When you first start playing Genshin Impact, you smash through achievements as if they’re Celebrations on Christmas Day – for any Americans in the audience, Celebrations are little chocolates that everybody eats after Santa’s been around. They’re slightly better than Heroes and a million miles better than Quality Street, which are chocolate-shaped pieces of shit – but that’s a story for another article.
I was very impressed by Genshin Impact’s achievement system early on because it allows you to earn Primogems by completing in-game objectives. Essentially, the currency that characters and weapons are locked behind can hypothetically be farmed by destroying a Hilichurl’s shield, or cooking ten dishes, or smacking ore veins with a giant club 25 times. Combined with all of the other early game content that creates the illusion of Primogems being easily farmable in the long-term – reader, they are not – I thought it was a pretty robust setup, hence devouring them like little chocolates. Then I got a few hours further into the game and realized that, actually, Genshin’s achievement system kind of sucks.
There are plenty of ways to discuss this, but the most simple and effective one is to compare the achievement system to the Battle Pass structure. The former is pretty much a list of countless arbitrary tasks, all of which return relatively small dividends, whereas the latter quantifies each objective based on difficulty or time-to-complete. It seems absurd to me that an achievement system can be designed in a way that isn’t based on that dynamic – five Primogems for killing a level two enemy, and five Primogems for taking down a colossal dragon. It doesn’t quite match up.
This is admittedly quite a minor complaint in the grander scheme of Genshin Impact – for example, I recently wrote about how I doubt I’ll ever truly stop playing this game, so it’s not as if this is sufficiently damning for me to uninstall it. It is frustrating, though, when you pop an achievement tied to a long and arduous mission just for it to give you the same reward as what level one newbies are getting for cooking an egg or some shit. I know Mihoyo doesn’t want to give out hundreds of free Primogems, but when you consider a Wish is 160, you’d think the studio would be willing to throw you 100 – or even 50 – Primogems for completing a much more difficult achievement. But nah, five or ten, those are the only two options here.
I reckon minor quality of life changes like this could go a long way as Genshin Impact pushes into the future. It already earns an absurd amount of revenue, and Primogem boons this minor have very little sway on the overall economy – most achievements are worth literally one thirty-secondth of a Wish. Boosting that to one eighth, or even a sixteenth, makes completing objectives far more worthwhile without making free-to-play even a fraction as powerful as it would need to be to render gacha expenditure pointless. It just gives the achievements a sense of actual accomplishment – if I’m doing something difficult, give me good rewards, as opposed to the same shit I get for picking a mushroom or finding a frog. That’s like throwing me in the water with Michael Phelps and giving us both a gold medal despite the fact he’s smoked me before I even get my goggles on. I mean, I’m delighted, but poor Michael feels a bit disrespected. Not on.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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