What Spending $1,723 In A Year On ‘Genshin Impact’ Gets You

By Paul Tassi, Contributor
Genshin Impact miHoYo

Genshin Impact is a sprawling game full of loads of beautiful, fun, free content that you can experience without spending a dime. This is the pitch I always give to people, and it’s true.

It’s also true that I have spent $1,723 on Genshin Impact in the last year, as I discovered after adding up all my receipts.

Uh, yikes.

Genshin Impact is a blend of conflicting priorities, a game that can be played for free, where nothing, not even difficulty content, is truly hidden behind a paywall, as you can get through everything in the game with your starter heroes or those you pull for free after earning in-game currency and getting lucky.

And yet it is a game designed to at the very least entice you to spend money on new, powerful heroes that are fun to use, and then to accelerate their leveling process with bundles of XP or materials or refilling timers to farm bosses more quickly. Again, not even close to mandatory to complete the content of the game, but it can be addicting all the same.

Now repeat this like 20 times Gmail

Don’t worry about me, I can spend $1,700 on this game in a year and be okay. If you’ve been following my work you’ll remember me talking about my still-incomplete $1,800 Heathstone card collection from a few years ago. I spend money on games. I’m an adult with a good job and a gamer. And yet especially in this case, I cannot say this was a particularly “smart” use of money, given that it’s just…so optional, and I only spent this much because I wanted a cool collection of strong heroes. Even if I didn’t need them.

So, what has this much money gotten me? Here’s my breakdown, and you have to keep in mind that the other factor here is time. If have taken long stretches of time off when I could have been farming further, but I’m probably at a couple hundred hours of gameplay for Genshin for the year.

The end result. My “top” roster:

  • Level 90 Xiao (5 star, c1)
  • Level 90 Ayaka (5 star, c0)
  • Level 90 Hu Tao (5 star, c2)
  • Leve 90 Qiqi (5 star, c4)
  • Level 90 Keqing (5 star, c3)
  • Level 90 Childe (5 star, c0)
  • Level 90 Diluc (5 star, c0)
  • Level 80 Venti (5 star, c0)
  • Level 80 Jean (5 star, c0)
  • Level 80 Traveler
  • Level 80 Noelle (4 star, c6)
  • Level 80 Chongyun (4 star, c6)
  • Level 80 Xinyan (4 star, c6)
  • Level 80 Xiangling (4 star, c6)

I won’t go under that, but I also just got Baal/Raiden Shogun, who will be level 90 soon.

Baal miHoYo

I also have four level 90 5 star weapons, two of which are Xiao and Ayaka’s specific weapons, with a bunch of level 90 4 star weapons and some unleveled 5 stars.

I need…close to none of this, technically. You can beat anything in Genshin with a core team of four, and maybe expand that to 6 if you want all the available elements. But after $1,700, it’s easy to see how you can still lack a “complete” roster. I skipped many, many banners entirely, even spending that much. My missing 5 stars are Klee, Albedo, Ganyu, Zhongli, Eula, Yoimiya and Kazuha. I actually have less than half of the banner five stars, and of course, there’s the super whale element if you want to take their power to a truly wild degree with six duplicates, unlocking their full constellation. This can potentially cost thousands of dollar per character with drop rates what they are. My c2 Hu Tao, for instance, was probably about $300 by herself. Whew.

Genshin Impact is both predatory, and not. Gacha gambling is just that, gambling, but unlike other games, there is simply nothing hidden behind it other than “I’d like to use this cool character and have them be stupidly strong.” But any character team can get the same job done if you know how to use them. It’s an interesting paradox, and unlike say, Hearthstone, where if you didn’t have the right decks or meta cards, you would often hit some pretty hard walls.

In any case, let this be a warning. It’s a free game that can easily stay free. And it can easily not, depending on your personality and desire to collect anime waifus and husbandos.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.

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