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Genshin Impact wrapped up its second Closed Beta Test in mid-April 2020. This open-world role-playing video game, announced as free-to-play, will release on Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android, although with no set release date yet. Featuring gameplay similar to popular open-world RPGs such as Breath of the Wild and The Witcher series, Genshin Impact delivers a massive world to explore with content that replenishes daily. Although the game provides tutorials upon discovering new gameplay elements, the game does not provide any means of reviewing that information. With a third & final Closed Beta coming soon, I have compiled some information to help new players getting started with Genshin Impact for the first time.

Hold off on exploring until you progress the story enough to obtain a full party

The game does not restrict you from detouring off the main quest unless you go way too far from your current region. As tempting as it appears, hold off on exploring. Progress the main story quests until you have a full party. This not only gives you access to four elements, but you will obtain the glider during this time, an important tool for exploring.

Recruit a claymore user ASAP

Your initial party of four will consist of two sword users, a bow user, and a magician. This leaves you without a claymore user. Claymores have higher impact per attack, which does more damage to shields, stones, and any other solid object. Outside of combat, claymores can harvest minerals much faster than other weapons. Most players will recruit Noelle as their first claymore user.

Use Elemental Vision often while exploring

You have access to Elemental Vision the moment you enter the game. Use Elemental Vision while exploring to reveal objects you may miss with regular vision. Refer to your platform’s controls to see how to use Elemental Vision, usually triggered by holding a left shoulder button and pressing left on the right joystick.

If you have max Original Resin, run Domains to use them up

When you open the world map, you may notice a blue orb icon in the top right corner with a number next to it, usually 120/120. This represents Original Resin, which functions like stamina in mobile games. You use resin to complete Domains – completing a Domain consumes 20 resin. Your account will slowly recover resin over time, so make sure you run Domains so that you can keep recovering resin. You can access a level 5 Domain just south of the first Statue of the Seven, the one in the lake. Run east from Mondstadt, then take the path northeast to reach this Domain. This Domain provides EXP tomes, an important resource for leveling up your characters. Lisa will perform very well in this Domain due to her Lightning element because…

The majority of your damage comes from elemental combinations

Party members alone generally cannot take down strong foes on their own without utilizing a different element. You will need to swap members during combat to use another element and deal more damage. Swap characters often, since swapping only has a one-second cooldown. Unless a party member has a skill that makes their attacks deal elemental damage, melee attacks and uncharged arrows deal non-elemental damage. Charged arrows, magician attacks, and all active skills deal elemental damage. Most elements have a combination that deal increased damage. Some foes have a permanent element, such as Slimes or Abyss Mages when they have a shield up. When fighting outdoors in the rain, all targets have Water element, including you.

A list of all known elemental combinations (for simplicity, this list uses generic element names, not the proper names given in Genshin Impact):

  • Swirl: Wind + Fire/Water/Ice/Lightning. The wind attack takes the element it combos with and spreads that element based on the effect of the wind attack.
  • Crystallize: Earth + Fire/Water/Ice/Lightning. Generates a temporary elemental shield based on the element the earth skill combos with.
  • Burning: Fire + Nature. Deals damage over time. (unverified effect) May spread if a Burning enemy touches another nature enemy.
  • Vaporize: Fire + Water. Deals a big hit of damage, and removes both elements.
  • Overload: Fire + Lightning. Causes a large explosion on the target where the combo takes place, dealing fire damage in a large area. If this occurs close enough to an enemy’s earth-based shields, Overload will destroy those shields.
  • Melt: Fire + Ice. Deals a big hit of damage, and removes both elements.
  • Electrocharged: Lightning + Water. Deals damage over time. (unverified effect) May spread if an Electrocharged enemy touches another wet enemy.
  • Superconduct: Lightning + Ice. Causes a large explosion on the target where the combo takes place, dealing ice damage in a large area. Also temporarily lowers the defense of the enemy this combo takes place on.
  • Frozen/Shatter: Water + Ice. Briefly renders the target immobile. Attacking a frozen enemy with a hard-impact attack deals a big hit of physical non-elemental damage and removes freeze. Attacks include many claymore attacks and a handful of earth attacks.

When you hear a pulse sound effect and see a white star in the minimap, you will find an oculus nearby

Oculi represent small collectibles throughout the world of Genshin Impact. Offering these to a Statue of the Seven confers multiple benefits and rewards, but most importantly, these increase your party’s max stamina. The oculus type & appearance depends on your region, and you can only offer these to statues in the same region. You can reach some oculi easily, while others may require climbing, jumping, gliding, solving a nearby puzzle, clearing out nearby foes, or a combination of any of these.

