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Thoughts on Genshin Impact and what to anticipate for and to expect in the future
PreambleI'm going to talk about some of the community's sentiment towards Genshin Impact and what to anticipate for and to expect in the future from miHoYo and future games they release.
If you think this post is too long, at least skip to sections you might be interested in. Or to the last section and things that interest you in that section (11. My personal thoughts on what to anticipate for and to expect) I've removed a lot of hyperlinks to save on characters.
Very little people know about miHoYo's upcoming game, Project X:
Project X: Project X is a new ray-traced action shooter from popular anime game developer Mihoyo, coming in mid-2021. The game features next-gen anime-style rendering and advanced interactive physics on a spherical open-world planet.https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/news/gtc-china-2019-ray-tracing-games/
Relevant game experience
- I've been playing Honkai Impact 3rd (HI3) since it's global release back in March 2018 and am still playing/plan on playing until its story finishes, completely F2P
- I've dabbled in Guns GirlZ (miHoYo's game before HI3) a long time ago
- I go on the Google Play store and preregister any game that has anime aesthetics. I've tried playing any semi-popular gacha game you could think of
- I've tried and played a lot of MMOs
- I'm primarily a PC gamer (e.g. League of Legends since season 1)
PrefaceI'll be mainly drawing comparisons between GI and HI3 in the "My personal thoughts on what to anticipate for and to expect" section. As of writing this, GI is essentially how HI3 is in terms of the systems in place (and YouTube and social media). I'll also be basing what I anticipate for and expect of the game with what I've experienced in HI3.
I went into this game blind. I never played the Closed Beta Test (CBT), watched any gameplay of the CBT or read anything about the game besides what was on the official website.
I'd like to remind everyone that a subreddit is only a very small minority of the actual population of the user base a subreddit is about. Subreddits are almost always echo chambers for topics and tend to silence opposing opinions.
Companies are for profit. miHoYo is no exception. They know what they're doing to maximize profits. They had/have such a successful game with HI3 to convince investors to invest in the development of game. If you want things to change, you vote with your wallet.
Table of Contents
- Should I keep playing? (16 sec)
- Game release expectations (59 sec)
- What is Genshin Impact? (48 sec)
- "End game" (16 sec)
- Spiral Abyss & the "meta" (1 min 10 sec)
- Power creep (23 sec)
- Primo Gems, Gacha and Resin (2 mins 16 sec)
- Addressing community statements (4 mins 50 sec)
- Notoriety of miHoYo (26 sec)
- The future of Genshin Impact (35 sec)
- My personal thoughts on what to anticipate for and to expect (13 mins 42 sec, every unbolded point below totalled)
- Successful release (1 min 5 sec)
- System, QOL and in-game content changes and updates to anticipate for and expect (1 min 17 sec)
- Power creep (23 sec)
- Animations, music and story to anticipate for and expect (2 mins 3 sec)
- Nitpicks (38 sec)
- Addressing the player base that mainly play gacha games (4 mins 34 sec)
- Addressing the player base that mainly play PC games/MMOs (1 min 22 sec)
- Project X (16 sec)
- Final Thoughts (44 sec)
- Bias (19 sec)
- TL;DR (15 sec)
With all that out of the way, lets get started.
Should I keep playing?Do you still enjoy playing the game? If so, go ahead and continue to enjoy playing the game. If not, you might want to consider taking a break until new content comes out, or if there is a significant systematic change to the game.
There's nothing keeping you from not playing the game, you can always quit.
Game release expectationsFrom the general sentiment of Reddit and the first auto suggested result from Google, people expected GI to be an MMORPG-like game where you can play with your friends (like a typical MMORPG) but were confused about what Genshin Impact was/is once they started playing (specifically when they reached Adventure Rank (AR) 7).
If you're a person that falls into what I said above, you won't like hearing the following.
It's not miHoYo's fault, it's yours.
You were misled by the game's marketing when you could have done due diligence and researched details about the game beforehand (e.g by going on YouTube and finding out details about the game from their 3 closed betas).
An analogy to this is AMD vs Intel & AMD vs NVIDIA, where the three companies try to sell you their products with cherry picked performance numbers. The community always echos to "wait for the product to be released instead of pre-ordering" and "wait for 3rd party reviews".
When people have expectations and those expectations are broken, most of the time depending on context, all they're left with are negative feelings (e.g. disappointment) whether or not it's warranted.
