How To Beat A Genshin Impact Addiction
Genshin Impact is an anime-style RPG developed by the Chinese company miHoYo. The game takes place in an open world where players venture around as multiple different protagonists; switching between them to effectively utilise their elemental magic battling enemies and navigating the landscape. The game has seen massive success since its release in 2020 amassing a whopping 61 million average monthly players as of April of 2022.
The game being developed and released by a Chinese company partially explains why the player base is so large. But given the state of video game addiction in China, the game poses a threat to many gamers here and on a worldwide scale. With the game being available on almost all platforms PC, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android it’s only fair that we address the best ways to overcome an addiction to Genshin Impact.
Addictive Qualities Of Genshin Impact
In order to tackle our addiction to Genshin Impact, it’s important to get an understanding of what makes the game so addictive. Most of the time addictive features of video games follow the same principle just used in a more unique way by the developers. In this instance, we’ll identify the most addictive features so that you can be aware of these in this game and in gaming in general.
A common addictive feature of RPGs in particular is their ability to immerse the player in a fantasy world. Those who are addicted to video games often use video games to escape whatever negative problems that they might be dealing with in the real world. Be it, financial troubles, problems at work, anxiety or relationships etc. Gaming can often serve as a great way to take our minds away from the real world.
In the vast land that Genshin Impact has to explore and characters to play as it’s easy to see how players can get hooked. Often within the game one small clue can lead to a chain reaction of multi-step events like puzzles and bosses taking the player on a much longer journey than intended.
Buying loot boxes in Genshin Impact is arguably the most addictive part of the game and many people have gone on to complain about the ethics of its use. Loot boxes in Genshin Impact use what is known as the Gacha system which gets its name from toy vending machines in Japan. The system essentially follows a free to play game, with in-game upgrades and enhancements being left to chance in the form of loot boxes called “wishes” which are mainly purchased using real money.
Although this system started in Japan it swept across eastern gaming culture to popular gaming hotspots like South Korea and China. Eventually making its way into the western gaming scene that many of us are familiar with. Titles such as CSGO follow the same Gacha system and are scrutinised in exactly the same way; relating the system to gambling. Although the system is not technically gambling, purchasing boxes that leave your in-game items up to chance has an uncanny resemblance to it.
So how does this influence addiction? As players progress within the game the experience (XP) required to level up steeply increases meaning if you want to spend less time grinding you’re going to need some gear upgrades. Namely better weapons and characters to kill bosses and enemies quicker. However, the most efficient way of acquiring these is of course through purchasing loot boxes. Grinding for other additional in-game currencies in order to purchase “wishes” is essentially counterintuitive to the quality of life changes they are looking for as players want to make the grind easier and progress.
This system only causes people to invest further time into the game for one, to enjoy their newly bought gear and characters or two, to grind to save up for more loot boxes. However, parting with money for the game also plays into the Sunken Cost Fallacy, a cognitive bias that keeps us playing video games.
When we invest resources into something we tend to place a higher value on it. These resources in the case of Genshin Impact are typically time and money. When players invest hundreds of dollars into the game for the best loot it subconsciously strengthens their attachment to the game. Giving the game up from this point on becomes even more difficult as the player’s brain is telling them all of the time and money would have been for nothing.
Typically this elicits an emotional response in the player and leads to less rational decisions like investing more time and money into the game to preserve and increase its value. From an outside perspective, we understand that this is false but in the mind of the addicted gamer, this can be a strong tether.
Popular Twitch streamer Daphne “39daph” went on to rant and tweet about this explaining that as someone who has invested a couple of hundred dollars into MMOs as a teenager it does feel bad to look back at the sunk cost, its the same thing with Genshin Impact.
Low Barrier to Entry
A rather obvious reason for the game’s addictive nature is how easy the game is to access. The fact that Genshin Impact is free to play, rated 12 meaning that players below this age can play with consent from a guardian and available on all major gaming platforms makes it so accessible worldwide.
Another thing to note is that the game is available on mobile which adds another level to the addiction. Mobile game addiction can be extremely debilitating as almost everyone has a smartphone in this day and age and it is almost always on our person. Addiction to mobile games often massively interferes with the person’s productivity, social life and other aspects of their functioning just based on how much time they spend on their phone playing and neglecting important responsibilities.
Innately humans love the feeling of accomplishment and seeing progress. This desire for success ingrained in us is demonstrated by our progression as a society and how we revere and praise people who have achieved difficult tasks. A lot of the time players get addicted to video games due to the sense of accomplishment they get from doing well.
Gaming constantly bombards players with in-game rewards for completing challenges that are ultimately never-ending. This cycle of challenge and reward conditions the player to want it more which often detracts from accomplishing things outside of gaming. Why would someone want to spend months studying to do well in an exam when an hour of grinding could acquire them that new sword they’ve always wanted.
