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Honkai: Star Rail developers explain how they’ll address power creep in the game

Here is how the team plans to keep the game ‘balanced and playable’

An image of the Trailblazer, March 7th, and Dan Heng looking concerned in Honkai: Star Rail. Image: Hoyoverse via Polygon
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.

Honkai: Star Rail is one of my favorite games that was released this year. It’s a glittering sci-fi adventure from Hoyoverse, the developers of the global hit Genshin Impact. The game boasts a stunning anime-inspired art style and some of the best and zippiest turn-based combat I’ve played in a long time. On Wednesday, the developers released the game on PlayStation 5, so now even more people will have a chance to try it.

Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play RPG that uses a gacha system for weapons and characters. You can read more about it in our guide here, but basically, there’s an in-game currency that can be earned or purchased, then converted into a chance to get a certain character or weapon. The developers regularly introduce new additions to the roster of playable characters with each update. Most recently, they released the mysterious sword master Jingliu.

A common issue that can pop up in a game with such a frequent cadence of new characters is power creep, a term that describes when developers make successive characters more and more powerful. The general idea behind it is that developers use newer, stronger characters as a way to entice players to pull for more new characters. While I never played Honkai Impact 3rd, Hoyoverse’s earlier entry in the Honkai series, I saw plenty of posts complaining about power creep in that game. Because of this, fans might be wondering what the team has planned for Honkai: Star Rail.

In a written interview with the development team of Honkai: Star Rail, the developers explained to Polygon how they play to address power creep in the game. You can read the team’s full statement to Polygon below, but basically, they plan to address power creep by considering stats, new mechanics, and player feedback.

We are doing our best throughout the Honkai: Star Rail development process to keep the game balanced and playable:

1. Balancing stats: First, we make adjustments to characters and equipment to ensure that new characters and equipment are not too overpowered, which may have follow-on effects on other characters in-game.

2. New mechanics and content: Then, we introduce new game mechanics and content in real-time to enhance the gaming experience and provide more options. By doing this, players can try out different strategies and permutations rather than merely relying on numerical advantage.

3. We also keep in close contact with our player base and from their feedback learn insights into how they are finding our balance patches.

So, to sum up, we use a variety of different methods when balancing and developing Honkai: Star Rail to provide a fair, fun, and challenging gaming environment for our players.

Of course, whether or not power creep actually will happen remains to be seen. Hoyoverse only released the game last spring, and the game is in its 1.4 patch. If you want to give some of the characters a try, Honkai: Star Rail is available to play on mobile devices, WIndows PC, and now, PlayStation 5.

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