How to level up slowly in Genshin Impact

Whenever a new game with any kind of RPG mechanics hits the shelves it usually takes mere hours until a plethora of videos pops up on YouTube showing us how to LEVEL UP FAST!!, or something along those lines. Of course it’s been no different with Genshin Impact, as you can see above.

My general bewilderment about people’s urge to be “finished” with a game as quickly as possible notwithstanding, in this particular case it really, really puzzles me. As I talked about last time, while playing at my usual pace my adventure rank kept rising much faster than I would have liked, all the way up to 40, and although the required amount of XP increases with each rank it didn’t slow down all that much even then.

To prevent the ever increasing world level from ruining my enjoyment of the game I decided to do something about it, so I took a closer look at how much adventure rank XP each activity actually yields. It’s true that a lot of stuff awards some of it, but as it turns out the amounts vary by quite a bit.

Without further ado, here’s what you can do to LEVEL UP SLOWLY, as it were, in Genshin Impact.

Let’s start off with the big kahuna: daily commissions.

Once you’ve reached adventure rank 12 you can do up to four daily quests, depicted on your map by a purple symbol. They are usually quick and painless (also sometimes fun) to do, and they award a whopping 250 AR XP each, as well as another 500 once you’ve completed all four. That’s 1,5k XP per day right there, or up to 10,5k per week.

To put this in a bit of context, at AR 12 you only need 1,650 XP for the next rank! At AR 24 it’s 4,300 XP, and still only 7,175 XP at rank 34. As you can see refraining from doing these commissions will slow down your levelling speed considerably.

Unfortunately there is one big drawback to this however, as these quests are also a source of free primogems, the game’s funny money used to buy more resin and, most importantly, to wish (gamble) for characters and weapons. By not doing the commissions you’re missing out on 60 primogems total per day, so you need to decide what’s more important to you.

Personally, I’ve stopped doing them almost two weeks ago and I’m much happier with the game for it.

The next biggest source of AR XP are non-repeatable quests, meaning your archon, story and world quests.

Of course I’m absolutely not suggesting to ignore those, as they are one of the game’s strong suits and so much fun. However I do advise to take your time with them. There isn’t that much story content in the game yet anyway, so rushing through it will only make you run out of ‘stuff to do’ sooner (as per usual).

Also, world quests usually award 100-400 XP each, story and archon quests even more on average, so doing quest after quest after quest will contribute to raising your AR pretty quickly while not helping a lot with progressing your characters to match.

Then there are the various repeatable activities you need resin for: ley lines, abyssal domains and bosses. These all award AR XP too, but as your available resin is limited you can’t do them ad nauseam anyway.

Hence my only advice here is not to use primogems to buy more resin – which I wouldn’t do anyhow as I’d rather be able to make more wishes.

The other source of additional resin, fragile resin, one-use items awarded by some quests and for hitting certain adventure rank milestones, are best saved up until you reach at least AR 40, as you’ll get much more bang for your buck then. At that point the 100 XP per 20 resin spent aren’t going to speed up your levelling all that much anymore, so knock yourself out.

Various aspects of game world exploration also reward AR XP.

Treasure chests, for example, spit out some XP in addition to weapons, artifacts and upgrade materials, but the amounts are pretty negligible. A common chest gives a mere 10 to 20 XP (I believe it’s 20 when you open it for the first time, and 10 after respawn), exquisite chests yield 20, precious chests 30 and luxurious chests 40. At least the latter two types don’t respawn (I’m not sure whether there are exquisite chests that do), so overall this doesn’t contribute to your AR all that much.

Unlocking teleport points, turning in Anemoculi/Geoculi to level up your Statues of the Seven and stuff like that also gives you some AR XP, but these are things that you’ll always want to do at the first opportunity for obvious reasons. As none of this is repeatable it isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things anyway, so I don’t see any potential nor need for savings here.

Of course there are also activities that don’t award any AR XP at all.

Running around the map and killing stuff, for example mini-bosses like ruin guards or abyss mages, is fun and supplies you with many different materials you’ll need to ascend your characters and weapons.

While you’re doing that you can and should take the time to also pick up any flowers, fruits, ores…basically anything you come across that isn’t bolted down. These, too, are needed for ascension as well as cooking and forging. Keep in mind that some characters can help you hunt down specific stuff. Having Klee or Qiqi, should you be lucky enough to own them, in your active party makes region-specific gatherables appear on your mini-map in the Mondstadt and Liyue regions, respectively, and Ningguang does the same for all kinds of ore no matter where you are.

You can also always do Spiral Abyss, but since I’m not a big fan of that mode I can’t tell you much about it. I think that it doesn’t award any AR XP though, so there’s that.

