I’m pretty sure that by now, almost everyone has heard of this record-breaking game that steadily reached various milestones and is keeping millions of players happily gaming.
Genshin Impact started out as a (mostly) mobile game that saw tremendous growth on PC and PlayStation as well.
The upcoming month of September will mark the two-year anniversary of Genshin Impact and the game is almost nothing like the initial launch version of 1.0.
Each successive update to the game has added a ton of content, new features, and mechanics which have elevated Genshin Impact in numerous ways.
And now, with the latest update, it might be the best time to see what changes have come to the game since version 2.0.
So let us take a look at what changes we saw in Genshin Impact from version 2.0 to 2.8.
In terms of story and lore, I have to say that Genshin offers a complete immersion into a magical fantasy world, as they promised.
We step into a world where everything seems magical and fantastical. The stories we hear are just as incredible, ranging from the Anemo Archon moving a landmass, to the Electro Archon sundering islands in half or the Geo Archon raining down rocky pillars from above.
We also have the Abyss Order, the search for our lost sibling and the history of Teyvat.
We explore new areas and different environments which offer us the chance to figure out what has happened so far.
Other than the main stories, the character stories and hangout events offer a great connection to the beloved characters we meet. It is certainly satisfying to play stories and hangouts of characters you do not yet own.
I would have to say even the subquests, especially the world quests, do offer exciting new adventures.
From version 2.0, it has brought in numerous character stories and offered solid main story progress.
In every new version, we even get a bit of the world building. We learn about the history of Inazuma and its ruling Electro Archon, Khaenriah as well as the Yakshas, an ancient civilization at Enkanomiya and so on.
The storytelling is masterful and fulfilling. Although, if I were to point out a gripe, it would be that we are still ways away from the truths and the answers we seek.
There is still very little information we have on our lost sibling and the history of the world.
Gameplay definitely feel more familiar and smoother due to numerous bug fixes and small updates.
One of the most anticipated and expected releases, the Dendro element has not yet been released, but miHoYo has officially unveiled Sumeru, the Dendro region.
Currently, We can use the other 6 elements: Electro, Hydro, Cryo, Pyro, Geo and Anemo.
The meta has mostly noticeably shifted to favor newer characters. What used to be meta-defining is not as relevant anymore and that offers us a refreshing, if not frustrating chance at building more characters and tweaking the gameplay patterns which we have become used to.
In addition to this, there are quite a few more world bosses and even elite bosses that were introduced in these updates. These include the Ruin Serpent and Raiden Shogun, to name a few
There are also a lot more of new enemies and materials. Some of the best examples of this are the Lumenstone mechanics in the Chasm and the night/day switches in Enkanomiya.
Visual and OST
miHoYo has consistently been working on their visual designs throughout the patches.
The game has now been more optimized for PC and PS. There are no frame rate drops or performance issues seen with the two platforms but mobile has had some work done as well.
Choosing high-quality graphics to play smoothly does sometimes lag in mobile. This does get better if you are using flagship mobiles.
Newly released characters are designed really well and the new areas is supremely satisfying, and it speaks of great creative potential that miHoYo possesses.
In terms of environmental design, I would say Genshin is arguably one of the best.
A dive into regions like the cherry blossom-filled Inazuma City, the capital of Inazuma, Watatsumi Island, Enkanomiya, or The Chasm is enough to prove that miHoYo knows exactly what they are doing when making settings.
When we talk about Genshin OST, I would have to say that Yu-Peng Chen is simply the “GOAT”. (“Greatest of All Time”, just FYI.)
He has consistently composed fantastic orchestra performances for ambient music, combat music, and character specific themes.
We can actually see how much he has improved as a composer throughout these 2 years.
There is not a single moment in Genshin Impact which is not filled with satisfactory music scores.
One of my personal favorites would be Chrysalis Suspirii / Saltatio Favillae (La Signora boss fight themes), the somber sounds of Enkanomiya, it battle theme, and the soothing melodies of Watatsumi Island.
Combined with the stunning visuals that require no further elaboration, the gaming experience feels truly magical.
In terms of new areas to explore, Genshin Impact has offered a ton of Content since 2.0 started. For instance, we get to explore Inazuma in all its glory!
For me personally, it is the most aesthetically pleasing of all the Genshin regions. Every island has its own unique traits, such as the mist and its dynamics on Tsurumi island with a heartfelt story, Seirai Island and its terrifying yet magnificent thunder formation and the subsequent lore.
And then there is Watatsumi island, which very much appears like a sea god’s palace, home to the very beloved character Sangonomiya Kokomi and her people.
Enkanomiya is also considered as a region of Inazuma Even though it exists in a different space or realm. However, it offers an ethereal, underworld quality.
We also have a lot to explore, and finding parts of old Teyvat history is one of the most satisfying things to do.
The night/day switch mechanics here is also pretty visually appealing, in addition to the beautifully done environment.
The Chasm is another new area that presents us with a completely new environment: the underground.
As with Dragonspine, there is a special mechanic here, light. We need illumination to explore these dark depths and lumenstone ore and its subsequent uses are a good choice to light up the area.
Discovering the stories of the Yaksha and further lore elements was definitely a riveting experience.
In addition, new enemies in the area as well as bosses are also pretty satisfying and definitely an interesting challenge.
Gacha & Rewards
Now this is a pain! We all know it but continue to ignore it and go for.
Being almost two years old now, Genshin Impacts’ gacha system definitely needs improvement in my opinion. The new game had a ton of rewards and the subsequent patches have seen less, which is expected.