But even though it's not miHoYo's fault, it's the company's job to keep their player base invested in their game, and by extension their company.
What is Genshin Impact?Genshin Impact is a mostly single player RPG with co-op elements. The game implements the gacha mechanic to get characters and weapons exclusive to gacha. The game also implements the typical stamina/energy mechanic in gacha games in the form of resin.
This is where a disconnect comes from. Typical PC gamers aren't able to endlessly grind the game to progress (I've played Black Desert Online starting in beta, I understand grinding; grinding for hours in the same location for a couple thousandths of a percentage of character experience points per mob kill) while gacha gamers don't like the gacha system in place due the system being worse than other gacha games in terms of the resin recharge rate and gacha rates.
But people still play GI as there are various reasons why people like playing this game e.g.:
- Open world
- Characters they like
"End game"A lot of people on this subreddit are probably at the point in the game where there's no more story content to do, and all they're doing are:
- Daily commissions
- Farming materials (mats) in the world
- Using naturally regenerated resin to get domain-only mats & world boss mats
- Doing the "real end game" of GI, Spiral Abyss.
Spiral Abyss & the "meta"Spiral Abyss is currently the end game of GI due to its difficulty and rewards. Once you're able to fully clear the Spiral Abyss, you're free to do whatever you want in the game (though you've always been free to do whatever you want) for now (until they release something else that replaces Spiral Abyss as the end game).
This brings me to the "meta" and tier lists. You can have a tier list with ratings for multiple categories (e.g. exploration, aesthetics, etc.). But generally when you see a tier list for GI, it's going to be about how strong characters are in combat, and specifically the Spiral Abyss. There are world bosses too, but they currently seem to scale off of AR and what the game thinks how strong your characters should be at that AR. Comparing this to the Spiral Abyss where it requires you to max out your characters, weapons and artifacts. All this results in the "meta", which is what characters are optimal in clearing the Spiral Abyss.
But the game as it is right now has nothing that pits players against each other (typically in the form of a leader board), so the "meta" doesn't matter.
The Spiral Abyss as we know of now will have their mobs change over time. This will require you at a base level to have one main damage character of each element maxed out.
Note the existence of a timer in Spiral Abyss. You need to be able to do enough damage within the time constraints to clear floors. Doing damage sells.
Power creepAs the story progresses, characters developt and characters are bound to get stronger. The characters available now are inevitably going to be power crept by newer (and existing) characters.
If there is (or isn't) a mechanic in the game (e.g. shields, attack speed, etc.), miHoYo will make characters, weapons, artifacts and mobs that revolve around that mechanic.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is the go to example of power creep for every game.
The more text and conditions there are in a description, the more power crept the thing is
Primo Gems, Gacha and ResinHere's every post I read about the topic, and a couple comment threads in each (sorted by upvotes):
https://www.reddit.com/Genshin\_Impact/comments/jo9d9d/the\_5\_rate\_is\_not\_uniform\_06\_there\_is\_a\_soft\_pity/You have gacha games where there's a higher gacha rate, but then you see/know of people that have spent multiple times the expected pull rate currency amount without getting what they wanted.
You also have to take into account what you're getting out of a character in GI (explained later on in Addressing the player base that mainly play gacha games).
The stamina mechanic in GI is in the form of the resin system. Resin is the cost for a lot of in-game content that rewards progression mats (e.g. talent books, mora, etc.). The cost of a resin refill increases over time, futher discouraging players from progressing faster than at the rate miHoYo set the recharge rate to.
This is really interesting because in combination with the relative low gacha rates of 0.5% for a 5⭐ and 5.1% for a 4⭐ with characteweapon progression being stunted by resin, it discourages a vast majority of the player base to spend money and wish because they wouldn't even be able to use their newly wished character unless they already had the mats.
This is what the system in place is trying to do. It's getting players to play the game once or twice a day, for 20-30 minutes for daily commissions and using resin.
This is what you see for the stamina mechanic typically implemented in gacha games, but to the extreme to discouraging players from playing more and progressing more than the amount the system intends.
How you enjoy the game is your preference and might not be the same for others, whether you enjoy grinding for hours and hours, or enjoy playing for a couple minutes to a couple hours every day. This typically correlates to the amount of time a person can allocate throughout a day.