One last tip, if you want to finish your weekly battle pass challenges but don’t have enough resin and/or don’t want to get the AR XP you can still do ley lines, domains, elite bosses and weekly bosses, just without claiming the rewards at the end, and you will get credit for the battle pass.

In summary, if you want to slow down adventure rank progress in Genshin Impact you should stop doing the daily commissions, take your time with questing, not use primogems to buy additional resin and only start using fragile resin at AR 40 and up. Other than that you can pretty much do whatever you fancy while levelling up at a much more casual pace.

I enjoy the game a lot more when I play like this, and maybe you will too.

The Handy Guide to Rare Mods in Warframe

When I wrote my beginner’s overview of how mods work in Warframe I knew that, up to that point, I’d barely scratched the surface.

At the very least I’d grasped the system of mod rarity – bronze for common, silver for uncommon and gold for rare – or so I thought. Turns out though that many mods don’t just drop anywhere. You can play the game for months and still not own even a single copy of a specific mod, even though it might be a supposedly ‘common’ one.

The reason for this is that almost every activity in the game has its own reward table, which means that in order to obtain specific stuff you have to do the right things or you won’t ever get it.

First you have to actually be aware of the various mods’ very existence and which ones to aim for though, which isn’t easy to figure out either when you’re still new to the game. Of course I could just point you to the game’s excellent wiki, but since I’ve already done the legwork I figured I might as well spare you the hassle.

So without further ado, here’s my little guide to rare mods in Warframe, rare in this case meaning You need to know how to acquire them, not necessarily that the mods are of gold rarity (many of them are though). Keep in mind however that not every mod will be on this list, not even close; these are just the ones that any Warframe player should aim to get – in my personal opinion – because they make life much easier and/or enable builds or tactics that aren’t possible without them. Click the images to enlarge.

Corrupted Mods

All corrupted mods have in common that they enhance one stat, usually by quite a lot, while lowering another to compensate. Especially the frame-mods, of which there are five as seen above, are must-haves for any frame that benefits from huge amounts of a certain stat while not really needing or even not actually wanting one or more of the others (Nova comes to mind, whom I usually mod for maximum Ability Duration and as little Ability Range as possible).

You can only find these in Orokin Vaults, special treasure rooms that spawn inside all Deimos missions (formerly known as Orokin Derelict) except for Defense, Assassinate and the Cambion Drift. Keep your eyes open and search every nook and cranny as they are quite well hidden at times. You know you’ve found one when you see this fancy looking door:

In order to open it you need to have the correct Dragon Key equipped. The blueprints for these are researched in the Orokin Lab of your clan’s Dojo, the keys themselves are built in the foundry.

Each key considerably lowers one of your frame’s stats: your max shields, health, damage or movement speed, respectively, are cut by 75% (50% in the case of speed). Working together with other players and spreading the keys out obviously makes things easier, but I’ve found it perfectly viable to farm them by myself. I use Inaros for this and equip all keys except Hobbled (slow) at once. I always run the Capture mission (Horend) as it’s the easiest and quickest objective and doesn’t get in the way of searching for the vault.

Which one of the 23 corrupted mods you get is random, so good luck.

Nightmare Mods

Once you’ve beaten all missions on a given planet at least once, every eight hours one of them gets randomly flagged as a Nightmare mission. Enemies are tougher here and one or two environmental modifiers are in place to raise the difficulty further, like Health Vampire (you constantly lose health and restore it by killing foes) or Energy Drain (you’re permanently out of energy, basically).

The first time you beat one of these each cycle you get a random nightmare mod as an additional reward, which don’t give the biggest of bonuses, but increase two stats each instead of just one. More importantly, they enable you to use one more mod with a certain stat on it, so just like corrupted mods they can help to push that one desired stat up really high. You can see the ones I use the most above.

Combined Status/Damage Mods

This isn’t really one cohesive category of mods in terms of acquisition, but as they all serve the same purpose I’m lumping them together.

When used with the right weapon a high status chance can deal an absurd amount of additional damage. In order to achieve that without losing too much raw damage these mods, which increase both status chance as well as a certain damage type, are indispensable. They don’t have the highest of capacity costs to boot, which makes some of these builds achievable even without investing multiple Forma.

As the game doesn’t treat these as one single category the means to get them differ a bit, so here’s an overview:

These drop from Corrupted Vor, which is a mini-boss that has a chance to spawn in Orokin Void missions of level 40 and higher. I usually run the Survival mission (Mot) and stay until after the 10 minute mark. That way he spawned about three out of four times for me and I got all four mods relatively quickly.

Open all three caches in one of the following Spy missions for a chance at these: Cambria (Earth), Unda (Venus), Suisei (Mercury), Arval (Mars), Shklovsky (Phobos).

