September. The game features co-op elements that took the world by storm, cross-platform availability, an entrancing original soundtrack, and addictive open-world gameplay. Genshin Impact had amassed over 800 million USD in revenue by the new year and won numerous accolades despite only being released a few months prior.
This guide is intended for new players. It will cover obtainable characters, team composition, elemental resonance, weapons, talents, and artifact sets.
This Guide Contains:
- Gacha Public Service Announcement
- Combat Overview
- Free Playable Characters
- Character Constellation Level
At its core, Genshin Impact is about open-world exploration. While exploring the vast continent of Teyvat, the player must complete objectives (aka quests), open chests and collect other material ranging from simple apples to monster claws and dragon teeth.
The game is also unique in that you can climb almost any surface, provided you have enough stamina. Otherwise, you will fall to your untimely death. You acquire a glider very early in the game, which makes limited airborne travel possible and saves you from dying from falling. Once again, provided you have stamina!
Your adventure rank (AR) is separate from each character’s level. By increasing your adventure rank, you can unlock more quests. However, increasing your adventure rank will also increase your World Level, making monsters much harder to defeat. Therefore, you must make sure you are prepared beforehand. To obtain AR experience, you can do quests, open chests, commissions and collect rewards with resin.
Each character in Genshin Impact is assigned an element, consisting of:
- Anemo (wind)
- Pyro (fire)
- Hydro (water)
- Electro (electricity)
- Cyro (ice)
- Dendro (nature)
- Geo (earth).
In battle, these elements interact with each other to create devastating elemental reactions. For example, when Pyro and Hydro are used together, it makes Vaporise. There are also more reactions: Dendro exacerbates Pyro damage and causes burning, while Geo can react with any other element creating shield crystals as a result. These elemental reactions are often crucial to winning or losing fights in Genshin Impact due to the often absurd multipliers that reaction combos entail.
Your party can have up to four characters at once. Elements play an important role here, as well. Two characters of the same element will trigger an elemental resonance, such as double Hydro granting extra healing bonuses. Characters with four different elements will give you a 15% resistance to all elements.
Finally, there are many puzzles and challenges around the continent of Teyvat that the player will have to complete using the corresponding elements to reveal much-coveted chests.
Gacha Public Service Announcement
Before touching on the content, you need to understand that Genshin Impact is a gacha game. The game locks some of its best weapons and characters behind an RNG paywall. Therefore, you need to roll on the gacha using ‘Fates’ to obtain characters and weapons outside of those that the game outright gives you.
The best weapons and characters (5-star) are gacha only. While they have generous bonuses and better stats, they are not essential to completing the game’s story content. You can complete 100% of all the story content for absolutely free, so you aren’t forced to purchase microtransactions. Genshin is actually among the more generous gacha games guaranteeing a 5 star every 90 roll (ironically called a pity count), which resets when you obtain said 5 star.
That said, you must resist the urge to spend a month’s salary on rolls. You may think that you are immune to such insanity, but wait until you are excited at the prospect of an exclusive character. Some people have been known to blow thousands of dollars on rolls to obtain a single character. Do not spend more than you can afford to lose as gacha is tantamount to gambling, and you can get addicted to it. Roll responsibly.
The game also offers you a hefty Primogem (the game’s premium currency) bonus at the start. This doesn’t include the hundreds of chests, quests and commissions you can complete to obtain even more. So, you should have no reason to spend more than you can afford.
You will learn the combat basics in the game’s tutorial phase, so no need to go over that. Instead, let’s look at the more complex combat mechanics. After all, when you aren’t exploring, you will most likely be fighting monsters.
Here is a quick overview of some combat jargon:
When a talent scales off a certain trait. This means that the higher the number for that trait is, the more powerful that talent will be.
Health Points (HP)
If your Health Points reach 0, your character dies. That aside, certain characters, especially ones with healing talents, often scale their abilities off HP, which can be bolstered by levelling up your character and artifacts.
Attack or base Attack is whatever your character ATK + weapon ATK is. When a stat gives ATK% or flat ATK, it adds to that number. This is your character’s ability to dish out damage. It can be bolstered by better weapons, talents and artifacts (explained below).
Defence or Base Defence works under the same principle as ATK, except that it indicates your character’s resistance to damage. Artifacts and talents can increase it, but since most characters scale their abilities off ATK or HP, this is usually less prioritised.
Elemental Mastery (EM)
Elemental Mastery (EM) boosts the damage of the elemental damage you do and the damage of the elemental reactions that occur. Do not entirely focus on EM, even if you are building a support character, as the way the game calculates damage is still based on base ATK, so you will begin to see diminishing returns at some point.
Elemental DMG/Physical DMG
Elemental DMG/Physical DMG are bonuses applied at the end of the calculation. For example, if, after everything, your character is supposed to do 100 physical damage to an enemy, but your sword gives a 10% physical DMG bonus, then you will deal 110 damage. The same would go for a character dealing Electro DMG with an artifact boosting Electro DMG. This is generally the most desirable stat, as it is a multiplier applied at the end of all the other calculations.
Crit Rate/Crit DMG
Critical hits are regular hits that deal more damage on occasion. How often that occurs scales off Crit Rate while Crit DMG indicates how much extra damage you will dish out. While it is possible to achieve 100% Crit Rate, Crit DMG is generally the preferred stat to prioritise. It is possible to get truly astonishing figures with a single critical hit.