One thing I'd like to point out are people saying that there's nothing to do outside of resin. What they typically mean is that there's no activity that "directly contributes to instantly progress my characters/weapons/artifacts". You can spend hours and hours traversing the world, fighting mobs and collecting mats from them, collecting mats in the world, challenging the Spiral Abyss, etc.. Look at Enviosity on Twitch for example (nice fire tornado).
Having options is nice.
Which brings me to...
Addressing community statementsI'll reiterate that I thoroughly read every post and a couple of the top comment threads of each post. There are a lot of valid complaints about the game and great suggestions for the game.
The three things that ticked me off the most are the statements/imperatives that:
- Because miHoYo targeted/appealed GI to the global main stream audience on Android and iOS, alongside releases on PC and PS4 (and eventually the Nintendo Switch), it puts GI in some upper echelon AAA tier, so the gacha mechanic causes the game to have an identity crisis
- Tell other people "how to play the game" on the basis of their own preferences, leading to obvious hypocrisy
- Generalistic statements about different subsets of the player base with no explanation and making sweeping assumptions based on statements
First things first is that a lot of these statements are black-and-white, but the topic they're making these statements about aren't. This means these statements are wrong and misleading. These statements typically have the person:
- Stating things are mutually exclusive, when they aren't
- Claims that are relative, without providing a (absolute) basis to be relative to
I assume what people typically think when they think of an AAA game is a game that takes the limits of what computer hardware at the time can provide (depending on platform) and implements that in the game. They can do so because there's money to do so. This can also correlate to the amount of money used in marketing or the existing franchise itself (if a franchise is popular, it has innate marketing in it's fan base).
From what I've stated above, do I consider GI an AAA game for the global main stream audience? Yes.
So assuming GI is an AAA game for the main stream audience, then comes the statement/sentiment that because it implements the gacha mechanic, the game has an identity crisis.
Being an AAA game and having the gacha mechanic aren't mutually exclusive. I've already proven it above by stating GI is an AAA game from the definition provided.
The gacha mechanic is specifically about spending a currency to randomly receive an object (capsule-toy vending machine). The gacha mechanic is essentially the loot box mechanic found in many AAA western games.
The resin system GI has in place is not the gacha mechanic. It's the stamina/energy mechanic you typically see in mobile gacha games to stunt progression until it regenerates over time, typically allowing players to pay a currency to recharge/refresh stamina/energy.
And the same as before, being an AAA game and having a stamina mechanic aren't mutually exclusive.
It's an AAA game with the gacha mechanic and stamina mechanic, there's no identity crisis. miHoYo knows what they're doing.
Does the stamina mechanic detract from the game? You have a subset of the players that typically have played games that can be played for hours and hours upon end that don't like this system because they can't progress at the rate they want. You have a subset of the players that typically play gacha games that don't like how slow the resin recharge rate and high resin recharge is, relative to what they've experienced.
Does the gacha mechanic detract from the game? You have a subset of the players that typically have played games that can be played for hours and hours upon end to get things they want. You have a subset of the players that typically play gacha games that don't like how the gacha mechanic is implemented, typically complaining about the gacha rates.
The answers to the two questions above are completely subjective (the person's preferences), and you'll see that a subset of the extremes for the two types of players I mentioned (the "far PC gamer" and the "far gacha gamer") are the ones that express the most issue with the game, and in the form of black-and-white statements.
Which all comes back to "the main stream audience", "casual audience", whatever term you want to use. I mentioned before "that a subreddit is only a very small minority of the actual population of the user base a subreddit is about. Subreddits are almost always echo chambers for topics and tend to silence opposing opinions."
When you take a look at who's writing these posts/threads/articles/etc., they aren't a part of the "main stream audience". They might think they are, but they're assuming the main stream audience has the same gaming tendencies they do.
But then here comes the grey. You have players that are okay with the system in place, which I'll address in point 3.
The far ends of the player base have specific preferences on how they want the game to work. A subset of them don't like this, so they express so. But in a lot of instances, they think/make negative comments on the people that have opposing preferences (or don't mind the system in place).
A subset of the far ends put down how these players enjoy the game, and at the same time are defensive at how they typically enjoy games and simultaneously push their preferences/views on other people.
This is hypocrisy.
Finally, for some of the people that make these statements on social media or to people that think this way.
Do they actually read what the people that oppose their thoughts and opinions say or do they see a post on Reddit/a headline somewhere, glance at the title, notice it's not attacking the system, and not read the post at all or to try and understand where the opposing side is coming from?
A person making a factual statement (or a subjective statement) does not mean they are defending or attacking the statement's various opinions around the statement's topic.
