Everything We Learned From The Genshin Impact Version 4.4 Special Program

Of all the reoccurring events in Genshin Impact (and there are many), none is more hotly-anticipated by players than the annual Lantern Rite Festival that coincides with and reflects the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Set in the nation of Liyue, itself a patchwork of references taken from various different periods in ancient Chinese history and several distinct Chinese subcultures, the event nonetheless typically features characters from all across the world of Teyvat, and allows for some truly unexpected but delightful interactions. In the case of this year’s Lantern Rite, set to be the crowning event of Version 4.4, the former Hydro Archon Furina will make an appearance, her first in an event held outside Fontaine, which is a pretty big deal given that she’ll be in close proximity to the Geo Archon Zhongli and the two might drop some juicy tidbits of lore in their conversations – but for all that Furina usually commands the spotlight, one must first turn one’s attention to the long-awaited debut of the aloof adeptus Cloud Retainer as a playable character.

Xianyun, a tall woman with long black hair pulled into a ponytail with a hairpin shaped like a feather holding it in places, standing on a mountaintop with her arms crossed. She is wearing a black bodysuit with gauzy turquoise and pale blue ribbons forming a cape around her, and red spectacles.
Xianyun | destructoid.com

Genshin Impact‘s first five-star female Anemo character since Jean in Version 1.0, Cloud Retainer – or “Xianyun” – was described during the Special Program for Version 4.4 as a dedicated support for Plunge Attacks, the relatively little-used Normal Attacks that all characters in the game can perform when jumping or falling from a height. For most characters, gaining the height needed to perform a Plunge Attack in the first place is more of a hassle than it’s worth, because many battlefields – including almost all Domains, Boss Battle arenas, and the Spiral Abyss – are completely flat surfaces. A number of Anemo characters like Xiao, Venti, Wanderer, and Kazuha can propel themselves into the air, and Keqing and Alhaitham have similar abilities, but in all these cases the effect is limited to the character responsible for triggering it. Xianyun removes that obstacle: casting her Elemental Burst imbues every character in your party with a temporary jumping boost, meaning that anyone can perform Plunge Attacks, no matter the terrain. Of course, the characters who currently make the most of Plunge Attacks are the ones already most likely to be capable of performing them on their own, like Xiao, but Xianyun is only an asset to him. Additionally, every Plunge Attack performed while Xianyun’s Burst is active deals AoE Anemo DMG on top of the character’s own DMG, meaning that Catalyst characters (whose Plunge Attacks deal Elemental DMG by default) and characters with Elemental infusions on their weapons will be able to trigger the Swirl reaction more consistently. And as if that’s not enough, her Burst also heals your active character.

Her Elemental Skill allows Xianyun herself to perform three consecutive jumps high into the air, with the option to perform a Plunge Attack that will target nearby opponents and deal AoE Anemo DMG upon impact. From my (admittedly only partial) understanding, Xianyun’s Skill isn’t a necessary investment unless you’re building her to be an on-field DMG dealer. However, for players who enjoy climbing to the highest spots in Teyvat to take in the game’s breathtaking scenery or who struggle to harvest hard-to-reach local resources and always seem to find themselves running out of stamina while trying to maneuver around some slight overhang in a cliffside, Xianyun can be added to the list of (almost exclusively Anemo) characters who make world exploration effortless. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she has a beautiful design, with her Signature Weapon, a Catalyst shaped like a fan, being one of the game’s most exquisitely detailed, coupled with an endearing curmudgeonly personality.

Xianyun will be available during the first half of Version 4.4 alongside Nahida (and followed in the second half by Xiao, her best teammate, and Yae Miko), with the new four-star Pyro Claymore user Gaming featured on both their banners, and as a free reward of choice during the Lantern Rite Festival. Before we go any further, because Gaming’s name has unfortunately been turned into a joke, mostly amongst English-speakers, because “haha, video game character is named Gaming”, let’s get this out of the way right upfront – Gaming is an actual Cantonese name, and in Cantonese it is pronounced as “Gaa-Ming”, not “Gay-Ming”, and we can debate over whether Genshin Impact‘s English localization team could or should have added a hyphen or a space or a second “a” to his name to make it easier, but I’m just gonna point out that there’s a character in this game named Wriothesley. If you can manage that, Gaming should be no problem.

