Everything We Learned From Genshin Impact’s Eventful Version 2.8 Livestream

The Genshin Impact Version 2.8 livestream will be remembered by viewers for exactly two reasons – firstly, because it finally gave us a teaser trailer for the upcoming region of Sumeru, and secondly, because the official English livestream abruptly stopped and rewound itself precisely two seconds after said teaser trailer began playing (after numerous instances of that same problem occurring earlier in the stream), then went offline entirely before the trailer could finish, forcing viewers to hop on social media and find the video elsewhere. Coming after a string of leaks related to Sumeru that have left Genshin Impact‘s fanbase reeling, the lagging livestream and botched trailer release can only be interpreted as an ill portent for the near future.

Genshin Impact
Sumeru | Twitter @genshinmains

So…what did we learn? Genshin Impact‘s livestreams serve as previews for upcoming patches, highlighting new characters, events, features, and the 2.8 livestream was no different, although I felt that there were fewer announcements and new details regarding each of the aforementioned aspects of the game than usual – perhaps because so much has been leaked already, but even the fact that there were no small QoL (quality-of-life) updates came as a bit of a surprise, and not a welcome one, either. Honestly, even with the lag, we still got a better look at Sumeru (releasing in Version 3.0) than the Golden Apple Archipelago, which will be returning in Version 2.8 as a temporarily explorable region for the first time since Version 1.6, accompanied by a bunch of cleverly-designed minigames. You’d think that would be a bigger deal than the livestream made it out to be.

Based on the snippets of gameplay we saw, I think the minigame I’m most excited for is Reminiscent Regimen, a co-op event where two (or more? I think just two) players can participate in unique combat challenges involving boats and wind-currents, all in the middle of the ocean. At the start of one particularly intriguing challenge, players find themselves on a floating platform high up in the air and must descend towards the surface of the ocean through a process of gliding and eliminating enemies on platforms. Plunge-attacks will probably come in handy here; just make sure that you’re actually lined up with the platform before plummeting into the water and getting stuck down there while your friend(s) complete the challenge without you.

Then there are the Event Domains, which are specifically tailored to match the personalities of the four playable characters who will feature prominently in the Version 2.8 storyline – Fischl, an imaginative cosplayer of the Adventurers Guild’s Mondstadt branch; Mona Magistus, a penniless astrologist of unknown origins, but believed to be from the upcoming region of Fontaine; Xinyan, a Liyue-born pioneer of rock-n’-roll music who also, coincidentally, spent time in Fontaine learning the guitar; and Kaedehara Kazuha, a wandering swordsman and poet exiled from his homeland of Inazuma. It’s a well-traveled group we have here, and we can see that reflected in their respective Domains, which range from eerie to downright trippy.

Fischl’s is by far the largest and most elaborate, at least from what we can see. Her Domain houses an entire castle with stacks of circular turrets like chimney-pots, steep walls lined with windows, and lovely gardens, hedge-mazes, and fountains. It’s clearly inspired by Neuschwanstein and other fairytale castles of Bavaria, the region of southern Germany on which Mondstadt is based (although funnily enough, we have yet to see any castles like it in Mondstadt proper). There’s a twist, of course, because Fischl isn’t just a princess, she’s also an interdimensional traveler, and so the castle is upside-down and suspended in mid-air, with various pieces standing right-side up and other bits jutting out horizontally. The purple-hued sky above is shattered, exposing a gaping black hole directly above the castle. Fun.

Genshin Impact
Fischl’s Domain | Twitter @genshinmains

But as a Xinyan main, I’m particularly excited to explore her Domain as many times as Genshin Impact will allow me if it means I’ll get to learn more about one of my favorite characters who has been sadly underutilized by MiHoYo (probably because she’s one of exactly two brown-skinned playable characters, and burdened with a poorly-designed kit). Apparently, these Domains all have lore attached to them, which I think we can definitely see with Mona (whose Domain is filled with glowing stars, astrological symbols etched on the floor and walls, and cosmic panoramas visible through the windows) and Kazuha (whose Domain is a darkly-lit Inazuman mansion with creaky wooden floors built around an atrium with a large tree), so I hope there’s a good reason for why Xinyan’s Domain is all thorny vines, rope-bridges, and weird floating doorframes opening onto nothing.