For example, I could say that "I like X bubble tea made by Y store". The statement does not:
- Defend, support or attack Y store/X bubble tea
- Defend, support or attack people that don't like bubble tea/X bubble tea/Y store
- Say that X bubble tea/Y store can/can't be better
Notoriety of miHoYoFrom what the Chinese community have said about miHoYo, the gist is that miHoYo has a monopoly on high quality gacha games. HI3 was released in 2016 in China, and the only game that matches or beats its quality today is GI, Punishing: Gray Raven (released December 2019; in essence HI3 with Nier aesthetics) and X2: Eclipse (currently in CBT). As such, miHoYo sets up a system to really encourage (using predatory tactics to entice) users to spend money to progress (e.g. progression of collecting characters, maxing out characters, etc.) in anything but the story.
The future of Genshin ImpactI see GI, and by this extension this subreddit, like Fire Emblem Heroes. Initially the community was full of life e.g. strategy guides, fan art, cosplay, etc.. But due to decisions to maximize profit, the game died off and only a smaller dedicated fan base is left.
GI was released during a pretty optimal time. Other major games weren't releasing or were delayed when GI was released (Cyberpunk 2077 being released in 2077?), so the game's still on the top of everyone's attention. Once other games of the same or higher quality come out (mainly Blue Protocol, but unknow global release date, and isn't the same genre of game as GI), the player base of Genshin Impact might lower or won't spend as much money, forcing miHoYo to take action.
My personal thoughts on what to anticipate for and to expectIf you reached this part (or skipped to this part), it probably means you're going to continue playing GI for now and want to know what to anticipate for and to expect.
But first, I don't think the points I mentioned in The future of Genchin Impact will happen to GI due to its high quality.
The release of GI was great (US$245 million in the first month, sure if it takes into account every platform), but I personally expected more in terms of quality of the game and content since HI3 was already the highest quality gacha game until now (my criteria under Addressing the player base that mainly play gacha games). Though they're killing it in the music department.
You have to realize how successful the release of this actually game was, and by extension HI3.
This game has no previous franchise that automatically gives it a huge dedicated fan base. When I say huge, I am talking about the likes of, Fate/Grand Order (F/GO) with the Fate franchise, any mobile game based off a huge/popular anime/manga franchise, any typical PC/console game that's based off a huge/popular franchise, etc..
For how high quality the game is, HI3 must have done pretty good to convince investors to invest in GI with GI's US$100 million development cost.
Note that GI is aimed towards the main stream audience (your typical PC gamer and mobile gamer). HI3 specifically to mobile gamers (until they added a PC port). Also, the genre is a huge part in the popularity of HI3. Fantasy is more popular than sci-fi.
It's up to miHoYo to retain their player base for GI and for their future products.
System, QOL and in-game content changes and updates to anticipate for and expect
Almost all the quality of life changes that're applicable to GI and HI3 are already in HI3 e.g.:
- Upcoming Archive System
- Locking weapons and artifacts
- Characters having load outs for weapons and artifacts (no longer will you need to search for artifacts when testing/swapping artifacts)
- Higher FPS options over 60fps
- Changing key bindings
- Weapons change how they look after being fully upgraded
- Item descriptions
- CEO of miHoYo in the game, throwing HOMUs at you (HI3's iconic mascot)
- I wouldn't be surprised if Diona's eyes glow in the dark like a cat
- Character Collected Miscellanies, Character Tales
- OST releases
- 2D/3D animations
- Major story/version updates
- Multi language content
- Art contests
Expect to see the things that GI hasn't done yet but have done for HI3 (not in any specific order):
- New game modes/content
- New weapons
- New outfit showcases (HI3 has a magazine styled demo for new outfits on YouTube, but I don't think they'd do the same for GI), depending on the tier of outfit they can change how character abilities look and sound, and the character's animations and voice lines
- Customizable housing
- Official wallpapers on their website
- Short animated series' on YouTube
- Event websites that may/may not contain contests
- More contests (e.g. cosplay)
- Seasons changing
I touched on this before. In HI3, miHoYo started releasing character specific weapons and artifacts. Because of this, it stripped out any real strategy out of weapons and artifacts. Genshin Impact seems to be different since there're no artifacts locked behind gacha. All the unique strengths of characters are dumped into their constellations.
If characters are power crept, expect miHoYo to do something to make the characters that were power crept more relevant, typically correlating the the progression of the story and its characters.
