In Genshin Impact, you’ll start out with just a single character. But over time, you’ll work to build out your roster with more playable characters, each with their own abilities. You usually do this by making Wishes. If you want to Wish a lot, you may end up spending some money. But there are six characters you can get without any money and with no Wishes.
Here are the six characters you can unlock just from playing Genshin Impact.
The Traveler - Anemo or Geo
When you first start Genshin Impact, you’ll get to choose between a male or female twin. This is The Traveler, and they are your main character. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep them in your party all the time. If they need to appear for a cutscene or conversation, they’ll pop in, even if they aren’t in your party.
The Traveler starts as an Anemo character, but once you explore a bit more, you’ll unlock a Geo version of the character. You can flip between the two by visiting a statue. While The Traveler is technically a five star character, they’re pretty average.
Amber - Pyro
Amber is the second character you’ll come across. Once you meet Paimon, follow the opening quest and you’ll bump in Amber very quickly. You can’t really progress and explore without picking up Amber, so just follow the main story quests until you recruit her.
As of this writing, Amber is very weak. But since she shoots fire, you can use her to light torches from afar, making her great for solving puzzles.
Kaeya - Cryo
Kaeya is the third character you’ll pick up. Shortly after you encounter Amber and enter Monstadt, you’ll get a handful of quests. One of those quests, Crash Course, talks about meeting Kaeya at a temple. Follow the objective marker and meet him at the dungeon. After a short tutorial on how Kaeya and ice characters work, you’ll finish the quest and recruit Kaeya to your party.
While not particularly strong, Kaeya is a really great early character to have, and you can rely on his skills to carry you until you get a bigger roster.
Lisa - Electro
Lisa’s acquisition method is very similar to Kaeya. Once you visit Monstadt, you’ll get a quest called Sparks Amongst the Pages. Follow the quest marker to another temple, and go through it. Like with Crash Course, you’ll get a tutorial on how Lisa works and then add her to your party once you’re out.
Lisa is also pretty weak, but she makes for a decent mage when you’re first starting out.
Barbara - Hydro
Barbara is a powerful healing character, and you can pick her up as long as you create a Genshin account before the 1.1 patch (coming mid-November).
As long as you’ve created your account in time, all you need to do is reach Adventure Rank 20. While this does take some serious time and tons of grinding, you’ll reach it eventually if you do your daily missions and complete all the quests you find. Once you hit level 20, Paimon will send you Barbara in the mail, and you’ll add her to your roster.
Xiangling - Pyro
Xiangling is the hardest free character to get in Genshin Impact. Once you hit Adventure Rank 20, you’ll unlock the Spiral Abyss. This is a kind of floor-based dungeon where you’ll take your squad through progressively harder floors, gaining some bonuses as you go. If you manage to clear Floor 3, Chamber 3 of the Spiral Abyss, you’ll get Xiangling for free.
Xiangling is the best of the free characters, which is probably why she’s the hardest to pick up. Make sure you grind your characters as hard as you can on your way to Adventure Rank 20, so you can pick up Xiangling ASAP.