Anyway, Gaming has a very unique playstyle based around the energetic dance-moves of Chinese Southern or Cantonese Lion Dance, one of the two main forms of Chinese Lion Dance, whose performers wear large, brightly-colored lion masks and costumes. Because lions are not native to China, the dance is believed to have possibly originated in Southern or Central Asia, and that is reflected in Genshin Impact, where the dance is said to come from Chenyu Vale between Liyue and the South Asian-inspired region of Sumeru, furthermore being inspired by legends of lion-dragon hybrids living in the mountains, called “suanni” (an obsolete Chinese word for creatures of a similar nature, with roots in Central Asia). The largest of these beasts, the Solitary Suanni, will be a new Daily Boss in Version 4.4, and will likely drop Ascension Materials for both Xianyun and Gaming.

Gaming from Genshin Impact, crouching on top of a spectral golden cylinder on the wharf, holding a glowing neon-gold grinning lion mask over his head. He has short dark brown hair, and is wearing a long-sleeved dark green and black jacket over a red shirt with black trousers.
Gaming | oficinadanet.com.br

Back to Gaming, his kit is Plunge Attack-dependent, and he synergizes well with Xianyun. His Elemental Skill launches him into the air, allowing him to deal a powerful Pyro-infused Plunge Attack at the cost of a portion of his HP, while his Burst summons an adorable suanni sidekick named Man Chai to provide healing and accelerate his Skill’s cooldown. I don’t know how strong he is, but he’s cute, and he’s a Pyro Claymore, so I feel like I have to get him. I own all three Pyro Claymore-users released thus far, and use two of them for nearly every scenario in the game, hence why they’re both currently at Lvl. 90, outfitted with some of the best weapons and Artifacts I’ve got, and with Talents nearly maxed out (hint: Diluc isn’t one of them). Gaming could be my next obsession. And I have a feeling that I’m gonna be throwing all of my Primogems at Xianyun’s banner (as if I have any chance of getting her this soon after Navia), so there’s a good chance I’ll obtain at least one or two copies of him in the process.

I’ve already mentioned Chenyu Vale in passing, but there’s much more to be said about this next major expansion to the map of Teyvat, a subsection of Liyue best known in the present day for its high quality tea and optimal location at the intersection of three nations, and in the past for being the abode of many powerful and revered adepti who rivaled even Rex Lapis himself, including the Golden Carp, Fujin, who is still worshipped by the people of Chenyu Vale (and, rather curiously, goes by the name of a Japanese, rather than Chinese, deity), and the White Snake (whom we don’t know much about, but I’ll eat my metaphorical hat if they aren’t either related to, or one and the same as the other magical white snake from Chenyu Vale, Changsheng). The region is said to be rich with history and lore, its mountains dotted by the ancient ruins of adeptal mansions and structures dating back to before the Archon War, and I for one can’t wait to explore all of it. It’s also stunning. Like, genuinely some of the best environment design I’ve seen from Genshin Impact to date.

As for Events, well, obviously, there’s Lantern Rite, and all that that entails – various creative and charming minigames, mostly. In one, players can team up in Co-Op Mode to perform a lion dance, one in which you can dress up as a giant lion and fling your teammates into the air as you barrel around the arena picking up coins, though the developers stressed that the aim here is not to cause chaos, and that working together is essential to complete various stages of the game. In another challenge, similar to something I remember from last year’s Lantern Rite, players will have to navigate through a vibrant fireworks display, though the catch here is that you’re playing as a flying golden carp. And there’s a really cute, straightforward enough boardgame involving Xiangling and Yao Yao’s animal familiars, Guoba and Yuegui, where you have to guide them through the forest on a search for ingredients. Players will be rewarded for their participation with a new skin for the four-star Hydro sword-user Xingqiu that appears to be heavily inspired by Furina’s outfit – like, it’s literally just genderbent Furina cosplay, minus the hat and a few other details? I mean, I’m still gonna add it to my collection, because it’s free, but it’s not at all on the same level as free skins that have been released for Kaeya and Lisa, among others, and of course it doesn’t hold a candle to the new skins for five-star Cryo characters Ganyu and Shenhe.

