Genshin Impact

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Genshin Impact
Genre Action RPG
Gamming Style Adventure/Role-playing
Platform Microsoft Windows [1]
Release Date September 28, 2020 [2]
Developer miHoYo [3]
Publisher miHoYo

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action role-playing game developed by MiHoYo.[4] The game features an open-world environment where players can explore and fight computer-controlled non-player characters utilizing elemental magic of different characters. Players use the gacha system, similar to that of lootboxes, to obtain new characters and weapons to strengthen their exploration team.[5] Internet connection is necessary to play the game and allows limited multiplayer gameplay up to four players in a single world.[6] Genshin impact was released for Microsoft Windows, IOS, Android, and PlayStation 4 on September 28, 2020[7] with plans to release the game for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 in the future.[8][9]


In Genshin Impact, players take the role of a traveler from another world who suddenly arrived in the lands of Teyvat. Each nation is ruled by an elemental deity and players can unlock over 20+ characters to form a four character squad to solve puzzles, fight monsters, and scavenge resources.[10] Though the game is designed to be single-player, it contains several activities that can be done with other player once unlocking the multiplayer function at adventure rank 16. [11] Both the user and individual characters can gain levels, increasing their strength.


Combat in Genshin Impact is done in real time. Each character in the game can apply damage to enemies in three different ways: normal attack, elemental skill, and elemental burst. A normal attack is the main form of attack characters can use to inflict physical damage. The attack has no cooldown as is limited by the speed of the attack.[12] An elemental skill is an attack inflicting elemental damage and leaves the corresponding element on the enemy. Though elemental skills do not require energy, they have a cooldown period between each use.[13] Elemental burst is a character’s strongest skill. It requires energy to use and has a longer cooldown than elemental skills. Using an elemental burst grants the character a duration of invincibility.[14]


A chart showing different combinations of elements and the resulting reaction [15]

Characters from Genshin Impact possess one of the seven natural elements: Pyro (fire), Geo (earth), Dendro (nature), Cryo (ice), Electro (lightning), Anemo (wind), and Hydro (water). An exception to one element rule being the traveler who currently can alternate between Anemo and Geo.[16] In combat, players can switch characters to create elemental reactions that can boost character's damage. Each elemental reaction causes different effects and players are advised to take advantage of elemental reactions for more damage.


There are currently five different kinds of weapons in game: bows, catalysts, claymores, polearms, and swords. Each character is only able to wield one type of weapon.[17]


Bows exhibit long-ranged attacks in game. With proper aim, bows are capable of hitting enemies far out of sight. If the player holds the attack button long enough, the range and damage of the shot increases and infuses the arrow with the wielder's element.


Normal attacks of Catalysts deal elemental damage depending on the wielder’s element instead of the standard physical damage. Similar to bows, catalysts operate at range.


Claymores are considered melee weapons and have the slowest attack speed out of the melee weapons in game. Though the hits are slow, they deal much more damage per swing than swords or polearms. Claymores can also be used outside combat to mine minerals.[18]


Polearms have the fastest attacks of all weapons and have decent range. Currently, there are only four polearm users in game making polearm users quite rare.


Swords are the middle ground of the two other melee weapons. Both the damage and attack speed of the polearm are in between the slow claymores and fast polearms.


Genshin Impact and its developer, MiHoYo, has been at the center of a number of ethical and racial controversies which have caused division among its active gaming community. [19]


On the 6th of April 2021, the hashtag #boycottgenshin began trending on Twitter, with more than 100,000 tweets, in various incarnations.[19] A behind-the-scenes development video began circulating on the internet that included a segment where the design for the in-game enemy Hilichurls is documented. The Hilichurls are a common goblin enemy type, which have passing resemblance to a sort of indigenous people akin to those of African descent.[19] The controversy was raised after footage of the inner workings of Hilichurls game models were revealed. At the 1:31 minute mark of the video footage, the game designers at MiHoYo are seemingly shown referring to real life indigenous peoples as they are dancing, and are thought to have used them for inspiration for the Hilichurls.[20]

Genshin Impact Boycott[21];; 2021

Twitter users and the Gensin Impact community alike have called the game designers, MiHoYo studios, and their depictions of the Hilichurls themselves culturally and racially insensitive. Users directly addressed the designers of the game with thousands of tweets and trending hashtags such as, #mihoyodobetter and #BoycottGenshin. [20] While the in-game lore describes the Hilichurls as a cultured humanoid-goblin race with language and dance rituals, the development footage and the coincidences in similarity to indigenous people have caused a rift in the Genshin Impact Community.[22]


In Genshin Impact there are two characters whose relationship players and fans have identified as having pedophiliac undertones and go as far as suggesting MiHoYo promotes pedophilia.[20] The characters in question are Albert and Barbara, with Albert being a "super fan" of Barbara. In one in-game quest titled "Stop Albert, Stop!", the player is tasked with driving Albert away from outside a building as his presence is off putting to the women working inside. Players have also noted that Albert's behavior towards Barbara, could be construed as pedophilia, as she is between 16 and 18 years.[20] Players also noticed that an NPC, Ulfr, expressed his love for a child, named Flora.[23] While initially met with backlash, players were quick to point out that Flora was an adult in previous versions of the game. It is believed that the dialogue by Ulfr is unintentional, as when Flora was aged down Ulfr's dialogue was not changed.

