Here is some info about how convoluted the Genshin monetization and wishing (gambling) system is:
You can buy genesis crystals with real money. They come in amounts like 6480 for $100. I’m not sure that’s the exact amount because I’ve never bought anything and they use weird numbers on purpose. They also sell some smaller packages (e.g. $10 or $50) that give you slightly fewer genesis crystals per dollar.
The first time you buy a package you get double. I believe this applies to each package type. E.g. you can spend $50 and get double, and later spend $100 and get double. I don’t think this is clearly labelled and I assume many people don’t know it and buy the $100 first to avoid wasting their doubling on a smaller amount.
You can also buy Welkin Moon which is $5 to get you 90 primogems per day that you log in for a month. It’s a better deal but only lets you put a little money into the game over time and requires logging in daily to get full value. You also get 300 genesis crystals right away so the total ends up being 3000 IIRC.
And you can buy the Battle Pass for $10 which lasts around 45 days and gets you various rewards but you have to actually play a lot to get the rewards.
Genesis crystals can buy primogems at a 1 for 1 ratio. You also earn primogems by playing the game. also you can buy character skins for genesis crystals but not for primogems.
160 primogems buys a wish. There are two types of wishes, intertwined fates (red) and acquaint fates (blue). I might have the names slightly wrong and might have reversed the colors. I think of them primarily by color. red are the higher value wishes which are less commonly given out as in-game rewards (besides earning primogems sometimes you can also earn fates directly sometimes).
Earning primogems in game is carefully limited. You can’t just play more hours to get more. You primarily get them from single-use stuff (like finding all the chests in an area, and each chest will give 2-5 or maybe it’s 1-5 or 1-10 or something idk exactly, and the chests never respawn) or time limited stuff (they do a lot of temporary events). There are also 4 random daily quests you can do for a total of 60 primogems.
Primogems buy other stuff besides wishes. They also buy resin refreshes. Resin is a time gate mechanism that limits your access to playing various parts of the game that are important for leveling up your characters and weapons. You get 1 resin per 8 minutes, which is 180 per day, and you can hold 160 max (any extra is wasted) so you have to play a little bit more often than once a day to avoid wasting any resin. You can get some extra resin from in game activities, but only in pretty small amounts. However, you can get an extra 60 resin from spending primogems, and this is limited to 6 times per day (so you can get 180 regular resin + 360 from primogem refreshes), which means you can make triple progress if you spend the max. The price of resin refreshes increases as you do more of them in the same day. I’ve never done them so I don’t know the exact pricing. If you’re spending real money on them, and you buy it $100 at a time, it’s roughly 0.65 cents (two thirds of a penny) per primogem, and I think you would spend in the ballpark of $10 a day to get all your resin refreshes. You could look up exact amounts. Some people do the full amount every day and some do a partial amount daily. The stuff you get from resin gives basically zero contribution to wishing.
Anyway, getting to wishes. You wish on banners. There are 4 types of banners.
beginner banner has a limit of 20 wishes ever, so it’s not that important and i don’t know all the details. i think it’s mostly similar to the standard banner plus you’re guaranteed to get Noelle.
standard banner is where you use blue wishes. it can give:
- 5 star weapon
- 4 star weapon
- 3 star weapon
- 5 star character
- 4 star character
but only from specific lists of what’s available on the standard banner. there are 5 5-star characters for the standard banner and 10 weapons (2 each of the 5 weapon types).
roughly 85% of the wishes yield a 3 star weapon which is basically useless junk (a few are a little bit useful, especially early, but you end up with tons of duplicates of all of them even if you never spend money).
weapons can be powered up a small amount using duplicates of the weapon. this is called refining. they start at rank 1 and using up 4 more copies will get you to rank 5, the max refinement.
characters are powered up in the same way but you need 7 copies instead of 5. they start at 0 constellations and go up to 6 constellations.
you can have multiple copies of the same weapon but only one copy of each character. if you get a character again after 6 constellations you don’t get anything except extra starglitter.