Yilong Wharf in Genshin Impact, a village of white-walled buildings with black-tiled roofs at  the base of a waterfall in the mountains, with a massive white tower built into the falls, connecting the settlements above and below. There are ships in both harbors.
Yilong Wharf | multiplayer.it

A lot of players have been begging for the return of the addictive Of Drink A-Dreaming Event from Version 2.5 (one of the first Events in which I participated, soon after I started playing Genshin Impact), and at long last it is returning, though with a slight makeover. Rather than brewing cocktails at the Angel’s Share in Mondstadt, players will instead find themselves temporarily taking over the duties of the head chef at Wangshu Inn in Liyue and plating delectable dishes for playable characters in Receiver Of Friends From Afar. Timing and precision are of the essence in this game. In Journey Through Hilinigmatic Terrain, players will have to possess the bodies of hilichurls to investigate strange occurrences in Dadaupa Gorge, before unlocking a Domain where they can fight a giant Samachurl with a bunch of different Elemental abilities. And finally, in Triumphant Frenzy, a standard combat Domain gets a bit more challenging with the player being limited to using random trial characters in each round (I’m hoping that some of the bizarre team-comps to come out of this turn out to be weirdly good).

And that’s Genshin Impact Version 4.4 in a nutshell! What are you excited for? Who do you plan on pulling for? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

Everything We Learned From The Genshin Impact Version 3.8 Special Program

Before Genshin Impact players leave behind the golden sands of Sumeru for the fjords of Fontaine, HoYoverse has prepared one last desert adventure for the Traveler to undertake in Version 3.8, meaning that this year there will be no sojourn to the Golden Apple Archipelago that has traditionally brought players so much joy every summer since the game’s launch. Still, we’ll have a new map to explore for a limited time that will provide rich rewards ahead of Fontaine’s release, a grandly whimsical Event Storyline which we can safely assume will segue into the upcoming nation’s Archon Quest, a main cast of four seemingly random characters with entire chapters worth of hidden lore between them, and a voice cameo from the Hexenzirkel’s mysterious leader, Alice. So it’s basically the Golden Apple Archipelago, in all but name and aesthetic.

A screenshot from Genshin Impact Version 3.8. A small wooden vessel, shaped vaguely like a boat with helicopter blades on top, propels itself forward along a slender wooden track suspended in mid-air above a jungle.
Adventures in Bottleland | gematsu.com

“Bottleland” is perhaps not the cleverest name for the setting of this summer’s cornerstone Event, whose participants have been personally selected by Alice to fill the roles of archetypal characters in an in-game series of short plays collectively titled The Magic Bottle, but the area itself is visually distinct, an emerald-hued oasis encircled by the desert, where an abandoned theater and carnival rides in various stages of dilapidation are linked by the circuitous track of a treacherous roller-coaster that I can’t wait to climb onboard. The Traveler has appropriately been cast in the prominent role of the “Adventurer” seeking the Magic Bottle of legend, with Paimon, Collei, Eula, and Sangonomiya Kokomi joining the ensemble in bit-parts, but the stars of the show are Alice’s own daughter, Klee, playing the “Little Mage”, and Kaeya, the “Dagger Thief”, who are also the only two actors who have made any effort to get into-character with new outfits, soon to be available as alternate skins (Klee’s can be purchased in the shop for roughly $30, while Kaeya’s is a reward for collecting tokens scattered throughout Bottleland).