Open all three caches in one of the following Spy missions for a chance at these: Bode (Ceres), Amalthea (Jupiter), Valac (Europa), Dione (Saturn), Pavlov (Lua).

Open all three caches in one of the following Spy missions for a chance at these (as well as Hell’s Chamber, which is also a very good Shotgun mod to have): Rosalind (Uranus), Nereid (Neptune), Oceanum (Pluto), Kappa (Sedna).

Open all three resource caches in Naeglar (Eris) for a chance at these. Note that the caches are not the mission’s main objective, but an optional task just like the caches in sabotage missions.

The last two are only sold periodically by Baro Ki’Teer for 300 Ducats and 150k credits each when he visits every other weekend. As he only ever has a small range of his stock on offer it might take a couple of months until you get a crack at one of these though.

Primed Mods

These are alternate versions of various, (relatively) common bread-and-butter mods you’ll have most likely acquired through regular gameplay after a while, the difference being that the normal ones have a maximum rank of 5, whereas the primed mods can go all the way up to 10. Which means that they’re just stronger (not necessarily twice as strong though) for a higher capacity cost.

With a few exceptions these can only be bought from Baro Ki’Teer, which again means that you might have to be patient until you can get a specific one, and especially when starting out the Ducat cost can add up quite a bit too.

They aren’t mandatory, but obviously very nice to have. For starters I’d save up my Ducats for Primed Continuity as more Ability Duration is really great for most frames. If you like using shotguns or melee weapons buying Primed Point Blank or Primed Pressure Point, respectively, would also be a good idea.

Miscellaneous Mods

These last couple of mods don’t really fit into any category, I’m just including them because I feel they’re very good to have for the stats they offer.

Augur Message and Augur Secrets provide an additional way to increase Ability Duration and Ability Strenght, respectively, which is always great. They also belong to the same mod-set, meaning that using both enhances their secondary effect. You can get them by doing various Bounty missions on the Plains of Eidolon. The reward tables rotate every few hours, so check which mission, if any, rewards these before accepting.

Slash procs are great, and using Hunter Munitions on a weapon that doesn’t do a lot of slash damage but has a high chance to crit ensures that you still get these procs often. You can acquire it by doing Ghoul Bounties on the Plains of Eidolon, which are tied to a recurring event that’s active every few weeks.

And there you have it. Again, this is but a small fracture of all available mods, but if you’re just transitioning from being a beginner to a more advanced Warframe player these are the ones I suggest you try to get.

The Handy Guide to Instruments in ArcheAge Unchained

ArcheAgeU_Instruments1

So how does one acquire a variety of instruments to play those (hopefully) sublime songs with?

That’s a science in its own right, let me tell you. I don’t know whether this is a problem with Korean games in general due to the language barrier, or because ArcheAge is just too niche, but this is definitely one of the MMORPGs with by far the least amount of reliable information available in English, while being one of the more complex titles at the same time.

What’s worse, if you do find some info on a topic you’re interested in you can never be sure whether it’s still relevant or long outdated, nor if something that’s currently available in the legacy game is also present in Unchained. It’s quite frustrating at times, really.

So I thought, since I was going to talk about instruments today anyway, I’ll just try and put together a guide about what instruments there are and how to get them. Only to the best of my knowledge, of course, at the time of this writing (May 2020).

Ready, steady, go!

ArcheAgeU_Instruments2

The Basics

ArcheAge has many portable instruments that you can play anywhere and anytime, and also stationary ones which you need to place in your house before you can use them. Some of the latter only serve as props and cannot play sheet music though, so beware.

Read each item’s description carefully. When an instrument is able to play sheet music it always has a line of white/grey text that either says

“Sounds like xxx when playing sheet music.”

or

“Plays music when used with sheet music.”

If it doesn’t specifically mention sheet music at all chances are it can’t play any. Except for the three pianos (because of course there are exceptions), which don’t mention it but can play sheet music.

To actually perform a song just right click on a music sheet when you have an instrument equipped – or, if it’s a stationary one, it has equipped you, if you will. A Play- and a Stop-button will appear. Press Play, and you’ll start to perform the song.

Now, on to the different instruments and how to actually get them.

ArcheAgeU_Instruments3

Portable Instruments

In addition to main-hand, off-hand and bow each character can equip either a lute or a flute that can be used as a skill to restore health or mana, respectively. They play music when doing so, but it’s always the same tune and rather boring. All lutes and flutes can also play sheet music though, and these make up the bulk of ArcheAge’s selection of instruments.

There are many different sounds available, and different ways to acquire them. Always take note of the first phrase mentioned above (if it’s there), as it will give you an idea of what the instrument in question might sound like. A Hiram flute, for example, says “Sounds like a clarinet when playing sheet music.”

