Genshin Impact is gearing up to welcome Dehya as a new playable character, but for many players her impending release has been a source of disappointment rather than excitement, and those frustrations are boiling over in the game's Reddit community.
A reader alerted me to a comment (opens in new tab) from the official Genshin Impact account on a recent post sharing Dehya's ability and story preview, which arrived on the heels of her official character teaser (opens in new tab).
"Hello, Travelers! The character we are introducing today is a member of the Eremites, Dehya!" it reads. "Valiant and powerful, she enjoys great fame amongst her fellow Eremites. Let's learn more about Dehya's story."
The post itself is doing fine, but at the time of writing, this comment is sitting at -2,561 karma, which would put it around the middle of the pack on Reddit's (admittedly outdated) list of most-downvoted comments (opens in new tab). (Another recent comment about Kokomi's birthday is fairing positively, for reference, which supports the theory that this is very much Dehya-related.) It's not got a patch on EA's infamous post about "a sense of pride and accomplishment" in Star Wars Battlefront, but it's also probably not the enthusiasm Hoyoverse would want to see around new characters.
As you'd expect, the replies are not sunny.
"I'm honestly really disappointed in you Mihoyo," writes IriKnox (opens in new tab). "I've been with you since Honkai 3rd launched and have always admired your ability to make fun kits. But this? Fix this. You can do better. Unless you want the allegations of being racist to continue."
"'And powerful,'" writes Shradow (opens in new tab), quoting Hoyoverse's description of Dehya. "How dare you. Actually, keep going. Maybe you can get in trouble for false advertisement."
"I hate the fact that Hoyoverse made such a wonderful character like Dehya and then gave her the most trashy kit ever presented to us," says mylji (opens in new tab). "She deserves way better. Buff her."
"Please fix my queen, I'll do anything to save her," says another user (opens in new tab).
Unless you're up to date on Genshin Impact leaks, trailers, update 3.5, and/or the game's various controversies, this blowback might not make a lot of sense, so let me try to unpack this.
Dehya was introduced in-game several months back but only announced as a playable character about five weeks ago, and she wasn't officially shown as a unit until the recent update 3.5 special program. She's a cool mercenary who plays a significant role in the desert chapters of the Sumeru quests, and as one of the few dark-skinned characters in the game, Dehya quickly found a sizable following. Sadly, her reveal was not encouraging.
First of all, Dehya is going into the standard banner character pool, and since it's abundantly clear that standard characters are weaker than limited characters – Tighnari can't compete with Alhaitham, for example – this was a big red flag for Dehya's power level. As it happens, since the standard pool already has Diluc, who uses Pyro and a claymore just like Dehya, players have speculated that Dehya wasn't originally meant for the standard pool but ended up getting chucked into it after her design never coalesced throughout development, but that is pure and honestly fairly strained speculation. It seems more likely that Hoyoverse is looking to expand Genshin's standard pool after two years.
However, the design of Dehya's kit did pour fuel on the fire. She was seemingly built as an off-tank who can absorb some of the damage your on-field character receives, but this kind of defensive utility has never been highly valued in Genshin Impact since most enemies aren't a real threat and combat is all about killing things as fast as possible. Dehya's defense also appears demonstrably worse than a normal shield, seemingly putting her below the likes of four-star characters such as Diona, to say nothing of the five-star shield god Zhongli.
For many, the first official gameplay of Dehya in combat was the final straw. The 3.5 stream showed some of Dehya's attacks missing several enemies due to what looked like wonky targeting and reach, and when her damage numbers weren't hidden – a notable oddity for this sort of gameplay reveal – it was clear she doesn't hit very hard. Don't even get me started on the sad state of the Dehya Mains subreddit (opens in new tab), which has become a storm of commiseration and copium.
As for the accusations of racism, well, there are currently five dark-skinned characters in Genshin Impact and four of them – Xinyan, Candace, Cyno, and now Dehya – are regarded as underwhelming or outright terrible. It is a strange pattern, but there are plenty of other bad characters and this doesn't actually make Genshin Impact or Hoyoverse racist, but it is added disappointment for players interested in using characters who aren't white or white-passing.
Basically, a lot of people have waited a long time to play Dehya, but all signs point to her being one of the worst characters in the game, so now an official comment from Hoyoverse hyping her up has been straight-up powerbombed. I've reached out to Hoyoverse to see if it has any comment on Dehya's reception and will update if I hear back. In the meantime, all we can do is hope that she's decently usable once she's actually out.
Here are 6 things in Honkai: Star Rail, Hoyoverse's next game, that I want in Genshin Impact.