when you wish, besides getting characters and weapons, you also get two more currencies, starglitter and stardust. starglitter is the better one. in short you get 2 glitter per 4star and 10 glitter per 5star. something like that. if you get a 4star character that you already have max constellations on, you get 5 glitter as a consolation prize, which is a very bad deal but i’ve read reddit comments of people who are confused about the math and think it’s not bad.
you get 15 stardust per 3star and maybe more from other wishes but i’m not sure. you can buy up to 5 of each type of wish per month with stardust. you can also buy some dumb stuff, but you should save it instead and then if you take a break from the game you can log in every month to buy more wishes to use up your stardust.
back to starglitter: 5 glitter can buy a wish of either type and this isn’t capped on how much you can buy per time period. there are also 2 4-star characters available per month which you can buy 1 each of for 34 glitter and there are also 5 weapons available per month (1 of each type) which cost 24 glitter and i think might have a cap for how many you can buy in the 1-5 range. some of my numbers may be a little off.
anyway when you wish you get glitter and dust that let you buy more wishes which makes wish math more complicated due to the partial refunds adding more wishes.
but i was talking about banners. there are separate pity systems for 4-stars and 5-stars. it keeps a count of how much you wish. at the start, or after you get a 4star, you are guaranteed to get a 4 star within 10 wishes. for 5stars the guarantee is 90 wishes.
there are hidden soft pity systems that the playerbase figured out from data. the game has tens or hundreds of millions of active players and is making hundreds of millions of dollars per month last i heard. so there’s a lot of spending and some of it has been tracked to figure out what you’re buying better. the game gives a decent amount of detail in game but has tricked even the savviest players in some ways and gathering data has revealed more info.
soft pity means your odds to get stuff goes up before reaching the number of wishes where it’s guaranteed. for 4-stars, soft pity starts at 9 wishes. so there’s a standard chance to get a 4star, which is something like 5%, however on the 9th wish it’s more like 30% or 50%, idk exactly, and if you still don’t get it it’s guaranteed on the 10th. soft pity for 5stars starts are 74. the regular chance is 0.6% but at wish 74 you get like a 7% chance which quickly scales up to more like a 50% chance by wish 80 so getting to wish 90 is very rare. these numbers are ballparks.
also, there’s some rule about somewhat alternating between weapons and characters. this applies to both 4stars and 5stars separately. people aren’t sure exactly how it works but one theory is that basically you can’t get 3 of the same thing in a row. e.g. if you got 2 4star weapons in a row, your next 4star will be a character or vice versa. IIRC the other theory is more like “in any set of 30 wishes you will get at least 1 4star character and 1 4star weapon”.
so that’s the standard banner. it’s available any time and they’ve been adding new 4star characters to it gradually around 4-7 weeks after the 4star character is first available on the character banner.
so the 3rd type of banner is focused on characters and has a single 5star character as the lead and 3 4-star characters with higher drop rates. it has basically the same pity systems as the standard banner. this is the main place to use red wishes. if you get a 5-star, it’s 50% likely to be the character featured on the banner, and otherwise will be one of the 5star characters from the standard banner. but if you lose your 50% chance roll, you’re guaranteed to get the featured character next time you get a 5star on the character banner. for 4stars, something like half of your 4stars will be one of the 3 featured 4star characters and the others can be 4star characters or weapons from the standard banner. idk the exact math on this but i think basically if you don’t get a featured 4star character you’re more likely to get a weapon than a character.
the game only displays your wish history for like the last 6 months so it can be important to keep notes about whether your next 5star is a 50% chance or guaranteed and your 5star and possibly 4star pity count for each banner.
every 3 weeks they rotate the character banner to have a new 5star character. this can either be a brand new character or a rerun of a character from the past. if you don’t get a 5star character now, you may have to wait 6-12 months for a rerun banner so that you can wish for that character again. for new 4star characters, i think they reliably get added to the standard banner the next patch after they’re new.