Without further ado, here’s an overview of all instruments I know of. The format is:

Where to get it (needed currency, if applicable) [tradeable or non-tradeable]

    • Name of the instrument (what it sounds like)

Starter gear [tradeable]

    • Civilian Lute (Guitar)
    • Civilian Flute (Flute)

Arena Shop (1k Kyrios Badges each) [non-tradeable]

    • Anthem of Battlerage (Powerful Guitar)
    • Aria of Archery (Impressive Guitar)
    • Ballad of Auramancy (Clear Guitar)
    • Croon of Shadowplay (Cheerful Guitar)
    • March of Defense (Soothing Guitar)
    • Dance of Songcraft (Whistles)
    • Dirge of Occultism (Trombone)
    • Echoes of Malediction (Trombone)
    • Fantasio of Sorcery (Clarinet)
    • Nocturne of Witchcraft (Bagpipes)
    • Ode of Vitalism (Ocarina)
    • Protective Fantasia Shield (Clarinet)

Gilda Shop [tradeable] / Credits Shop [non-tradeable] (80 Gilda Stars / 1k Credits each)

    • Cherry Blossom Shamisen (Shamisen)
    • Evensong Lute (‘a guitar that produces a heavy sound’)
    • Ironsong Lute (‘a guitar that produces sharp, metallic sounds’)
    • Meadowlark Banjo (Banjo)
    • Autumn Wind Horn (Horn)
    • Catspaw Recorder (Recorder – whatever the hell that is)
    • Reedwhisper Piccolo (Piccolo)
    • Stormwail Sax (Saxophone)

Crafted [tradeable]

    • Epherium Cloud Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Gale Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Life Lute (Powerful Guitar)
    • Epherium Meadow Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Mist Lute (Powerful Guitar)
    • Epherium Tidal Lute (Impressive Guitar)
    • Epherium Wave Lute (Impressive Guitar)
    • Epherium Desert Flute (Bassoon)
    • Epherium Earth Flute (Bassoon)
    • Epherium Flame Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Lake Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Quake Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Sunset Flute (Oboe)
    • Epherium Wave Flute (Oboe)
    • Marianople Violin (Violin)
    • Wyrdwind Viola (Viola)

How to craft an Epherium instrument: Buy a Cloaked Illustrious Lute/Flute for 50 gold from a weapons merchant. Uncloak it. Craft a Magnificent Lute/Flute Scroll at a handicraft kiln (no skill requirement). Use that scroll to awaken the instrument to Magnificent (it doesn’t matter which of the four variants you choose at this point). Then craft an Epherium Lute/Flute Scroll at a regal handicraft desk (20k Handicrafts skill required) and repeat the process. Important: when awakening the instrument to Epherium choose which variant (and thus sound) you would like to have. Done.

The violin and viola are crafted at an artistry workbench. No further preparation is needed, but the materials are pretty expensive and a very high Artistry skill is required (150k).

Hiram [non-tradeable]

    • Hiram Guardian Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Hiram Guardian Flute (Clarinet)

Vocation Shop (50k Vocation Badges) [tradeable]

    • Wyrdwind Viola (Viola)

Events (currency usually only available during the corresponding event) [tradeable]

    • Fortune Pipe (Pipe) [Lantern Festival]

ArcheAgeU_Instruments4

Stationary Instruments

    • Sovereign’s Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Brown Upright Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Princess’s Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Liberty Drums (doesn’t specify, I assume it’s drums)
    • Triestes Cello (doesn’t specify, but it sounds vaguely like a cello)
    • Noryettes Contrabass (doesn’t specify, but it sounds more like a…well…cello)
    • Brahms’s Harmonious Melody (doesn’t specify, but it sounds like a string ensemble)

These are all crafted at an artistry workbench and tradeable. The pianos aren’t expensive and have no skill requirement, whereas cello and contrabass belong to a set of four (the other two being the aforementioned violin and viola) and are equally costly and difficult to craft.

ArcheAgeU_Instruments5

The Brahms’s is the mother of all instruments. It sounds really great but requires 180k Artistry skill and a full set of the four string instruments to craft, which are consumed in the process. Ouch! A long-term goal, no doubt.

Thankfully some of these stationary instruments are strewn across the game world, waiting to be tried out. The currently running Daru event, for example, has an area with a piano, the cello, contrabass and the Brahms’s (which is where I’m playing them on all screenshots, as I obviously don’t have my own yet).

If you’d like to know how most portable instruments actually sound before deciding which ones to get, there’s a really great video showcasing them (a big Thank You to the person who made it):

And this is all I know about instruments in ArcheAge Unchained at this point. Getting them all is obviously a huge undertaking, but I’ll keep chipping away at it as it’s a lot of fun and really rewarding. As long as I play the game the guide will be updated whenever I learn something new or stuff changes. Good luck and have fun!

Blapril 2020 post count: 14