Genshin Impact: Beginner’s Guide

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Jumping headfirst into the world of Teyvat — the fictional world where the free-to-play hit Genshin Impact is set in — isn’t really the best idea. The gameplay and core mechanics of Genshin Impact can feel totally foreign for a lot of players. As a result, you might find yourself feeling confused, lost, and/or intimidated.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help.

Below is a quick but information-filled beginner’s guide to help you start your adventures in this open-world gacha game on the right foot. 

What Kind of Game is Genshin Impact? 

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action role-playing game set in a fantasy-based open-world named Teyvat. The game heavily features gacha game mechanics. 

Genshin Impact is not an MMO, as many unfamiliar players have been led to believe. Instead, it has a multiplayer co-op component. Games from multiple platforms can utilize the game’s UID system to play with each other. 

Fair warning, the cross-save feature is only available on the PC and iOS. It is not available on the PlayStation 4 yet. 

What Platform/s Is Genshin Impact Available On?

Genshin Impact was developed and published by the Chinese company miHoYo and was released on September 28, 2020, on the PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, as well as Android and iOS

What is a Gacha Game? 

Gacha games, as the name implies, are video games that use the “gashapon” mechanic that’s prevalent in Japan. 

In Japan, there are vending machines scattered all over with small capsules containing toys, wherein you have to drop a token to get a small capsule containing a surprise toy. The appeal of the game lies in not knowing what item is inside and the constant struggle of dropping more tokens until you get the toy that you want (or you run out of money). 

Gacha games operate similarly. This is also similar to how some games, mostly in the west, use a “loot box” system where players are encouraged to spend real-life money to purchase in-game currency and items that reward them a random virtual item. 

How Does the Gacha Mechanic in Genshin Impact Work?

Because Genshin Impact is a free-to-play title, it has to make money somewhere. In this case, the game uses the Gacha mechanic to raise money. 

What the game does is offer you “banners” in exchange for fantasy currency, which you buy using real money. Each of the three “banners” in the game contains a different set of items with various drop chances. 

In Genshin Impact, one of the biggest draws is in winning characters.

Once you’ve put in your credit card details and purchased in-game currency, you’ll get a chance to open a “wish” that contains anything from a weapon to a four-star or a five-star character.

Now, there’s no telling if your next “wish” will contain whatever it is that you want. It can even contain something better or worse. However, if it’s any consolation, the game does offer what some refer to as “pity rolls”. This happens when you’ve spent so much money without getting anything good in return. As a result, the game gives you a “free” random reward. 

What Characters Are Available in Genshin Impact?

Players get to choose and name two characters known as “Travelers” in Genshin Impact at the start. Players can then increase the number of characters in their party to 4. Players can swap these characters between each other depending on fight conditions or whatever kind of fighting strategy that they prefer. 

Each character will have four different attacks: a basic attack, a stronger attack that requires charging up, an Elemental Skill, and an Elemental Burst. Characters can also wield different types of weapons, ranging from swords to bows and more. 

There are currently more than 20 unique characters in Genshin Impact, allowing for a virtually unlimited number of character combinations and playstyles. 

To fill out your party, players can choose to unlock additional characters (up to 3) from playing through the game’s story. However, to earn more characters, players will have to purchase them via microtransactions using the game’s “wish” mechanic, which can be quite the costly venture and where the game makes the bulk of its money. 

If it’s any consolation, Genshin Impact puts several systems in place to make players feel less exploited. For example, saving up more “Fates” will guarantee that you’ll get at least a 4-star Character. So, basically, the longer you roll and not get a 4 or 5-star Character, the more chances that your next roll will give you a better reward. 

All of these details are available at each “Wish Event”, including the probabilities and who you might summon. 

The game also gives you rewards if you get duplicate Characters, so nothing is wasted.

How Do You Play Genshin Impact? 

Outside of the Gacha mechanic, Genshin Impact is relatively straightforward. It’s an easy game to learn how to play. In fact, if you’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, then you’ve essentially played Genshin Impact. 

Both games are eerily similar to each other, down from its graphics up to its combat. 

The main difference is that Genshin Impact lets you play with a party of 4 different characters, which you can mix and match with each other for various benefits. 

How Long Is Genshin Impact?

Being that Genshin Impact is not an MMO, the game does technically have an ending. 

We say technically because the game is designed to be never-ending. 

