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You came home, not exactly tired, but bored. You turn the TV on, any channel is fine. You lay on your back, swiping through your timeline. You wonder, “what should I do to fill my time? What should my precious time be spent on?” You looked at your phone, and stopped. You trembled at the sight of a tweet from your friend. It says, “Yo new Genshin update is sick!” Today is the day new update dropped. 

Quickly, you jumped from your bed, booting on whatever gaming device you have. You log into Genshin, and spend your time cruising the new update, catching up with your friends.

Hey, this video will mainly talk about Genshin, but it is, by any means, not limited to it. Now, relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy.

I’ve played Genshin for 2 years. Yes, I was there when it was released. Genshin was a hit in the mobile market, especially in that dreaded year (2020). Just as things look grim, games over games keep coming out like it’s Christmas every day. Doom Eternal, Animal Crossing, more and more and more! Then, comes Genshin Impact.

Genshin Impact swoops the world with its charming art style. You can tell it is heavily inspired by Breath of The Wild, a hit Zelda game Nintendo came up with in 2017. The colours are striking and bright. The style, it’s anime! But 3D! But good! Like, how? So far anime games look like… this. The best part? It’s free. The worst part? It’s a mobile game. Notorious for having ads like this… and gameplay like this…

My fascination drops. There are many more games that I could be playing. Yet, it’s free. So I kept them in mind.

The day it came out, I crossed my fingers. I know some MMO and mobile games that, although look as good as the ads, still have crap mechanics that let the game plays for you. I promised myself, that if Genshin ever introduce me to something like that, I’ll drop the game. 

I went in, and the game started with an opening cutscene. Beautiful. It sets the tone and hype up. Then the gameplay. Marvellous. It’s what I’d expect, an action RPG. But the mechanics? Is it different from the ads? No. Does it handhold you like a baby? No. Does it play the game for you? No. Instead, I was stunned. My bar was low, yes, but still. It blew me away. It plays and feels like Breath of The Wild. There’s a stamina system, the vast world, you can climb rocks and buildings, exploration being rewarded. Of course, it’s closer to RPG with its Quest log, but the core gameplay is very similar. It made me feel like… “You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you.”

I continued playing. Jumping back from main quest to side quest, detracting whenever my eyes caught something fancy. Challenges and chests, or sometimes, just the view. It was fun. The exploration may follow the so-called “Ubisoft formula,” but it’s still fun. The UI and others don’t give you directly where the point of interest is. Either it shows if you’re close, or they straight-up use an invisible design (my favourite).

It even made me forget that the whole game runs on mobile. It feels like the breakthrough for mobile gaming as a whole, like it shows that you can have an immersive experience so intricate like in PC or console from the palm of your hand. 

Then after a few good hours into the game, I’ve finally introduced to the gacha system. My first ever gacha game. Mind you, the gacha isn’t what I wanted to talk about. Even, when I saw it, my outlook toward a gacha system is still disdainful. I couldn’t care less about “re-rolling,” let alone getting a character that is cute, cool, or kawaii.

With the introduction of gacha, it also introduces the new currency, primogems. As the name suggests, primogems are the premium currency of this game. Like any live service game ever, this isn’t unexpected, but still an unwelcome system. 

The story wasn’t the best but it was enjoyable. I finished it in a few days. I said to myself, “that was a good game,” but something is bugging me. The story isn’t finished. They put a very clear cliffhanger in the main story. Still, I put down the game for good.

Days passed, I still think about it. What about our long-lost sibling? Who is Childe? Who is Zhongli? Why the hell is the president of the entire commerce nation want to meet with us? And who is this dapper lookin’ lady? (Ganyu)

Came the update 1.1, where my questions were finally answered… at least some of them. The story continues, huge battle, and then… another cliffhanger. It was then that I decided, “fine, I’ll play the game. I’ll aim for the meta and finish what the game had to offer. For real this time.”

I played purely f2p. It took me months, a lot of characters, a lot of gacha, a lot of primogems, farming them like no tomorrow. Hunting for events and obscure stuff in the wilds. Along the way, many updates come by. It felt like a journey. Along with the boring grind, occasionally met with intriguing events and peculiar stories. 