Unfortunately, neither Xinyan nor Fischl is set to receive their own Hangout Event in 2.8, but players will get a chance to interact with the new playable character Shikanoin Heizou in a Hangout Event titled Trap ‘Em By Storm, presumably referencing Heizou’s use of the Anemo Element and the fact that we’ll inevitably be helping the world-famous detective from the Tenryou Commission as he goes around Inazuma City solving petty crimes (which, on the one hand, means Itto and the Arataki Gang might be involved…but on the other hand, it means Kujou Sara will definitely be involved and I don’t know if I can stomach having to cooperate with her).

As for Heizou’s kit, I think everything we suspected about him has turned out to be true. He’s Genshin Impact’s first male catalyst user – and MiHoYo even invented a whole new playstyle exclusively for him. Instead of standing still and using his catalyst to hurl fireballs or ball-lightning or some similar projective at an opponent from a short distance, the way all of the female catalyst-users do, Heizou can get right up in an enemy’s face and hit them repeatedly with his fists and feet, infusing his punches and kicks with Anemo energy that activates the Swirl reaction when it comes into contact with Pyro, Hydro, Electro, and Cryo. We love to see it, we really do, but I can’t help but wonder when MiHoYo will give us a female catalyst-users who can do the same – or if they’ll ever give us a more graceful and serene male-catalyst-user.

Heizou will have an increased drop-rate on the first event banner of Version 2.8, during which players will also have a shot at obtaining Kazuha, one of the strongest five-star characters in the game. To go along with his first rerun since his debut just over a year ago, Kazuha is also finally getting a Story Quest centered around him – titled Acer Palmatum, which if you’re wondering is the Latin name of the Japanese maple tree (the same tree we see growing in his Domain).

MiHoYo released a couple of screenshots from the Story Quest during the livestream, of which the most interesting (and potentially concerning) shows Kazuha with glowing purple eyes, using a hammer infused with Anemo energy to forge a sword. Kazuha is the descendant of renowned Inazuman swordsmiths who just barely escaped slaughter at the hands of the Raiden Shogun’s homicidal puppet (long story), and I believe that we’ll learn a lot more about his family and their secret practices, along with lore related to Kazuha’s nameless friend who died in a one-sided duel with the Raiden Shogun herself before the story opens, and whose reforged sword this appears to be (does that mean Kazuha’s nameless friend will finally…get an actual name? The fandom has been calling him “Tomo” – short for tomodachi, or friend in Japanese – for so long that I don’t know if they’ll accept a new name at this point).

Moving on, both Klee and Yoimiya will apparently rerun alongside each other during the latter half of Version 2.8 – and both characters have their fans, although I can’t say that my love for Yoimiya is strong enough that I’m willing to spend all my hard-earned Primogems on her. I got Arataki Itto on his rerun, that’s enough new five-star characters for me until at least Version 3.2, when Scaramouche (the Raiden Shogun’s aforementioned homicidal puppet) is rumored to become playable. I’m exhausted, but good luck to everyone trying to pull five-stars in 2.8.

You’ll also have the option to purchase the game’s very first five-star outfit in 2.8, although you’ll first need to get your hands on the five-star character Diluc, who, to be fair, is available in the standard banner. Diluc’s new outfit or “skin” comes with unique special effects and idle animations, and – as noted in the stream – does not feature the character’s Pyro Vision, which he wears on his belt in his default skin. Some have speculated that Diluc’s new outfit will have lore attached to it regarding the Fatui Harbingers and the Pyro Delusion that they gave to Diluc’s father, which would theoretically allow Diluc to use Pyro without needing his Vision. There will be a combat event at the Dawn Winery centered around Diluc, so keep an eye out for that if you want to learn more.

