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I have been extolling the virtues of Genshin Impact all week in the wake of its launch, and every time I say something positive about it, I’m met with the same response. “When do you hit the paywall?”
It’s a completely valid question. This is, after all, a free-to-play RPG that makes its money through a gacha system for pulling 3-5 star characters and weapons. So yes, you would imagine that at some point, the game is going to heavily imply that it’s time to pay up, if not stop you in your tracks outright.
Does it? Not really. I’ve hit a wall with Genshin, but not a paywall per se. But first, let me rundown what I’ve accomplished this week in about 20 hours of play, spending exactly $0 on the game.
Nine characters unlocked, four the game gives you, five from gacha pulls given out for free as part of game launch bonuses
Four characters at level 40 XP, the current max until I can farm the materials to ascend them again. I cannot just pay for the materials
Two level 40 weapons, again, same process with ascension
Adventure Rank 24 (sort of your overall game level)
The entire map clear and every teleporter found
It’s around this time that I have started to hit a progress wall and the game is slowing down. But this is not due to me needing to pay to get better characters to take on tougher enemies, the way you might imagine. With my level 40 Traveler/Xianling/Razor/Barbara squad I can take down literally any enemies on the map. That’s not the issue.
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Rather, the wall is the Adventure Rank system where to continue the main questlines, you need to hit certain levels there to make progress. You get XP from exploration and sidequests which is how I’ve gotten so high so quickly, but now, that’s slowing down since I am running low on both of those things.
There are a few ways I can progress now:
Continuing to explore, as opening random world chests will give you Adventure XP that will add up over time.
Checking back every day to play with new daily missions live that give Adventure XP
Using the “Resin” system to farm repeatable missions ranging from world bosses to dungeons.
That last bit is where if there *is* a paywall in the game, that’s the closest thing to it. This works like a mobile game where you have a certain amount of energy every day that you burn through doing certain types of missions. It will refill over time, but to refill it instantly, you would have to spend gems on it. Now, you can earn gems, but you will of course be tempted to burn those gems on gacha pulls. So in theory, you could keep refilling them with cash purchases and farm those missions and the Adventure XP that comes with them endlessly, increasing your rank that way. But it’s not like there are no viable alternatives you can do for free, it’s just slower.
Again, at least for now, the actual gambling gacha aspect of this does not seem like it hinders you at all. Like yes, I absolutely want to land a 5 star Diluc or Venti, and yet my current squad that I have assembled for free is doing just great and I love them.
The ultimate point I’m making is that this is a gacha game that very much does not feel like a gacha game most of the time. There is an absolutely colossal amount of free content here, and more to come as new regions will be added in time. Combat is a blast, and you are not restricted in stupid ways like inventory space that other games in this genre may try to pull.
Eventually yes, you could start spending money to progress faster once you hit the slowdown where I am now. And yet there’s still plenty to do every day for free to help you move forward as well. Nothing about the paid mechanics of this game are preventing me from continuing to recommend it, even this far in.
And now? It’s time to drop some money to reward the developer for their hard work. Stay tuned for how that goes tomorrow.
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