A topic that often comes up with every game that employs loot boxes or some other form of paid gambling is whether or not the playing field is fair to both paying and non-paying players alike. Do the paid offerings create a discrepancy between people who choose to invest their money into the game and support it, or is an effort of time enough, where the difficulty is adjusted properly for everyone? Genshin is no exception, having the ability to pay for more chances at top-tier characters, so the question is, “Is Genshin Impact pay to win?”

Pay-to-Win?

  • The answer lies in how a player defines what it means to “win” in this case. Is winning completing all the content in the game? If that is the metric, then there are plenty of players who have completed everything Genshin has to offer, even the most difficult content, simply by using hyper-invested versions of the introductory characters.
  • These players often brand themselves as “F2P” (free to play), and they pride themselves on being able to tackle the hardest challenges with little or even zero investment in the gacha aspect of Genshin.
  • If these players can beat everything in the game without touching the gacha, does that mean that Genshin is not “pay to win”? In some ways, it would, but in other, more practical ways, possibly not. The proof is in your perspective. 

Best of the Best

Just because a small fraction of the player base is capable of these extraordinary feats, does not mean that this F2P accessibility extends to the average player or even the majority of the player base. Not everyone has that level of dedication to the game, or the skill set to accomplish the same thing as these top-tier players. So perhaps for the best of the best, the game may feel free to play, but this doesn’t ring true of the experiences of most everyone else.

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However, what does paying confer to the paid player that the free player does not receive? The strongest characters? Sure, but a wise player who informs themself of the merits of strong units and secures them with careful saving can have the best characters, too.

  • They clearly aren’t as strong as someone who has paid to invest in the maximum potential of that character, but is that difference enough to move into the realm of pay to win? Not yet, at least.
  • Even at C0, the top-tier characters have shown to nearly trivialize almost all the content in the game. A player who does not save their primogems and use them wisely is at a disadvantage, but that is due to planning, not spending. 

For now, it seems that every hurdle that Genshin Impact has thrown at their player base can be overcome without the need to invest money. Whether that holds up in the future isn’t as clear, but for now, it seems that information and planning might be at least in the ballpark as emptying your wallet is. 

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