My recent Game of Choice has been Genshin Impact, which is a huge rabbit hole to fall into. It may be the most dangerous game I’ve played, barring actual MMOs like WoW or the original Everquest, and I’m not just saying that because it provides hot and cold running waifus and husbandos for any taste which can be yours for a mere $HOWMUCHYOUGOT.
Rather, it’s dangerous because there is just so much to DO and it’s so easy to just get lost picking flowers and mining rocks and hunting for treasure chests for hours at a time. I used to point at Skyrim’s quest that sends you to High Hrothgar as the ultimate example of a game that gives you a clear objective to accomplish while also making sure that there are dozens of distractions along the road from Point A to Point B, but Skyrim has nothing on Genshin.
That being said, I really didn’t click with the game when I initially tried it.
I started Genshin about two weeks after it launched in 2020. My wife wanted to find a mobile game we could play together, and Genshin had a co-op option that sounded interesting. It turned out that co-op was a bit limited and required getting a fair way into the story to unlock, so that didn’t go anywhere. I mucked around a bit and got up to like Adventure Rank 10.
Nearly a year later, Genshin announced a collaboration with Sony and Horizon: Zero Dawn, where you could get Aloy as a playable character if you were Adventure Rank 20 when a certain patch happened. I didn’t really understand how to grind Adventure Rank, but I came back to the game and went nose-to-the-grindstone on any quest I could find in order to make the deadline for the patch.
I then didn’t really play it any more for quite a while.
Come this summer, I picked it up again for some reason and managed to get to Liyue. It was super confusing to figure out what to do and in what order, because at this point there were a million* things in my quest log and there were new quests being unlocked all the time. I finally decided to buckle down and do everything I could before going to Inazuma, which was the region that had been released at about the same time Aloy was given out.
I got super lost at this point, and getting through Liyue took over three months. Really Genshin should make it more clear that Archon Quests = Main Quest. Story Quest = Character-focused Side Quests. World Quest = Side Quests. At least it’s pretty good about pointing out when one quest or another is blocked by needing to complete something else, and actually pointing you to the “something else”. It didn’t help that the Chasm is a region you can get to during the Liyue quest line, but it doesn’t actually fit into the overall story until you’re almost completely done with Inazuma.
As an aside – once I hit Inazuma, I made a huge mistake when getting the boat. I immediately used it to sail all over the map, meaning that I unlocked a ton of regions and quest lines well before I should have. I strongly suggest not doing this. Play through the Inazuma storyline and only go to new islands when you’re told to.
From entering Inazuma to completing Sumeru (so far) took about a month and a half, and I have to say that the writing has only gotten better and better. The Mondstat story was constantly roadblocked by Adventure Rank requirements and the mountains of text in Liyue made it a super drag at times, but Inazuma and Sumeru just knocked it out of the park in making Teyvat into a world that I wanted to come back to.
If I had any one thing to complain about here, it would be the many Inazuma world lines that were time-gated, meaning that you would do one short bit of story and be told “come back tomorrow”… as in real-world “tomorrow”… to get the next story quest.
If you’re at all curious, I simp for Best Girl Noelle, but unfortunately she’s a little bit annoying to run around the world with because Mihoyo just LOVES to throw a bunch of enemies with various elemental shields at you, and grinding those down without the specific opposing elements is an exercise in frustration.
Hence my go-to team. I’ve got Electro, Cryo, Pyro, and Hydro characters to make any enemy shields basically an afterthought, a claymore character for mining, a bow character for “now you need a bow character” puzzles and a damage rotation that consists of “set everything on fire and electrocute it, then spam water attacks while everything dies to lightning and hot steam”, or “freeze everything, then hit it with a big sword” as I feel like it.
It also uses all 4* characters, and two of them are even characters you are guaranteed to get simply by playing the game. I think Beidou and Diona have to be acquired via gacha, but with a low rarity rating they show up a lot.
Anyway, I’m finally caught up to the story so I can now join the ranks of people who actually need to wait for the next patch for more content. Well… there are a bunch of character stories I haven’t seen, and I skipped a ton of world quests while I was running around Sumeru, and… and…
Yeah. It’s a dangerous game.