A four-star character will receive a new skin simultaneously with Diluc in 2.8, and it’s…Fischl, who I don’t think urgently needed an upgrade the way other characters do (ahem, Kaeya), but hey, I guess it’s nice to have options. Her new skin doesn’t have any neat features like Diluc’s (at least that I know of), but it does switch her eye-color from light green to red, which I’m glad Fischl’s voice-actress pointed out during the livestream because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have noticed. It’s a cool detail, though. I really hope it’s important.

Towards the end of Version 2.8, there will be another event much like the one currently ongoing, so if you’re having fun constructing cute little robots to place in your Serenitea Pots be sure to check out Evermotion Mechanical Painting – during which, players will be able to design even more steampunk furnishings with the assistance of another mustachioed NPC from Fontaine named Horatio or Archibald or something. I think MiHoYo comes up with some of these random events because they just want to drop bits of Fontaine lore, which is amusing because Fontaine is probably over a year away, but I’ll admit, having the guy selling robots suddenly reveal that his gadgets are part of the Hydro Archon’s hunt to find an alternative energy source for her people does make me interested to know what kind of crisis is going on there.

Genshin Impact
Sumeru | Twitter @nahidadailys

And that, of course, brings us to the final topic covered in today’s livestream, albeit more briefly than intended – Sumeru, the realm of the Dendro Archon Kusanali and the region we’ll have to explore before we can move on to Fontaine. I will try to refrain from discussing certain leaks that have come out recently and dampened my enthusiasm for the release of Sumeru by a considerable amount, but just enough was revealed in the teaser trailer today that I think we can safely have a conversation about the pervasive colorism and orientalism in Sumeru without even touching on those leaked character designs. I mean, let’s start with the fact that every NPC from Sumeru we’ve ever seen in-game and now every NPC we see in Sumeru in the teaser trailer is pale.

With the exception of Xinyan, Kaeya, and, depending on the lighting, possibly Baizhu, every other playable character and human NPC in Genshin Impact currently is either pale or a light shade of white (or gray, in the isolated case of Rosaria), and even the two characters who are clearly darker-skinned are whitewashed constantly in fan-art, so frankly it comes as no surprise that MiHoYo is perpetuating colorism with character designs. They’ve been doing that all along. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating that a region we know was explicitly modeled after parts of South Asia, Southwest Asia, and North Africa is made up almost exclusively of blindingly white people in the game (again, this is without even getting into the leaks), when these areas are in actuality very diverse.

There are, of course, light-skinned people in all of these areas, and if there was a broad range of diversity in the characters we’ve seen from Sumeru thus far then having a few light-skinned or pale characters to reflect that wouldn’t be a problem. But when they’re all pale, NPCs and playable characters alike, what that says to me is that MiHoYo (not necessarily the individual artists and animators who work there, but definitely their bosses) simply doesn’t care about accurately portraying the diversity of these regions, much less challenging the colorist beauty standards that have caused so much damage in Southwest Asia and India particularly.

But adjusting the characters’ skin-tones would be an easy fix, one that MiHoYo could probably make at the last minute if they were so inclined. I think it’s much too late to fix the even larger issue here, which is that Sumeru and its characters were doomed from the beginning to look like an awkward mishmash of widely differing aesthetics and mythologies thrown together haphazardly in a blender because…that’s exactly what MiHoYo did. They made a diluted orientalist milkshake out of Egypt, India, and all of Southwest Asia.

Genshin Impact
Cyno | in.ign.com

It’s a shame, too, because the painstaking accuracy and attention to detail in Genshin Impact‘s worldbuilding is one of the primary reasons this game is beloved, at least by me, and I had hoped the developers would care more…or at all…about upholding their reputation for accuracy. But I’ll honestly be shocked if they do anything to fix any of these problems before the release of Version 3.0. I just don’t think they care, and the only way they’ll maybe start to care is if the backlash grows louder and people don’t pull for a certain upcoming five-star character from Sumeru (just to be clear, not Cyno – he’s lighter than Xinyan, but darker than everyone else in Sumeru, and I want his banner to do well).