Animations, music and story to anticipate for and expect
It's the resounding sentiment of the HI3 fan base of "when is an anime for HI3 coming out?". The story of HI3 started in 2016 and is said to progress for 3 more years until a new arc/story takes place. There is so much content in the main story and side storys that can span multiple seasons for an anime.
I'm reiterating that the story of GI is the main point of the game. I'm worried they won't do anything unique or special (unlike HI3) outside of your typical fantasy/RPG story plot lines since this game is aimed towards the main stream audience.
miHoYo has their own music label HOYO-MiX. and their own animation studio miHoYoAnime (they've previously outsourced help). They've produced/are producing banger OSTs and animations. In HI3, when there's a major character development arc, they come out with a banger animated short with a banger song (with lyrics) for that animated short for that character. They sometimes do this for events e.g. (spoiler alert for everything except the last video):
- https://youtu.be/\_J7Ppq2ZShs, the ED of Cooking with Valkyries S2 sung by the 花玲 / Huā Líng, the Chinese voice actress for Klee and Theresa Apocalypse in HI3
The difference in GI and HI3 is that HI3's main story isn't canon with the existence of the player (captain). It's like a story book. The manga (and short visual novels) are the same. HI3 has an alternative universe that involves the player that comes in the form of in game event stories (with all the event stories following the same story). GI seems to be reversed. We're playing GI with the player (traveler) that's canon to the main story of GI. The manga is not canon with the traveler. You'll need to read the manga if you want to know everything about the GI world.
The problem is that I don't know how there's going to be an epic anime-style animation/song for now since the story revolves around the player travelling to different regions. We don't have enough story and character development with the different characters in the game, so there won't be any animation/song that can evoke any strong emotions.
There're songs/OSTs in HI3 that are sorely missing on their official YouTube and/or Spotify/Apple Music:
You can find GI's songs/OSTs here:
- I wish some in game resources that load into the game were higher resolution so that they wouldn't be pixelated when I look at them
- The character models in GI are the same quality as HI3, except GI has better lighting probably due to a newer game engine (HI3 was released in 2016).
- There's a disparity between content that's advertised for the Chinese community and the global community, even though it's available for everyone. You'll only know about it if you randomly read something online that mentions it (e.g. MMD 3D models)
Addressing the player base that mainly play gacha games
The gacha rates for 5⭐ and 4⭐ characters and weapons are low compared to other gacha games.
Now actually consider what you get from the characters (weapons give you higher stats):
- A high quality 3D model & animations
- A playable character
- A vast array of character voice lines from amazing voice actors/actresses in English/Japanese/Chinese/Korean
GI on the other hand beats every other gacha game out of the water, with in my opinion the 4⭐ characters being the actual stars of the show (but not Bennett, sorry Bennett).
miHoYo invests in their characters that make you like them.
There are other reasons to play a game as I stated previously besides what you typically do for gacha games (e.g. collecting characters/weapons, auto-battling etc.).
There are a lot of gacha games out there in a saturated market and the vast majority of them all follow the same gacha system. It might be a good idea to think about the game you're going to download and play because of the game publisher's marketing, and whether to invest time and resources into it because they're so many other games in the same genre.
To do so, you have to think about a game in a more critical manner outside of the content of the game.
Of course, if a game as a monopoly of the genre (GI being the only open world gacha game), there's no other choice.
What I look for in a gacha game before even trying to play it is:
- Game optimization
- Game UI/design
- Audio quality
- Gameplay/gameplay quality
- The game producer's past history and tendencies
If I a game runs poorly and is unoptimized even though other more demanding games run better, I have no reason to invest in the game.
One example that falls into this category is the gacha game that's been recently released called Illusion Connect. The game doesn't run on Android 11 at the time of writing is, with their support saying it's because Android 11 is too new:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.superprism.illusion&hl=en\_CA&gl=US&reviewId=gp%3AAOqpTOFC-IBCuWinIURXdr3ZpChpbtlWdmQuM9kseAkpR0\_1LHfpyOZN3qb\_edaM76jOQqVcV2cOgdea5LL70QLook at every other game that runs on Android 11. Look at GI that runs great on mobile.
If the game UI/design is bad, I don't invest in the game. You can search online on what makes good game design/UI, but a couple points for me are:
- Consistent style/design
- Clean/uncluttered UI
- Proper UI scaling on devices
- Animations/transition animations
- Difficulty in getting to different parts of the UI/game due to how things are organized
In terms of gacha games, you'll typically have characters that are drawn by different artists, causing a discrepancy in what you consider a character's art to be in terms of quality. This can be jarring for players.