Characters must sacrifice a certain amount of energy to use elemental bursts. To recharge energy, you need to gather particles by dealing damage using an elemental skill, defeating enemies and so on. How many particles you will get and how much energy you will recharge scales off Energy Recharge.
There are more stats, but these are what I consider the basic ones.
As there is an ever growing number of weapons in the game, I cannot possibly cover them all, but here are the basics.
Weapons have a flat ATK, which is a round number. In other words, it’s the base ATK of the weapon that increases progressively when you level up the weapon. Weapons have a secondary trait and a bonus effect if the weapon is at least 3 star; rarer weapons have better stats, traits and bonuses.
While 5-star weapons are exclusive to the gacha, you can obtain strong 4 star weapons through the forge in the cities, and you can collect the materials for them through sheer exploration.
Artifacts are equipment with set bonuses of either single set, 2-set or 4-set variants. You can equip five different artifacts on a single character. In the same way you would look at stats on a weapon, you also want artifact stats that will benefit your character the most. While certain traits are more desirable than others, you can power through the game with mediocre combinations. However, this will make higher-level bosses more difficult, if not impossible.
Some players take it to the next level, using Excel spreadsheets full of artifacts statistics just to get an extra 5% here and there. If you’re neither of the two extremes, just make a good combo with the sets you have and look out for the right stats.
One common mistake concerning artifacts is the reluctance to level up the more common artifacts. When you upgrade artifacts, the cost is calculated using “Artifacts Used”, not in “EXP given”. Since the EXP penalty is not severe, you should level an artifact with the stats you want and the set effect you want immediately. When you find the corresponding artifact with a higher star, you can simply use the previous artifact to upgrade the new one. This will give you around 85% of the total EXP and only cost a couple hundred Mora (the in-game currency).
You have to be more careful with weapons. Weapons have levels too, but they also have a “refinement level”. By using a copy of the same weapon, you can make the effects of the weapon better. Weapons also do not have higher-starred versions of themselves, which is why you might want to use a highly refined 3-star over an unrefined 4 or 5-star weapon. Although the base ATK would be lower (at the same level), the resources needed to level them are also lower, and the other factors will be much stronger.
Every character in Genshin Impact has several talents. Each character has a normal attack, an elemental skill and an elemental burst. By levelling up those talents using talent books, it adds bonuses to each of them, whether additional damage, prolonged effect or even a new trait.
You should always investigate your party’s talents and optimise your priorities based on each character’s primary function within your party. It becomes rather simple to understand once you play the game.
Free Playable Characters (and how to get them)
When a new player starts the game, they are given the choice of a male (Aether) or female (Lumine) Traveler, who is the main character of the story. Both are essentially identical, so choose whoever you find aesthetically pleasing.
The Traveler is a sword wielder with the power of Anemo, and eventually, Geo. Since they are designed to use all elements by the completion of the game (which will likely take years), they are very versatile and crucial for most puzzles in the game so far.
The first character who will join your party is Amber. She is a Pyro archer who is not the highest damage dealer but has a taunt ability which can be very useful for defeating strong enemies or crowding a mob.
Lisa is an Electro mage and the second person to join your party. While not exactly the best in combat, she dishes out good area-of-effect elemental damage with her skill and burst. Moreover, Lisa can refund some materials when concocting potions through alchemy. She has the personality of an onee-san, the ara-ara type.
Kaeya is a Cryo sword user and the last character who joins your party as part of the story. He should be played as a support, emphasising energy recharge and elemental mastery, much like his lazy personality. Since his elemental burst (three revolving icicles) persists even after he is switched out, he is best combined with two other electric characters; Super-conduct makes enemies much more vulnerable to normal attacks to an almost ridiculous extent.
The game offers you free discounted novice rolls where you are guaranteed to get Noelle for free. She is a Geo claymore and much more potent than her skills would suggest. She is a solid defensive asset who can dish out damage and heal. Noelle is a must-have in your early game party.
One of the game’s events called the Spiral Abyss requires you to defeat monsters within a specific time limit or defend a target floor by floor. Each successful attempt will give you ample rewards with better prizes based on how well you did.
Once you complete the 3-3 level (3rd chamber of the 3rd floor), you will obtain Xiangling for free. Xiangling is a Pyro polearm user who, like Kaeya, is a good support character since her elemental burst Pyronado also lingers after she is switched out.
The last free character is Barbara, a Hydro mage and the best healer in the game by far. You can get her for free by reaching Adventure Rank 20 and completing a quest. Do note that she is both a nun and an idol with an amazing voice. Unfortunately, she is often switched out before she can ”Let the show begin!”
Character Constellation Level
Finally, every character has a constellation level. When you roll a copy of a particular character that you already have (it could be any character, even the free ones), you can level up their constellation. This grants certain bonuses for that character, and it varies significantly between characters. You can fully level up the Traveler’s Anemo and Geo constellation to level 6 just by playing the game.
Note that this guide is a very rough summary of the basics in Genshin Impact. What is is not is a comprehensive analysis or a deep dive into the intricacies of the game. I do plan on releasing more articles on Genshin Impact and I am open to suggestions as to what aspect of the game I should explore next!
Overall, this is a delightful game with a lot of story content. While the pace does slow down once you have completed all the story available so far, miHoYo releases updates on a bi-monthly basis, which means there is always new content on the horizon for the players to enjoy.
With this guide, any new player should be able to blitz through the early game without issue and from there, they should get the hang of it!
If you’re interested in the latest exclusive character banner, you can check it out here.