Other activities in Bottleland include minigames galore, and if tons of easily obtainable Primogems aren’t incentive enough for you to shoot balloons with a water-cannon, dance in the spotlight to burn up enemies on the theater’s stage, or play pinball with finches (I didn’t fully understand that last one, either, it’s not just you), then a free copy of Layla might sweeten the deal. No new characters will join Genshin Impact‘s roster in Version 3.8, but players will have the extremely rare chance to pick up Cryo claymore-user Eula, who holds the record for the fewest reruns of any five-star character (exactly one, over five-hundred days ago) in a game that has the ability to rotate character banners either more frequently, or consistently, but won’t, for whatever reason. If you don’t pull on Eula’s banner now, there’s no knowing when she’ll come back, if ever, but is it worth it when Fontaine is right around the corner and even in Version 3.8, other tantalizing options include Sangonomiya Kokomi, who synergizes beautifully with Bloom-reaction based teams, Wanderer, an exceptional Anemo unit, and Klee, who is not great but might see more use with her new alternate skin coming out?

Version 3.8 will wind down with a couple of smaller-scale Events – Shared Sight, in which players will use an experimental device to locate animals by seeing through their eyes; Perilous Expedition, a classic combat Domain; and a rerun of Adventurer’s Trials, a really fun Event where specific characters’ special abilities must be utilized to complete challenges tailored just for them (for instance, using Heizou’s unique combination of punches and high kicks to play soccer with Slimes). Additionally, a Hangout Event for Kaeya was announced, but very little of the story was teased. It’s not much, but there’s never much to do in the last few weeks before a major update, which I figure is intentional as it encourages players who didn’t speed-run an entire nation upon release to go back and finish up outstanding quests.

A screenshot from Genshin Impact. Melusine, a diminutive pink creature wearing a blue police uniform, strolls down a wide boulevard between rows of tall, elegant buildings advertising, among other things, fine clothes and whimsical mechanical toys. Outside the stores, colorfully-dressed aristocrats are window-shopping, small dogs wearing wigs and hats wait for their owners, and golden robots trudge along carrying heavy bags for their owners. The atmosphere is one of lazy opulence.
Fontaine | Twitter @GenshinImpact

But I can’t blame any player for having their sights set on Fontaine, to the exclusion of all else, especially today, following our first (official) look at the upcoming Nation of Justice, where colorfully-dressed ladies and gentlemen waited on by servient automatons flaunt their exorbitant wealth on the wide, straight, boulevards and in the plazas, for the most part blissfully unaware or deliberately ignorant to the fact that their pride and joy, their beautiful, modern capital city, stands precariously poised above a seething crowd of lower-class laborers who make their cushy lifestyle possible, but are forced to live in the sewers that sunlight does not breach. Why does the Hydro Archon allow the scales of justice to be unbalanced, and who does she serve; her people or the gods who reside above Fontaine? Perhaps she is to them what her nation’s poor and oppressed are to her, barely of note? Whatever’s going on, one thing is for certain: Fontaine’s glittery façade hides ever-widening cracks in the nation’s foundations that could swallow all of its people, rich and poor, gods and mortals alike.

Also, mermaids. Fontaine has mermaids. Specifically melusine, a lesser-known sea-spirit from Western European folklore that has as much in common with descriptions of dragons as with mermaids, typically being depicted as a woman with a fish’s tail and wings, often with the ability to shapeshift. The Melusine of Fontaine are a diminutive species like the Aranara and Pari of Sumeru, not particularly humanoid but fully integrated into human society and working alongside them, and I can’t wait to find out how that came to pass, and whether the connections between the French melusine and dragons implies a similar link between the Melusine of Fontaine and the dragons that once ruled Teyvat.

