So, now we get to the real, important question: do I recommend you try out Genshin Impact, and furthermore, do I recommend you spend money on it?
Well, quite frankly, there are worse action games. There are worse exploration games. There’s whatever the hell Cube World became, and in light of things like that… I’ll say that if you’re looking for something that’s somewhat different, and you don’t mind a blatantly Breath of the Wild inspired package, that it’s not half bad.
Hell, if you’re looking for something like Breath of the Wild, but you’re not the sort to pick up a Nintendo console to play it, I’d say that Genshin Impact scratches that itch quite successfully. There are definite drawbacks in comparison, but I feel like they stack up pretty well:
- No durability issues – MMORPG progression
- Character variety locked behind gacha – Actual, honest-to-god playstyle variety
This community is worse than Doom
After having to take a step back and actually write about the community of Doom in the Doom Eternal review, I don’t think I can really separate a community from the game anymore, especially in the case of a live service title. But, when I say that this community is worse than Doom’s, why do I say that?
Well, there are a few reasons:
The first and foremost is misinformation. There’s a huge amount of it going on, from people faking customer service responses to youtubers telling people that a character is ‘good’ and being on that constant hype train. This is really, really bad when there’s a lot of stuff that as far as the game is concerned, is either bugged, flat-out incorrect descriptions, or more. The character Tartaglia actually works a lot like Destiny 2’s Sunshot, but that is not in his description. It’s frustrating when you can’t even get good information out of the game let alone the community.
The second reason is that when it comes to players calling out whether or not a character is good or bad, you have the Timmy factor in play: criticizing the character is, in a number of ways, the same as criticizing the person who enjoys playing them (even in their current state).
The third is the classical level of religious fanaticism that often comes with virtually anything and everything these days. In fact, I’m going to take this opportunity to say something very important but it will likely get glossed over: turning your customers and supporters into a religion is a double edged sword, and, MiHoYo experienced this as of this with their handling of the character Zhongli. You can make someone a fanatic for supporting you – but what do you think will happen if you make a costly mistake that angers them?
The fourth reason ties into the above: most of the players who criticize an element of a game do so because it’s under-performing, but other players will target and attack those individuals even though they are, in reality, operating in the attackers’ best interests. This is especially true in a game like Genshin Impact where even though it’s really only singleplayer with a light dash of co-op, people are eager to claim something is “good enough,” when its clearly faltering. It’s a symptom of that fanaticism, sure, but it’s quite amusing when you want a character buffed, and someone says “no he’s fine,” even though they don’t use him in the same contexts, nor would they fail to benefit from an increase in that character’s power, when in all reality they could probably get whatever satisfaction they’re going for out of Garry’s Mod if the character model got exported over.
And the fifth reason is entirely because of MiHoYo’s lack of endgame content that isn’t running on a timer. This essentially means that every character will be judged by how much damage they can contribute directly or setup through proxy. There is no reason to use a tank character that actually takes the hits because, really, you should be trying to melt every enemy down as quickly as humanly possible right now in regards to the current endgame.
Some of these issues can be solved, but elements like the fanaticism displayed can’t be undone because, now, unfortunately, they’re a part of society. MiHoYo didn’t make people that way – they just appealed to those types, and undoubtedly, a certain portion of this is within their marketing strategy.
That aside however, it’s a factor that one needs to be aware of when dealing with the game.
Money Spending Strategy
As with most free-to-play games, there are better and worse ways to spend your money. I won’t go over the obvious traps of the pity store here, but the real caveat is to be aware of the pity and weighting system when it comes to spending money.
You’ll probably have the most ideal experience if you can get an five star character quickly, and in my opinion if you really wanted one, you’re better off with a timely injection of the money required to essentially put you over the tipping point and guarantee your five star character. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that for what you do get for ‘free’ MiHoYo has earned some money and players should be willing to give it to them, but that should be more if you’re thinking of sticking around rather than if you’re trying it out.
I also think it’s absolutely fair to say at this point, MiHoYo has earned more than enough to be a lot more giving to players than they have been, and in general, as a player (and a consumer) you’re probably best off spending a little money… And then not spending any until they straighten up their act and stop trying to nickle and dime you for your experience.
There’s a limit to how much mobile-gaming, free-to-play bullshit that anyone should stand, and Genshin Impact runs right up to that limit and hangs there, and it’s honestly up to the community to call them out on it until there’s decent ways to earn new characters and weapons which quite frankly are completely lacking. Couple this with the fact that you have to catch a ‘new’ character on their promotional banner or wait until an update later in order to have them cycle into the regular one, and there’s just a wide number of things that I can see frustrating your average player.
Account security in Genshin Impact is, actually, really, really, really bad. There’s no real two factor authentication, and among other things, the efforts MiHoYo has made towards obfuscating their sales information doubles down on the problem for anyone who has ever actually had to recover a stolen account from anywhere.
Without another platform to go through, the only real proofs of purchase (because MiHoYo refuses to provide a proper digital receipt) would be your credit card bill or your bank statement depending on how you pay for things via cards. This is then rather funny, because if you need to recover your account from being stolen, you’ll have to provide purchase history information.
Hoooo boy, right?
Well, it gets worse. There are some very dubious accounts, but tales all the same, of players having their passwords changed without even getting a confirmation email. Now, as I mentioned before, there’s a lot of misinformation going around the community, but, quite frankly? I wouldn’t be surprised if an employee who had the capacity had attempted to steal said account.
There are more horror stories, though. For example, this dude apparently had his account stolen and because the perpetrator bought a few top-ups on his account, they’re being allowed to keep it. And, again, while it’s virtually impossible to figure out whether or not some of the misinformation being spread around the community is real or not.
Imagine having fifteen days left on the ‘season pass,’ but you’ve already done everything for it so now there’s no reason to play. Yeah, you still have some grinding here and there to do, but there’s no reason to continue playing because:
So what you do is you piddle around with the daily quests here and there, and maybe farm some things out, but all in all you realize there’s just not really that much to do. I’m sure eventually there’s going to be quite a bit, and honestly, I expect there to eventually be some characters that drop which are pretty fun as well as simply having a lot of content to go through.
Because of that, I think it’s probably a lot better to try Genshin Impact a later date when there’s some event which gives away a good chunk of free characters and ideally another five star character. If you have a friend or someone who plays but you’re currently not, tell them to tell you when there’s a bunch of characters just for trying the game out or a particularly powerful one specifically aimed at newcomers. These sorts of things happen all the time with games like Genshin Impact, and that’s probably the best time to actually give the game a shot and maybe actually get into it.
Otherwise, I think right now it’s a lot of early adopter syndrome plus they really want your money. So why not play something else? Hell, there’s even Honkai Impact.