For example, F/GO has bad UI:
- The majority of UI elements are needlessly large, though you may like this yourself
- It takes many traverses through different UI levels/layers to get to specific things, in part due to large UI elements taking up screen space
- a lot of UI animations aren't smooth, and vary in smoothness causing inconsistency
I'm specifically talking about the quality of audio:
- Good stereo audio and depth
- Audio bitrate
- Quality of sound effects
You then have extras like songs and original sound tracks (OSTs).
The vast majority of gacha games follow the same setup:
- Advertise the game primarily with art/animation, and not the actual game/gameplay, which means they're clearly enticing players to play their game to collecting characters -> gacha
- Turn-based strategy in the form of two teams of characters fighting, having auto-battle as an option
- Use of low quality 2D sprites/3D models
The game producer's past history and tendencies
If a game passes every previous check, then I'll look at the game producer's past history and tendencies to assume what to expect of the game.
I'm looking at F/GO once again. The game's the top grossing gacha game in the world, yet the game producer doesn't update the game and it's UI to be better or higher quality.
I put gacha games on par with high profile PC games. I'm not going to be wasting time and resources on a low quality game that I'm looking to invest in for an extended period of time.
The following, most notable gacha games to me that fit the criteria above are:
- GI [miHoYo Limited]
- HI3 [miHoYo Limited]
- Exos Heroes [LINE Games], bad optimization. pay a lot to progress in story
- Arknights [Yostar Limited.], not into the gameplay, don't like the 2D sprites/animations used in the gameplay
- Azur Lane [Yostar Limited.], same as Arknights
Addressing the player base that mainly play PC games/MMOs
I suggest reading the section above.
Welcome to the gacha mechanic and stamina mechanic.
As long as miHoYo generates their intended profit, you'll be stuck with these two mechanics in their current state if you continue playing.
I suspect they're so restrictive on resin so the player doesn't get bored with the game (less time played = less bored of seeing/doing the same things) since there is a lack of end game content that will hopefully get resolved in the future as they add more to the game.
Feel free to disagree with me.
There are other aspects of the game to enjoy.
The gacha mechanic isn't a bad model for a game depending on how it's set up, and whether you're talking about the perspective of the player or game producer. In terms of the game producer, the gacha mechanic is great for profit.
This is probably your first time playing a gacha game and knowing about the company miHoYo. Companies don't owe you anything, and you're not a long time fan of miHoYo to warrant being owed to.
This isn't like living in a country where if you don't like something about the country, (most of the time) you are stuck in the country. It's a game and you're welcome to not play it.
This is the only time I mention in post that this AAA level game is free to play.
Everything I've stated previously says that GI discourages you from wishing and spending primo gems on resin refreshes. It makes people that really want a charactecharacters and/or really want to progress in the game spend money, so it's even more on them if they do spend money.
This game will last a while, and there is a lot of content coming up.
I'm leaning towards the game being a story based game with the gacha mechanic for characters and weapons. I learn towards this because of the proven successful game model miHoYo's used. On the other hand it could be a PvP shooter with a cosmetics shop. It's really up in the air for me until we get more news.
miHoYo is one of my favourite game companies to date from the experience I had with HI3 and now GI. miHoYo has done what I've always wanted in a game (until Matrix levels of technology come out), which is a high quality 3D anime-style open world story-driven RPG with tons of great out-of-game content. For me, the story & character development takes priority over to everything else (then the music and animations).
One of the big things miHoYo did that propelled my opinion of them is their creating of a PC port of HI3 with higher quality graphics settings. They didn't need to, but they did because they could and a subset of the player base wanted it.
You can read a brief history of miHoYo, their CEO, and their games from:
You might think that because I like miHoYo, that I'm bias towards them, that everything/a lot of things I've said is invalidated. That's where you're wrong kiddo. Just because I'm bias towards miHoYo doesn't mean everything/a lot of things I've said is invalidated (liking the games miHoYo have produced and the things they've done in the games and out of the games). They aren't mutually exclusive.
