Genshin Impact’s Anniversary Debacle: A Review in Hindsight

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Source: Google Play Store screenshot of Genshin Impact’s review bombing, 9/28/2021

By Angelina Hu

Genshin Impact had its first anniversary on September 28th, but to say it was celebrated in the community would be a lie. Between trolling, spamming, and review-bombing, it’s honestly quite hard for the casual observer to not laugh at how petty the whole debacle became.

To tell this story, we need to go farther back than just late September– on August 30th, miHoYo, the company behind Genshin, announced the “Passage of Clouds and Stars” login event. This was originally designed to basically be the sole ingame reward for Genshin’s anniversary, giving everybody ten Intertwined Fates.

To follow up, on September 1st, the “Promise of a Worldly Encounter” community event was also announced, consisting of guide, photo, fan-art, video, and cosplay divisions. Players enter in their Genshin fanworks for a chance to win ingame and real-life rewards. But after that? Nothing. The Genshin Concert for early October was also on the line, but really, most of the fans were just eyeing up the ingame rewards and thinking, “Is that it?”

Just a few days later, the event “A Message in Time” was announced. This is what really began the unrest in the fandom; players were supposed to enter a raffle for a 10% chance to win a free Blessing of the Welkin Moon, while the other 90% get… 100,000 Mora.

Oh, to say people were upset would be an understatement. This was supposed to be the fans’ reward for all the time, money, and tears they’ve poured into this video game over the last year? A gacha where 90% of players get something completely useless? But some people were still optimistic. Maybe miHoYo is just trolling everyone and we’ll all be getting a surprise, right?

Nope. The anniversary came, and everybody’s collective expectations were let down when no jaw-dropping surprise rewards were given out. And, pray tell, what does the Genshin fandom do best? That’s right– complain.

Several things happened on September 28th, but the most noteworthy was the review-bombing. Players began to spam 1*reviews on the Google Play Store, and the game went from being on the top 10 charts to a 1.8* rating in under 24 hours.

In addition, fans began commenting on how the “Promise of a Worldly Encounter” gave unbalanced rewards to its participants. While the tiny number of winners among a huge community of content creators received some pretty decent prizes, the vast majority of artists who put tons of time and effort into their work would go unrewarded. As such, players began spamming the fan-art contest with satirical MS-Paint scribbles. An interesting way to protest, but mind you, it was kind of funny.

Now, it’d be fine if this was the end of it, but by evening of the 28th nothing had been done about the protests, and Western fans began to get a little… antsy. As such, everyone began bombing miHoYo’s other game, Honkai Impact. This is entirely pointless, since the development team for Honkai is different from Genshin’s, but I digress. After that, unrelated apps like Google Classroom started seeing Genshin fans bombing them as well, if only by trolls, and this is when miHoYo decided to intervene.

Damage control consisted of 1,600 Primogems, a special Glider, four fragile resin, and a pretty harp for the Serenitea Pot. This was surprisingly successful in placating fans! The review bombing stopped and players were smugly pleased that their protests were heard– a first for the Western community, if I may.

Since then, the protest has ended and players are back to whaling on the second Childe rerun. miHoYo has cleaned up some of the review bombs, and Genshin’s rating is up to 3.5, while Honkai Impact is up to 4.0. Google Classroom is also back to 3.0.

It’s genuinely funny to watch the fandom swap from canceling miHoYo to throwing money at them over just a matter of weeks; in the end, this definitely wasn’t the first time protests have happened, nor will it be the last. We can only hope that miHoYo doesn’t cause another protest during next year’s anniversary.

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