For almost two years of my Genshin Impact, um, career (for lack of a better word), I had proudly stayed F2P (free-to-play), AKA someone who doesn’t spend money in-game.
When my colleagues, friends, and family who also played the game would tell me about how they had spent money to pull (gamble) for a character, I’d crinkle my nose in disapproval.
Now, I’m not going to get into the whole “gacha is gambling and therefore designed to be bad and predatory” argument in this article, because while I agree, I believe how affected you are by gacha practices comes down to yourself too.
I myself have a somewhat impulsive nature (in spending and doing activities) when I’m in the right mood, especially for things that pique my interest.
But I’m still able to exercise a good amount of self-control to stop myself from “whaling”, or spending a lot on microtransactions and in-game purchases.
Admittedly, there’s no way of further explaining my thought process about this without sounding extremely “holier than thou”, so I’ll just share how and why I was able to resist the urge to gacha in Genshin Impact.
(For the context of this article, I’m talking purely about pulling for characters, not weapons, because that’s a whole different level of whaling to me.)
It all comes down to your mindset
How I navigated my F2P journey in Genshin Impact was by making sure I never ran out of Primogems, because if I never ran out of Primogems, I’d never have to buy more, right?
But there was more that went into building this mindset.
1. Know your faves, and pull only for them
My main point can pretty much be summed up to this: just identify your faves and keep your goals laser-focused on them.
Don’t let those other pretty or handsome characters sway you. You don’t need to have every single character because realistically, are you even going to play with them all?
Are you really willing to invest time, effort, and resources into building each one of them? Will they even suit your team builds?
And, for the record, “building pity” is absolute bullsh*t. You’re only going to make yourself upset when you actually pull the current limited banner character, and you’ll be left poorer in Primogems at the end of it.
2. While waiting, it’s okay to treat yourself, but just a little
This might seemingly contradict the above, but say I feel my hands getting a little itchy while waiting for my desired character’s banner.
Rather than completely holding myself back, which could lead to more self-sabotaging habits, I would restrict myself to just one 10-pull, or I’d pull on the standard banner with Acquaint Fates I already had.
In all, I’d be spending very few Primogems (maybe even none, if I already had converted Intertwined and Acquaint Fates).
Sometimes all we need to see is that one purple falling star to satisfy us and keep us holding on.
3. Remember that there will always be rerun banners
I recall the first limited five-star I wanted was Zhongli, back in December 2020. I did the whole shebang, standing with in-game friends in a specific area for some dumb pulling ritual.
I wished that I would get him, pulled, and got slapped in the face with a QiQi (no hate though, I love her now and can’t wait to C6 her one day).
Though I was extremely disappointed, I knew that my next five-star was now guaranteed, and I was already eyeing Xiao, who would be several months away.
Not to mention, I didn’t have enough Primogems left to hit guaranteed pity, as I could’ve easily done anywhere between another one to 90 pulls to even get my guaranteed Zhongli.
Hedging my risks and knowing that Zhongli would have a rerun banner (albeit much, much later), I continued saving for Xiao.
All this to say, it’s okay to lose the 50-50 the first time round, just be smarter with balancing your pity count and Primogems to get that character the next time. There will always be rerun banners, perhaps much sooner than you’d think, too.
4. Always try out a character before pulling for them
Yes, even if you think you already like them. Watching leaks doesn’t mean you actually know what a character would look and move like once they’re released, nor would you really know how nice they are to play with.
Honestly, most times, trying out a character would simply confirm that I do want them instead of the other way around.
But still, Genshin Impact literally rewards you for trying out a character first, so there’s no harm in taking them for a test run before spending your hard-earned Primogems.
5. Focus on the game’s other aspects, like exploring & co-op
There’s so much more to Genshin Impact than just being a waifu or husbando collecting game, but all the more power to you if that’s your ideal way of playing it.
I love my faves just as much as any other player does, but when I lose my 50-50 or run out of Primogems, I focus my energy on exploring, doing quests, and playing in co-op mode.
I simply don’t let myself mull over whether I should just drop a few hundred bucks into HoYoverse’s hand for the character I want, plus, I know there’s always another chance in the future.
6. Build your existing faves instead of always collecting new ones
I don’t have every five-star character in the game, nor do I want to have them. But when I lose the 50-50 for someone I really wanted, I remind myself that I still have a lot of faves whose builds I have yet to optimise.
Sometimes, they’ve even been put on the time-out bench for a long time because they hit the friendship XP cap, and I wanted to play with other characters.
But every time I take them back out, I’m reminded why I pulled for them in the first place, and suddenly not being able to get the shiniest new character I like doesn’t hurt as much anymore. It’s like a practice of gratitude.
Staying F2P doesn’t mean not getting what you want
With all the strategies above, I was able to obtain almost every single five-star character I wanted over the course of about two years, my latest acquisition being Cyno. (For those I’ve yet to get, like Yelan, I’m awaiting her rerun.)
Being F2P doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to having just one copy of a five-star character though, because understandably, some constellations for our faves are just too hard to resist.
I personally have acquired some constellations for Xiao and Zhongli, painstakingly so, by using the above methods and rolling for one constellation per rerun.
So, what ended my strong F2P run?
Skins. More specifically, Diluc’s Red Dead of Night skin. Yes… not a five-star character, not a five-star weapon, not even constellations.
You’re probably scratching your head in confusion now, but hear me out. Why I suddenly whaled for this skin was because, 1) skin hot, plus I love Diluc, 2) skin rare (it’s the first five-star skin released in the game), and 3) there was no gacha element of risk to it.
Number 3 is the most important distinction to me, because I knew that if I spent the displayed X amount, I would be guaranteed the skin. The same cannot be said about pulling for a character or their weapon.
Hence, with the lowered stakes, I was happy to whale for the first time. Or at least, become a dolphin. I’m not quite sure how much one needs to spend to qualify as a whale.
Even though I’ve now tasted the lifestyle of a whale, I’m not in any hurry to continue whaling, and I still can’t see myself whaling for characters or their weapons.
I’ve achieved all that while F2P, so I don’t see my now-revoked F2P status as permission to throw my life savings at the game.
The next time my bank sees an alarming burst of transactions to HoYoverse will likely only be when more character skins for my faves are released.
So, until then, I’ll continue saving up Primogems and playing the game the way I always have.
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