Have you seen the leaks or are you doing your best to steer clear of spoilers entirely? Either way, share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

Genshin Impact’s Inazuma’s Archon Quest Foreshadows How The Story Will End


It’s been a while since the Inazuma Archon Quest was neatly wrapped up in Genshin Impact Version 2.1 (a little too neatly and hurriedly, in most players’ opinions), but while the Quest itself hasn’t aged particularly well and is widely considered one of the weakest purely from a storytelling perspective, thematically it’s aged like a fine Osmanthus wine. I firmly believe that everything that took place in Inazuma during the course of that Archon Quest is foreshadowing what will unfold nearer the end of the game’s overarching storyline, when every playable character we’ve met thus far will have to make a choice for themselves, much like the one Raiden Ei had to make at the end of the Archon Quest – a choice between true freedom or the illusion of security.

Genshin Impact
Raiden Shogun | pockettactics.com

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get into my speculation about where Genshin Impact is headed (and let me be clear about one other thing; it is just speculation for now, because the game’s ending is at least five or six years away), let’s go over what we know for sure – which is how the Inazuma Archon Quest started and ended.

When the game opens, the nation of Inazuma is surrounded by a mile-high barrier of thunderstorms that makes it inaccessible to players who haven’t completed the Mondstadt and Liyue Archon Quests (Given that Inazuma is an island chain in the middle of the ocean, you’d think such drastic measures would be unnecessary, but official data from MiHoYo shows that in February 2022 alone exactly 45,961 players tried to sneak into Inazuma, over half of whom drowned or were struck by lightning and died, so I guess you can’t ever be too careful). This barrier was erected by the Raiden Shogun, a computer in the body of a puppet fashioned in the image of Raiden Ei, the true Electro Archon of Inazuma who had been holed up in a dream-space for almost five-hundred years meditating on the concept of Eternity (every Archon has a lofty Ideal, which they try to impose on the citizens of their respective nations with varying degrees of success).

Raiden Ei had made the difficult choice to leave her people in the hands of a literal puppet at a time when she was still reeling from the loss of her sister and most of her close friends in a war between the gods of Celestia and the technologically-advanced civilization of Khaenri’ah (the latter of whom were wiped off the face of the earth in what became known as the Cataclysm). She saw Eternity – or, as she understood it, permanent stasis – as the means by which she could not only delay her own inevitable decay and thus preserve the memory of her loved ones long after the rest of the world forgot them, but also protect Inazuma; for if her people never progressed, and their ambitions never exceeded their mortal limitations, the gods of Celestia would let them be.

For Inazuma to remain eternal, however, required a leader who would never change, one whose judgement could never be swayed either by counsel or degradation of the mind and who would never hesitate to eliminate any perceived threat to Eternity, regardless of what form that threat might take – a computer, essentially. Raiden Ei’s first attempt at computer programming resulted in a homicidal clone of hers stalking the Inazuman countryside for centuries, but with a few tweaks and adjustments she designed the Raiden Shogun to rule Inazuma in accordance with a strict set of rules she left behind, dictating in excessive detail exactly which aspects of Inazuman culture and civilization were insignificant enough that they could be allowed to change over time, and which must stay the same so that Inazuma would always remain Inazuma.

Genshin Impact
Raiden Shogun | ph.news.yahoo.com

It wasn’t long before foreign dignitaries like the Fatui Harbingers and corrupt individuals in the Shogun’s own court began pulling the puppet’s strings and manipulating her relatively straightforward programming to further their own agendas, with the Fatui being the first to suggest that the Shogun should close Inazuma’s borders to outsiders (the irony!) and forbid Inazuman citizens from traveling abroad. Ei was aware of some of this from her dream-state, but naively believed that the Raiden Shogun was still in control of the situation.

