Honkai: Star Rail is the new space fantasy RPG from HoYoverse, combining elements of open world exploration, roguelike dungeon traversal and turn-based RPG combat.
But beyond its main gameplay aspects, Honkai: Star Rail it is also a gacha game.
If you’re not familiar with what gacha games are, it’s a mechanic that hails from Japan, with the term “gacha” coming from the popular toy vending machine Gashaponwhere you spend coins in capsule vending machines to get a random toy inspired by a TV show or anime.
In case of Honkai: Star Railand other HoYoverse games like Genshin Impactthe gacha system allows players to randomly acquire new characters and equipment.
If you already play Genshin Impactthen this system should look very familiar though Honkai: Star Rail it has some nice features up its sleeve.
And while chance plays a lot into how the gacha system works, there is a measure of predictability that allows players to get what they want once certain conditions are met.
Read on as we break down how Honkai: Star RailDoes the gacha system work and how you can use it effectively and have the best possible gaming experience:
Meet the Warp
Honkai: Star RailThe gacha system in is called Warp, represented by players getting new characters and Light Cones (the equivalent of weapons in Genshin Impact) through the titular Astral Express by taking them through a wormhole.
To use the Warp, you will need Stellar Jade, the equivalent of Primogems from Genshin Impact.
Star Jade is mostly acquired through gameplay, such as by opening chests while exploring, completing quests, challenges, events, and so on.
Of course, you can also use real money to acquire Stellar Jade.
Stellar Jade can be exchanged for the Star Rail Pass and Star Rail Special Pass, priced at 160 each. You can then use them in one of two types of Warp: the Standard Warp and the Limited Time Warp.
The Standard Warp is always available and has a fixed set of characters and cones of light that you can acquire by requiring a Star Rail Pass for use.
The Standard Warp allows players to acquire at least one random 4-star or Light Cone character every 10 Warps. Within 90 Warps, players will definitely receive at least one random 5-star character or Light Cone, though the chance of receiving 5-stars increases the closer you get to the 90 Warp guarantee.
The list of 5-star characters available in Standard and Departure Warps includes Himeko, Welt Yang, Bronya, Gepard, Clara, Yanqing and Bailu. Meanwhile, all 4-star characters are available on Standard Warp. Any new 4 Stars added to the game will be added to the standard Warp after being featured for the first time in a limited time Warp.
You will know you are getting a 4 star when you Warp when the Astral Express doors opening animation shows a purple light. When you get a 5 star rating, the doors will glow gold and the music will become noticeably more exciting.
Limited Time Distortion
On the other hand, limited-time Warps require the Star Rail Special Pass and include one promotional 5-star or Light Cone figure, as well as three 4-star characters and Light Cones. There are separate Characters and Limited Time Warp oriented Cone of Light, although you can still get 4 Star Cones of Light in the Limited Time Warp oriented character and vice versa.
The limited-time warps change with each new release of the game, with each release having two halves featuring different 5-star characters and cones of light.
For example, the first half of version 1 will have Seele as a 5-star character while the second half will have Jing Yuan.
However, once you get a 5-star character in the limited-time Warp, there’s a 50% chance you’ll get the featured 5-star character or one of the standard characters.
If you miss the 50-50, you’ll be guaranteed to get the 5-star featured next time, with the guarantee carried over to different time-limited Warps. This also applies to limited time warps oriented towards light cones.
You can only acquire 5-star promotional characters in their dedicated Warps. So, for example, if you miss out on getting Seele in version 1, you can’t get her unless you wait for her featured Warp to play.
However, 4-star characters can be acquired through standard and time-limited Warps even if they are not present.
Sin and guarantees in Honkai: Star Rail
To make it easier for players to get the characters they want, Honkai: Star Rail features “commiseration” and “guarantee” systems. We touched on these things briefly earlier, but we’ll look at them in more detail here.
Sin and Guarantee essentially denote the increasing chances for a player to get the 4 or 5 stars they want after a certain amount of Warp.
In both the Standard and Time-Limited Warp, players will receive at least one 4-star for every 10 Warps and at least one 5-star for every 90 Warps. That said, there are other points to note when it comes to getting 5 stars.
Once you reach around 70 Warps, your chances of getting a 5-star increase significantly. Within the gacha gaming community, this is affectionately referred to as “soft pity”.
But if you were to go over, say, 80 Warps, then you’re reaching “hard mercy” territory. Speaking from experience, you’re unlikely to hit a hard mercy in most cases as around 70-75 Warp is when you typically get a 5 star.
Sure, you can get a 5 star even before you hit soft pity, sometimes within your first 10 or 20 Warps. This is called “early sin” and is personally one of the best experiences you can have in a gacha game.
Now let’s talk about guarantees. In Limited Time Warps, there is a 50-50 chance that you will get the 5 featured stars once you reach the Warp thresholds mentioned above. Let’s use version 1 Warp with Seele as an example.
If you win 50-50, you get Seele. However, if you lose the 50-50, you’ll instead randomly get one of the 5 stars from the Standard Warp, like Bronya (but in this particular case, I’d honestly still consider it a win since Bronya is one of the best characters at release).
If you don’t win the 50-50, don’t worry too much, as you are now guaranteed to get the 5 featured stars the next time you hit the Warp Threshold.
This guarantee remains even if the 5 Stars featured in the Limited Time Warp change.
So using our previous example, if you lose 50-50 in Seele’s Warp, you can save your guarantee for when Jing Yuan becomes the featured 5-star in the second half of version 1 and roll his Warp instead.
The same principles also apply to Standard Warp, although there are no guarantees as it does not change from version to version. However, it has a one-time guarantee that allows the player to freely select a 5-star character to acquire after 300 Warps. So if you don’t get the Standard Warp character you want, you will eventually get it.
How should I spend my Stellar Jade?
While you are free to spend your Star Jade on any Warp you wish, we recommend spending it as much as possible on limited-time Star Rail Special Warp Passes.
Since limited-time Warps are, well, limited, it’s best to save your Star Rail Special Passes for when a limited-time Warp arrives featuring a character you want.
If you choose to spend cash, though, always remember to do it responsibly.
Honkai: Star Rail will officially launch on April 26 on PC, Android and iOS. The game will also be made available on PlayStation sometime after release. You can download the game here.
For all you need to know Honkai: Star Rail, check here. If you’re looking for a guide to help you get started, we’ve got you covered too.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time gamer (gacha), and part-time writer.
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