Screenshot from Genshin Impact. Melusine, a diminutive pink creature in a blue police uniform, creeps through the dimly-lit sewers of Fontaine, where underpaid laborers in aprons toil away at dangerous jobs. In the distance, a circular window lets in a little natural light.
Sewers of Fontaine | Twitter @GenshinImpact

But now you know what I think, I want to hear what excites you about Version 3.8 and about Fontaine, as well as what worries you, like the possibility of some infuriating oxygen mechanic hindering endless underwater exploration, or of squid enemies that hit you with ink and leave you blinded, hopelessly disoriented, in the dark (can you tell I have thalassophobia, a fear of the deep ocean, and teuthiphobia, a fear of squid?) As always, I’ll ask you to refrain from discussing leaks regarding unreleased content, but feel free to share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

Baizhu And Kaveh Revealed For “Genshin Impact” Version 3.6

If you thought the two-year wait for playable Scaramouche was unbearable, just think of how Baizhu mains (to be) have been suffering since before Genshin Impact was even released, when the green-haired, Dendro Vision-wielding doctor was among the characters first introduced in the game’s early closed beta tests – only for him to be a quest-exclusive NPC upon launch. Now, it’s not uncommon for a future playable character to appear in the game shortly before their release, giving them a chance to develop a fanbase, but few characters have had as long an interval between their introduction and their official release as Baizhu, or disappeared for so long during that interval period. Even Scaramouche became a major antagonist whose story spanned several Events and two Archon Quests. Baizhu, by contrast, has only appeared a few times, and it is still unclear if he’s actually all that relevant.

Baizhu from Genshin Impact, standing against a white and green background. He is pale, with long blue-green hair, spectacles, and a white snake wrapped around his throat.
Baizhu | videogames.si.com

But it seems that HoYoverse has finally remembered Baizhu exists, or else he has some role to play in the story yet to come that requires him to be playable, because in Version 3.6 the long wait ends and Baizhu will join Genshin Impact‘s ever-growing roster alongside Kaveh, another Dendro character. We know next to nothing about either character’s kit and playstyle, so today’s post will be brief, focusing exclusively on the characters themselves (of course, there are the usual number of leaks going around, but I won’t be discussing any of that or entertaining discussion of leaked content in my comments section…what I will say, however, is that every leak I’ve seen pertaining to Baizhu has directly contradicted another, so take them all with a grain of salt until the Version 3.6 beta test begins).

Baizhu, from what we currently understand of his backstory, was born frail and sickly, and has spent his entire life working as a doctor in the hopes of one day stumbling across a treatment to his own relentless maladies. At some point, however, he became discontent with surviving and started aspiring to live – forever, that is. I imagine this is about the time when Baizhu received his Dendro Vision, although the green gemstone has probably proved less useful to his pursuit of immortality than the whispered advice of the magical white snake named Changsheng, who remains loosely coiled around his neck, and his study of the undead child Qiqi, who is something like an adopted daughter and apprentice to him now. Baizhu manages Liyue’s Bubu Pharmacy with assistance from Herbalist Gui, and has established a reputation for being one of Teyvat’s greatest doctors – though in early appearances of the character, it was suggested that he might be overcharging or even swindling his patients. I believe HoYoverse abandoned that idea, for there is no trace of Baizhu’s deceitful side in more recent months.

Kaveh, dubbed the “Light of Kshahrewar” by students of that Darshan which studies technology, is Sumeru’s most in-demand architect and interior designer – although you wouldn’t guess it from his current living conditions, which leave much to be desired. Conned by an elusive client out of his fortune, a frantic Kaveh had no other choice but to ask for help from Alhaitham of the Haravatat Darshan, his financially well-off rival. As roommates, the two men do everything in their power to avoid each other during the day, because when they absolutely must interact, one of them always finds something trivial to quarrel about (redecorating Alhaitham’s apartment, in particular, poses a challenge for two people so fundamentally at odds on the matter of interior décor), but that hasn’t stopped players from shipping them – quite the opposite! And you know I don’t even like Alhaitham all that much, but him and Kaveh both being so goddamn irritating is exactly what makes the “frenemies-with-benefits” trope work in this instance.

Kaveh, a character from Genshin Impact, sits at a table with a goblet in his hand, smiling. He is pale, with short blond hair, red eyes, and wears a red-and-brown shawl over a loose white tunic with a plunging neckline.
Kaveh | pockettactics.com

Assuming that Baizhu and Kaveh will debut together on the first banner of Version 3.6 (technically, it’s not officially confirmed that Baizhu is a five-star and Kaveh a four-star, but it’s pretty likely), will you be pulling for them or skipping their banner entirely based on what you know of the two characters thus far? In time, we’ll start to see kit leaks, and then there’ll be all the usual discourse about whether you should pull for either one, but which one do you want? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

Everything We Learned From The “Genshin Impact” 3.5 Special Program!