About a year before Genshin Impact‘s story opens, the Fatui successfully convinced the Raiden Shogun to take the same drastic measures towards Vision-wielders in her own nation. Visions, for context, are gemstones that fall from the heavens into the hands of ordinary people, allowing them to manipulate one of the seven elements – almost every playable character in Genshin Impact besides the protagonist has one, although the Archons and a handful of other characters don’t actually need theirs to manipulate the elements. To receive a Vision is to be marked by the gods for greatness, and it’s generally believed that they’re given to people with unusually strong ambitions.

It’s not hard to understand why the Raiden Shogun was deceived into believing that Visions were antithetical to Eternity. Vision-wielders are supposed to change the world, for better or worse (or at least, that’s what they believe), but in Inazuma every substantial change was immediately reversed by the Shogun and its instigators punished with death. Rather than kill every Vision-wielder in Inazuma in one fell swoop, the Raiden Shogun merely ordered them all to relinquish their Visions into the hands of the Shogunate so they could be inlaid upon the Statue of the Omnipresent God outside the Shogun’s palace…although why, exactly, is still unclear and there are several theories regarding the identity of the Statue’s model, who resembles neither Raiden Ei nor her deceased sister.

This “Vision-Hunt Decree” led to a bloody civil war in Inazuma when the inhabitants of Watatsumi Island rose up in resistance to the authoritarian Shogun’s forces with a little help from certain high-ranking members of the Yashiro Commission and Shuumatsuban. The player arrives in Inazuma right at this crucial moment in the nation’s history, and after roughly ten minutes of training and fighting alongside the Resistance, we find ourselves standing before the throne of the Raiden Shogun. The nefarious Fatui plot to manipulate the Shogun’s programming is exposed, and the Shogun single-handedly puts an end to every player’s dream of a playable La Signora by cutting the Fatui Harbinger up into very small pieces.

The important bit comes a little later, after we defeat the Shogun, break into Raiden Ei’s dream-space, and convince her that what she’s doing is hurting the people of Inazuma – not just Vision-wielders, but everyone. She agrees to abolish the Vision-Hunt Decree right away, but it takes her until her second Story Quest to accept that her understanding of Eternity was flawed from the very beginning, that nothing in the world can be made to last forever, and that only by embracing change and adapting in response can Inazuma continue into the future.

And that right there is the same lesson that I think every Vision-wielder in the game will have to learn for themselves nearer the end of Genshin Impact’s story. I apologize if it took me a while to make my point, but I’m here now, and let me explain why I feel this way.

What we know for certain about Visions is what I’ve already told you, that they fall from the heavens and can help level the playing field for ordinary folks by allowing them to use one of the seven Elements in combat and in their daily lives, which is pretty useful for accomplishing heroic feats even if it won’t necessarily buy you a house or put food on the table (see: Mona Megistus). What we don’t know is where Visions actually come from, who or what higher power is in charge of distributing them, what purpose the Visions serve in the long-run besides making Genshin Impact’s combat system more engaging, whether there’s any logic to who gets one and who doesn’t…essentially, we know nothing, and everything we think we know is based on what random characters in-game think they know, which itself isn’t a whole lot.

That hasn’t stopped fans from speculating, and there’s a bunch of really compelling theories on all of these topics out there if you’re interested. I don’t have anything particularly revolutionary to say regarding the potential origins of Visions – I’ve long believed that they come from Celestia, and that one or more of the gods up there on that floating island in the sky (assuming that’s really Celestia, and not an elaborate decoy) are in charge of making Visions and then sprinkling them over Teyvat, and my own theories use that idea as a baseline, so if I’m wrong about that, then I’m wrong about everything else too.

