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Now is the perfect time to start playing Genshin Impact

The content drought is good for new players 

Lumine, from genshin impact, staring out at the landscape before her. she is on a overlook that shows mondstadt and dragonspine. Image: Polygon via Hoyoverse
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.

At times, Genshin Impact can feel like an endless to-do list. There are three sprawling regions, character-focused story missions, and world quests that ask you to scour the land for specific items. There’s also the gargantuan task of collecting characters and optimizing your party to counter a plethora of elemental enemies. Suffice it to say, Genshin Impact can be a lot. But thanks to a recent content drought, now is a great time for new players to dive in.

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world adventure where you play as a Traveler looking for their lost sibling. In the beginning of the game, you meet up with a companion named Paimon, who sends you on a long-winded adventure across the fantasy world of Teyvat. Generally speaking, the gacha game gets an update every six weeks that brings new characters or timed events. However, in April, developer Hoyoverse announced that the next update would be delayed. And while dedicated players may have taken the news with disappointment, the lack of content has created the perfect little window for new players to get in and start the game.

With timed events like the Irodori Festival or the Lantern Rite Festival, special challenges can take hours to complete between story quests and miscellaneous puzzle challenges. While these sorts of events can provide players the chance to see new combinations of characters interact and make cities feel more festive with special decorations, they’re a large commitment. They’re great options to have, but they can add to the overwhelming early-game content cascade.

yun gin and qiqi stand in a heart-shaped rock formation in genshin impact
A friend and I took the time to explore, and we found a heart-shaped rock formation to take photos in together.
Image: Polygon via Hoyoverse

I got into Genshin Impact around the time of the Lantern Rite Festival this year, and doing the extra story quest (on top of taking care of the odds and ends related to the mainline quest) felt like too many to-dos in a given day. Figuring out how to complete the quests and collect the rewards for the special events, in addition to just learning the ins and outs of the game for the first time, felt overwhelming. Additionally, it was extremely hard to connect to any of the characters, since I wasn’t able to do the their respective story quests by the time the event arrived. This was all the more ironic considering that many characters in the Lantern Rite waxed poetic about the importance of stopping to smell the roses. And yet there I was, treating all these quests like a job.

Now, I understand that content droughts aren’t usually a good thing in live-service games. But Genshin Impact does truly feel relaxed for the first time since I started. With the slower pace, I’ve been able to message friends on Discord and spend more time thinking about how I want to build stronger characters and a better team. Some days, I just log on, do my dailies, and then spend time leisurely running around the breezy grasslands of Mondstadt, picking flowers to power up my characters. It’s an exceptionally beautiful game, and these past few weeks have been sublime.

In real life, I think that the virtual worlds of my games should allow for some leisure too. The pressure to adhere to the constant drip of battle passes and new events can temper the awe that comes with exploring a new world for the first time. And with the drought, new players have been handed a rare opportunity to experience Teyvat without the pressure of “keeping up.” So go out there and pick some flowers!