It’s official! After being delayed for several weeks due to the COVID-19 lockdowns currently in place in Shanghai, Genshin Impact‘s next patch will arrive at the very end of this month, on May 31st. This morning, players got their first look at the new patch through the official 2.7 livestream, which highlighted upcoming character banners (including some hotly-anticipated character reruns), a brand new chapter of the game’s over-arching storyline, new Story Quests and hang-outs, several intriguing limited-time events and minigames, and a couple of relatively minor miscellaneous announcements.
As expected, the two new characters debuting in Version 2.7 will be Yelan and Kuki Shinobu – the former a five-star character available through a limited-time banner during the first few weeks of the new patch, the latter a four-star character releasing in the second half of the patch but immediately thereafter becoming a permanent addition to the standard banner. I’ll be going after both of these characters, and hoping to nab at least one, but I’m especially intent on getting Yelan, a Hydro bow-user…not so much because I’m blown away by her playstyle demo (as I mentioned in my last post, I don’t love Genshin Impact‘s archery mechanics), but because Yelan’s backstory is intimately entwined with the lore of the Chasm and the nation of Liyue, even more so than I originally guessed.
Yelan is the owner of the Yanshang Teahouse in Liyue Harbor, a building currently inaccessible to players (who will be turned away from the doors by the Teahouse’s impolite hostess, Chuyi). It’s pretty apparent from Chuyi’s evasive voice-lines and the heavily-armed mercenaries guarding the building at all times that there’s more to the Teahouse than meets the eye at first glance, and most fans agree that Yelan is probably operating a casino or gambling-den in there (the dice-cube she wears on a choker around her neck lends credence to this theory).
If you’re wondering how on earth Yelan has gotten away with running a casino right under the noses of the Liyue Qixing all these years, then you’ll definitely want to check out her Story Quest when it debuts alongside her character in Version 2.7 – but I’ll share a little of the information I’ve gleaned from today’s live-stream to tide you over until then. Basically, it appears that the Teahouse is a front for a casino, but the casino itself is also a front for the Liyue Qixing’s own covert eyes-and-ears network on the streets of Liyue Harbor, and Yelan keeps files on all of the city’s most notable residents (including the player themselves) and reports back to Lady Ningguang, head of the Liyue Qixing, with any pertinent information she comes across. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s better or worse than simply running a casino.
In any case, we have Yelan to thank for rescuing us from the Ruin Serpent at the bottom of the Chasm, so I can’t be too hard on her for spying on me all this time if it means she keeps following me around and getting me out of trouble at convenient moments (she will continue doing that, right?). In Version 2.7, during the Archon Quest “Perilous Trail”, players will join Yelan on an expedition into the Chasm to discover what else is lurking down there, including the nameless Electro Yaksha who went missing in the Chasm after leading Liyue’s Millelith to victory in a battle against monsters from the Abyss five-hundred years before the start of Genshin Impact.
We won’t be the only ones looking for the Electro Yaksha, either. For whatever reason, the Liyue Harbor-based lawyer Yanfei will accompany us, as well as two characters from Inazuma – Arataki Itto (who will be one of two five-star characters returning for limited-time reruns in Version 2.7) and Kuki Shinobu, the new four-star. Meanwhile, the Anemo Yaksha Xiao (the other returning five-star) will enter the Chasm separately after apparently hearing the Electro Yaksha’s voice calling out to him, and we’ll probably have to stop him from sacrificing himself in a desperate attempt to save his long-lost friend.
I won’t be surprised if in the end it turns out that the Electro Yaksha has actually been dead for centuries, and that the voice luring Xiao to the Chasm belongs to a lingering memory of the Electro Yaksha preserved in the strange dark mud of the Chasm. Yes, the mud in the Chasm somehow retains memories…don’t ask me how, I don’t understand it fully yet, either, I just know that after Zhiqiong accidentally stumbled into the mud she started rambling on about Khaenri’ah or some other ancient civilization and ugh, Genshin lore makes my head hurt.
The main character’s twin sibling also shows up in the teaser trailer for the new Archon Quest, in some kind of hallucination or dream-sequence brought on by the dark mud – their memory, and that of the Electro Yaksha’s, is almost certainly being used to deceive the player and Xiao into descending to the depths of the Chasm, whether or not the malevolent being behind all this is the Electro Yaksha, the Electro Yaksha’s sentient memory, or someone else entirely; perhaps a member of the Abyss Order who might know how to manipulate the Chasm’s dark mud?
As for everyone else accompanying us into the Chasm, Yelan is the only other character who has any ties to the region – and in the live-stream this morning, it was even hinted that she might have been born in or near the Chasm. Yanfei, Arataki Itto, and Kuki Shinobu probably get entangled in our mission while celebrating Shinobu’s graduation from law school in Liyue, but I can’t imagine what their role in the quest will be. The answer might lie in their elemental powers, which correspond to those of the missing or murdered Yaksha, something I first saw pointed out by Genshin theorist Ashikai on Twitter.
Speaking of Shinobu, she’s the four-star Electro sword-user from Inazuma whom players will have a chance to obtain in the standard banner in Version 2.7, and she’ll receive her own hang-out event in which we’ll learn about her backstory – including her time as a shrine-maiden at the Grand Narukami Shrine, studying to be a lawyer in Liyue Harbor, and putting her skills to good use helping Arataki Itto and the Arataki Gang do crime without actually breaking any laws on the streets of Inazuma City. Players will also get to participate in a limited-time rhythm game called The Almighty Arataki Great And Glorious Drumalong Festival where you can celebrate Shinobu’s graduation by playing special tunes to win rewards and by composing your own melodies based on Genshin’s original soundtrack.
As for the other limited-time events in Version 2.7, Realms Of Guile And War will feature several rounds of challenge domains where players will have a chance to win a new weapon, the event-exclusive bow Fading Twilight, while in A Muddy Bizarre Adventure players will need to clear the Chasm’s dark mud and battle mud-infected monsters (I’m telling you, that mud is important), and in Core Of The Apparatus players will help a toy-merchant assemble cute little robots that you can then place in your Serenitea Pot.
A new soundtrack album for the Chasm, Genshin Impact Funko Pops, new features on the character screen to help players choose artifacts and level-up Talents…let’s see, did I miss anything else? Oh, of course, I almost forgot to mention the most important thing! As of Version 2.7, the Serenitea Pot will no longer be under maintenance, meaning players will finally get to refurbish and remodel their Pots, as well as place characters in their Pots and feed them flavorful dishes from this month’s Spices Of The West cooking event. As someone who didn’t get a chance to put any characters in my Pot before maintenance began, I know that’s what I’m most excited for, how ’bout you?
So what do you think of the announcements from the Version 2.7 livestream, and how excited are you for the new patch? Which characters will you be trying for, if any? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!