Having spent the last four months dutifully collecting Primogems and stockpiling Intertwined Fates in preparation for the release of Dehya in Version 3.5, I was cautiously optimistic that the 3.5 Special Program would give us new details about her character that would finally put a rest to the pervasive rumors that her kit is one of the worst ever designed by HoYoverse. I was not expecting HoYoverse to instead throw a wrench into my plans for obtaining the five-star Pyro claymore user I’ve been waiting for since Sumeru’s characters were first leaked by announcing without warning that she’s headed to the permanent Standard Banner in Version 3.6, joining such undervalued characters as Diluc, Keqing, Jean, and Qiqi. It’s practically tantamount to an admission that Dehya’s kit is indeed as bad as has been speculated all along, and that HoYoverse doesn’t foresee players spending enough money on her banner to make successive reruns worthwhile. You’d think they would just…improve her kit, but apparently not.

Dehya, a character from Genshin Impact, standing in the desert and swinging a giant black-and-gold claymore. She is wearing ripped black jeans and the upper half of her outfit is comprised of red and black flowy fabric that trails behind her.
Dehya | gosunoob.com

As for how this affects me, well, I’ve always intended to get Dehya on her debut banner, and that hasn’t changed. I didn’t pre-farm all of her Ascension Materials for nothing, and I’ve already got a Burgeon team where I think she’ll fit nicely. But my motivation to collect at least one additional copy of her character (the first six of which are referred to as Constellations in Genshin Impact, and provide upgrades that Dehya in particular needs to be viable) has admittedly dwindled somewhat now that I know I’ll probably get her randomly at some point in the near future…though with that said, I’ve been playing Genshin Impact for over a year at this point and I’ve only ever obtained two of the six Standard Banner five-stars currently available (Keqing and Jean). Going after her event-exclusive signature weapon, Beacon of the Reed Sea, might be a better investment.

Fortunately, for those of us who have had never had much luck on the Weapon Banner, Dehya can make use of the new four-star claymore, Mailed Flower, that will be available for free in Version 3.5 as a reward for participating in the Windblume’s Breath Event held annually in Mondstadt to celebrate love and romance. The highly-anticipated Event will feature a minigame based on Pac-Man where players will run amok in the Knights of Favonius Headquarters (yes, even the building’s out-of-bounds upper floors) collecting balloons and evading floating enemies, and a rhythm game in which players can perform pieces of the Genshin Impact original soundtrack on three sonically distinct instruments. The Event’s main storyline will reunite Outrider Amber and Trainee Forest Ranger Collei for the first time since the events of the semi-canonical Genshin Impact manga where Collei visited Mondstadt as a child.

In fact, characters from all across Teyvat will be in attendance, including Cyno and Tighnari from Sumeru (Tighnari’s disgraced English voice-actor, Elliot Gindi, appears to have already recorded his lines for the Event, and will not be recast quickly enough to spare players from having to hear his voice, so consider switching languages or simply muting); Ying’er, a fan-favorite NPC from Liyue (who at first glance seems rather out-of-place in this particular Event, though it seems there’s something going on between her and a Mondstadt NPC, alchemist Timaeus); and of course, practically everyone from Mondstadt (with the possible exception of Kaeya, who is occupied elsewhere).