the 4th banner is the weapon banner which has 2 featured 5-stars and a similar but different pity system than the character banner. it also rotates every 3 weeks at the same time as the character banner rotates. it also uses red wishes like the other temporary, rotating banner. i’ve never wished on it. the 5star pity is at 80 instead of 90 i think. the featured 5-star weapons have uneven probability split something like 70/30 and this was not documented anywhere. one youtuber spent like $500-1000 and got the wrong weapon like 7 times and gave up. he believed it was a 50% chance between the two weapons but the community now knows that it isn’t – it’s biased against the weapon that most people want (generally the newer or better one). you can also get other 5-star weapons besides the 2 featured ones i think but idk the odds. for the 4star weapons, the are some featured ones, idk how many, and they have a major probability boost, and if you get a 4star that isn’t a featured weapon then it can be a weapon or character from the standard banner (maybe not everything – they list exactly what is available on what banner in some fine print that i assume most people don’t read). i don’t think new 4star weapons get reliably added to the standard banner in the way 4star characters do but idk.
you’re 100% guaranteed to get the currently promoted 5star character within 180 wishes max, which is enough to hit the hard limit of 90 twice. but the weapon banner doesn’t have a guarantee like that (the one where, if you don’t get the promoted character from the 50% chance, you will get them next time). you can get the wrong weapon over and over.
after a lot of complaints, they added a different system to weapons. you can pick what weapon you’re going for and if you get the wrong one you get 1 point in this new system. it might be called fate points (which is confusing because wishes are faits) but i’m uncertain from memory since i’ve never used it. if you have 2 points then you’re guaranteed to get the right weapon next time. these points expire when the banner rotates.
the pity systems do not expire. if you spend 50 wishes on the character banner and don’t get a 5star, you’re still at 50/90 pity on the next character banner.
pity is tracked separately for each banner type and for 4stars and 5stars, but is saved over time. except the special weapon pity points thing they added, which expires at banner rotation every 3 weeks. so if you want a specific weapon you can now get it guaranteed but you need up to 240 wishes to hit the weapon pity (80 not 90) 3 times.
wishes cost around $2.50 each if buying $100 at a time without the first time buyer bonus. so 180 wishes for a guaranteed 5star character is $450 and if you want max constellations then you need the character 7 times so the price cap is around $3150. however the average wishes to get a 5star character is more like 75 and you get the banner character more like 75% of the time and also the wishing gets you dust and glitter that let you buy more wishes. so the expected prices for 1 or 7 copies of a 5star are significantly lower than the worst case scenarios. More like $250 and $1750 based on some quick estimates.
If you want everything perfect you have to get 7 copies of every new 5star character and also 5 copies of every new 5star weapon. And actually you might want 10 copies of some weapons so that more than one of your characters can have it (with refinement rank 5). And weapon and character banners rotate every 3 weeks but are sometimes repeats instead of new things, so an actual new 5star is comes out maybe once a month on average, probably a little less often but i think it’s more frequent than every 6 weeks, but idk exactly.
getting new 4stars, even one copy, can be a problem. IIRC it’s something like 70 wishes on average to get a specific promoted 4star character on the character banner. but there’s no guarantee so you could do 700 wishes and still have a small chance not to get the character. and if you want 7 copies of them, on average i think that’s around 490 wishes ($1225) but with bad luck you could double that or more. they tend to introduce new 4stars on banners that rerun a 5star character so that people who already have the 5star – even 7 copies of it – have a compelling reason to wish on the banner. so if you’re trying to get all the characters, you don’t just have to worry about the 5stars, you also have to worry about new 4stars who are put on 5star rerun banners. if you don’t get them right away you’ll probably be waiting a month or two for another chance. you could get them from the standard banner too but that is awful odds b/c there are like over 20 4star characters on there (~all of them) so the chance to get a specific one you want is quite low.
so anyway that was a lot of info with a lot of numbers and most people don’t know a quarter of it and couldn’t deal with all this crap even if they wanted to. they purposely use many different systems and numbers to make it really convoluted to obscure what’s going on.
i have spent $0 on Genshin Impact and strongly advise people do not spend money on this game.