Gacha System and Gambling

The gacha system is how players unlock new characters and weapons. By paying an in-game currency, users can make a random draw from a pool of prizes. In Genshin Impact, rolling for a reward is called a Wish. Though miHoYo is transparent with the gacha rates, the chances of receiving a five-star character from a wish is below 1% making it incredibly difficult to pull five-star characters.[24] To compensate for the low rates, miHoYo also implemented the Pity System. The pity system ensures that players will receive a four-star weapon or character on their 10th wish if players haven’t been able to pull a 4-star in previous nine draws. Pity system also ensures players a five-star character on their 90th wish or a five-star weapon on their 80th wish.[25] However, depending on the type of banner players wish on, the guaranteed five-star or four-star may not be the character or weapon the player wanted.[26] In the weapon event banner, two five-star weapons are featured and receive a rate-up. Once a player pulls a five-star on the weapon banner, the five-star has a 75% chance to be one of the two featured weapons. In other words, the chance of a player receiving the five-star weapon they want is never guaranteed no matter how much the player spends.[27] There has been discussions about the ethics of the weapon banner. Youtuber "Tectone" spent over $1000 without receiving the weapon he was hoping to get.[28] When Youtuber Michael "Mtashed" Tash dropped $2000 to try wishing for a five-star character named Klee, there has been discourse on miHoYo's business practices, and how exploitative a gacha game can be when the chances of winning a certain character is below 1%.[29] The game provides a convenient medium to engage in online gambling behavior, reducing the feeling of risk and allowing for more adventurous behaviors.[30] FIFA, another game that contains a lootbox system that can give players advantages with better characters, has had similar problems when one child spent over £3,000 on the game.[31] Another child, who was 16 years old, spent close to £2000 on an NBA basketball game. As children are particularly vulnerable to gambling, these games are seen by some to exploit the child's desire in order to make money. In the United Kingdom, the NHS mental health director said that loot boxes were "setting kinds up for addiction".[32] System like this have prompted US Lawmakers to draft legislation to ban the sale of lootboxes to minors, particularly in Pay-To-Win scenarios.[33]


When Genshin Impact was initially launched on September 28, 2020, players noticed its anti-cheat program running automatically in the computer's background even after exiting the game. Players also found that the program also ran even after uninstalling the game which brought up privacy concerns for the users.[34] To patch up the problem, miHoYo has update their Anti-Cheat System to immediately end once the game client is closed or uninstalled.[35]

For iOS version of Genshin Impact, Japanese users discovered and sent reports to miHoYo about the game automatically reading in clipboard information on version 14 iOS devices[36] and accused miHoYo of stealing personal information. In response, miHoYo published an official statement denying the claims and explaining that none of the information from the clipboard read by the anti-cheat program, mhyprot2, is processed, saved, or uploaded. miHoYo also stated that mhyprot2 is only used to maintain a fair gaming environment.[37]


Recently, players have discovered that certain words are censored when using the in game chat. This includes the words "Hong Kong" and "Taiwan".[38] MiHoYo does this as they are based in mainland China, and laws require that the game cannot contain anything that threatens China's national unity. MiHoYo also censored a youtuber's name after she showed data about her viewers which listed Taiwan as a separate country. [39]


Since the game was released, there have been multiple incidents of future game content being leaked. The game is currently in version 1.4, and there have already been leaks about future possible characters and content in version 1.5. The leaks include descriptions of two upcoming characters, as well as information about new bosses and events.[40] This includes video showcases of the two characters in action. Many players are already eagerly looking forward to their release.[41] Regarding this most recent leak, MiHoYo has publicly stated that they will be putting in more effort to deal with these illegal disclosures, since leaks both interfere with MiHoYo's plans for development in the future and can cause players to be misled due to untrustworthy information.[42] MiHoYo started 1.5 beta testing around March 12, 2021, and despite the fact MiHoYo makes testers sign an NDA and acknowledge that they should not share content, leaks still occur. Following this, MiHoYo has now completely shut down 1.5 beta testing. Several Twitter accounts, well-known for leaking Genshin Impact content, have also deactivated their accounts currently.

One example of a leak with major repercussions was when the character Zhongli was officially released. Many players were unhappy with the character's actual skills, abilities, and statistics because they had expected Zhongli to be more powerful, like how he was described and showcased in leaks. During beta testing, his abilities were leaked, but when MiHoYo actually released Zhongli, his powers were quite heavily nerfed. This upset many players who looked forward to getting him.[43] In response to this, MiHoYo kicked out several content creators in the Genshin Impact content creator program since they ignored MiHoYo's request to not discuss leaks. MiHoYo has even filed costly lawsuits against several beta testers who were responsible for leaking upcoming content.


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