Recently, I watched an interesting video on a first-time gamer’s impressions of playing a handful of games. It came with a realization that Genshin Impact is a challenging game for a non-gamer. Nowadays, people assume that most people have at least some experience in gaming, and non-gamers don’t have that. To that end, I wrote this guide trying to simplify Genshin Impact progression for new players.
At least those who got introduced to Genshin by a friend have some form of help, a source they can ask. However, some find out about the game through other means and have no one to ask but through forums. Unfortunately, people can be mean to those who ask ‘obvious questions.’ That’s no help to a newbie gamer and may even be a reason for them to stop playing.
Here, I will explain a few things and answer some frequently asked questions.
How to Progress in Genshin Impact
While the main quest points out where to go and who to talk to, it doesn’t exactly explain all the ways to get stronger in the game. There are four ways to make characters stronger:
These are different systems that can be complicated for a complete beginner. It’s no wonder how they sometimes can’t keep up with the strength of the enemies as their World Rank goes higher. Let’s go over them one by one, and figure out how Genshin Impact progression works, shall we?
When you go to the “Character Screen,” you’ll see their name, Ascension Rank, level, some stats, and Friendship Level on the right side. On the bottom right is a button to “Level Up” that character. (Beside it is a “Dressing Room” where you can change the character’s skin or wing glider.)
That Level Up button is your primary way of leveling a character. Battles may give some experience, but that’s like using a dropper to fill a bucket. It’ll take years to get to level 90 just by battling. Clicking the button brings up a menu. You have a choice of three EXP books:
- Wanderer’s Advice (green, gives 1,000 EXP)
- Adventurer’s Experience (blue, gives 5,000 EXP)
- Hero’s Wit (purple, gives 20,000 EXP)
Pick what EXP book you want to use and click the + button until you reach the desired level. You can get these EXP books from chests and blue-colored Ley Line challenges (which requires Resin). Once you get your Serenitea Pot, you can buy Wanderer’s Advice from Tubby.
Advanced tip: use a combination of the three books so you don’t waste experience. For example, a character needs 44,425 EXP to reach 40 from 39. While it’s easy to use three Hero’s Wits to get there, you’ll waste 15,575 EXP if you do so. You can use 2 Hero’s Wits and 5 Wanderer’s Advice, wasting 575 EXP instead of 15k.
Another advanced tip: some players use battles to make up for those smaller bits of EXP. They battle enemies to get that 425 EXP for their character, not wasting any experience from books.
The EXP will be wasted because level 40 is the max level a character can reach after their first Ascension. Similar blocks happen to levels 20, 50, 60, 70, and 80. The character must be Ascended first to level up past those numbers. The max Ascension a character can reach is tied to your AR and World Level.
You can check the requirements for Ascension by clicking the button with a star with an up arrow on top of the level bar. Click on each requirement to see where to get them.
Artifacts are the armor of Genshin characters. They can equip 5 artifacts:
- A flower
- A feather
- A timepiece
- A vessel/goblet
- A headpiece
Each artifact has a “main stat” and up to four “substats.” You can see the main stat above the artifact’s star rating. Substats are under the enhancement level of the artifact (+#). The main cannot be the same as any sub.
The stars on artifacts denote how strong they can be (also represented by their icon background color). From the lowest to highest:
- 1-star (gray)
- 2-star (green)
- 3-star (blue)
- 4-star purple
- 5-star (orange)
Flowers (HP) and feathers (ATK) always have a flat (not a percentage) main stat. The remaining three have a different pool of main stats. Check out this table:
|Elemental DMG Bonus%||✔|
Substats can be any of the above stats, except for Healing Bonus and the Elemental DMG Bonuses. They may also be a flat increase for ATK, DEF, and HP.
Here’s what each stat can do:
ATK – the basis of a character’s raw damage output.
HP – affects the character’s “life,” which is how many points of damage they can take. If damage exceeds their HP, they get knocked out. Represented by a green (sometimes red) life bar on the bottom of the game’s screen.
DEF – influences defensive capabilities by reducing raw damage taken
Elemental Mastery – deals with a character’s ability to deal damage using Elemental Reactions (more on this later).
Energy Recharge – a higher percentage means the character gets more energy from particles.
Elemental DMG Bonus – increases the elemental damage dealt by the character. It can be Anemo, Geo, Electro, Dendro, Hydro, Pyro, or Cryo. Physical DMG is considered an element by itself, even if it’s not ‘Elemental.’
Crit Rate and DMG – Rate increases a character’s chances of dealing a Critical Hit. At the same time, DMG influences how much a Critical Hit multiplies damage.
Healing Bonus – adds to the effectiveness of healing skills.
Generally, you’ll want artifacts that provide stats to strengthen your character. It depends on the character’s role and which stats their skills scale with. Jean and Kokomi are both healers. However, Jean’s healing gets stronger the higher her ATK, while Kokomi’s heals get more effective the more HP she has. If you want Kokomi to be a good healer, you’ll increase her HP instead of ATK.
Check the character’s skills and see which stats you should increase through artifacts. Some builds don’t follow this principle, but that’s the player’s prerogative.
Artifacts also have “sets.” They are additional effects applied to the character when two or more artifacts of the same set are equipped on them. Usually, they have two effects. One takes effect when 2 are worn, then both will take effect when two more (total of 4) are added.
These set effects are shown under the substats. It also indicates how many artifacts of the same set the character wears. There are too many of them to list here now, so check out your artifacts and see which character will benefit the most from those effects.
