“The Spiral Abyss is one of the most effective ways [for] players [to] test out their party composition and combat strength,” HoYoverse said in a recent GameSpot interview. “If we design another type of permanent endgame that is similar to the Spiral Abyss, it might end up creating excessive anxiety for our players—not everyone is interested in Musk Reef.” The developer added that a previously announced permanent trading card game called Genius Invocation will come to the game very soon.
The Spiral Abyss is Genshin’s only endgame dungeon, which awards premium currency and other rewards based on your completion time. It’s a pure DPS check and a universally acknowledged method of testing the effectiveness of team compositions.
HoYoverse’s unwillingness to create new endgame modes is a huge disappointment to players (especially content creators) who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars into making their character the most powerful they can be. It’s also a blow to players who prefer challenging combat over story-focused content. The angriest fans feel that casual and competitive players should be catered to equally, a sentiment that feels somewhat ironic considering nobody is loudly standing up for casual players in any other live service game.
Some players felt the “excessive anxiety” HoYoverse cited isn’t a good enough justification. Content creator Enviosity pointed out that many players feel anxiety anyway due to Genshin’s “resin cap,” which is the maximum number of action points that you can accumulate over time. They also experience a “fear of missing out” from limited-time events (which are impossible to revisit after the event period) and gacha banners. Though, limiting anxiety is not the only reason HoYoverse is likely pivoting away from competitive modes (if you believe the studio was ever fully committed to that goal at all).
No, there’s a bigger reason why competitive players are being left behind—the larger casual gaming market is what allowed Genshin to grow into one of the biggest games in the world, and the developers know it. The competitive players are simply a much smaller (albeit louder) portion of the community. The company actively publishes more stats for fishing, cooking, mining, and house decoration compared to combat data, further highlighting the disparity among the types of players the developer caters to. Over time, its events also became friendlier to casual players who don’t have the time to dedicate to grinding or heavy combat strategy.
The problem is that Genshin tried to do too many things at the beginning. Still, it was a game that satisfied both story-focused players and people who enjoyed a relatively balanced, if imperfect, combat system. Even more competitive gamers became attached to it as a live service game. Now, some feel abandoned as the studio won’t even attempt to keep their interest.
The situation isn’t as simple as saying, “Genshin Impact was a casual game all along.”The problem is the equipment and monetization systems Genshin is built around were designed to retain the hardcore players who wanted to watch big numbers go up. For a while, it seemed that HoYoverse would be able to do both. Then the pandemic shutdowns happened, and the game fell behind schedule for the first time in its history. Now, Genshin has a dilemma: Dedicate resources to them, or cut them loose? The studio has made its choice clear.