A steady infusion of new characters like the recently released Kamisato Ayato, enemies, artifact sets, and weapons have sustained players so far, but the fundamentals of Genshin's combat have remained unchanged. Compared to limited-time events and special game modes like the Hyakunin Ikki tournament, "vanilla" combat with bosses, overworld enemies, and the Spiral Abyss is starting to feel more like an exercise in grinding than an opportunity for excitement and expression. Fortunately, miHoYo has a number of options to liven things up in the near future.
Genshin Impact's combat and magic systems revolve around seven elements, though only six are playable at time of writing. With the arrival of the Sumeru region expected in version 3.0, players anticipate that the game's final element - Dendro - will be added simultaneously. Dendro governs plants and growth in the game's world of Teyvat, which could provide interesting opportunities for buffing, constructs, and healing. However, adding another node to the game's complex wheel of elemental rock-paper-scissors may not be enough to bring back lapsed players, or hold the interest of veterans.
Given the intricate interactions between Pyro, Electro, Cryo, and Hydro, it is possible that Dendro will be another odd-ball element like Geo and Anemo. Geo and Anemo are both powerful, satisfying elements to wield, providing players with vital shielding and bonus damage respectively, but if Dendro follows suit by featuring a unified interaction with all other elements, combat is unlikely to change radically.
The other primary pillar of Genshin Impact's combat system are the five weapon types that define characters, along with their elemental Visions. Polearms present players with almost acrobatic melee combat, including dashing thrusts and sweeping swings. Swords provide a balance of speed and attack power. Slower, hard-hitting claymores (which also encompass weapons like clubs) offer satisfying impact. Catalysts, the weapon class associated with "caster" type characters, offer some of the most varied (but currently underwhelming) combat options. Bows round things out with rapid volleys, or charged shots for long-ranged precision.
A sixth weapon class could blur the lines between strict ranged options and melee. Dual daggers or short swords, for instance, could provide a flurry of quick normal attacks, while charged attacks could have the character throw their blades at foes for a slower, harder-hitting offensive option. Other possibilities include fist weapons and martial arts, which might feature position-oriented fights with grapples and throws to liven up multiplayer combat.
Yet new weapons, like new elements, would be an additive, rather than multiplicative, augment to Genshin's systems. To maximize depth, Mihoyo should overlay another system on the existing elements of combat.
The deeper floors of Genshin Impact's ever-changing Spiral Abyss dungeon present players with a challenge, but even these encounters can end up feeling more like a luck-based grind and less like a puzzle that requires players to change up their strategy. Giving players more options to customize their parties' interactions, and to bolster characters that currently under-perform, could introduce a whole new paradigm to the game.
One potential model for expanding player options could be equippable, party-wide skills, similar to the options featured in the Hyakunin Ikki limited-time event. Players could unlock these new abilities via quest chains or new Domains. To further refine and balance a new dimension of combat, enemy parties could have their own special abilities - similar to the special statuses that modify bounty enemies. This would not only encourage players to switch up skills, but also use different party compositions for overworld and boss encounters.
Genshin Impact is now available now for Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.