‘Genshin Impact’: A Beginner’s Guide To Playing For Free
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Words: Melissa King
Released in September, Genshin Impact has drawn players from across the world, including those new to its money-making model. While initially free-to-play, Genshin Impact has a gacha mechanic where players can pay real-world money for in-game currency that lets them pull from a pool of characters and weapons.
If you're new to the game and gacha genre, understanding how Genshin Impact's gacha and character system works can help you decide if you'll need to pay money to enjoy the game. These tips and explanations will demonstrate what the free Genshin Impact experience looks like, and how you can get the most from it.
That being said, as Gene Park from The Washington Post points out, keep in mind that you might want to skip Genshin Impact if you have issues with gambling. Consider watching someone else play the game or revisit your favourite open-world game instead.
Genshin Impact has multiple forms of currency, some of which you pay real money for and others that you don't. Somewhat confusingly, you use certain types of currency to buy other types of currency. Here's an overview of the different varieties:
- Fates: There are two types of Fates - Acquaint Fates and Intertwined Fates. You pay one of these Fates to roll for a character or weapon on a Wish, the game's gacha mechanic. One Acquaint Fate pays for a regular Wish, while one Intertwined Fate pays for an event Wish. You can get a small number of Fates for free in-game, with most of your Fates coming from spending Primogems.
- Primogems: You can spend 160 Primogems to get one Acquaint Fate or Intertwined Fate. Primogems can also refill Original Resin, a resource used to get specific open-world rewards. You'll get Primogems through in-game progression, pay-to-win currency or a monthly pass.
- Genesis Crystals: The premium Genesis Crystals currency directly converts to Primogems. One Genesis Crystal costs £0.99, and the game offers extra Crystals when you buy in bulk. You can also get Genesis Crystals through the Blessing of the Welkin Moon monthly card.
- Masterless Stardust and Masterless Starglitter: When you pull a weapon or a duplicate character from a Wish, you'll get Masterless Stardust or Masterless Starglitter that you can spend on a limited monthly shop that sells upgrade items, Fates and four-star characters.
Whew! That's a lot, huh? Basically, if you want to get new characters and higher-level weapons from the Wishes, you can:
- Spend the Fates and Primogems that you get from progressing through the game, spending Masterless Stardust/Starglitter or mail from the developer.
- Spend real-world money on Genesis Crystals, which then convert to Primogems that you can use to buy Fates.
Genshin Impact gives you quite a few Fates and Primogems for free, in addition to items that level up your characters and weapons. With a little prudence and grinding, you can keep progressing in the game using these free gifts. Try following these strategies to make the most out of your currency and items:
- Make 10 pulls at a time whenever possible. Every banner offers a guaranteed four-star or higher item when you choose to spend 10 Fates at once.
- Take advantage of the Beginner's Wish banner. It lets you pay eight Acquaint Fates for 10 pulls. Plus, your first 10-pull will include the character Noelle for free, and your second 10-pull will give you another four-star or five-star character.
- Spend your experience and weapon upgrade items on a dedicated party. Choose four or five characters with different elements, and focus most of your resources on them.
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Every gacha game has pull rates - the chance the player has of getting different tiers of characters and items.
In Genshin Impact, characters fall into the four-star or five-star categories, and weapons from Wishes can be three-star, four-star or five-star. Higher star levels indicate stronger characters and weapons.
Depending on the promotional banner (pool) you pull from, you have a 0.6 to 0.7 per cent chance of getting a five-star prize. If you pull 89 times without getting a five-star prize, you'll receive a 90th "pity pull" with a five-star result. When you account for the pity pulls, the overall win rate for a five-star prize ranges from 1.6 per cent to 1.85 per cent.
Compared to other gacha games, Genshin Impact has a pretty low pull rate for five-star characters. For example, the popular gacha game Fate/Grand Order's lowest five-star rate for characters is 0.8 per cent. (It doesn't, however, have a pity system.) Nintendo's original gacha game, Dragalia Lost, has a total rarity of 4.00 per cent for five-star adventurers and dragons.
As you progress through the main story, you can get up to six characters for free. Amber, Kaeya and Lisa will join you pretty early on during quests. Anyone who plays the game before the 1.1 patch will win Barbara. If you spend your free Fates on the Beginner's Wish, you'll get Noelle (and potentially another character). After you complete an in-game challenge, you'll receive Xiangling.
Considering the points so far, Genshin Impact makes it pretty easy to get through the early parts of the game without spending money. The later levels, however, can get tricky to progress through because of a resource called Original Resin. You need Original Resin to farm for items outside of the main story and side-quests.
Paul Tassi at Forbes has extensively documented his progress through the game and found that the slow regeneration rate for Original Resin can make the Genshin Impact endgame tedious. Once you reach Adventure Rank 30, which happens near the end of the main story, most of your activities will require Original Resin. When Paul did the math, he discovered that he had about 13 minutes of things to do every day once he reached this point.
In earlier parts of the game, Paul didn't have much of a problem making progress, so it seems that Original Resin becomes a major issue only in late Adventure Ranks. So, if you want a story to progress through, you should be fine, but you might not have a satisfying endgame grind.
Taking the above factors into account, most players won't have to buy premium currency to have fun while playing Genshin Impact. Since you can get many items and characters for free, it just takes a little patience and flexibility to treat the game as a fully free-to-play experience.
Just keep in mind that as a gacha game, Genshin Impact's mechanics try to push you to pay, and we don't know how generous the game will be in future expansions. You also might have to wait between updates if you don't enjoy an extensive endgame grind.
Genshin Impact is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, iOS and Android. Follow the author of this guide on Twitter at @LongLiveMelKing, and GAMINGbible at @GAMINGbible. Check out what's coming soon to Genshin Impact, with its next updates, here.
Featured Image Credit: miHoYo
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