The heroes of Teyvat descended on Boston last week. Genshin Impact is one of the most popular free-to-play RPGs ever, and this year’s Boston gaming convention, PAX East, included several Genshin-related events, including cosplay meetups. We stopped by one of these meetups to speak to fans about the changes they feel could improve the Genshin Impact experience, from update 2.7 and beyond. Interestingly enough, the PAX East attendees we talked to were more interested in story and character-related content than deeper design fixes.
Many of these Genshin enthusiasts preferred not to share their real names, but most of them did show up as their favorite characters. So we’ll refer to them as such to differentiate.
One cosplayer dressed as Albedo, Mondstadt’s artistic genius and master alchemist, was accompanied by a plain-clothes Genshin fan. Both want to see greater access to past limited-time events — for veteran players to relive the fun, and to give newcomers more context and backstory for certain characters.
Albedo’s friend, a newcomer to the game, says she was able to “speedrun” all the way to Adventure Rank 45 without any major issues. However, she needed help understanding lore locked behind past limited-time events.
“Scaramouche showed up and I didn’t know who he was. She had to explain it to me!” she said, gesturing to the Albedo cosplayer.
As it is, those without veteran friends to relay the information would need to read a summary or watch a recorded playthrough of the event to catch up on what they missed.
Scaramouche is one of the eleven Fatui Harbingers that serve as antagonists in the game. He first appeared in the “Unreconciled Stars” event, where Fischl, Mona, and the Traveler investigated one of his ploys. He then reappeared during a later Archon Quest involving the Raiden Shogun, where even more of his past was revealed to the player. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to understand his significance to the story unless you played through Unreconciled Stars. He’s not a key character in any of the permanent Archon Quests, unlike fellow Harbingers Childe and Signora.
It’s not clear why HoYoverse won’t incorporate these limited-time events as permanent quests. However, one popular theory holds that the “fear of missing out” encourages players to log in and spend money. Limited-time events also reward players with a significant number of Primogems and leveling materials, so perhaps offering too many at once could negatively affect the “scarcity” tactic that gacha games depend on. If players have enough resources to be satisfied without spending, that means lower profits.
“It’d be nice to have more permanent content.”
Two cosplayers dressed as Zhongli and Venti also say they want to see more narrative content. The Venti cosplayer, who was dressed in a leaked alternate outfit for the Mondstadt Archon, says more story events and character interactions between characters from different nations would improve the game overall
“The Irodori Festival was a great example of that because it had both,” she says.
The Irodori Festival invited characters from Mondstadt and Liyue to Inazuma, leading to interactions between all three nations. Inazuman characters who hadn’t interacted with each other during Archon and character story quests met up with each other, too. For example, Thoma and Itto finally crossed paths, even though they didn’t in any of the permanent quests.
The Zhongli cosplayer (also dressed in an alternate outfit) suggested players could use a little more “day-to-day” content. Veteran players log in to collect Primogems for daily commissions and use up resin challenging weekly bosses before calling it a day.
After all, what else is there to do if you’ve wrapped up all the mainline story quests?
“For late-game players, [commissions] can feel like a chore,” Zhongli’s cosplayer says. “It’d be nice to have more permanent content.” He says the Spiral Abyss is one of the successful permanent features veterans can experience at any time but suggested that Hoyoverse could also incorporate some of the mini-games from limited-time events to help fill the daily void.
So what do Genshin players want for the future? Surprisingly, the consensus at PAX East seems to be more narrative content and character development. They mentioned the game’s notorious artifact grind, constellation-gating, and several more frequently complained-about topics within the community, but they really want more immersion into the world of Teyvat and the characters that inhabit it. Sure, maybe cosplayers are more interested in personalities than the average player, but they still raise a meaningful point — Genshin players love lore, and Hoyoverse needs to make it a bit easier to access, especially to newcomers.
Genshin Impact is available for free on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. A Nintendo Switch version is still in development.