- Expectations can completely make or break a person's initial and ongoing experience with something whether the expectations were warranted or not
- If you don't like something or want something, voice your opinion but don't attack people with opposing opinions because you don't agree with them
30 Korean dramas in 3 months - language learning experiment
OK, so I watched 30 Korean dramas in 3 months. Really. Didn't watch any before that (love TV series in general, though) partially for more unbiased results in this project. Below are my findings to share with other Korean language learners, but mostly for me to keep as a diary of my learning progress.
Little background on my Korean language learning experience prior to the experiment.
Years learning: 1.5
Level: lower-intermediate. Level 7 with TTMIK, level 3A with Sejong Korean (tests here and here).
Main study course: TTMIK Essential Korean courses. Tried LingoDeer, Duolingo, Howtostudykorean, but eventually decided to stick to TTMIK as the best guide for me at a time. About 50% of my time is 'traditional' learning with textbooks and audio courses, the other 50% is Korean music and videos.
Strong/Weak areas: I feel like I advanced too much and too quickly in grammar, but seriously lacking in vocabulary and speaking. Although I may know all the word meanings and grammatical structures when I listen to a sentence, I don't know which words to use in the most natural way to form my own sentences. Many things are more understandable in writing rather than spoken. I made good progress with grammar, so now I am able to recognize tenses, particles, differentiate verb/noun endings, and got used to word order in sentences. I am also comfortable with verb conjugations, so now I can conjugate from dictionary form to required form, and back. BUT! all these actions require time to think, which makes listening and speaking difficult. I need to pause videos a lot when listening to native speech and 'make calculations' in my head before the meaning reaches me. Lack of vocabulary also makes speech blurry, so I often understand only a couple of words per sentence.
ExperimentPurpose 1: improve Korean language listening and expand vocabulary
Purpose 2: try out comprehensible input learning. If the results are good, switch to this strategy.
I started this project in beginning of May. Overall during 3 months, I put grammar learning courses on hold and almost completely focused on dramas. I was exposed to Korean speech for about 8-10 hrs per day, but it almost didn't feel like 'studying'. Depending on a drama, it took me about 2-3 days to complete 16 (sometimes more) hours of one series, after which I had review session and moved on to the next one. After couple of months I figured out the most effective way for me to organize the whole process, and the first and very important point is tools/resources.
- Naver Korean-English Dictionary (I use IOS app). Probably familiar to any Korean language learner, but still worth mentioning here. An essential, it has everything you need to learn new words, usage, pronunciation, and commonly used phrases. The only drawback I noticed is that it works best from Korean to English, but not always the other way around. A lot of times when I hear the word but don't know the exact spelling, I try typing it's English meaning, but can't find the word that way. The dictionary also doesn't always recognize conjugated verbs and phrases correctly, so I use Papago for that.
- For watching dramas, Viki is my to-go site because of one of the best tools for Korean learners called Learn mode. It simply doubles subtitles (Eg. English and Korean) at one screen, so you see both at the same time. My progress jumped up since I discovered this feature because I was able to check out new words with Korean spelling in the dictionary without switching the subtitles. The mode allows word-by-word translation on mouse click, which is very convenient if there are a lot of words you don't know. The only drawback is that not every drama has this mode on, and some dramas have it only for number of series.
- NflxMultiSubs extention for Chrome Netflix (Netflix Multi. Subtitles). Although not as good as Learn mode, it does the job of displaying subtitles for two languages, which is still very helpful.
- Notepad and camera to write down/screenshot vocabulary.
Learning processBecause one of the purposes of experiment was to expand vocabulary, at first I tried to write down as much new words as possible to memorize them later. I later realised that the process of pausing the video, looking the word up in the dictionary and writing it down in my notepad everytime I met a new word was inconvenient and discouraging. In addition I couldn't remember everything I wrote down anyway, so I changed the method to memorizing the most-common key words/phrases first, and then noting them down in the notepad. Such words either appear very frequently, or have particular focus in the series, and therefore are memorable enough for me to remember. After I have a general idea of what the word means when hearing it, I check it out in the dictionary and take a screenshot (camera shot of subtitles for phrases and fixed expressions). Later when the series is finished, I review all the screenshots and write down the translation or explanation in the notebook. This method allows me to spend less time during watching and more time during reviewing the words.
Overall, the working process looks like this: New drama -> Word repeated several times, picked up the general meaning -> Look up in the dictionary -> Screenshot -> Drama ends -> Write down and review all screenshots -> New drama
- One month in. General level of understanding without any subtitles is probably less than 10%. Words learned - 40. Too many unknown words so it is hard to pick up. I often end up just reading English subtitles without noticing. Picked up short colloquial phrases. Noticed I am able to predict some lines in Korean correctly from translated subtitles. Can de-conjugate word back to dictionary form and look it up. Can spell some words correctly by hearing it, but sometimes it takes couple of tries.