There have been many links to video games and depression for this reason. Gaming can often suppress negative emotions and improve the feelings of hopelessness by giving someone instant gratification and achievements. However, someone who is addicted to video games may only exacerbate their addiction by neglecting other responsibilities and opportunities in life for gaming. Sometimes the realisation that gaming is the only thing that they have invested time into leads to playing more video games to remove the feelings of hopelessness and sadness.
Furthermore, playing Genshin Impact does come with skill and a learning curve to work on. Players must master the fight mechanics, builds and learn to combo together characters in order to optimise their damage in combat against various enemies. Giving players something to work towards in mastering a skill, adds to this sense of measurable growth and gain, hence making individuals play more.
Symptoms Of Genshin Impact Addiction
As video game addiction is part of the DSM-5 and has its own criteria for addiction it’s important to understand what to look out for in order to diagnose and treat our problem. The criteria state that an individual must demonstrate significant impairment of personal, social, educational, occupational and other important areas of functioning, over a 12 month period due to excessive gaming.
Although the criteria give us an outline of what to look out for, here are some of the specific symptoms that can be displayed when someone is addicted to video games:
- Damaged relationships
- Obsessive thinking about Genshin Impact
- Poor sleep quality and insomnia
- Loss of interest in other activities except for Genshin impact
- Lying to others to conceal gaming habits
- Decline in performance in school or at work
- Neglecting important responsibilities to play Genshin Impact
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Decline in mental health and general mood
- Repetitive strain injuries like tennis elbow and carpal tunnel
If you begin to experience some of these symptoms then it might be time to get some help. Gaming addiction symptoms can often be correlated with underlying comorbid mental health conditions. Hence it is important to seek out the opinion of a local medical professional alongside any video game addiction self-help program you might be using. Ruling out any comorbid conditions can help us to focus on the problem at hand.
Treating A Genshin Impact Addiction
Many gamers often try to overcome their gaming addiction on their own. While some do have success others tend to relapse and give in to their urges to play video games simply to reach square one again. Here we are going to provide you with some of the best actionable advice and proven video game addiction treatments you can use to overcome your Genshin Impact addiction.
Detoxing From Video Games
What we mean by detoxing from video games is taking an extended break from gaming and all forms of gaming content. In short, playing video games excessively has altered our reward centres of the brain which often leads to cravings and withdrawal symptoms. In order to allow our brains to make a full recovery, we need to take an extended break so that these chemical changes may revert to normal.
We usually recommend taking a 90-day detox from all gaming content. This includes video games, Twitch streams and Youtube videos as these often stimulate our brains in a similar way and trigger our cravings. Of course, outright giving video games up like this is difficult so here are a few things that we can do in order to make it that much easier.
Increase The Barrier For Entry
As we explained earlier Genshin Impact has a very low barrier to entry meaning that downloading the game and playing is very easily done. What we need to do is make the game much harder to play so that we don’t habitually return to gaming like we’re used to. In order to disrupt our habits we can:
- Unplug our gaming consoles or put them in a place that is hard to reach
- Keep any mobile devices we use to play the game locked up or a mobile phone far from us when working
- Try lending your gaming consoles or password to a trusted friend to hang onto throughout the duration of your detox. This is a great option who do not trust themselves with self-imposed limits
- Delete or hide the video game shortcut if you play on mobile or PC
- Finally, delete the game altogether if you feel confident enough to
As strange as some of these solutions might sound, they are all put into place to break our normal habit loop of loading up the game and giving us a chance to think rationally before playing.
Find Alternative Activities
Now that we have given up playing Genshin Impact we will have a lot of free time on our hands. The problem is if this time isn’t spent well or productively it often leads to relapse. When recovering addicts attempt to kill the time spent without video games it becomes too much and boredom and frustration often lead to relapse. Hence we recommend finding alternative activities to gaming that will occupy your different needs.
- A stimulating activity like learning an instrument or a new language
- A social activity like joining a martial arts or dance class
Finally a relaxing activity like drawing or cooking for the times when your energy is low and you would just play video games.
Utilise CBT Techniques
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is one of the leading methods in treating video game addiction. CBT is based on the principle that the way we think, feel and act are all intimately linked. Hence changing one will have a significant impact on the other. At the root of our video game addiction lies negative thoughts that lead to us carrying out the addictive behaviour and ultimately make us feel bad. The goal of CBT is to identify and change these negative thoughts into healthier and more sustainable thinking patterns. Thus allowing our behaviours and emotions to follow in the same direction.
CBT is practised through a variety of thought exercises, meditations and important lessons about how our addicted mind works. The best part about CBT is that it is pragmatic and can be practised anywhere. During in-person gaming addiction therapy, you will discuss the relevant problems causing the most distress. From here a plan of action to address these types of negative thoughts will be formed and exercises necessary for your recovery will be recommended.
CBT techniques can be used almost anywhere at any time which is why they are incorporated into self-help programs.
If you want to know more about video game addiction or need help with cutting down, The Mindful Gamer is always here to help.