And then, I reached the peak. I finished Abyss 12 stars, a feat that felt so huge back then. I enjoyed my time, but I know it’s not over. The game is still updating. Along with the upcoming updates, I thought to myself, “I’m sure I’ll enjoy it more and more.” I have high hopes.

But the more I grind, the less I felt. I’ve said to myself that I couldn’t care less about the gacha. That’s still true. What I care about is the reward. The primogems. Such a valuable reward, so many ways to earn. You’d thought that way, it spreads the grind. Like korok seeds in BOTW. It’s the opposite. Every event felt like an obligation. Daily commission is a must. New maps to explore became chores to find secrets. Beautiful multi-layered landscapes became a bother than a pleasant wonderworld. Achievement hunting. And, charming story became an afterthought. They’re only there to delay me from my rewards.

I’m not even using them. They’re just sitting there, collecting dust, in the hopes that something might catch my eyes. Yet every time an event comes, good or bad, I always play them. 

Update 3.0 just came out, and I know, in the back of my mind, that the writing is getting better. I know, in the back of my mind, that the world is greater, many more to explore, many more beauty to encounter. Yet I still can’t for the love of me find a way to stop and relax while the whole game unfolds itself. There’s so much content for this one big update, and my mind only goes to the fastest way of finishing them so my quest log and event log to be as clean as possible. 

And I did say story as well. Update 3.0 just came out, and I know, in the back of my mind, that the writing is getting better. Yet I still can’t for the love of me find a way to stop and relax while the story unfolds itself. There’s so much content for this one big update, and my mind only goes to the fastest way of finishing them so my quest log and event log to be as clean as possible. Day 1, bling.

Every time I went on social media, everyone was sharing their own experience. At least if I bulldoze through, I’ll get the reference, right? Or even if I don’t use Twitter, I still need that dazzling premium currency. Especially as a f2p player, you know what I’m talking, right? I’m not crazy, right? To do all the dendroculus, story, and chest in one day so I can get those primos.

Such a shame that the thing that motivates us to play more instead became a double-edged sword that introduces a value more than the game itself. This is further intensified with events that are time-limited, just like character banners that are as well, made to artificially give a sense of scarcity, filling us with the fear of missing out. Because it’s better to “play” the game instead of missing out on it, even if we can’t enjoy ourselves.  

Like I said, it’s not limited to Genshin. All your friends have read Berserk, 300+ chapters. That’s a huge commitment to take, 300 chapters. You, not wanting to be left out, opt to read it. You bulldoze it. 300 chapters in one day. One sitting. One session of free time. Yeah, it’s possible. But is it good? I’m not talking about Berserk, we know it’s good! I’m talking about your time. Did you… enjoy it? 

All other games, TV shows, films that you watch in your free time only to catch up. That recreational time ended up being an obligation… You’re obliged to finish what you start. Blinded by unjustified commitment, all you thought is finishing what you start, not enjoying the journey. 

We consume things at different rates. Some of us read fast, some enjoy reading very slow. So even with things as it is, we can’t be on the same page. To introduce a factor to further acidulate such sourness is just going to destroy the experience. 

Genshin is a great game, came from a huge inspiration from Breath of the Wild. But with the way it’s made, you can’t feel like it’s not forcing you to collect 900 Korok seeds that keep growing each month.  

I don’t want to go off so hard on them though, as the dread isn’t exclusive to it. I’m also a bit contradictory in writing this, as… it’s good to have more content, we old players like this! As I said, the core is there, and it’s fun. But I can’t deny the feeling of being overwhelmed even as someone who’s played since the beginning, purely, free to play.

In the end, this is just my take on it, and I’m happy to say that now I only get things that I can get that I can see. I haven’t grabbed every dendroculus on Sumeru, nor did I do chest runs yet. I hope it stays like this. I still have trouble with the story, which is full of walls of text and doing whatever events that came up, and I hope it will change along the way. I wish to just enjoy the game slowly. It has a lot to offer. I wouldn’t like to miss any of it anymore. Fuck the primogems and fuck this new hot character that, oh shi-

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