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Genshin Impact update 1.3: new 5-star Xiao, choose a free character, and play tower defense

Genshin Impact update 1.3 is packing new 5-stars, free 4-stars, a suite of events, and a surprise tower defense challenge.

Update 1.3 was officially revealed this morning through a Chinese live stream ahead of the English stream coming later today, and developer MiHoYo also released an English trailer that hits the main beats. The headlining event for update 1.3 is the Lantern Rite, which will see Liyue done up in New Year-style festival decorations. It's split into several sub-events: All That Glitters, Lantern Rite Tales, Theater Mechanicus, and the Xiao Market. We're still waiting on details for most of these sections, but we do know that Theater Mechanicus is a new tower defense-style challenge that lets players build, place, and fight alongside towers in a grid-like arena. 

The new 5-star character Xiao is a central focus of the update, and will also receive his own story quest. Naturally, Xiao is one of the two 5-star characters who will receive rate-up banners in update 1.3, with the second apparently being the vanilla character Keqing. Heavily datamined character Hu Tao seems to be coming in a future update, but with Keqing's banner coming just two weeks after Xiao's, she may appear in the final two weeks of update 1.3

To ring in the event and make Xiao more obtainable, all players will receive 10 free rate-up Wishes in update 1.3. Two new 5-star weapons were also shown: the Staff of Homa spear previously seen in Hu Tao's hands, as well as a Primordial Jade sword that looks just like Xiao's spear. 

Genshin Impact update 1.3

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Other mini-events will also dish out freebies and bonus loot. A giveaway called Stand by Me will let all players choose one free 4-star character from the Liyue gang: Xiangling, Xinyan, Beidou, Ningguang, Xingqiu, and Chongyun. The Five Flushes of Fortune event is every photo mode lover's dream and will reward Primogems and leveling materials for well-composed shots taken with the in-game camera. Next is Vishaps and Where to Find Them, an Adventure Guild event tied to new Geovishap mini-bosses, to say nothing of the new Geovishap world boss which seems to drop materials for Xiao and other new characters. Ley Lines are also getting an event of their own: your first three Ley Lines per day will award double loot for what looks like a full month beginning in update 1.3.

Additional changes and quality of life features were revealed in the Chinese live stream. As MiHoYo previously teased, update 1.3 will introduce a new crafting material called Dust of Azoth that lets you convert elemental crystals to other elements. You can turn a hydro chunk into a pyro chunk using nine of this dust, for instance. The Japanese Genshin Impact Twitter also revealed a new gadget called the Parametric Transformer that lets you convert surplus items into leveling materials. In the Chinese stream, we saw a player convert 150 Sweet Flowers into a batch of XP cards and talent books. 

Update 1.3 will start on February 3, but you can already claim some free stuff by redeeming these codes through your MiHoYo account for a total of 300 Primogems:

  • jsSK8n23jzR
  • dU2mhjQL1ZT
  • nBEm3myAL2b

Genshin Impact update 1.3 will also add more free Fragile Resin for all players. 

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.