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Genshin Impact’s Xiao is bringing out fans’ rituals and superstitions

TikTok is full of summoning circles for Xiao

Xiao is a pretty boy from Genshin Impact. Image: Mihoyo
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Genshin Impact rolled out its newest character, Xiao, Tuesday night. While fans prepared to roll for him in practical ways — like saving up in-game currency to buy a chance to win him — people who want to play as Xiao are creating superstitious rituals to help “maximize” their chances of pulling the new character.

I put maximize in quotes, because these rituals don’t actually improve odds of rolling Xiao. Genshin Impact is an open-world, free-to-play fantasy gacha game which uses micro-transactions to roll and get random items and characters — in other words, a loot box system.

The odds of getting Xiao or any other 5-star character in Genshin Impact are low. Under the current banner, players have a 0.6% chance of pulling any 5-star character and a much smaller chance of pulling Xiao. So, players have turned to other means to improve their odds (mentally at least).

After Xiao’s release, Genshin Impact players filled TikTok with all kinds of fun pre-roll rituals. Many posted summoning circles with Xiao’s face and his canonically favorite food, almond tofu.

Others will just press a specific sequence of buttons and go to special spots in hopes it will help their odds.

Some people “manifest” on behalf of friends and followers like in this video.

Polygon spoke to game writer and developer Sisi Jiang about why they think these rituals have taken off.

“Honestly I think it’s because of the community camaraderie,” Jiang said. “It’s like demonstrating your desire to obtain a specific character. I don’t think so many people would be photoshopping summoning circles if they didn’t have people to share them with.

“I mean at the end of the day, most of my friends know that the actual rates of getting a specific character are awful.”

Again, I would like to stress, none of these rituals will actually help odds of rolling Xiao. If you want to actually get better at the game, you’re better off checking out some guides. However, kind of like using a pair of lucky underwear or superstitions in Pokémon, the practice has really caught on with fans.

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