Yep, I’m still playing Genshin Impact every day. As great as the game is, I honestly didn’t expect it to have this much staying power in my gaming lineup, what with the likes of Cyberpunk 2077, EVE Online and ArcheAge Unchained vying for my free time, and as if those still weren’t enough I also longed for some more adventures in Black Desert Online around mid-December (as per usual), so I’m playing that one again as well.
Even so, the thing about Genshin Impact is that its developers, miHoYo, definitely do not rest on their laurels – nor their piles of Dollar bills, probably high enough to make Uncle Scrooge blush. Quite the contrary. Frankly, I haven’t seen such a high cadence of new and interesting stuff to do in an online game, like, ever.
Now, granted, in terms of what’s usually referred to as content patches we “only” got two since the game’s release at the end of September, with update 1.1 being rather smallish (yet pretty epic) and 1.2 giving us a whole new region to explore and lots of other cool stuff. Not too shabby overall for just over three months’ time, especially given the current circumstances.
However, what really makes all the difference, at least to me, are the events – lots and lots of events.
It certainly feels to me like the periods of time with at least one event up and running exceeded those without any by quite a bit. Impressions can be deceptive though, so let’s check.
Here’s an overview of all ‘proper’ events we’ve had until now (stuff like Gacha banners, test-scenarios for new characters or login-campaigns don’t count, obviously):
- Elemental Crucible (October 12th-19th)
- Marvelous Merchandise (October 26th-November 2nd)
- Stone Harbour Treasure Journal (November 13th-22nd)
- Unreconciled Stars (November 16th-30th)
- Gliding Challenge (December 4th-14th)
- While it’s warm (December 11th-18th)
- A thousand questions with Paimon (December 18th-20th)
- The Chalk Prince and the Dragon (December 23rd-January 5th)
The game was released on September 28th, which was exactly 100 days ago at the time of this writing. If I didn’t miscount (which is entirely in the realm of possibility though) 65 of those had at least one event active, which means that my gut feeling was indeed accurate.
Having events running constantly is all well and good, but of course the deciding factor is whether they are actually fun to do, isn’t it?
Unfortunately the very first one, Elemental Crucible, wasn’t all that good. It was forced Co-Op, meaning that bad pings or other players not doing what they were supposed to could really mess things up. It was also pretty grindy, and to add insult to injury the rewards weren’t even worth all that hassle. I didn’t have high hopes for any future events after this one, to say the least.
I don’t know whether it’s because folks at miHoYo actually took player feedback to heart or if they just needed some time to get into a groove, but in my opinion each and every event that came after the first was much better in every regard, and they still keep getting better yet.
As for technicalities, they’re less grindy, Co-Op is always optional and the rewards are decidedly on the generous side now. More importantly though, they’re really fun to do, and there’s something there for everyone.
Gliding Challenge, for example, was all about…well…gliding challenges (which Lakisa hated, but I had so much fun doing them that I earned all the gold medals on her account too). While it’s warm tasked players to deliver food from one place to another within a certain time frame, always with some caveats like not being allowed to sprint, glide and/or climb or take damage. Stone Harbor Treasure Journal was more like a browser game than anything, but pretty fun too.
Of course combat-loving players weren’t left out in the cold either, especially the two multi-week events provided lots of it. If I have one criticism about the last one, The Chalk Prince and the Dragon, it’s that the repeatable boss fight that made up the fourth and last stage of the event was actually harder in Co-Op than alone and rather annoying in general. Other than that though I was really happy with this one too.
What’s more, the next three events are already announced, all coming in January. Lost Riches will run from 8th to 18th, Hypostatic Symphony from 16th to 31st, and the second run of Marvelous Merchandise from 23rd to 30th.
This is what astounds me the most: until now absolutely no part of any event has been reused for another, it’s all been brand-new every time.
Of course there are also two possible downsides to miHoYo’s approach.
One, it certainly seems like a lot of developmental time and effort spent on something that’s only in the game for a week or two. One might argue that this much effort – we’re talking multiple chapters of story including fully voiced cutscenes in some cases – should rather be spent on content that stays in the game permanently. As it is now, if you haven’t played the game while the events were active you’re simply out of luck. Unless they bring them back at a later time you won’t be able to experience them.
And two: fear of missing out. If you play the game more casually, maybe not even every day (imagine that!) the time-limited nature of the events combined with the generous rewards they offer may well make you feel like you have to log in and do them regardless. I know that Lakisa would much prefer the events to come at a much slower cadence than they currently do.
Personally though, I’m pretty happy with how things are going. Again, the gameplay is mostly fun, the rewards are great, and it isn’t actually all that much to do every time either. On average I’ve probably spent about twenty to thirty minutes per day on event stuff while any were active, and with few exceptions it was absolutely possible to take a day or two off and still finish everything. Seems like a pretty good balance to me.
The most important bit though is this: I have always stuff to do, but it’s pretty much always something new. This is so much better than running the same dailies over and over and over, and I’m tremendously thankful for that.
So, yeah, as far as I’m concerned look no further than Genshin Impact for ‘events done right’. Keep ’em coming!