Monday, May 10, 2021

Where's My Kamera?

When I picked up Genshin Impact again, naturally one of the first things I did to get back into the swing of things was open my quest journal. Nothing like following a predetermined set of instructions to a bunch of markers on the map to ease you into the old routine.

First I did a few small tasks around town. It seemed I'd promised to run errands for a local restaurant. I'd been carrying someone's lunch around in my backpack for a few months and apparently they still wanted it.

One thing led to another and after an hour or two I found myself way across the other side of map, on a high hill above Liyue Harbor. I checked my book again to see if I'd left anything unfinished last time I was there.

There was a quest that looked like it was almost ready to hand in and the marker was right there, down by the bridge. I didn't bother to flip the pages to see what I'd been doing all those months ago. I just made for the spot on the map to speak to a fellow named Ji Tong.

It was an interesting conversation. He did nearly all the talking and he had plenty to say. I'd quote it all here but it would take up half the post. It's all in the link if anyone's interested.

The gist was he'd bought a camera - sorry, a Kamera - from some guy and there was something wrong with it. Or so he'd thought. The photographs it took came out as flat sheets of color but it turned out that was because there was a potion you needed to add to get them to come out right. The only thing was, even with the potion, the photos still had some kind of colored tint around the edge.

Our chat ended with him giving me the Kamera. I'd finished the quest and that was the reward.

By this point I was very confused. I had no memory of ever doing a quest for a camera. Ji Tong went on and on about the potions and how he was going to sell them and make a lot of money and I wasn't clear whether it was some kind of trick to get me hooked on using the thing then having to keep coming back to the guy to buy more potions or maybe even MihoYo setting me up to buy them in the cash shop. 

Either way, I had the thing now. I figured it was a free camera that  I didn't have to use if I didn't want to, so why not try it? That was if it really did anything. 

I could see by examining it that it was a new kind of object to me. It was a Gadget. There's a whole pocket in the backpack just for those. I'd never noticed it before, probably because this was the first Gadget I'd ever seen.

The typically elaborate in-game description read

 "When used, this useful gadget can save and store the scenery before it and add a special color tone to it. A strange device from Fontaine that will not only record sceneries but will also add special colors to the printed images. This design was made in response to "The Steambird"'s request for a Kamera that could not only reflect the environment, but also the emotions of the one taking the picture. Unfortunately, the final product could not quite match their specifications."

It slotted into the UI and a hot key appeared on screen with the letter "Z" on it. I turned around, walked a few paces, put my back to the harbor and pressed Z. 

Amazing! A real, working camera! Or, if you prefer, a real, working screenshot key.

Genshin Impact already has an excellent screenshot facility. You can take perfect, UI-free shots, pose your character, apply various emotes, change the focus, move the POV independently of your character, even take shots without your character in them at all. It's not as sophisticated as the ridiculously complex version in Black Desert Online but it's pretty close.

So why would you need another? Simple. The default screenshot function is too sophisticated for everyday use. You can't use it to take snapshots in combat or as you're running across town or gliding or falling or swimming... You have to come out of the contextual setting of the game and into what amounts to an embedded app. It's excellent for considered, posed, framed, formal shots but not so much for "capture the moment" photo-journalism.

For the convenience I could certainly live with the bronze tinting around the edges but when I went to look up how I'd gotten the thing in the first place (still not worked that out) I noticed there was another Kamera that takes plain old untinted shots. That would be even better.

The one I'd been given was the Special Kamera. The basic model is just a Kamera. There's also a Kurious Kamera, or there was. The Special is the upgrade to the Kurious, I think. You hand in the Kurious, which came from a world event, and get the Special back. 

Or something like that. I certainly never did that quest or had the Kurious Kamera but I got the Special anyway. The wiki has a brief note about how that can happen:

 "This quest is still available to new players who have missed the event. They have a slightly different dialogue and their version of the quest doesn't require them to provide the Kurious Kamera."

Which is all well and good but it doesn't explain how I had the quest in my book in the first place, unless it gets auto-added when you reach Liyue. Maybe that's it.

Anyway, I read there was a quest to get the basic model and that started in Liyue too, so I went to talk to Xu, who starts things off. It took me a long time to find him, especially considering in the end he turned out to be only a couple of hundred yards away. I ended up checking about three or four websites and watching two YouTube videos before I stumbled across him, hiding in plain sight.

He didn't have a blue ! over his head, which I should have realised was a bad sign. I went through all his dialogs (he had three) but nothing mentioned Kameras or began any quests. 

I tried the old log out, log back in again trick but nothing changed. I searched around the web and read half a dozen walkthroughs and a reddit thread. They were remarkably consistent, none suggested any changes to the quest, all seemed to think it was still active and available, and no-one seemed to have reported any difficulties getting it.

Just me, then. I've been back again since but he just wants to discuss the importance of good manners. He has nothing to say about photography.

It's fine. I have a Kamera that works. It doesn't appear to need any potions or use any consumables. There doesn't seem to be any limit to how many pictures I can take. All of that looks like it was flavor.

As, I guess, is the Kamera itself. After all, they could just have added the function, told us in the patch notes we could now use "Z" to take snaps and left it at that. But I'm glad they didn't. I love having an actual, in-game camera that takes screenshots. It's not the first game where I've had one (I seem to remember there was one in The Secret World) but it's something I wish more games would do.

I'm getting plenty of use out of it. I've all but forgotten about the regular screenshot function for now. The Special Kamera is just so much more handy. I can hit one key and get a shot I'm happy with. A colored border seems a small price to pay for that.

Still, if anyone knows a way to get the regular, non-tinted Kamera, I'd like one of those too. Otherwise, get used to seeing gold-borders in every Genshin Impact post from now on.


  1. I think it does get auto-added past a certain world rank. I've noticed a mixture of quests that suddenly pop up once I clear a rank, quests that randomly pop up on my mini-map, and people who don't appear to have quests but will just hand you an item if you exhaust their dialogue trees up and down. Since I'm a "talk to every NPC until they yell at me to go away" type, I've gotten a fair few free meals and such from pestering the townies.
    What I don't have is a Kamera. Well, now I know what to do tonight.

    1. And so I did.

    2. Yay! I've had a couple of NPCs give me things just for talking to them but I didn't notice if there was a quest attached. I'm going to have to start talking to everyone instead of just the ones who look interesting.

  2. Hm, I don't seem to have that normal Kamera either. Must inventigate! :-)

    1. Inventigate is when you don't bother to look for evidence, just make it up. Popular with authoritarian regimes all over the world.

    2. Uh, oh...I'd certainly never do that, no Sir! :-)

    3. Ok, the guy you mentioned, Xu, did indeed have a simple quest for me that awarded the normal Kamera.

      I'm at AR 53 and had already done almost all pre-1.5 quests though, so I couldn't tell you if there's any prequisite that I fulfill and you don't.

    4. But I can!
      I'm AR25 and just started the first quest of "Chapter 1", which is called Rite of Descension. Suddenly, Xu has a Kamera quest.
      A few minutes ago, he didn't.
      Thus, I suspect it's tied to having started Chapter 1.

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