Genshin Impact
Celestia | gurugamer.com

But I don’t think I’m wrong. Raiden Ei explicitly tells us that Visions aren’t handed out by the Archons, as was once believed to be the case, which leaves Celestia as the only entity (or group of entities) we currently know of that (a) apparently dwells in the skies above Teyvat, (b) probably has the means to create and distribute Visions, and (c) definitely likes to throw things at the earth; mostly these creepy glowing pillars called “Nails” that they’ve historically used to impale entire cities whenever they’re displeased by something, but who’s to say that Visions couldn’t do damage on a similar scale, not just to one city but to every town where Vision-wielders live?

So why would Celestia, notoriously ambivalent about humans in general and all-too-eager to eradicate anyone who oversteps the boundaries between mortal and deity, reward the most ambitious and strong-willed humans on the planet with increased power? Well, I want you to think long and hard about what every character has done with their Vision, not in regular combat but in the story itself and in the lore, and then I want to know the results of your findings because, as far as I’m aware, the only time someone’s Vision has actually allowed them to do something that they might not otherwise have accomplished was when Kazuha used his dead friend’s Vision to save us from the Raiden Shogun during the Inazuma Archon Quest – and the fact that it wasn’t even his Vision is telling.

Simply put, I don’t think Visions are a reward so much as they are an incentive, provided by the gods in Celestia, to just keep doing what you’re doing until you eventually die in battle, fall off a cliff, or run out of stamina while swimming to Inazuma and drown. They haven’t, to my knowledge, helped anyone do…anything, really. Instead, they keep their wearers locked into the roles that Celestia deems safe or inconsequential, roles from which it’s hard to break free because one of the caveats of owning a Vision is that if your ambition changes for any reason, your Vision will stop working…and most people don’t want that to happen, so they keep playing the part that Celestia chose for them their entire lives.

But as we’ve learned from NPCs like Zhiqiong in the Chasm, you don’t need a Vision to be ambitious. Of course, because Zhiqiong became interested in learning the truth of the world and ventured deep into the Abyss searching for answers, it makes sense why Celestia wouldn’t reward her with a Vision (although by the next time we see her, maybe she’ll have been granted one in the hopes that it will get her to stop poking around in places she shouldn’t). But still, it just goes to show that people can accomplish great deeds on their own without having any access to the Elements – and when you think about it, there are even a couple of playable characters who can already deal massive amounts of physical damage without using Elemental reactions.

And on top of that, let’s not forget that in Kamisato Ayaka’s recent story teaser depicting how she got her Cryo Vision during a duel with her brother (supposedly when her desire to help her family was at its strongest), she starts using Elemental-infused attacks shortly before the Vision appears on her person…and maybe, just maybe, that means every Vision-wielder in the game already has the ability to use the Elements in much the same way that the protagonist does, even without a Vision. Heck, maybe everyone in Teyvat has that ability, they just don’t know it yet.

Now, it might be harder to learn than to simply rely on your Vision to do all the work for you, but a major theme throughout Genshin Impact is that humans need to start relying on themselves instead of their gods, because gods are fickle, they’re unreliable, they’re emotionally unavailable, they don’t understand what’s best for humans and they can’t make good choices for humans. I mean, there’s a reason why every Archon Quest in the game thus far follows a similar formula – we come in, we have a heart-to-heart with an Archon, and we convince them to either step down or at the very least take a step back from ruling their respective regions so that their citizens can flourish and reach their true potential.

Genshin Impact
Venti | pcgamesn.com

Venti, the Anemo Archon of Freedom who once ruled over Mondstadt, made the choice to put all of his power into the hands of his people without any assistance from the protagonist, a long time before the story opens. Zhongli, the Geo Archon of Contracts, also got there pretty quickly – the hard part was helping him safely abdicate his throne without causing turmoil in Liyue and ensuring that humans and adepti would be able to work together to combat future threats without Zhongli holding them together. Raiden Ei, the Electro Archon of Eternity, is the first Archon we’ve met who needed to witness firsthand just how much pain and suffering she had already caused and how much more she would cause unless she changed and allowed Inazuma to change with her.

