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Genshin Impact anniversary reward contest sparks community outrage

Genshin Impact update 2.1
(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Newly revealed Genshin Impact anniversary rewards and contests have sparked a wave of outrage and criticism among the game's community.

Developer MiHoYo recently outlined a suite of community anniversary contests that would award participants with varying prizes, ranging from free Blessing of the Welkin Moon passes (worth $5 in-game), 100 Primogems (a single in-game roll, or Wish, costs 160 Primogems), or a new iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

Many of these contests require participants to create and submit fan art, videos, photos, or cosplay. Additionally, the rewards for several contests will be distributed through a raffle. Just 10% of the anniversary card web event participants will win a Welkin Moon pass, for instance, while the other 90% will receive 100,000 Mora (which can be earned with roughly five hours worth of Original Resin). 

The responses to these contests have been multifaceted and largely negative. The Twitter and forum posts announcing them have been saddled with critical replies, and the Genshin Impact subreddit is filled with posts lamenting "how out of touch things are." 

Much of the frustration seems to stem from MiHoYo's continued reliance on fan creativity to fuel Genshin Impact festivities. "I hope you realize that not all of your player base are artists, and even if they are, they don’t have the luxury of time to do free work for you and for what, just a couple of primogems?" reads a Twitter reply with over 18,000 likes. "Why is most of this just 'Do free labor for us and maybe you'll win something'?" asks another tweet with 14,000 likes. "So basically, we have to work hard for the chance of winning 100 Primogems?" reads a forum reply with more upvotes than the actual post from MiHoYo. "I'd rather get a commission or a job than bother with this event," a Reddit post agrees.  

Genshin Impact

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

This isn't the first time MiHoYo has asked artists in the Genshin Impact community to contribute to its anniversary marketing campaign. In August, MiHoYo invited users to design (and sign over the commercial rights for) an anniversary advertisement to be plastered on buses. However, this bus ad didn't lead to anything near the level of outrage seen today, which suggests that the timing of these new contests – i.e. with many players already underwhelmed with the anniversary – played a big part. 

Many players have pointed to Genshin Impact's runaway success as evidence of the community's support and enthusiasm, which some players feel hasn't been reciprocated by the anniversary. The new Raiden Shogun character banner set sales records, for example, and the game itself is now well past $1 billion earned. Granted, Raiden Shogun benefited from the recent top-up crystal reset, not to mention launching as both the first female archon and the central character of the game's first all-new region, but the math at least checks out. Moreover, the argument seems to be that players who've already put a lot of time and money into Genshin Impact are now being asked to contribute more, and for an event which many clearly hoped would be a relaxing reward buffet. 

The anniversary art contests have become the core of a renewed wave of blowback which has been brewing since the Genshin Impact update 2.1 reveal stream promised upcoming log-in bonuses worth 10 free Wishes. Many players were surprised to see the big one-year anniversary log-in simply match the rewards given out for an earlier holiday event. 

It's worth noting that the thus-far unpopular art contests are specifically labeled "community" events and likely won't stand in for in-game rewards assuming there are more coming. But at the time of writing, these free Wishes are the only major in-game reward explicitly tied to the anniversary celebration. In other words, freebies like the five-star character Aloy and the four-star weapon the Luxurious Sea Lord have been viewed as part of normal updates. MiHoYo teased additional anniversary rewards in an email sent to some players a few weeks ago, but it hasn't confirmed anything else. 

Genshin Impact's actual one-year anniversary falls on Tuesday, September 28, and if MiHoYo does have more goodies to announce, it probably wouldn't hurt to reveal them soon just to put the fires out. Of course, it's not uncommon for gacha games to host anniversary celebrations for several weeks, so it's possible that the party won't really begin until update 2.2 arrives in mid-October. If nothing else, some sort of reveal stream, or just an olive branch of a blog post, wouldn't go amiss. 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.