Like a lot of Genshin Impact players, I'm hungry for new stuff to do. Genshin Impact update 1.5 looks incredible but it's still a week away, and that only makes the wait harder. So like a starving castaway daydreaming about food, I've frequently caught myself imagining what new, harder end-game content might look like in Genshin Impact. The word on the tip of everyone's tongue seems to be the gold standard for end-game these days: raids. MiHoYo's Honkai Impact 3rd has raids, so surely it could make something along those lines for Genshin, right? Of course, it's easier for us to conceptualise than it will be for MiHoYo to implement, but raids are, surely, within the realms of possibility given the studio's experience.
After the latest Genshin Impact events, I'm more convinced than ever that the game could deliver challenging, complex, and co-op-enabled challenges like the raids that many players are hoping for. This isn't necessarily a recent trend, mind you. Genshin has been doing wild stuff for months. Not long ago, we were playing a full-fat tower defense game in Liyue. But in the past few weeks especially, Genshin's become a staggeringly flexible base for a huge variety of game modes ranging from Fall Guys-esque minigames to what is basically cornhole. I don't know MiHoYo's plans for these mechanics and game types, but I can't help but feel that many of them would fit nicely in a raid-type encounter.
A recipe for raiding
Look at this month's Rhodeia's Rage event, which featured a souped-up version of the Oceanid fight. The normal Oceanid is already one of the game's more interesting bosses because it removes chunks of the arena floor as the fight goes on, but this event took things a step further with hard-hitting attacks that have to be dodged by standing on elevated platforms. And like the normal Oceanid, the event variant also spawns additional hydro enemies throughout the fight. So we've got falling platforms to avoid, elevated platforms to group up on, and boss minions to dispatch. Between Destiny 2 and Final Fantasy 14, I've played raids using all of those ideas in various ways over the years.
Going back a little further, let's look through some of the minigames in the Peculiar Wonderland portion of the Mondstadt festival. This was basically a collection of game show-style challenges with wacky set pieces, and I want to focus on just a few of them, starting with One-Way Traffic, where players had to memorize a lit path of platforms and follow it across an abyss, plummeting if they step on the wrong platform. There's also the Great Bubble Crash, where you collect items along a long hallway while dodging incoming bubbles, ducking into safety cubbies if there's no path forward. So now we've added specific rules to falling platforms, and we've got projectiles to avoid while we rush toward a goal – perhaps a boss weak point, for instance.
Plenty of older Genshin Impact fights also have a rich library of mechanics that could conceivably be arranged around a big baddie to create a dynamic fight. The Primo Geovishap has an ultimate ability that can be countered with a shield of the matching element. Floor 12 - 3 of the current Spiral Abyss dungeon spawns devastating elemental attacks right under your feet, forcing you to dodge whenever you see a red AoE marker. Previous floors, meanwhile, had enemies with elemental buffs that gave them and their allies a huge defense boost – the kind of elite enemy you'd want to rush down in a hectic fight. Back in Dragonspine, players had to collect crimson orbs in order to break or damage some barriers or enemies. And during the Hypostatic Symphony event, bosses not only had clear DPS windows, they also had attacks that could be canceled with a well-placed hit. Phew, that's like five more mechanics right there.
I could keep going – and I kind of want to, to be honest – but the point is clear. What started as a third-person action RPG about smashing elements together has evolved considerably. Elemental reactions are still important, but Genshin Impact has steadily pushed bespoke mechanics more heavily, with unique objects, limitations, and hazards playing a bigger and bigger part. If anything, the game seems to be accelerating, putting out weirder and often harder encounters with every update. As someone who's constantly looking for more ways to test the characters I've spent so much time building, this is all hugely exciting for me. When it launched, raids seemed like a far-off goal for Genshin Impact, but at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if we see something on that level sooner rather than later. Hell, I'll be surprised if we don't.