Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 15, 2020
So how much does a 5-star character cost in Genshin Impact?

There have been numerous reports of people spending thousands on Genshin Impact, looking for their favorite 5-star character. With a 0.6% chance of finding "a" 5-star character or weapon, and there being eight 5-star characters and multiple 5-star weapons, you could theoretically spend a fortune on the game and never get the character you are looking for.

However, in order to be able to calculate something, let us assume a slightly easier case: That the 5-star character you want is the one currently advertised on the Limited Character Banner. That would be Venti, currently. So how much would it cost you to get Venti? Again, it's lootboxes, so theoretically you could find him in the first lootbox you open. But let's assume you have terrible luck. What's the most you could spend before finding one?

The good news is that Genshin Impact has a system in place that guarantees you a 5-star result every 90 attempts. On the limited banner, you have a 50% chance that this results in the advertised 5-star character. And as an additional fail-safe, if you don't get the advertised 5-star character on your first 5-star result, you have a 100% of getting him on the next 5-star result. In other words, the most you can spend before finding the advertised character is 180 lootboxes. Assuming that you buy the in-game currency in the largest possible bundle for 110 Euro per bundle, 180 lootboxes cost you €392.

So, *if* you want the currently advertised 5-star character, even with the worst of luck you are guaranteed to get him for four hundred Euro. To get all eight 5-star characters would thus cost you at most €3,200, if you have the patience to wait for them to appear on the Limited Character Banner. Is it worth it? Not for me! But hey, maybe you are rich enough to be able to afford spending thousands on a video game. Just don't try to get those characters when they are not on the Limited Character Banner, because that could potentially be much more costly.

Personally, the money I spent on Genshin Impact is mostly used to buy the weekly "resource bundles", which contain the materials needed to increase the level of your characters and weapons. Basically I pay instead of grinding those materials, and the exchange rate is pretty good, cents on the hour. I don't feel the need to get any specific 5-star character. I did some pulls on the Limited Character Banner, and luckily got Venti in 50 pulls, not 180. And I didn't have to pay for all of these pulls, as the game gives you a limited amount of in-game currency and free pulls as rewards for game activities. So, for me Genshin Impact still works as a "pay as much as you feel like" kind of game.

I actually like CRPGs and CCGs where you don't have everything, and you make do with the characters, equipment or cards that you get. As a bonus, this leaves me pretty immune to the majority of PTW mechanisms, which are usually targeted at players who desire meaningless wins, and do not know how these genres were originally devised to work.
Genshin Impact has been one of my top games of the year, even though I've mostly exhausted the content so far. I have a hard time complaining about that though, since it was like getting a BotW sequel for free.

I've spent about 20$. I bought the monthly card plus the battle pass. I could see myself spending more in the future, but not a ton. I've been playing Magic the Gathering for over 25 years, so I know how to resist the "one more lootbox" gambling problem.

I got super lucky and opened a Diluc, but amusingly it was early on and I didn't know who he was or that he was super good, so I was mostly disappointed at getting a lame Claymore user. Now that I'm farther in, I cku t my blessings as he's easily my favourite character lore-wise and gameplay wise. But if I hadn't gotten him, I can't imagine spending hundreds or thousands chasing him (and I'm in the top 1% in my country for income earners). Fortunately, this game is super playable with even the F2P characters, especially since you get enough free rolls that you are guaranteed to earn at least a few other people.
I got Diluc on my fifth free pull. He's fine but honestly, if I didn't keep reading how good he's supposed to be I'd probably not even have him in my starting four. I prefer the four star Xiangxing for pyro. I got her for free on the pull after I got Diluc.

So far I can't see any real need to have 5-star characters anyway. I imagine it gets more essential at higher levels but there's a lot of content that doesn't really need a super-powerful team so I'd probably just stick with that. Certainly not going to be spending any money.
The question is: how "useful" or "meaningful" are those 5-star characters, compared to the rest of the (free) game? Are they just cosmetic/vanity stuff? Do they add any "content" to the game? So, aside from collecting stuff, what other purpose do they have?

Even World of Warcraft has various "store only" pets and mounts but they're just "skins" that you apply to your mount and nothing else.
As far as I can see, a 5-star hero is marginally stronger than a 4-star hero with the same gear. I don't know if the 5-star heroes have a higher level cap, but there are only 2 regions out of 7 released for Genshin Impact yet, so we are still far away from that.
I strongly dislike gacha systems. They feel exploitative to me - almost inherently evil. It's like the developers know that they are exploiting human psychology and that there is a good segment of the world's population that can't control themselves. It's almost like we've been there before with another form of random...betting. That said, I don't feel like I "need" to utilize GI's gacha system outside of those afforded by what I earn in-game. Getting a certain character isn't important to me - I guess I'm "lucky" I feel that way.
> It's like the developers know that
> they are exploiting human psychology

Collectible cards and booster packs are the equivalent of these virtual loot boxes. The only difference is that spending money online is easier, because it's just a click away. Cards, on the other hand, require some effort (dress yourself, go out, find a shop that sells your desired cards, etc).
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