Free to play games like Genshin Impact rely on the constant tug to spend money, on timesaving energy boosts or alluring new characters and weapons. But you can still enjoy them without draining your bank account. If you are wondering how to get the most bang for your buck, or just worried about slipping down the gacha slope, here are some tips to keep you from overstepping your budget in Genshin Impact (and most other gacha games).
Know your limits
Before we give you tips on how to save money, a disclaimer on when this advice might not be enough. The intersection between problem gambling and gaming addiction can blur together with games that include gacha mechanics. You may find that your unchecked desire to do one is impacting your impulse control with the other. There are resources to help people navigate these tricky waters, put together by the folks in the gachagaming subreddit (the closest thing to experts in the field).
The simplest advice here is that if it isn't fun anymore, it's time to stop, but that impact on your mental health could be long after your financial health takes a hit. Anyone who has had issues with overspending on chance outcome mechanics in the past, either in games or the casino, should be wary of any brush with a gacha game like Genshin Impact. Its hooks are hard to recognize until you're well in, but we'll try and point out key points of attention as we go through how to keep your gacha gaming on budget.
Set a budget
The first step to staying under budget is setting one, somewhat obviously. This can be based on your personal expenses situation or your personal goals within the game. Obviously one is dependant on the other, so don't just declare you want a full 5* team and aim for that target without considering the cost. Good ways to set a budget consider:
- What disposable income you have after monthly essentials and savings
- How much you might pay for a full-priced game to play every month (if you're spending about as much time in Genshin as you would in a AAA open world game)
- What cost-effective measures there are available as a package deal in the game's shop
- What you want to achieve if you do spend money
Stay on target
Setting your aims seems a good place to start (as long as you've done the exceptionally boring first step of figuring out your monthly disposable income). Games like Genshin Impact constantly roll out new content (both free and paid) to keep player engagement up. Realising that you don't necessarily need to see it all or collect every character and weapon is a good baseline to build from. Then you can identify which pieces you would like to collect. Say your team is missing a decent pyro character and you see that in an update from now a new 5* one is being released.
One good way of staying cost effective is using whatever free primogems you get to pull wishes until you get close to the pity threshold. Every 10 wishes you are guaranteed a 4* character or weapon, and every 90 wishes you are guaranteed a 5* character, so if you don't see one then you're due a pity gift soon. Keep track of your pulls and once you get close to that pity barrier don't pull anymore until a banner pops up with your chosen 5* as the featured character. It can be hard to hold onto those primos but keep your diamond hands busy with other tasks.
When characters you want do come up, you might not have a pity drop prepared for them. Don't be pressured into endlessly pulling for them though, as we haven't seen a single character in Genshin so far that has been limited to a single banner appearance. They'll come around again eventually, you can just wait until then to get ready.
Other than characters to pull there are weapons and artifacts to upgrade. You can be smart about your upgrades by farming every resource yourself, or using the in-game store's glitter system to pick up any extras you don't have or can't craft. If you're low on upgrade materials, at the start of patch cycles there are new bundles full of them that you can pick up for a vastly reduced price compared to getting the primogems or genesis crystals to purchase them outright.
To help you manage this enforced resource scarcity (this is one of the main loops by which Genshin encourages monetization) you can do a couple of things: recognize the time investment some upgrades will take, and balance their monetary value to you against that time sink. As we said, there are bundles for some of the more common resources (character and weapon XP materials) though you can also get quite a few of those from the seasonal battle pass. Some of the best value ways to acquire resources are below:
Gnostic Hymn (Battle Pass): If you complete the whole thing you get some decent primos, but mostly just good for gathering character and weapon xp, and talent level up materials. If you get to level 30 you also get a decent 4* weapon to choose from, and if you do this every patch you'll have the option to get the other weapons, or the same one for refining purposes. The total value of resources from a 100% complete Gnostic Hymn battle pass is worth about $45 if you were to purchase primogems to exchange for them, so it's worth the $10 buy in if you think you can max out your progress each week.
Blessing of the Welkin Moon: For just $5 you get a nice lump sum of 300 Genesis Crystals AND a steady drip feed of 2700 Primogems if you log in every day for the entire 30-day period. That's about 17 Wishes, though you can exchange the crystals for another two if you really want.
Dailies: Logging in each day during daily reward events will net you 300 primos by the end, and then doing your daily commissions will net you 60. So in a week you can get 720 just for 20 minutes of "chores" before you head off to explore or gather other upgrade materials from Domains.
Adventurer's Bundles: If you're short on time and want to spend your game hours gathering some of the more specific upgrade materials, or tackling the Spiral Abyss, then you can purchase bundles of character and weapon xp materials. Supply Bundles are limited to one a week, and if you got the Welkin Moon then you have enough Genesis Crystals for the Starter Supply Bundle each month (a total of 200,000 character xp and 80,000 weapon xp) or you can save up three months for the Wayfarer's Supply Bundle (1,000,000 character xp, 250,000 weapon xp, a fragile resin and 50,000 mora).
If you might pay $30 for a new game every month, then that's a battle pass buy-in, a Welkin Moon blessing and maybe a Supply Bundle a week or two. Giving yourself concrete limits like this will help you keep control of your spending, but it will also give you pointers on where to focus your efforts in a game with so many different things to be doing at any time, which can help you keep track of your goals.
Managing your spend in gacha games doesn't all have to be about what you can't do every week, but more about what you'll get to focus on next. Again though, if you feel things getting out of control then check out these resources to help with gambling and gaming addiction. Otherwise, have fun and may your pulls be good ones!