Ironically, this entailed letting people keep their Visions – the very thing I think every Vision-wielder will have to give up willingly near the end of Genshin Impact‘s story when the total reverse of this situation plays out, assuming they can embrace what will surely be a radical change for them and wouldn’t rather remain tethered to Celestia by whichever one dream or ambition of theirs allows them to feel special. I believe some will make the choice without a moment’s hesitation; some will first need to know that they can survive without their Visions; and some will need to rethink their entire outlook on the world.

I briefly toyed with the idea that every Archon’s willingness to relinquish their own power foreshadows how the characters of their same Elemental type will react to being asked to relinquish their Visions, but like most theories that hinge on nonexistent correlations between characters of a certain Element, I just couldn’t get it to work. By that reasoning, Keqing, as an Electro character, should be as resistant as Raiden Ei, but she’s canonically “a skeptic without equal when it comes to the value of Visions”, having unsuccessfully attempted to discard and destroy her Vision on numerous occasions.

Perhaps this entire theory is a stretch, but I hope that my reasoning is at least somewhat sound. I felt comfortable putting this theory out in the world because I know I’m not the first person to be suspicious of either Visions or Celestia (in-game, everyone seems to trust the gods unreservedly, but we know better because we’ve been to Enkanomiya and read Before Sun And Moon), but I haven’t seen anyone speculate that the Archon Quests are foreshadowing something and I think there’s a case to be made for why it’s humans parting with their Visions and finally stepping into their own power and embracing the divinity that already lives within them (ooh, I snuck a little bit of Gnosticism in there at the end just to get your interest piqued for my next post on the subject, I feel so clever).

Genshin Impact
Enkanomiya | pcgamer.com

No, but seriously, we need to have a talk about how in Genshin Impact, all humans are divine – not just playable characters, but also (and perhaps especially) the regular NPCs we interact with every day. As I said, that’s another post for another time. Right now, I want to let you ruminate on what I’ve said and expand on it if you think I’m onto something here. I’m still new to theorizing about Genshin Impact‘s future, so if I’ve misinterpreted anything or left out any crucial information, feel free to remind me, and don’t forget to share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

All The New Info From The Genshin Impact Version 2.7 Livestream

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.

Genshin Impact
Xiao | gameinformer.com

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.

Genshin Impact
Yelan | altchar.com

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.

Genshin Impact
Inside the Serenitea Pot | pockettactics.com

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!

Shikanoin Heizou Is Finally Coming To Genshin Impact, And He Might Be The Game’s First Male Catalyst User!

Allow me to preface this post by explaining that, while I don’t and probably won’t frequently write about video games (to date, the only video game I’ve ever written about on this blog was Daedalic’s Gollum, and that was solely because the game was based on The Lord Of The Rings), Genshin Impact may be the exception to this rule, and I can’t promise that I won’t write about it more often in the future.

Shikanoin Heizou
Shikanoin Heizou | gensh.in

Reason being, I’m obsessed with the complex lore and mythology that informs nearly every detail of miHoYo’s vast open-world action RPG, and playing the game for the first time this year was kind of surreal for me because the themes and ideas that Genshin tackles are themes I’ve tried to implement into my own creative writing, and I’m about to start rambling on about Gnosticism so we’re just gonna have to put a pin in that conversation and get back on-topic, okay?

This morning, miHoYo unexpectedly debuted the first official artwork of Genshin Impact‘s newest playable character, Shikanoin Heizou, surprising players like myself who have been spending the last few weeks saving up our Primogems for future character and weapon banners while the release of version 2.7 is delayed indefinitely due to COVID lockdowns in Shanghai, China. I’ve amassed a respectable hoard of Primogems myself, which I expect to burn through pretty quickly while wishing for Yelan, the new five-star Hydro bow user coming in version 2.7, but maybe I’ll save a few for Heizou’s banner. He’s rumored to be a four-star character anyway, which means you could technically get him anytime by wishing on the standard banner.