Paimon, Traveler, Kaeya, and Dainsleif, characters from Genshin Impact, seated around a wooden table outside. Kaeya sits facing the other three, and is the only one whose face is visible. He has brown skin, dark blue hair, and an eyepatch covering his right eye.
Paimon, Traveler, Kaeya, and Dainsleif | gematsu.com

Specifically, players who have completed Requiem Of The Echoing Depths can expect to find Kaeya hanging out in Sumeru, where Genshin Impact‘s overarching story will continue with a new Archon Quest titled Caribert (seemingly a reference to Charibert I, the name of a 6th Century Merovingian king who was the first of his dynasty to be excommunicated – for having four wives simultaneously, but I doubt that’s relevant). Kaeya, the long-lost heir to the even longer-lost throne of Khaenri’ah, and Dainsleif, a morally ambiguous survivor of the Cataclysm that destroyed Khaenri’ah five-hundred years ago, will accompany us on an expedition deep into the bowels of the earth in search of answers to our questions regarding the Abyss Order (of which our protagonist’s sibling is a high-ranking member), whose stated purpose is to resurrect Khaenri’ah and usurp the gods responsible for wiping it off the face of the earth. Unfortunately, that’s everything we know for sure about the Archon Quest so far, but anyone who’s familiar with Kaeya and Dainsleif’s extensive lore knows that these two characters meeting onscreen could have game-changing consequences. When we’ve met them individually in the past, they’ve always avoided saying too much about themselves, shrugging us off when we press them about it, so having Kaeya on our side to help grill Dainsleif (and vice versa!) will hopefully force everyone to be a little more forthright.

The first chapters of Dehya’s Story Quest and Faruzan’s Hangout Event are also set to be released in Version 3.5, and I have a feeling from the brief synopses provided by HoYoverse during the Special Program that I’ll enjoy both – Dehya’s Story Quest in particular, as it will see the return of Dunyarzad, a beloved NPC who had a significant role in the Sumeru Archon Quest and was originally responsible for getting Dehya tangled up in the plot to rescue Lesser Lord Kusanali from the clutches of corrupt scholars at the Akademiya, because even though Dehya might have been hired to be Dunyarzad’s silent and stoic bodyguard, she’s too much of a big softie to turn her back on her friend (or girlfriend, depending on how you interpret their relationship dynamic). Anyway, with Dunyarzad now cured of the debilitating illness that required her family to hire a bodyguard for her in the first place, I’m excited to see how their relationship will evolve, and what new adventures they’ll go on together. Faruzan’s Hangout Event, by contrast, will primarily take place in the heart of the Akademiya, and explore the distinctions between the six Darshans and their conflicting philosophies.

As intriguing as this sounds, I still do not understand why Faruzan, of all the four-star characters from Sumeru, is first-in-line for a Hangout Event while Collei and Candace are still waiting months after their release, and Mika, the new four-star Cryo polearm user being introduced alongside Dehya in Version 3.5, is apparently going to be dropped into the game without any accompanying story content to remind players why they should want to pull for him besides the fact that he buffs ATK Speed and Physical DMG while providing a little bit of healing, making him a good support for characters like Eula (and Xinyan, especially if you’re using her as your Main DPS, the way I do). If only it made sense to run Mika on Eula’s banner, given that she’s canonically his commanding officer…or, you know, rerun Eula in general, seeing as it’s been over a year and there’s a Mondstadt Event in Version 3.5 and the aforementioned reward for participating in said Event is a claymore, Eula’s weapon…nope, definitely the logical choice by HoYoverse to slap Mika on a banner with Kamisato Ayaka and Shenhe, two characters with whom he has no real synergy, making for an inharmonious Mono-Cryo medley in the latter half of Version 3.5.

Mika, from the game Genshin Impact, standing in a wooded landscape surrounded by white stairs and snowflakes. He is short, with shaggy blond hair, and a large book levitates over his hands from which he is reading.
Mika | dexerto.com

Beyond that, a few small adjustments and improvements are being made to the game in Version 3.5, of which the simplest and most popular by far is the new system of rewarding players for completing currently released and upcoming chapters of Genshin Impact‘s main storyline with one Intertwined Fate – exchangeable on any limited-time banner – for every Archon Quest. Whether generous or merely exploitative, I will be taking those Intertwined Fates, thank you very much. Dehya will come home to me, and that’s final. But how about you? Pulling for anyone in Version 3.5, or skipping the patch entirely? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!