As someone who has been playing Genshin Impact since the launch, these days, I keep finding myself on the edge of what can probably be described as burnout. This game, with its beautiful open world, amazing music, engaging puzzles, captivating main quest, and loveable characters, has lately become kind of… dull. I can tell that this feeling is not unique to me because I can see fellow players sharing similar sentiments. I am not sure when this started but it’s becoming obvious that this is not just a pre-big-update itch, caused by the lack of content as everyone gets ready for the new region. The real questions now are: how excited are we for Fontaine and whether the nation of Hydro can fix this issue?
Genshin Impact Burnout – What Is the Problem?
I realize Genshin Impact is a gacha game at its core. However, the core mechanisms are there not to get you to spend money, but to keep you logging in every day. This is obvious through the daily commissions, resin, Blessing of the Welkin Moon, and Battle Pass / Gnostic Hymn systems – you get more for less, as long as you log in daily. This type of addictive “grind” is there for a reason, to get you hooked on the game and give you a sense of satisfaction when you get what you want through your “hard work,” or alternatively, crush you to the point where spending money feels like the only thing that will make you feel better. Limited-time events and discounts also apply here: you do not want to miss out on getting that free character, or that five-star character who might not be available again until next year, or that Klee outfit for 5$ less, and so on. I am not going to get into the morality of this system, after all, we all knew what we were signing up for.
To keep this system afloat Genshin Impact resorts to events. Over the years we had so many, some were amazing to the point where it’s a shame they were not put into the game as a permanent option, while others, especially the recent ones, were just fine, mediocre. I’m sure everyone has heard of the Unreconciled Stars even from Version 1.1 – the one that dropped the first big hint about the skies of Tevyat and introduced Scaramouche. From what I recall, the mini-games for this event were nothing special, but the quest carried the whole thing. Understandably, people complained about important lore being introduced in limited-time events, so eventually, Genshin stopped doing this. We got the fluffy-filler events, with some important story bits here and there. And this worked fine, for a while.
But then, the complaints about gameplay modes during the events came. Co-op events were pretty much eliminated from the game, another thing that is understandable to some degree. But this also removed the need for players to interact with others, especially as they level up and stop needing help. Of course, you can still do it, but it’s just there, and if you loved playing with friends you are now left isolated. The event difficulty was lowered to the point where you just need to show up, click a few times, get the rewards you want, and leave. Again, fine to an extent, but what is the point of these events that are becoming repetitive and, frankly, boring? There is no real challenge most of the time and if there is, it’s added an afterthought and you do it (alone) for two pieces of ore. And don’t get me started on the amount of text in these irrelevant events – I love reading dialogue lines, but do I need a three-page essay by some NPC who I am never going to see again in which they explain that they are doing the Shared Sight activity for research even though no one thinks they should? NO. I value small references and hints in these chats, but if it’s just another quirky personality then it’s not that needed.
We fill out event surveys every update, and miHoYo never makes these public, but it would be nice to see what kind of feedback is leading to these events.
Archon Quests are the main quests that advance the storyline further. Everything else is basically filler. Usually, in every big (region) update, we get one long Archon Quest that spans through a few patches and one quest with Dainsleif. That is maybe four patches with new, relevant, storyline content out of eight-ish. Sometimes we also get new areas with area-related quests and some of those are great. Enkanomiya was amazing, the Chasm was amazing, Inazuma side-quests were really good too and Sumeru brought new levels of darkness to what was becoming kind of too filler-y.
I am not complaining about the quests or the side stories. It would just be nice to have more of them and actually have them be lore-important, like the Caribert quest. Long quest chains like the Aranara quest are also fun and bring new challenges to the game (although these challenges sometimes involved mechanics such as the gadget – until recently we did not have a proper way to quickly toggle them). We are slowly approaching the fourth year of the game, meaning we are much closer to Khanri’ah but the filler content just makes it feel so far away, almost as if it’s a side story.
The end game content in this game is Spiral Abyss and… well, the Invokation TCG card game and the Serenitea Teapot. As far as the Abyss goes – it’s been there since the launch and it has not changed one bit in terms of mechanics. I think at some point they added the artifact boxes and that was it. It also resets every 15 days (on the 1st and the 16th of every month) and every few months we get a new lineup of enemies. The Abyss is by far the most challenging part of this game at the moment: a true DPS and strategy check. Getting all 36 stars for many players is an accomplishment and since you don’t really have a reason to build your characters otherwise, it’s why you end up leveling and farming artifacts in the first place (more on that later). Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Abyss is a bad kind of end-game content, it’s just become repetitive after nearly three years. For new players (who want to attempt doing it), it’ll be a true challenge.
Still, many players don’t care about building characters and fighting. The 600 primogems that you get after completing floors 9-12 are often not worth the time investment. And it is so, so repetitive that at this point I do not care about completing it. The spark is gone and the pressure to do it no longer works. I’m realizing that this is a part of the burnout feeling I described above. Still, miHoYo (or hoYoVerse) must have its reasons for not wanting to add more battle content to what is supposed to be a chill game. Fair.