In the official artwork, he wears an Anemo Vision on his belt alongside a short sword, but apparently his weapon of choice is a catalyst – which would make him the first male catalyst user in the game, and the second Anemo catalyst user after Sucrose, who’s already a very popular unit. Whether Heizou can compete with Sucrose’s crowd-control abilities or whether he fills a different niche role remains to be seen, but frankly I’m not the type of Genshin player who chooses to pull for a character based on their playstyle, or viability in the Spiral Abyss, or anything like that – as a prime example, I absolutely hate the game’s archery mechanics, but still want Yelan because I love her character design.

I’ll be honest, I don’t love Heizou’s character design. The distinctive moles under both his eyes are a nice little touch, and his maroon hair in and of itself is very striking, but there’s something about the way his mustard-yellow trousers clash with the purple in his hair that just isn’t…I don’t know, it feels like surely there were better color-combinations out there. I was personally hoping he would wear some heavily-stylized version of the Tenryou Commission uniform described in Sangonomiya Kokomi’s voicelines about Heizou, but alas, no. And that’s not me saying that I hate his official design, mind you, just that it needs time to grow on me.

Sucrose, undisputed Anemo catalyst queen | polygon.com

Now let’s go over what we know about this character, who has never appeared in the game but is nonetheless the subject of several voicelines. Heizou works as a detective for the Tenryou Commission, and his knack for solving difficult cases is widely attributed to his “wild imagination”, “out-of-the-box perspective”, and “extraordinary intuition”. Sangonomiya Kokomi recalls being confused when he showed up on Watatsumi Island one day (presumably during the midst of the Inazuman civil war) wearing his Tenryou Commission uniform, while her right-hand man Gorou still harbors suspicions that the detective was a spy, despite his claims that he was only sightseeing.

Kamisato Ayaka describes Heizou as principled, “sometimes even more determinedly so than Miss Kujou”. Asking Kujou Sara about the detective will prompt a sigh from the Tenryou Commission officer, who refers to her colleague as “a headache” who “seems preoccupied with his personal schemes”. The Kamisato Estate’s housekeeper Thoma informs us that he steers clear of Heizou at all costs “because any situation that involves a detective is probably not one that’s going to end well.” Players can also find Heizou’s elder cousin Kano Nana at the Grand Narukami Shrine – she’ll describe her relative in exasperated terms as a troublemaker who “doesn’t like to abide by the rules” and is constantly disappearing for long periods of time.

Currently, we don’t know whether Heizou will have much significance to the overarching story and lore of Genshin Impact, but he’s the type of character I could definitely see being incorporated into upcoming limited-time events simply because he’s a detective, and we always seem to find ourselves entangled in small-scale mysteries during those events. I’m actually a little surprised that we didn’t enlist his help during last month’s Irodori Festival, when Kamisato Ayato had us running in circles around Ritou Island searching for clues regarding the secret identity of Kunikuzushi. That would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce the character.

So when will players get to meet Heizou? The fact that Genshin Impact is already promoting him suggests that he’ll be the next character to release after Yelan and Kuki Shinobu, who will both arrive in Version 2.7, so it’s safe to assume that he’s coming in Version 2.8, sometime within the next few months. He’ll probably be the last new Inazuman character for a little while, because the new region of Sumeru is expected to open up in Version 3.0 and will come with its own ensemble cast of characters, including the very first playable Dendro units.

Traveler, Albedo, Paimon, Xingqiu, Ayaka, Venti, and Kazuha at the Irodori Festival | ph.news.yahoo.com

Whenever he finally debuts, will you be pulling for him? Do you have some other character you’re waiting for? How do you feel about Heizou’s character design, and what kind of radical differences in playstyle do you expect from the (rumored) first male catalyst user in Genshin Impact, if any? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!