Get started in Genshin Impact with our beginner’s guide
Genshin Impact is developer HoYoverse’s first global hit. Upon release, it received a lot of attention for its similarity to Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But in the ensuing years, Genshin Impact has proven it has its own identity, with an expansive world that takes inspiration from many countries and core gameplay that revolutionizes the open-world genre, in its own way. Genshin Impact remains massively popular, appealing to players worldwide with vivid environments, memorable stories, and characters that endear it to its loyal—or even rabid—fanbase.
Years of quality-of-life updates and an abundance of content in today’s Genshin Impact mean now is the perfect time to get started on your journey. Our guide will help you get started in the world of Teyvat, with tips on raising your Adventure Rank, understanding the Elements, planning out your team, and more.
Focus on the story at the beginning
Genshin Impact throws a lot at you up front. You’ll be exploring a brand new world, following the story, and trying to decipher layers of combat and progression systems—all at the same time.
Focus on progressing through the story first. Adventure Rank (AR), the overall level of your character, determines whether or not you can play with friends, participate in events, or start farming for higher-level gear. Thankfully, if you focus on progressing through Genshin Impact's story, your Adventure Rank will follow. Just expect to spend some time exploring and completing side quests to raise your AR between chapters of the main story.
You can reprioritize your dream team after you finally get four- and five-star weapons and Artifacts.
Best ways to raise your Adventure Rank
Speaking of Adventure Rank, here are a few tips for raising it early in Genshin Impact:
- Complete Quests, especially the ones in the main story: Quests and daily grinding should account for most of your Adventure EXP. Story quests reward a hefty amount of Adventure EXP, and you get additional rewards from the Guide section of your Adventure Handbook for completing them.
- Complete Adventure Handbook tasks: Your Adventure Handbook can be found in your Paimon dashboard, something you’ll learn to access early in the game. The Experience and Embattle tabs in particular reward you for strengthening your team through various means, including leveling up weapons, Artifacts, and characters. You also need to use the Adventure Handbook to access Daily Commissions, Domains, and Enemies.
- Complete Daily Commissions every day: These short missions can net you more Adventure EXP than regular side quests. Even better, they also reward you with Primogems that you can use to get new characters and weapons from Banners. They reset everyday and should take less than 20 minutes to complete.
Don’t max out your early weapons and gear
Don’t worry about getting the best characters, weapons, or gear in the beginning—just raise your freebie characters and slap on whatever weapons and gear you acquire. Sure, you can level equipment up a bit to get through early-game content, but you shouldn’t max out anything lower than a four-star weapon or Artifact unless it’s a special circumstance.
You won’t obtain equipment worth investing thousands of Gold or resources in until much, much later.
Use your Resin every day (if possible)
Resin, the currency you need to challenge Domains and Bosses to obtain exclusive resources, recharges throughout the day. However, unlike HoYoverse’s Honkai: Star Rail, Genshin Impact doesn’t automatically store excess Resin.
On days where you won’t use all of your Resin, use Crystal Cores—an item found from collecting butterflies—to craft Resin into Condensed Resin, enabling you to keep and use it at some later date.
Understand the elements (at least a little)
Genshin Impact has seven Elements of Teyvat: Anemo (Wind), Geo (Earth), Electro (Electric), Dendro (Grass), Hydro (Water), Pyro (Fire), and Cryo (Ice).
The elements react to each other in different ways, and understanding elemental reactions will help maximize your damage output. Learning how elements generally interact is a good way to start. Your first few free characters give you the opportunity to experiment.
Here’s a rundown of every elemental reaction in Genshin Impact:
Melt and Vaporize both necessitate applying elements (Pyro, Cryo, and Hydro) in a specific order to get the most out of them. Think about it this way: Fire can only melt ice if the ice exists. Therefore, you need to apply Cryo to enemies before melting them. Meanwhile, Vaporize prioritizes Pyro over Hydro. After all, it’s easier to extinguish a fire with water than to set water on fire.
- Melt: Pyro + Cryo, 2x damage.
- Reverse Melt: Cryo + Pyro, 1.5x damage.
- Vaporize (Vape): Pyro + Hydro, 2x damage.
- Reverse Vape: Hydro + Pyro, 1.5x damage.
Dendro reactions deserve their own section because of how complicated they can get. Dendro and Pyro together create a reaction called Burning that continuously damages the Burning enemy over time. Meanwhile, Quicken (also known as Catalyze) needs an additional Electro or Dendro attack to trigger Spread or Aggravate.
- Burning: Dendro + Pyro. Deals Pyro damage over time.
- Quicken: Dendro + Electro. Triggers catalyst for Spread or Aggravate.
- Spread: Quicken + Dendro, 1.25x Dendro damage.
- Aggravate: Quicken + Electro, 1.5x Electro damage.
- Bloom: Dendro + Hydro. Creates Dendro Cores.
Dendro Cores come from the Hydro/Dendro reaction Bloom, just like watering a plant. You can leave Dendro Cores to explode and deal area-of-effect (AoE) damage to enemies. However, you can also trigger other reactions like Hyperbloom and Burgeon with Electro and Pyro characters, respectively.
- Hyperbloom: Dendro Core + Electro. Creates missile arrows that hone in on a single enemy.
- Burgeon: Dendro Core + Pyro. Causes Dendro Core to explode, dealing AoE Dendro damage.
Electro doesn’t have as many caveats as Dendro, but all of these reactions use it as a catalyst:
- Electro-Charged: Electro + Hydro. Deals damage over time.
- Superconduct: Electro + Cryo. Deals AoE Cryo damage and reduces Physical Resistance (RES) by 50%.
