Saturday, May 22, 2021

Get Good


It's not immediately obvious because, typically, it was night-time when I took the shot, but the picture at the head of this post was taken with my new Kamera. 

I say "new". New to me, that is. As far as the game's concerned, it's very much the old Kamera.

I wanted it for the usual reason. It takes a better picture. Or at least a clearer picture. The first Kamera I got, the one I've been using for most of the shots in recent posts, adds a dingy, orange-brown tint around the outside and also sometimes splatters a few faded spots around that may or may not be lens flare. 

To me, they look more like the kind of processing errors I used to get when I took holiday snaps on cheap film with the clunky russian camera my aunt gave me and sent them through the mail, in pre-paid envelopes, to an anonymous box number at some windowless warehouse on an out-of-town industrial estate somewhere in the midlands. We all used to do it. It's so nostalgic there's probably an Instagram filter for it now.

As I said in the post, I was just grateful to have a Kamera at all. It makes for a much more convenient and practical way to take screenshots in Genshin Impact than the regular method. A few brown splotches are a small price to pay. 

I was mildly frustrated that I wasn't able to get the vanilla version, though. Particularly since all the guides I read seemed to think I should. I went back to see Xu several times but he resolutely refused to pop a blue exclamation mark. I decided it was never going to happen and forgot about it.

It's not as though I haven't had plenty else to do in the game. Thanks to that teapot, the one with the "must be AR 35 to enter" sign slapped across the lid, I have a long list of things to be getting on with.

The first hurdle was getting to AR 25. That's as far as you can go before taking a test. I was AR22 when I came back and at first I found it slow going. As is generally the way of things in mmorpgs (Disclaimer: Genshin Impact is not an mmorpg.) progress began to speed up the moment I decided to stop pratting about and buckle down to playing the way the developers intended.

After I'd nailed AR25,  bumped some of the team up to 40 and knocked off Stormterror I did a little research on how to proceed. Luckily for me I'd never tried to level and gear up all of my characters, something that's strongly discouraged, so I hadn't wasted too many resources getting to where I was.

I spent some time considering my options. After a lot of thought and some research on the options I decided to carry on with three of my team and keep one slot open for now. My line-up was going to be:

Traveler - The one I consider to be "my" character. Also the one I feel most comfortable with in combat.

Diluc - Lucky five-star pull. By far my best DPS. Dies too much. Needs to stop doing that.

Kaeya - Very useful cryo skills. Otherwise not really sold on him.

Barbara - Team healer and very good at it. Also the only ranged character in the team.


I'd already leveled Traveler, Diluc and Barbara to 40. I took them to try the open-world version of one of the bosses they'd have to beat at the end of the instance that would grant me the right to carry on leveling my Adventure Rank to thirty five, just to get some kind of benchmark.

Things did not go well. I had a think about it and decided I needed to do two things:

  1. Ascend my three main characters so they could carry on leveling to fifty. 
  2.  Learn how to play.

There was a certain synergy involved. After a good deal of research I found I either already had or was able to obtain all the materials required for Ascension except for Everflame Seeds (for Diluc) and Cleansing Hearts (for Barbara). 

I had everything for Traveler, who for some reason is able to Ascend from 40 to 50 without having to kill any bosses at all. Once I'd figured out how to use the Souvenir Shop and the Alchemy table I was able to bump her up to 43 before I ran out of leveling mats.

For the other two, though, there was nothing for it but to take on some very challenging (to me, anyway) overland bosses. I did some more research, found out where the Pyro Regisvine that drops the seeds hangs out, read the strats for beating it and went to give it a try.

It wasn't a total disaster. The vine was under half health when the last of my four characters died. It definitely felt doable. Most importantly, I could see what I was doing wrong. I was playing like an idiot.

She's obviously seen me fight.


Here's the thing. Genshin Impact feels like an mmorpg but it isn't one. It also looks like a button-masher and it's not one of those either. If it reminds me of anything it might be Wizard 101 and for a couple of reasons:

  1. It looks like a kids game but it doesn't play like one.
  2. Boss fights in Genshin Impact feel like W101 card play on fast-forward.

Once I'd started to think of my characters as cards in a pack it got... no easier to play them at all. That's going to take practice. What did get easier was understanding how they interact. Characters have to set up for each other, using their powers like the cards in W101. All that talk about Elemental Combos was what confused me. Thinking of them as different cards made it much clearer.

Then there's the old consumables issue. I rarely take anything like the necessary advantage of consumables in any game. I'm doing pretty well if I remember to keep a few basic, long-duration buffs up from things like food and drink. 

It was only when I was working out how to use the Alchemy table that I noticed I could make potions. Since my team were singed around the edges from the fight with the vine some fire resist pots seemed like they'd come in useful.

