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Peace, Hope, and Prosperity in Genshin Impact

Since its release on Sep. 28, the video game Genshin Impact has captivated a dedicated fanbase. Multiple factors have contributed to its popularity, such as its engaging narrative storyline and distinctive cast of characters — both of which have been expanded upon to the arrival of a new patch-update on Nov. 11. 

As an open-world action role-playing game (RPG), the game introduces its players to the mystical world of Teyvat. Magical affinities for seven elements — Cryo, Hydro, Pyro, Dendro, Electro, Geo and Anemo — flow through the various lands of Teyvat that are each led by an Archon, a god that rules over one of the specific elements. Aside from the protagonist, each playable character possesses a Vision, an Archon-given power over one element. 

Four new characters are introduced in the update: Diona, a Cryo archer; Xinyan, a Pyro Claymore user; Childe, a Hydro hybrid bow-sword user; and Zhongli, a Geo polearm user. Childe and Zhongli are both five-star event exclusives, the highest character rank, making them highly sought after. On the other hand, Diona and Xinyan will be made available past their events. 

The main storyline of Genshin Impact focuses on the journey of the Traveler, the game’s protagonist, who is searching for their lost twin. While in pursuit of their sibling, they search for the seven Archons after fishing out a floating, fairy-like companion Paimon from a lake, who also serves as the game’s mascot. 

Genshin Impact’s initial release introduced players to the first land, Mondstadt, which worships the Anemo Archon Barbatos. A city of freedom, Mondstadt is relatively peaceful, except for the threat of the great dragon Dvalin that once protected the nation. Feeling betrayed by the people he once cared for, Dvalin threatens to wreak havoc on Mondstadt. The Traveler prevents Dvalin’s attack in the game’s first boss battle. At the end of the fight, the story reveals that Dvalin was under malicious supernatural control, and a wandering bard named Venti, who is revealed to be Barbatos, tells Dvalin that he can be free of his duties. 

Eventually, Mondstadt is free to once more prosper peacefully as their Archon continues to walk among its citizens. The chapter sets the game’s hopeful tone, which continues in the Traveler’s experiences in Liyue, the land governed by the Geo Archon. In this new update, the game closes the curtains on its act dedicated to Liyue with its newest chapter titled “A New Star Approaches.”

Players first met Childe and Zhongli in the preceding chapters, while only hearing of Keqing and Ningguang, two business leaders heavily involved in the governance of Liyue. “A New Star Approaches” opens with interactions with Keqing and Ningguang, with the latter leading the Traveler to discover more about plans by the Fatui — a diplomatic organization from the land of Snezhnaya. The Fatui are a ruthless band that operates under Snezhnaya’s leader, the power-hungry Tsaritsa, and 11 high-ranking lieutenants that include Childe. The Traveler eventually encounters Childe, and a boss fight occurs. 

The story soon climaxes into an epic battle between the Traveler and the incoming Fatui forces, ultimately uniting Liyue’s guardians — Keqing, Ningguang and the supernatural Adepti. While not mechanically rewarding, the battle provides an emotional core to the chapter. The Adepti and the Qixing, the business conglomerate Keqing and Ningguang belong to, are at odds in regards to the governance of Liyue. However, when their beloved nation is threatened, they join forces in order to keep their citizens safe. Though unity amongst divided forces is an overplayed trope, the genuine dedication shared by the characters emanates beyond the screen. 

After the battle, the Traveler searches for Zhongli, who mysteriously disappeared before the culminating fight. Players soon witness an encounter between him and two high-ranking Fatui members, one of which is Childe, and learn that Zhongli is truly the Geo Archon Rex Lapis. Having lived for more than six thousand years and observed the growth of Liyue into the modern age, the Archon had contemplated his usefulness to the nation, eventually electing to assume a mortal identity — Zhongli. 

Change and discovery are crucial to the game’s current storyline, provoking questions about self-fulfillment and the necessity, intentions, and consequences of change. The lands of Teyvat are in constant unrest, especially depicted by the ongoing feud over Liyue’s leadership, but the story always closes with peace. Keqing and Ningguang look to lead Liyue into a more prosperous future while their Geo Archon now chooses to lead a more peaceful life. Despite the chaos, Genshin Impact assures its players that peace will come — a message desperately needed in these times of a pandemic and an election. 

Despite the resolution in Liyue, Genshin Impact promises the continuation of its intricate world building of narrative and characters and the Traveler’s story in pursuit of their twin. Zhongli heavily implies that the Traveler will continue their quest in Inazuma, the land of Electro. Foreshadowing an epic quest, a journey into the land of electricity promises shocking reveals and an even greater spark of adventure. 

Beatrice Malvar is an Entertainment Intern for the 2020 fall quarter. She can be reached at bmalvar@uci.edu.