Every update to Genshin Impact is immediately preceded by a “Special Program” highlighting all the new features coming to the game in that particular update, as well as anything else the developers might want to share regarding the game’s future – such as the stunning announcement of a Genshin Impact anime series that made last month’s Version 3.1 Special Program one for the history books. Unfortunately, while it was always unlikely that the high bar set by that Special Program would be cleared anytime soon, a string of almost-impossible-to-avoid leaks at HoYoverse have resulted in most, if not all, of Version 3.2’s potential surprises being spoiled for players long before they were meant to be announced, and the Special Program on Sunday suffered from having virtually nothing to add to these leaks.
Most egregiously, the unveiling of the new Scaramouche Weekly Boss was met with uncharacteristic apathy from the very same people who have been waiting for this for years – not because it doesn’t look absolutely terrifying, but because footage of this new Boss has been floating around on social media for weeks at this point, giving everyone who’s seen it far too much time to absorb the shock, process it, and move on. And that is a damn shame, because next to Scaramouche, most of Genshin Impact’s six Weekly Bosses look like child’s play. Sure, the Raiden Shogun is difficult (I’ve fought her exactly once, and have no plans to challenge her to a rematch until it’s absolutely necessary), but even she can’t use five of the seven playable Elements against us simultaneously.
Scaramouche, in his final form (or rather, his penultimate form, since it is very likely he’ll become a playable character in Version 3.3 following a name-change, a slight redesign, and the gift of an Anemo Vision), resides within a colossal robotic exoskeleton that hovers in mid-air above the player and is capable of swiftly dashing from one side of the arena to other. This robot, constructed by the corrupt sages of the Sumeru Akademiya with assistance from the Fatui, is powered by Divine Knowledge extracted from the minds of scholars who study the Irminsul Tree (the world tree at the heart of Teyvat, and the source of the Dendro Archon’s power), and is intended to serve as the vessel for a new God to replace Lesser Lord Kusanali, the current Dendro Archon. Ironic, then, that one of the two Elements the robot can’t wield is Dendro: instead, a vaguely bug-shaped drone infused with Dendro Elemental Energy will assist the player throughout the fight, firing missiles at Scaramouche – with the catch being that it requires recharges.
The Elements Scaramouche will be hurling at us include Anemo, Cryo, Electro, Hydro, and Pyro, so plan your own team composition accordingly. And if you’re wondering why Geo is the only Element not represented in this battle, know that I’m right there with you. The Fatui have quite literally been in possession of the Geo Archon’s Divine Knowledge since the final chapter of the Liyue Archon Quest, and now you expect me to believe that they won’t even use it in their attempts to replicate an Archon? I get that Geo is underrated by many players because its Elemental Reactions suck, but I didn’t realize that was the case even in-universe. I almost feel obligated to bring a whole Geo team to this battle out of spite.
Players will have two brand new characters to test against the Scaramouche Weekly Boss in Version 3.2 – Nahida, a.k.a. Lesser Lord Kusanali, and Layla. Nahida, the Dendro Archon of Sumeru, is a five-star character (available only through a limited-time banner) with a bunch of unique qualities: not only will she become Genshin Impact‘s first Dendro catalyst user, she will also be the first catalyst user with the ability to aim her Elemental Skill – a small viewfinder, through which she can mark multiple opponents with a “Seed of Skandha”. Up to eight opponents can be marked at once and they will be linked to each other for a time, meaning that if one marked opponent is affected by an Elemental Reaction (or by the explosion of a Dendro Core), they all take Dendro DMG. This effect is called Tri-Karma Purification. Off the battlefield, Nahida can use her Elemental Skill to quickly collect any natural resources caught in her viewfinder, including flowers and fruits…and scanning over certain NPCs with the viewfinder will reveal secret internal dialogues, which sounds cool and slightly invasive.
Nahida’s Elemental Burst casts a Court of Dreams around her, within which different effects will occur depending on how many characters of a certain Elemental Type are in your party – for example, having one Pyro character on the team will increase the DMG dealt by Tri-Karma Purification, but having two will increase it even further. She is obviously going to be an excellent character to have on your team, and it’s a shame her design is both terribly boring and (not coincidentally) devoid of any cultural influences from the actual regions that theoretically inspired Sumeru and its characters, or else I would probably have pulled for her when the time came. As it stands, I’ll be saving my Primogems.
The other new character arriving in Version 3.2, an insomniac student of astrology at the Sumeru Akademiya named Layla, is a four-star Cryo sword user with the potential to supplant Diona as Genshin Impact‘s best four-star shielder. Her “Curtain of Slumber”, which forms around her after she falls asleep, creates Cryo shooting stars that multiply every time a character in the party uses their own Elemental Skills – when four such stars have appeared, they will break away from the active character and target nearby opponents. Layla’s Elemental Burst summons a ceiling mobile that hovers above the battlefield, firing off shooting stars.
It was mentioned during the Special Program that Layla would also be at the center of an event in Version 3.2, Fabulous Fungus Frenzy, wherein players will have to capture, name, feed, and train their very own small army of sentient fungi with the aim to collect Primogems and other rewards, including the four-star Electro claymore user Dori. Besides Layla, a character from another nation will apparently be arriving in Sumeru to witness the Fungi battles – and while I’d be overjoyed if it turned out to be Arataki Itto, I have a suspicion it’s either Yae Miko or Tartaglia given that their limited-time banners will be rerunning concurrently with this event.
My most-anticipated Event in Version 3.2, however, is Adventurer’s Trials – a series of diverse and peculiar challenges designed to give players a reason to use characters strategically, for their unique skills rather than for their DMG output. Events of this sort could help to combat the trend amongst higher-level players of using the same four or five characters to brute-force their way through all of Genshin Impact‘s Events and endgame content alike, and that to me is even more exciting than the addition of new endgame content (though Genius Invocation, the competitive card game set to be released in a future update, does sound promising).
In other news, the most noteworthy of several miscellaneous adjustments to Genshin Impact‘s system announced in the 3.2 Special Program is the addition of Serenitea Pot Replication, allowing players to directly recreate their favorite Serenitea Pot designs without the hassle of actually building them. Granted, you can only take what other, more talented or more dedicated players are willing to share with the world, but this is a very exciting feature for amateur architects like myself.
As for the hotly-anticipated Genshin Impact anime, no word yet on when that will air, who will star, or even what the story will consist of – but you can bet that whenever that information is revealed, that will be a Special Program to remember. The events of Version 3.2’s Special Program, however, are likely to be forgotten by this time next month: and that’s even counting the official reveals of the Scaramouche Weekly Boss and the Dendro Archon. What HoYoverse would ideally learn from this is that beating leakers to the punch is essential, but I’m cynical and I’ve given up on expecting them to learn anything from their mistakes. Anyway, what did you think of the Special Program, and what has you most excited for the upcoming version? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!