- Two months in. Found Viki and double subtitles. Level of understanding - about 15-20%. Words learned - 97. Got to learn a lot of vocab because of double subtitles that I coudn't differentiate before. I can clearly hear the words once I learn them in all previous videos. Some words and phrases of similar meaning are confusing, need to listen more. A lot of everyday phrases are on the tip of my tongue now. Sometimes talk to myself in short Korean phrases. Started dreaming in Korean.
- Three months in. Level of understanding - sometimes feels like 10%, other times more like 80%. Words learned - 104. Sometimes without subtitles I have difficulties understanding the meaning of the phrase although I know all the words in it. Pronouns are omitted, so who did the action (me or you?), positivity of the action (did or didn't?). Noticed that I know many phrases, verb conjugations and numbers naturally now, without the need to remember conjugation rules. Phrases and words in Korean emerge first now when I want to speak or speak to myself. Speed of understanding increased, I don't need so much time to 'calculate', the meaning comes right away. Listening skills improved as well, I can spell a lot of unknown words correctly by hearing them. Many frequently-used grammar points 'settled in' in my head better with listening practice.
- Total number of dramas watched: 30. Number of words acquired: 241 (not including phrases and fixed expressions). Vocabulary test at the 3-months mark shows 85% of words retention. Considering that I didn't use any memorization techniques, didn't revise them a lot, and didn't make any specific effort on learning them, I think this is a great result. A lot of words and phrases I learned are associated with a picture, sound or context in my head, which helps remembering better. Although 241 words in 3 months is not that many as it could be with traditional learning, I feel more confident when listening because these are one of the most commonly used.
ConclusionsAfter 3 months of intensive Korean language immersion with Korean dramas, I came to following conclusions.
- Comprehensible input really works. My listening, speaking, and vocabulary improved a lot during this project. Korean speech has become almost 'comfortable' for me to listen to, so now I don't have to focus intensely to understand what is being said. Also, comprehensible input works suprisingly well for cursing, which is not something you can learn from courses or textbooks (I now have a general idea of Korean bad words hehe)
- However, for this input technique to work most effectively, I need to listen actively, i.e. pay attention to what exactly is said and try to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words. It works best when watching the show again without subtitles when I already know the storyline and context and can focus on Korean. I also do a lot of rewinding to listen to a phrase several times until it settles. If I listen passively I just read English subtitles, although entertaining, there is not much progress in learning.
- Acquiring is more effective than memorizing for me. A lot of times after I learn 'new' word from drama, I find it in my older notebooks and records, which means I tried to memorize it already but coudln't retain it. In dramas a lot of everyday expressions are repeated a lot in the same context, which helps remembering it effortlessly. Now when I try to speak (with myself mostly), the sentences come up naturally, because I've heard the particular phrases used in similar situations. I also often find myself knowing the meaning of the word and the situations it is usually used in, but not being able to translate it to English.
- The most helpful dramas for beginning are the ones with double subtitles, modern day language, and more everyday subjects. Dramas of such genres as romance, comedy, melodramas, and school work the best. Historical, criminal, political, and medical dramas may be too advanced for beginners, but they are quite good to pick up some vocabulary in various areas.
Edit - Drama recommendationsOk, so for language learning, these are my favorites (mostly romance, comedies, fantasy and suspense, available on Viki) :
- Healer (all-time favorite)
- Korean odyssey (mystical vocab)
- Suspicious partner (criminal, law vocab)
- While you were sleeping (criminal, law vocab)
- W - two worlds (publishing, literature vocab)
- Chicago typewriter (publishing, literature vocab)
- Wok of love (cooking vocab)
- Weightlifting fairy Kim Bokjoo (school, sports, general vocab)
- The light in your eyes/Radiant (one of the best stories from the list)
- Crash landing on you (on Netflix, no double subtitles, a lot of North Korean dialect + military style speech)
- Descendants of the sun (military speech and medical vocab)
- Romance is a bonus book (on Netflix, no double subtitles, publishing, literature vocab)
- Prison playbook (on Netflix, no double subtitles, prison and sports vocab, lisp and also cursing)
- Chief kim (business/accounting/office vocab)