If you see a small turquoise wisp with wings and a white eye, touch it and then follow it

Throughout the world, you will spot small floating turquoise wisps called a Seelie. Luckily you cannot attack it, as these things lead to treasure, or sometimes unlocks something important you need to use nearby. Touch it, and it will start moving towards its home pedestal. Whenever it stops, touch it again. Many Seelies may require climbing or gliding to reach. Repeat this until it reaches its pedestal, which will spawn a treasure chest or generate some other beneficial effect nearby. Occasionally, you will need to do this for more than one Seelie to activate the reward. If you discover a pedestal and cannot find its Seelie, use Elemental Vision near the pedestal, and you will see a trail in the direction of the Seelie.

Unless you grind heavily, you cannot keep every party member upgraded

Once you start to obtain more party members, you will find your resources stretched thin if you try to keep everyone upgraded. Upgrades will consume exponentially more resources the higher you go upgrading, so unless you heavily grinded, you will constantly have low resources. Focus on a core group of four party members to keep up with the world’s foes. As far as upgrading equipment, never upgrade white or green rarity items – focus on blue rarity and above. However, if you did end up upgrading a lot of characters, then consider the next point…

Foes upscale with your Adventure Rank, so do not level your Adventure Rank until you can handle stronger foes

All party members level up independently. However, all actions contribute toward your Adventure Rank, which represents your account level. Try to keep your core party of four around the same level as your Adventure Rank, if not higher. As your Adventure Rank rises, enemy levels will rise more. For example, at Adventure Rank 30, you will encounter level 44-48 foes. If you only focused upgrading a core group of four, that group can handle the increased enemy difficulty.

Cook stamina-replenishing food, and always have some when exploring

At a few locations throughout the world, you will need to glide a long distance, and gliding consumes stamina. To ensure that you survive the trip, you can eat stamina food during the glide.

So you have just received your Pokédex from Magnolia, and have boarded the train at Postwick, or will board the train soon. Unlike previous generations of Pokémon games where you had limited Pokémon variety prior to the first gym or trial, Pokémon Sword & Shield allow players to pass through the Wild Area much prior to the first gym. This presents players with a large variety of Pokémon to catch, as well as a good method to level up, quite early in the game. The Wild Area may appear overwhelming to players at first since players now have access to so much more Pokémon. I have compiled a list of the Pokémon that I most recommend catching.

Growlithe (Sh)/Vulpix (Sw)
Type: Fire
Priority: B (Growlithe), C (Vulpix), F (if you chose Scorbunny)
A fire Pokémon will greatly help for the first gym. Unfortunately, you do not have much of a choice for now. If you picked Scorbunny as your starter, you can safely skip these until later in the game. An arguably better fire Pokémon, Sizzlipede, resides in Route 3, the next route you will traverse, albeit at a 1% encounter rate. Between Growlithe and Vulpix, Growlithe ends up with better stats and greater move variety.

Type: Water
Priority: A, F (if you chose Sobble)
If you can get Magikarp to at least level 21, you have a very solid physical attacker quite early in the game. At that level, it can learn Waterfall, Ice Fang, and Bite, giving it very good coverage. Thanks to this game’s inherent Exp. Share, you never have to put Magikarp in battle to level it up, making a Gyarados easy to own. If you prefer speedy Pokémon…

Type: Water
Priority: B, F (if you chose Sobble)
You actually catch Arrokuda in Route 2, not the Wild Area. Arrokuda’s final form Barraskewda ends up with about as much physical attack as Gyarados. While it cannot take a hit as well as Gyarados, it makes up for it with a lot of speed, more than Sobble’s final form. Barraskewda also learns some interesting coverage moves such as Drill Run, Close Combat, Throat Chop, and Psychic Fangs.

* Both water and grass cover rock and ground. Water covers fire, while grass covers water. If you picked Grookey and decide not to add a water type to your team, I strongly suggest catching a ground or rock Pokémon to cover fire, which I list below.

Type: Grass/Poison
Priority: B, F (if you chose Grookey)
Lucky players can actually obtain a Roserade already by testing their luck at the Digging Duo. Roserade has similar stats to Grookey’s final form Rillaboom, boasting special attack equal to Rillaboom’s attack, but with slightly more speed. However, Roserade does not learn too many coverage moves outside of Dazzling Gleam and Shadow Ball (also Extrasensory, which requires breeding). A Pokémon further down this list uses those latter two moves better, so you may consider sticking two support moves on Roserade instead.

