“The transition from nothing into something, from shoot to stem…and now to fruition,” says the Chalk Prince Albedo as one embarks on a quest to discover truths hidden within the snow capped mountains of Dragonspine—the latest addition to Genshin Impact’s world.
Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action-adventure game developed by Chinese studio miHoYo. After the game’s initial release in September 2020, market researchers report that it had amassed 17 million downloads on mobile platforms alone in its first week and generated an estimated $400 million in its first two months.
It has only been a little over three months since its release, but the top grossing cross-platform role-playing game’s (RPG) latest update, The Chalk Prince and the Dragon, proves that with all the twists and surprises they have in store, players have yet to fully unravel what the continent of Teyvat has to offer.
A new star approaches
With Genshin Impact’s vast open world, teleporting system, and smooth visuals, comparison with Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been unavoidable, especially when the game clearly pays homage to the 2017 Zelda game. But Genshin has more than enough flair to stand on its own.
One of the things that set Genshin apart from other games is its ever-expanding lore. The integration of the guardians of the land called the Seven Archons and their respective elements to the seven nations of Teyvat has provided each nation with its own unique culture. This expansive world also comes with a colorful cast of characters with amazing designs and fun powers for the players to collect. All of this leaves Genshin players eager for more fun features that miHoYo has in store.
Born of chalk
Similar to the previous 1.1 update, The Chalk Prince and the Dragon update came with a limited time event, set to last until January 5. The event is split into four acts, which will be gradually introduced to players, with story quests for the event available for players with a minimum Adventure Rank of 20. Completion of The Chalk Prince and the Dragon arc will reward the player with a new four star sword called Festering Desire.
The new event and story quests are centered around a new playable five-star character named Albedo, also known as the “Kreideprinz” (which literally translates to “chalk prince” in German), who is the Chief Alchemist and Captain of the Investigation Team of the Knights of Favonius. Though Albedo’s suitability as a five-star character has been called into question, he is still one who is sought after by many players.
Genshin Impact’s latest update, gameplay-wise, has plenty to offer, even for players who have played the game since its release. The 1.2 patch opens up the massive new Dragonspine area in the map, welcoming users with snowy mountains and formidable new enemies.
However, unlike Genshin Impact’s previous map locations, exploration and combat skills will not be enough to conquer the new landscape. Dragonspine’s frosty peaks are reminiscent of the game’s existing mountain terrains, but a new condition called “Subzero Climate”, which freezes characters with the Sheer Cold effect, will cause characters to lose health points when left in the cold for long.
To fully beat the Dragonspine map, players must be prepared to fight high-level Cryo elemental combatants and stay on the lookout for the resources needed to complete the event quests, all while making sure their characters stay warm. To top it all off, looting Dragonspine’s treasures sometimes requires the player to solve puzzles—keeping even longtime Genshin players on their toes.
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While Genshin deserves plenty of praise, the game also runs into some issues. For one, the updates seem fairly slow; it was only until the 1.1 patch that players could do something as simple as changing the key bindings on the PC. Additionally, only a portion of Teyvat is accessible to players—Monstadt and Liyue are the only nations that players can explore.
Furthermore, The Chalk Prince and the Dragon’s ending leaves many unanswered questions regarding the characters’ origins and identities. And with players easily finishing the quests right after the update, Genshin fans are now left starving for more new content. Comparing the update with the game’s beginnings in Mondstadt or to its next chapter in Liyue, Dragonspine simply does not carry as much excitement, with its small addition of characters and a less carefully curated soundtrack.
Still, the Dragonspine update was never meant to be major in the first place, as the game’s more extensive update is slated for release in the second quarter of 2021. The Traveler’s expeditions are clearly far from over, and Dragonspine is a clear indicator of that. True to the words of the Adventurers’ Guild, the journey shall not end until we have gone “to the stars and the abyss.”