Genshin is fun, and the exploration element of it is what makes it so good. I’d argue that the other elements of it which follow mobile game conventions like dailies are trite and kind of shit, and that there’s a big gap in both quality and enjoyment between these two sides of the game. I even wrote a post recently about some great things that the 1.6 update does, which you can read here.
That being said, the exploration part of Genshin is far from flawless, and one big issue I think is the culuses.
In Mondstadt they’re Anemoculus, in Liyue they’re Geoculus, in Dragonspine they’re Crimson Agates, and the most recent summer event they’re seashells. in Midsummer Island Adventure they’re seashells. They can be floating right below a cliff, surrounded by a wind barrier, hiding in a cave that’s quest locked, or just in plain sight. Sort of like the treasure chests, they are placed all over the map, but these are not limited to being placed on terrain. Making a direct parallel between breath of the wild and Genshin, they are essentially the same as korok seeds.
Not just how they’re found in hidden places, but the whatever-culuses have the same element of improving your character’s ability. Though it’s obviously a rip off, I think it’s a good idea. There is one key distinction between the two though, a feature that Nintendo added that I think Mihoyo missed out on, and it’s a huge mistake in my opinion.
Each dot on the above map is a Korok Seed.
The difference is in the need to collect them. In BoTW, there are 900 korok seeds to collect. Out of these, 441 is needed to completely max out the Korok seed’s usage. Collecting more is essentially useless, and completely unnecessary. Simply while exploring through the game, players will find many korok seeds and reach a count relatively close to the needed value of 441, because there’s an overabundance of them spread out through the entire map. In fact, you don’t even need to collect 441 korok seeds. Collecting all of those is nowhere near necessary in order to defeat Ganon and finish the game.
Geoculus and Anemoculus locations, courtesy of gamewith.net
I think saying just that may be enough for many to understand the difference between Genshin’s x-culuses and BoTW’s korok seeds. In Genshin, there are 66 Anemoculus and 131 Geoculus. Out of these, 65 Anemoculus are necessary to max out the Anemo Shrine and 130 Geoculus are needed to max out the Geo Shrine. Upgrading the shrines gives your character extra stamina, which is a key element to both combat and exploration, which is essentially everything in Genshin. I can guarantee you that there is absolutely no one who found every single geoculus or anemoculus while just exploring around the world. In Genshin, if you want to max out your shrine(or even get close to it), you will have to spend time going around the map with the sole purpose of looking for these. Even if you use a guide, it will still take a significant amount of time. BoTW allows you to get close to maxing out Korok seed’s utility while just exploring the map and doesn’t require you to actively look for them, because there is much, much more placed in the map than you need(900 to 441). But in Genshin, the amount you need to maximize your shrine is essentially the same as the total amount in the entire map.
On top of this, there are some fundamental differences between Genshin and BoTW, of which the main distinction that’s most important here is the presence of an endgame/ending. BoTW has an ending. You beat Ganon, and the game is done. In Genshin, there is no ending. It’s a mobile game that will continue to have more and more updates, and even if you finish all of the story and the side quests, the game isn’t finished. In BoTW, the need to increase your inventory with Korok Seeds is a tool to help you finish the game. But this isn’t the case for Genshin, and so increases in your stats hold much more value.
Furthermore, stamina is so important, and I’d argue that increases in it is much more valuable in Genshin than inventory space increases in BoTW. The base stamina limit is 100 with no statue upgrades, but with both your statues maxed right now in Liyue and Mondstadt, the max is 250. That’s 2.5x your initial stamina value. Stamina is used both to explore through climbing and sprinting, and is also used in combat through dodging and charge attacks. It’s needed for the two most important and frequent parts of gameplay, and so the path to maximizing it should not be this difficult.
Of course, you don’t need to maximize your statues. It definitely helps, but there is no huge value from getting yours to level 10. There are also tools to help you find the last few culuses, which was added in later patches. That being said, it should not be anywhere near as difficult and take as much effort in order to maximize a stat as important as stamina in a game which values it so much.
Now, so far, I’ve only discussed the anemoculuses and geoculuses. But there are also Crimson Agates and Seashells. When the Dragonspine update came out, Mihoyo actually improved on the problem I’ve bitched about for the last 900 words. There are 80 in the dragonspine region. However, when you collect 70, you unlock the “Crimson Wish,” which periodically gives you quests to receive Crimson Agates. Meaning, that you don’t need to collect all of them in order to max out the uses of these. This is really great!
Furthermore, in the new event, Midsummer Island Adventure, there are 32 seashells. The biggest reward in this event through collecting seashells is the first and (so far) only skin that you can get for free. And in order to get it, you only need 24! There are still rewards to get from collecting all 32, but nevertheless it’s a great improvement.
That’s about all of my complaints on the collectibles in Genshin. It seems like Inazuma, the next region, is coming out soon, so hopefully they’ll continue the positive pattern that has been going on with the collectibles with electroculuses, though I’m a little doubtful as it’s an actual region with main story content. Also, they’re been purposely leaving 1 extra from each region, which I think could potentially lead to a story moment later where you use 1 culus from each element region.
Before I finish, if any of you really hate looking for the final few x-culuses but don’t want to completely ruin the experience by using a guide from the beginning, I suggest you explore by yourself but place a landmark whenever you find a seashell or geoculus or whatever. And when you’re tired of looking for them, pull up a guide and cross out all the ones you’ve marked on your map already, and look for the rest.
What I’ve been doing for this event.
Thanks for reading!