If we’re speaking of current terms, Genshin Impact currently has a final story quest available only to players with an Adventure Rank of 29. However, after completing this, players can still play the game and complete side quests, as well as other content, that is available for players up to Adventure Rank 36. 

Now, the open world of Genshin Impact is massive, but it’s only just two of the seven zones that miHoYo claims will eventually be made available to players. 

Because of this, we can expect Genshin Impact to receive at least five more massive updates in the years to come. But, as it is, it is possible to “beat” the game, if, by “beat”, you mean completing the final quest. However, the question of how long it takes to beat Genshin Impact has a rather confusing answer. 

Because of how the game works, players can’t just simply rush to the ending. Instead, a player will have to focus on their exploration to up their Adventure Rank so that they can reach the final quest of the game. This can take anywhere between 30 to 50 hours. This variety is mostly the result of the game’s luck-based mechanics.

If you’re lucky and roll rare characters or weapons right off the bat, it’s not unreasonable to finish the game’s main storyline in 30 hours. However, you could easily spend double that amount of time playing Genshin Impact if you get lost in the game’s open-world (highly possible) or you’re simply very unlucky with your rolls (very probable). 

TLDR; expect to put in at least 30 hours to reach the endgame of Genshin Impact as it is, but if you want to squeeze out every bit of content from the game, you could end up spending more than 100 hours. 

Tips for Playing Genshin Impact

Yes. We did mention that Genshin Impact is a rather straightforward game. However, even the more simple games have mechanics that aren’t so obvious to the casual gamer. 

Here are some tips that can help make playing Genshin Impact easier for you.

Duplicates Are Your Friend

Getting duplicates feels kind of sad in nearly every game, except in Genshin Impact. 

In Genshin Impact, getting doubles of weapons and characters is actually a good thing. This is because it helps raise the constellation rank of your character. As a result, you could find yourself earning new status upgrades and moves just because you have multiple duplicates of the same thing. 

Learn The Elements

As already mentioned, Genshin Impact borrows a lot of elements from Breath of the Wild. This includes how your elemental powers change depending on your environment. At the same time, the element system in Genshin Impact also works similarly to how in Pokemon, where the Water-type is weak against Electricity-type.

It’s just that in Genshin Impact, your environment and typing are both huge factors. 

So, for example, when you’re in water and fighting against enemies in the water, using lightning attacks becomes far more effective. At the same time, if it’s raining, freezing enemies becomes so much easier. 

Learning how to swap the Characters based on their strengths, as well as the current situation, like in boss fights, is something that you’ll need to learn if you want to progress further in Genshin Impact. 

Don’t Forget To Upgrade 

Your first order of business is to level up your Characters to level 20, which is the game’s first maximum level limit. 

We said all, so, don’t forget to spread your resources across your multiple Characters. 

Speaking of Characters, make sure that they have the right equipment. You should enhance their weapons. You can do this by opening the Character menu and navigating your way to the “Weapons” tab. Then, you can “Enhance” their weapons using materials that you have looted from your adventures. 

Use The Right Artifacts 

You can also use “Artifacts” to help boost the attributes of your Characters in Genshin Impact. The same “Artifacts” can also be matched together as a set for additional bonuses like higher Max HP, an extra ability, and more. 

Before equipping an “Artifact”, don’t forget to check if it fits the Character first.

Find Teleport Waypoints

This is pretty basic, but not most players are familiar with how open-world games work. 

If you’re new to open-world games, the vast world can be traversed faster using a mechanic. In Genshin Impact, there is a “Fast Travel” mechanic. Using this, you can travel anywhere on the map. Or, at least, anywhere you’ve already activated the “Teleport Waypoint” first, which you can see by opening the “Map” and checking if it’s blank (not activated) or blue (activated). 

There are also rewards for activating a “Teleport Waypoint”.

For example, if you activate one, you’ll receive Primogems. You can use these to purchase more “Wish” to get a new character or weapon. 

Open Your Mail

We don’t know if this will last forever yet, but for now, the developers are still constantly sending out free stuff to players in Genshin Impact. All you have to do to receive these rewards is to check your mailbox in the game. You’ll get free loot every now and then. 

So, make sure that you open your in-game mailbox every day. 


The hype is real. It hasn’t even been a month since Genshin Impact went public and already, hundreds of thousands of gamers around the globe are hooked to it. 

With potentially hundreds of hours more of content still to come, it’s highly unlikely that the hype for Genshin Impact will die down soon. 

Thankfully, with these tips, you can jump into the game without losing your wits.

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