Ahead of the second wave of Genshin Impact update 1.3 festivities, MiHoYo has outlined (opens in new tab) the rules and prizes for the tower defense mode coming in the Lantern Rite festival, and it looks equal parts complex and rewarding.
The new game mode is called Theater Mechanicus and will open tomorrow, February 10, and run through February 28 (exact times vary based on server region). You can play solo or in two-player co-op. To play Theater Mechanicus, you'll need to craft and spend new Xiao Lanterns using materials obtained from harvestable plants, hilichurl and Fatui enemies, as well as harvestable ores and Geovishap enemies. You need to spend a lantern for each attempt regardless of whether you succeed, but it doesn't sound like they're too hard to make.
Theater Mechanicus follows standard tower defense rules for the most part: waves of enemies spawn in and move to an exit, and you place towers called Mechanici along their path to stall and destroy them before they get there. Each tower uses up some of a limited building resource called Veneficus points (which are shared in co-op) and you have a timed building phase before each wave. If too many monsters get through, you lose. The balance of monsters and towers changes between the game's six levels and eight difficulty settings, with the maximum difficulty tripling your rewards.
So far, so tower defense. What's really amazing is the depth and variety of the towers and rules in Theater Mechanicus. You can't attack the monsters in the mode yourself, so everything has to be handled with towers, and there's a staggering variety of the things. You've got hydro and pyro cannons for AoE, cryo and electro towers for single-target, and anemo towers with adjustable targeting. Then there are Veneficus generators, pyro tripmines, towers that buff other towers, and even mini teleporters. On top of that, every tower can be upgraded to level 10.
These gizmos also use the same elemental reactions as the main game, so there's a ton of room for theorycrafting and experimentation. You could combine hydro and cryo towers to freeze enemies in place, or put pyro cannons after cryo towers for huge melt damage. It sounds a lot like building a team for the main game, but with turrets. Really cool stuff.
Your reward for mastering Theater Mechanicus will be Peace Talismans, which you can then spend on "various rewards, including Crown of Insight and the namecard style "Celebration: Lantern-Light," MiHoYo says. You'll also need Peace Talismans to claim your free Liyue character in the Stand by Me event, and expect the usual medley of Primogems and materials as a bonus.
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