Type: Grass
Priority: C, F (if you chose Grookey)
Consider Bounsweet’s final form Tsareena a slightly weaker Rillaboom. Tsareena’s main selling points include her signature ability, Queenly Majesty, and her signature attack, Trop Kick. To get Queenly Majesty, make sure you catch a Bounsweet with the Oblivious ability. Tsareena can eventually learn some coverage moves such as Hi Jump Kick and Acrobatics, helping to make up for having lower stats compared to Roserade or Rillaboom.

Type: Ice/Ground
Priority: B
Most water Pokémon can learn Ice Beam, allowing for coverage without the weaknesses of ice types. Swinub stands out as a solid all-around physical ice and ground attacker. Much later in the game, obtaining Swinub’s final form Mamoswine from a 5* raid may yield its hidden ability, Thick Fat, which eliminates two of its weaknesses. However, Mamoswine’s strongest physical ice attack requires breeding.

Type: Ice/Dark
Priority: B, D (if you chose Sobble)
Early on, Sneasel will not appear in the wild – instead, it has a chance at appearing in a raid at one particular den. You can start catching it in the wild following the third gym. Sneasel shares similar stats to Arrokuda – it has great physical attack and speed, but otherwise cannot take hits well. Later in the game, Sobble’s final form Inteleon can learn Ice Beam and Dark Pulse, which covers both types of Sneasel. Until you can get these moves on Inteleon, Sneasel makes a good speedy dark & ice attacker.

Type: Fighting
Priority: A (Shield), C (Sword)
Look for a Tyrogue with more attack than defense so that it can evolve into Hitmonlee. This will serve as a main fighting type for Shield players. Sword players will encounter another fighting type to catch after the first gym.

Type: Psychic/Fairy
Priority: A
With great special attack and decent speed, Ralts will serve you well all the way until the end of the story. With Psychic, Moonblast, and Shadow Ball (TR required), you can hit just about anything for at least neutral damage.

Type: Ground/Steel (upon evolution)
Priority: A
Like Sneasel, you cannot encounter Drilbur in the early sections of the Wild Area – you can only encounter it a raid at one specific den. However, you will still encounter wild Drilbur prior to the first gym. Drilbur evolves into Excadrill, one of the best attackers in the game. Given Earthquake (or High Horsepower to avoid hitting teammates), Iron Head, and Rock Slide, Excadrill can hit just about anything for at least neutral damage. Both of its abilities make it better in a sandstorm, so consider teaching it Sandstorm, or bringing a teammate that can start a sandstorm.

Type: Ghost/Poison
Priority: C
Gastly counters psychic and ghost types hard, but cannot take a hit at all. You will also need to trade it to obtain its final form Gengar. Gengar has high special attack and speed, and can learn a wide variety of moves. Later on, another ghost type, Chandelure, has even higher special attack and can take a hit better than Gengar.

Types not suggested to catch yet:

  • Electric: You will receive Toxel, a much better electric (and poison) attacker, a route prior to needing an electric type for a gym.
  • Poison: See the note about Toxel above.
  • Flying: Fire covers grass and bug, while psychic or fairy covers fighting. This game does not have any Pokémon double-weak to flying attacks.
  • Bug: You can find a Sizzlipede, a great bug and fire attacker, in Route 3.
  • Rock: Teach Rock Slide to a Drilbur/Excadrill for a rock attacker.

This method works best with a freshly-caught Farfetch’d, as a higher-level Farfetch’d may do too much damage.

  1. Catch wild Farfetch’d in Route 5 until you catch one holding a Leek. A Large Leek will not work – that item only works for cooking. Feel free to give the Leek to another Farfetch’d of a close level.
  2. Return to a nearby Pokémon Center, heal Farfetch’d, put it in the lead spot of your party, and make sure it still knows Fury Cutter (do not replace or forget it for now).
  3. Go back to Route 5, save your game, and look for a level 19 Stufful. Level 20 Stufful has a move that hits hard, potentially taking out your Farfetch’d in one hit.
  4. Use ONLY Fury Cutter until you land three critical hits.
  5. Once you land the third critical hit, use Rock Smash to finish the battle.

If you own a higher-level Farfetch’d from either Giant’s Mirror or a raid, this method can still work, but with greater difficulty. Find a foe that resists Fury Cutter and does not threaten Farfetch’d much, such as Shuckle.