- Overload: Electro + Pyro. Creates AoE explosion that causes knockback.
Freeze isn’t very complicated. No matter the order, Hydro plus Cryo temporarily freezes enemies in place.
- Freeze: Cryo + Hydro. Temporarily freezes enemy in place.
- Shatter: Hit a Frozen enemy with Geo or a Blunt attack to deal more damage.
Last but not least, Swirl and Crystallize. You can trigger Swirl and Crystallize by using Anemo and Geo attacks (respectively) on enemies already affected by Pyro, Electro, Cryo, or Hydro. These are the only Anemo and Geo elemental reactions so far.
- Swirl: Anemo + Element. Deals additional damage of the Swirled element and spreads it to nearby enemies. Useful for crowds.
- Crystallize: Geo + Element. No damage, but creates a shield that protects you from the respective element you applied.
Plan your star-studded starter team
Genshin Impact supports starting players with enough resources to raise a handful of characters. However, it’s easy to run out if you level up every single character—and it could be a waste if you accidentally level up a character you end up neglecting.
These are all the free characters you can get at this point in time, though HoYoverse may give players other free characters in the future. You also get multiple opportunities to earn four-star characters from events.
- Traveler: None/Sword
- Amber: Pyro/Bow
- Kaeya: Cryo/Sword
- Lisa: Electro/Catalyst
- Barbara: Hydro/Catalyst
- Noelle: Geo/Claymore
- Xiangling: Pyro/Polearm
- Collei: Dendro/Bow
- Lynette: Anemo/Sword
There’s also a short list of bonuses you receive depending on what characters you have in your team:
- Fervent Flames (Pyro + Pyro): Affected by Cryo for 40% less time and increases ATK by 25%.
- Soothing Water (Hydro + Hydro): Affected by Pyro for 40% less time and increases Max HP by 25%.
- Impetuous Winds (Anemo + Anemo): Decreases Stamina Consumption by 15%, increases Movement SPD by 10%, and shortens Skill CD by 5%.
- High Voltage (Electro + Electro): Affected by Hydro for 40% less time. Superconduct, Overloaded, Electro-Charged, Quicken, Aggravate, or Hyperbloom have a 100% chance to generate an Electro Elemental Particle (5-second cooldown).
- Sprawling Greenery (Dendro + Dendro): Elemental Mastery increased by 50. After triggering Burning, Quicken, or Bloom, all allies gain 30 Elemental Mastery for 6 seconds. After triggering Aggravate, Spread, Hyperbloom, or Burgeon reactions, all nearby party members gain 20 Elemental Mastery for 6 seconds.
- Shattering Ice (Cyro + Cryo): Affected by Electro for 40% less time and increases Crit Rate against opponents that are Frozen or affected by Cryo by 15%.
- Enduring Rock (Geo + Geo): Increases shield strength by 15%. Shielded characters also deal 15% increased DMG and lower Geo RES against enemies they deal damage to by 20% for 15 seconds.
- Protective Canopy (Any four unique elements): 15% elemental resistance and physical resistance bonus.
You might not be able to level every character right away
Gacha games like Genshin Impact dole out characters and weapons to players at random via Banners, a.k.a. shop-like services where you trade in-game currency or passes for said characters and weapons.
Unfortunately, the random nature of gacha means you might receive a character that you can’t level up on your own until much, much later. Each character has a set number of Ascension Materials they need to level up. Some of these Materials drop from monsters or plants located in countries you haven’t visited yet. You can’t farm for these materials in your own world until you reach a later point or a higher Adventure Rank in the story.
Genshin Impact gives you enough characters to start with, so there shouldn’t be an issue building a serviceable team without pulling on Banners. Still, it’s important to keep in mind what Ascension Materials you’ll need to acquire later.
Genshin Impact is a solo-friendly game, but multiplayer has its perks. Once you get to Adventure Rank 16, you can play with friends in co-op mode. If you don’t have access to regions like Sumeru or Fontaine, you can ask a higher level friend to invite you to their world so that you can fight enemies and farm materials you’d otherwise only get access to after completing the relevant story quests and reaching higher Adventure Ranks.
You can also ask friends to help make short work of bosses that would take longer to grind through yourself. My friends and I have sped through dungeons with teams of three overpowered DPS characters and one tired shield or healer. You can also just use co-op as a way to talk with friends online while grinding for resources.
No friends? No problem. Even if none of your friends play Genshin Impact, you can try your luck asking a random player to let you into their game via the friends list. If that’s too suspicious, you can always ask someone from the official Genshin Impact Discord.
Take advantage of limited-time events
Genshin Impact regularly introduces new events every update to give players ways to earn more resources. After all, if you’ve already completed all the story content, there’s only so much to do besides grind through Daily Commissions, use your Primogems, and build characters.
Of all these events, HoYoverse emphasizes two: Genshin Impact’s launch-date anniversary at the end of September (September 28, to be precise) and Lantern Rite. Lantern Rite is Genshin Impact’s version of Lunar New Year, a widely celebrated holiday in HoYoverse’s home country of China.
Genshin Impact’s anniversary and Lantern Rite are theoretically supposed to be the most reward-filled periods of the game’s lifecycle, meaning you should definitely log in and take advantage of limited-time events and rewards—as long as you meet the Adventure Rank requirements. HoYoverse posts specific Adventure Ranks for upcoming events on their blog, and has already outlined this year’s Lantern Rite Festival, which debuted in Genshin Impact 4.4.
Genshin Impact 4.4 is available now. You can download Genshin Impact from the Epic Games Store.