Each piece may be strengthened by consuming other artifacts. This will always increase the boost the main stat provides. A random substat will be increased every four levels, or if there are less than four, one would be added. Enhancement is shown under the star rating. Enhance artifacts through the “Enhance” button next to “Switch” in the Artifacts menu after clicking on the one you want to enhance.
Each character has 6 talents. Currently, two have 7 because they have an alternate sprint talent. The first three talents are active, while the rest are passive. Active skills have to be activated by the player by pressing a button. Passive talents are always in effect or may have a conditional trigger (if x happens, it takes effect).
The three active talents are the ones that can be upgraded. Those are:
- The Normal/Charged/Plunge Attacks (collectively called AA)
- The Elemental Skill (E as named by PC players)
- The Elemental Burst (Q, or sometimes “ult”)
Clicking on a talent brings up its description and Skill Attributes (if applicable). Under it, you’ll see a “Level Up” button. That makes another menu appear, showing how leveling up affects the skill and what you need to level it up.
Up to talent level 6, all you need is a skill book and a character level-up material (loot you can get from lower-tier enemies). After that, you’ll need loot from weekly bosses to strengthen their talents. Lastly, from level 9 going into 10 (the max level), you’ll need a Crown of Insight. This act has been called “Crowning” a character. “Triple-Crowned” means that all three skills are raised to level 10.
Like the character’s levels, talent levels are blocked by Ascension ranks. Thankfully, no additional actions are needed. You just need to Ascend the character to level them up more.
Talent books are different from EXP books. There are currently 9 talent books, three for each nation.
- Mondstadt (Freedom, Resistance, Ballad)
- Liyue (Prosperity, Diligence, Gold)
- Inazuma (Transience, Elegance, Light)
Each character would need one type of book from their nation of origin. For example, Venti needs Ballad, Zhongli needs Gold, and Raiden Shogun needs Light. Some subvert this, though. Kazuha (Inazuman native) requires Diligence books, and Thoma (Mondstadt native who grew up in Inazuma) uses Transience. The Traveler is also an exception as they use all books.
You can get them from Talent Book Domains. There is one in every nation. The available skill books from their domains also change every day. Sundays are an exception where you can choose which ones to get.
A character can’t attack without a weapon. There are five main types:
If you go to the “Weapon” menu, it automatically filters out what the character can’t use. That way, you won’t equip the wrong one.
Like artifacts, they have a main stat and a substat. Unlike artifacts, their main stat is always the same, ATK. They also have only one substat against an artifact’s possible four. Lastly, weapons have a passive effect.
Another difference is that weapons have Ascension Ranks as well. Until you Ascend them, you can’t enhance them past certain levels. You can click the star with an arrow pointing up to see the Ascension requirements beforehand.
Weapon Ascension Materials may be obtained from Weapon Material Domains. Like Talent Books, there are three for each nation:
- Mondstadt (Tile of Decarabian, Wolf’s Tooth, Gladiator Shackles)
- Liyue (Stone of Guyun, Mist Ball Elixirs, Aerosiderite)
- Inazuma (Branches of a Distant Sea, Narukami’s Magatamas, Mask of the Oni)
If you can tell which weapon comes from which nation, it’s easy to pinpoint where to get its materials.
Enhancing them would require other weapons or Enhancement Stones. You can get the latter from chests or forge them yourself. However, the forging requires ore, which you can mine from spots in Teyvat. Later in the game, you can ask the blacksmiths in towns where mining spots are.
One last thing you can do to increase firepower with weapons is to Refine them. If you have a duplicate of that weapon, you can use the dupe to strengthen its passive effect. With 5-star ones, you’ll have to be lucky with the gacha to do so.
Genshin Impact Progression Summary for New Players
To keep up with the rising world levels, you must be conscious of those four things:
- a character’s level
- their artifacts
- their talents
- and their weapon
You don’t need to follow the latest trends and the “meta” (an acronym that means Most Effective Tactics Available) when you’re starting out. Wish on the beginner banners and wish for those characters that seem interesting to you. Try them out when they are available on trial. The majority of the game’s content can be cleared with the starter characters or even a team of 4-star characters.
Some Combat Tips for Beginners and Progression
Combat in Genshin Impact relies heavily on the interaction of elements. That’s called Elemental Reactions, and using them is key to dealing loads of damage. Here are the currently available ones:
- Overload (Pyro+Electro)
- Vaporize (Pyro+Hydro)
- Melt (Pyro+Cryo)
- Electro-Charged (Electro+Hydro)
- Superconduct (Electro+Cryo)
- Freeze (Hydro+Cryo)
- Swirl (Anemo+any element except for Geo)
- Crystallize (Geo+any element except for Anemo)
In your journeys, you’ll also see enemies that have shields (an extra different colored bar under their HP). Shields nullify damage from the same element it’s made of. To remove it, you need to use an Elemental Reaction. The exception is Geo shields, which can be broken by Geo skills, Overloads, or a claymore-user.
For Abyss Mages:
- Cryo: use Pyro for Melt.
- Hydro: use Cryo for Freeze.
- Pyro: use Hydro for Vaporize.
- Electro: use Cryo for Superconduct.
For Fatui Skirmishers:
- Electro: use Cryo
- Hydro: use Electro
- Pyro: use Hydro
- Cryo: use Pyro
- Geo: use Geo or a claymore-user
- Anemo: Anemo shields cannot be broken. They’re used to absorb an element to be used in a powerful counter-attack.
Other reactions will still break the shield, but these are the fastest reactions.