However, there was a lot of player dissatisfaction with the first anniversary awards and I do think it is justified.
With competitive games upcoming, I would like to believe that for the second anniversary, we would see some improvements in the gacha system. We have been getting a lot of Primogems as well as fates since the launch of 2.0.
However, given the wide variety of new characters, it is quite difficult to save up specifically for one character and sacrifice a lot of the rest.
As miHoYo has been making millions of dollars in profit, there is little room for them to not have the capability to give out better rewards.
There could be very little argument about the quality of the new characters that have come out. Aesthetically pleasing as well as being solid units in their own right, Genshin has been doing a good job at introducing great characters.
Good examples of this are Raiden Shogun, Kamisato Ayaka, Sangonomiya Kokomi, Yelan and so on.
We have also had a lot of reruns of popular characters, so that it does give players some time to save up for their favorites or new players a chance to get them.
miHoYo has also recently taken to announcing upcoming characters so this makes saving up easier.
It is to be noted that there have been some improvements such as collecting fate points through Epitomized Path to get a specific weapon in the weapons banner, which is arguably a great QOL change for all Genshin players.
This is because most of the game’s spending is on weapon banners, to get the desired weapon.
The anniversary also saw the first time buyer bonus for Genesis Crystals, the games premium currency, being reset. If more of such deals appear in the game, it would solve the problem of the gacha deals having stingy return value for the actual money spent.
The other gripe that most of us have would be the artefact system. The drop rates of specific pieces of a specific sets are purely RNG.
With limited resin available every day, it takes weeks if not months to farm decent enough pieces for the characters.
There have been small QOL changes which I have talked about in the QOL section, but I would have to say that the artefact grind is still a tough chore and miHoYo has not done enough to make it worthwhile for the time that needs to be invested.
New content, Events & QOL
Quality of Life or QOL is a factor in each game. The game has kept making QOL changes in very update.
The Domain Reliquaries obtained from the Spiral Abyss now gives us pieces from the newer artefacts rather than a pick of one piece of a random set. We are also able to use the leftover or useless artefacts and feed it to Artefact Strongbox.
In return we obtain pieces of artefact sets of what we choses. Right now there is only 4 sets of artefacts to choose from.
This small and effective QOL change is getting another QOL update where initially its just 4 sets of artifacts but in the next update, every single artifact set released up until now is available to choose from.
Another cool QOL update they released recently was that the game tells you now which talent priority should be given for each character.
This is based on the data collected from all of the players use of that character. This unique user is really helpful for players so that they can use Mora and talent level up materials wisely.
The Serenitea Pot now offers a new environment, an Inazuma inspired setting as well as new waypoint system and a lot of furniture and environment upgrades. Some Serenitea Pots that players have done, does look like they have created a new area in Genshin.
Other QOL life changes include optimizing aiming on mobile, optimizing alternate sprints, quicker switching of parties, and load times.
With all these changes, we have yet to see significant changes to the resin system.
Right now. there is a limit of 160 Original Resin that can be regenerated at a time. The Serenitea pot offers transient resin, which gives 60 extra resin per week.
However, this is still not the most optimal solution.
Events has been pretty satisfying in every single update. Even if the rewards are debatable, the fun which we get to have as well as the new bits of lore, character development and story as well as new mechanics are always a refreshing change.
Some great events are the Golden Apple Archipelago, Theater Mechanics, Hyakumin Ikki and the Misty Dungeon.
I can confidently say that Genshin Impact is a magical adventure for any player.
With a wide variety of great characters, spectacular visuals and OST, and a plethora of content to explore, a free to play (f2p) player could enjoy the game at a steady pace.
However, when it comes to endgame content such as the Spiral Abyss and min-maxing your characters, being f2p does seem a bit more challenging as you would be frustrated with managing resources to get future characters and saving up.
For the average and casual gamer, this would not pose to be a problem at all and I would definitely recommend playing like this. When you get heavily invested in the game, content does run out and the gacha grind gets pretty frustrating for the average f2p player.
Pay to Win (P2W) or the Whale Experience
It is pretty clear that Genshin has a lot of systems in place to attract whales (heavy spenders) and lure them with the gacha system. There is gacha in the artifacts, the banners and even the drop rates.
With money, almost all these problems become solvable.
As such, in terms of value for money, for the high end players, this seems to be the case. The proof is how successful the gacha system has become, generating millions and millions in revenue for miHoYo.
However, this does pose the problem of reckless spending and gacha addiction. We all go down this spiral mostly because character constellations or featured 5* weapon refinements add value and strength to our favorite characters by increasing their capabilities in different ways.
There is definitely a need for the gacha system to be tweaked into a more friendly manner to accommodate the light spenders of f2ps.
As with most gacha games, it is an integral part of the game’s success and We are unlikely to see major reworks.
However, we can only hope, as miHoYo has been paying attention to the complaints of players and have been steadily improving themselves.
In any case, that does not change the fact that Genshin Impact is a phenomenal game, despite its slight drawbacks.
With Update 3.0 or what I like to call, the “Sumeru Update” coming in about a just a week, it was a good time recall back the wonderful time I had with the game.
It has been almost an year since Update 2.0 rolled out and for the past year, I had a lot of fun with the game!
I spent my time exploring Inazuma and its islands while discovering more about the game’s overarching story and lore in every update and event. Being able to spend time with a unique cast of loveable characters in breathtaking locations to awesome music was a definite highlight.
As for the Inazuma update, I would say it was a Must Play and I really look forward on what’s next in store in our next adventure in Sumeru…….