They probably will, too, some time. Not for that fight, though. I went back to give it another try now I'd figured out I needed to do more than just try to weed-whack it death. I forgot to drink the potions but it  went much better anyway. Really very much better. I won. And no-one even died!

 Fine! I'll go back to Mondstadt, then, where I'm appreciated!

Using Barbara much more often, only making her run away instead of just letting her stand there yelping when the vine set her on fire, helped a lot. Ignoring all the guide advice about using Hydro and Cryo on the beatdown phases helped even more. 

This is a lesson I really should have remembered from countless other games. Sometimes you really do have to use specific abilities or classes or characters because some mobs have complete immunity to certain things. Outside of that, though, if it's just that some things do more damage than others, then it's much more nuanced calculation. Kaeya may have the right kind of elemental attack and the vine may take less damage from fire, but Diluc hits so much harder than Kaeya it's still much more effective to let him do the hard burns.

Naturally the blasted vine only dropped one seed. Since I needed two we had to kill it again. Second time, of course, it dropped two so now I have a spare. I also have a level 43 Diluc, which is as far as I got before once again I ran out of mats.

That just leaves Barbara. I took her over to kill the boss that drops the Cleansing Hearts but it didn't go too well. It went about the same as the first fight with the vine, in fact. The boss was on about half health by the time my whole team was dead. Having only one ranged character, against whose attacks the mobs are completely immune, is kind of a problem when they choose to float in the water out of melee range.

I could have carried on but I was distracted by some map marker that I spotted when we revived. It looked as if I had a hand-in in Liyue. I thought I'd do that first so I ported over and as I was running through the streets (the authorities seem to have forgotten all about the Traveler being wanted for suspected deicide, luckily for her and me), who did I happen to spot but my old friend Xu wearing a smart, new blue exclamation point for a hat.

You have got to be kidding me...


Long story not as short as it could have been, it turned out he wanted me to help him deliver some snapshots he'd taken on commission and when I'd done that he gave me one of his old Kameras. Why he'd suddenly decided to do that when he didn't even appear to know what a Kamera was every other time I spoke to him I have no idea.

Well, I guess I do have a few ideas. I'm not sure if I already passed him after I dinged AR25. I think I did but I can't be absolutely certain. I might have been on the run from the law at the time, anyway. It's possible the quest is level-gated. It's also possible there's some kind of pre-requisite. I've done quite a lot of stuff since I last spoke to him, including a whole tranche of the main story quest and a bunch of things around Liyue and its environs. Maybe I set some kind of flag.

Whatever, it's done. It happened. I got my Kamera. No more grubby-looking prints. Just nice, clean shots from here on in.

My rough plan going forward is to hold off on Barbara's ascension while I work on easier stuff to accrue plenty of mats so that I can 

  1. Level Traveler and Diluc to 50, thereby making the fight with Barbara's boss-mob significantly easier
  2. Practice fighting until I am not completely terrible at it
  3. Work on improving everyone's gear, some of which could certainly use it.

Also, have some fun. Genshin Impact is a very entertaining game in all kinds of ways of which the fighting is probably the least. It would be a shame to miss the actual good parts just because I need to "git gud". 

And let's face it, I am never going to get good. I'll settle for just good enough.


  1. Unfortunately I don't have much of a useful hint regarding the Hydro boss for you. That one has always been a major pain in the butt until I got Ganyu (i.e. a character able to deal massive AoE Cryo damage at range).

    Any form of Cryo is definitely great as the mobs are always wet per default, which means each application of Cryo freezes them for a time. It's also wise to have at least one ranged character that doesn't exclusively deal Hydro damage, so you can kill those goddamn birds. Although...maybe Diluc's Q can hit them too, since I don't have him I've never tried that.

    In any case, ascending Barbara isn't that high of a priority anyway, as you said. Just don't forget to slap lots of HP onto her if you can; as more HP raise her healing output and make her more resilient it's a win-win.

    1. Oh that's a useful tip, about Barbara's hit points affecting her healing output. I didn't realize that. Not having a good ranged option is something I'm generally finding a pain. If I didn't have Diluc I'd be using Amber, who has excellent ranged damage, but his DPS is too good to go without. So long as Barbara's healing is sufficient, though, it shouldn't matter... yet.

    2. Yeah, having a good ranged character is a blessing indeed. Whenever a rerun of Ganyu's banner comes around I very much recommend trying your luck if you have some primogems lying around.

      I'm with you on Diluc though, he's really strong and it wouldn't be wise not to use him. Lakisa's got him recently, and even when compared to newer 5-star heroes he still holds up pretty well.

      That being said, there's nothing wrong with raising him and Amber both. While it's true that one shouldn't spread the available resources too thin it's good to have options too, and as long as you don't get new characters all the time (which I assume you don't) you'll be able to raise all of those you have eventually.


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