Instead, in an attempt to fix this, they added a new game mode: a trading card game. I don’t have anything against Invokation TCG, it has a decent set of rules and interesting cards, I love the buffs and different perks each card brings, and it is also visually beautiful but I simply do not have a reason to play it beyond getting achievements. Once I did that I left it for a bit and then they created an event that gives you pre-made decks and has you playing various characters. I loved this so much because I got to enjoy the new cards without the hassle of actually playing the game and grinding for cards. Ultimately, for something with no real reward, it is a big time investment, unless you truly enjoy card games. I do have to say it is nice to have something that is not that pressuring and limited.
Teapot is a similar case, except the monetary rewards are somewhat better and you get to spend time with your characters in a way. Decorating is also nice when you feel creative. One more thing I’d like to mention in this section is Hangouts. The visual novel rip-off mode is cute since four-star characters generally don’t get their own quests and only appear occasionally in events, but they pile on so easily. Having to re-do the same conversations to get to the point where the storyline splits into new branches is cumbersome at times and the hidden achievements are frankly annoying. If you want to be sure you did not miss any (again that fear of missing out) you will need a guide and at that point, why even play? The bright side is that those players who really enjoy these characters get the chance to “spend more time” with them.
All this leads me to the final point in this section: the accursed grind. Full disclosure: I love hoarding in-game materials and I am a completionist. For example, I currently have 1,546 Hero Wits, 6,168 pieces of fowl, and 6,229 pieces of Mystic Enchament Ore. I am not complaining about collecting materials (although I still have flashbacks about Scarabs and I wish Specters actually dropped something).
Instead, I would like to talk about artifacts. At the moment I have 1,420, and 347 of them are leveled to level 20. Many are duplicates but many of my characters still don’t have their own desired sets. Most of the artifacts I get have the DEF mainstat. If I need DEF, they will be HP or something else. Is the artifact farming system rigged? Many have asked this question over the past three years and while there is no official answer, it’s pretty easy to see that it probably is. I am often hitting the 1,500 artifacts limit (they will increase it to 1,800 in the upcoming update) and even if I level artifacts with good mainstats, the substats can still ruin the whole plan. There is simply no way to put a priority on what you need for those specific characters.
Genshin tried to fix this issue with Artifact Strongbox. I am not going to hate on this tool, because it is by far the most useful thing we have gotten for artifacts in this game in three years, but even when you do use it you are not guaranteed anything and as mentioned above, substats can still mess up everything. Still, this tool does help with getting the artifacts you actually need, assuming they are included. With two sets per domain, you could farm for ages and not get the right pieces.
To illustrate, I got Tartaglia by accident during his first banner. I never learned how to use him properly so he is benched most of the time. I wanted Ayaka badly and barely managed to get her, in spite of saving my gems. I pre-farmed for her, but her set, the Blizzard Strayer, was never that good (keep in mind I used Ganyu before her, with the same set so I had some pieces). This is the two of them today – pretty similar (remember that Tartaglia does not level any of the CRIT stats). Also, keep in mind that this is one of approximately SIX very good HoD sets I own, whereas Ayaka only has the four pieces and a stray double flower:
Can Fontaine Fix the Genshin Impact’s Issues?
Okay, now that I’ve let it all out it’s time to shine some hope into this article. Every new region has been like a holiday for the Genshin community so far and I am sure Fontaine will not be different. New areas to explore, new puzzles, characters, quests, culture – it’s like going on an adventure without leaving your house.
But, these days I’m coming to a realization that I am just not as excited for Fontaine as I was for Sumeru and Inazuma. I’m sure this is the burnout, but I just feel like a new region won’t fix the glaring issues that exist in the game right now. The recent developer chat sparked some hope: they were talking about optimizing the artifact system, among other things. But, how far out is that and how long do we have to wait for things like these to be taken into consideration? We’re only now getting new Battle Pass weapons and we only recently got the multilayered map which was available on nearly every third-party website since it became a necessity. Still, I’m hopeful this means that are actually starting to listen to player feedback when it comes to significant issues and that we will soon see improvement in many areas (perhaps Honkai Star Rail player base is slowly pushing Genshin fans into seeing what we could have).
It’s not all gray and I will keep playing the game for sure, it’s just that I would love to see Fontaine bring more and bigger changes. Quality of life updates, less badly time-gated content, shorter dialogue lines when there’s nothing to say, and lastly, actual meaningful plot advances like we’ve seen in Sumeru, would be amazing. I feel these are all small changes that could mean a lot, especially when it comes to bringing people back to the game and getting them to care about more than attractive characters. And this game is loved by its developers and players. One thing I always loved about the community was the fan theories and I’d love to see that spark reignited. Please do calculate where Celestia is while using your university math degree – that is why we’re all here.
A part of this burnout thing probably lies in the fact that in the past three years many of us, myself included, had many life changes that resulted in typical situations such as changing jobs, school, living places, new relationships, and so on. After a long day, it’s certainly sometimes difficult to find the patience to listen to Lamiya’s whining.
Still, one fact remains: the novelty of a new area will wear off soon enough and we need to start thinking about where we, as players, will be once that happens. Hopefully not trying to get both achievements for the Snezhnaya Does Not Believe in Tears namecard once again.