Should you gamble on Genshin Impact's Sparkling Steps Banner?

Genshin Impact's newest Banner, called Sparkling Steps, is finally available and with it comes a new character named Klee, a plucky Pyro mage who is really good at making things explode. Like all Banners, though, you're going to have to spend either in-game currency or real money on Wishes, with just a small chance to earn certain characters.

So is Sparkling Steps a worthy Banner to spend all those hard-earned Primogems on? The short answer is yes.

While it's probably not worth it to invest too heavily and try and obtain Klee, both Xingqiu and Sucrose, also available in the banner, have incredibly useful passive abilities that will greatly reduce the amount of grinding you have to do for upgrade materials. You will absolutely want both of them, which is great because they should be fairly easy to get.

Here's a more detailed overview of how Sparkling Steps works, each of the promotional characters you can earn from it, and what their drop rates are.

How does the Sparkling Steps Banner work, anyway? 

Genshin Impact's microtransactions are a little confusing, but a Banner is basically a time-limited lootbox that offers rewards like specific new characters or weapons. In order to participate, you have to spend either your Primogems (which you get for free just by playing) or real money to buy a Fate. Each Fate can be turned into a Wish for a specific Banner, which then reveals either one character or one item of three-star quality or higher. Yeah: it's a little confusing.

Each Banner has a set of promotional characters or items with increased odds of earning them, so there's no point in spending your Fates/Wishes on a Banner that doesn't have rewards that interest you. If a promotional character doesn't work well with the rest of your team, consider saving your Primogems for the next banner.

Genshin Impact's Sparkling Steps Banner lasts until November 9 and features a new character named Klee as its promotional five-star character, with Xingqiu, Noelle, and Sucrose serving as the promotional four-star characters.

Here's a quick run-down of how it works.

Character drop rates

  • Five-star characters typically only have a 0.6 percent chance of dropping from a Wish, but you are guaranteed one after spending 90 Wishes.
  • When receiving a five-star character, there is a 50 percent chance it will be the promotional character (in this case, Klee). If you don't receive them, then the next five-star character you get is guaranteed to be Klee.
  • Four-star characters have 5.1 percent chance of dropping from a Wish, but you are guaranteed one after spending 10 Wishes.
  • When receiving a four-star character, there is a 50 percent chance it will be the promotional character (Xingqiu, Noelle, or Sucrose). If you don't receive them the first time, you're guaranteed to get one of these three the next time you win a four-star character.

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Is Klee worth gambling for? 

As the five-star promotional character, Klee is going to be what a lot of players are hoping to get. She's nowhere near as valuable as the previous promotional character, Venti, but she does have her uses. 

Let's break it down:

  • Klee is a Pyro mage who uses Catalyst weapons.
  • We gave her a B rating in our Genshin Impact characters tier list.
  • Her Elemental Skill is called Jumpy Dumpty, a bouncing bomb that ignites enemies before exploding into several small mines that detonate when enemies get close.
  • Her Elemental Burst is called Sparks 'n' Splash and it causes a trio of fire lasers to blast enemies for ten seconds.
  • Her non-combat passive ability reveals the location of unique resources only found in Mondstadt.

Overall, Klee can be pretty useful if you're lacking a powerful Pyro character like Diluc or Xianling. Her bombs can do massive AoE damage and they can be pushed and pulled by Anemo characters' wind abilities, which makes for some extremely powerful combos. But her weak normal attacks and lack of defense make her ill-suited to the front line, which is something other Pyro characters excel at. How she'll fit into your party is entirely dependent on your composition, but if you're lacking a good Pyro, it's worth trying to get Klee. 

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Xingqiu is worth gunning for

Xingqiu is a four-star promotional character, so you're much more likely to get him than Klee if you spend Primogems on the Sparkling Steps Banner. He's definitely worth picking up—but not for the reasons you might expect.

Let's break him down:

  • Xingqiu is a Hydro character who uses swords.
  • We gave him a C rating in our Genshin Impact characters tier list.
  • His Elemental Skill, Rainscreen, conjures several swords that surround Xingqiu. Each time he takes damage, one of the swords breaks and negates a hefty chunk of it.
  • His Elemental Burst is Raincutter, which creates even more swords and also makes them attack alongside you. They'll automatically replenish when broken, too, providing some nice long-term damage mitigation.
  • His non-combat passive ability has a 25 percent chance to refund a portion of the materials when he crafts materials needed to level up character talents.

Xingqiu is probably not a character you want in your party. Like a lot of Genshin Impact's defensive-minded heroes, he just doesn't have the utility necessary and you're far better off replacing him with a hero who has more mobility or simply more damage. After all, what's the point of having a shield if you can avoid being hit altogether (or kill your opponents before they can attack?).

What makes Xingqiu worth it, however, is his non-combat passive ability. Having a chance to refund a portion of the materials needed to craft character upgrade resources is so valuable. It might seem like a small benefit, but grinding for these resources is going to take a herculean effort, and having a character that can shave even a fraction of that grind down will be an enormous help. There's no reason not to have at least one copy of Xingqiu just for this bonus. 

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Noelle isn't too useful

Noelle is the second promotional four-star character, but chances are you already have a copy of her because she was a guaranteed drop from a special Beginner Banner that was available when Genshin Impact first launched.

Here's how she works:

  • Noelle is a Geo character who uses claymores.
  • We gave her a C rating in our Genshin Impact characters tier list.
  • Her Elemental Skill is called Breastplate and it encases Noelle in armor that absorbs damage and deals a small amount of Geo damage to enemies. When Noelle attacks while armored, she also has a small chance to restore HP to other party members.
  • Her Elemental Burst is called Sweeping Time, and it empowers Noelle's sword with Geo. After an initial, massive slash, Noelle's regular attacks hit a much larger area, deal Geo damage, and have increased attack damage.
  • Her non-combat passive has a 12 percent chance to create a second dish when cooking items that boost defense.

Ah, Noelle. I want to love you, but you kinda stink. Like Xingqiu, she's a defensive character with a small amount of healing utility, which can make her useful to you if you don't have a more powerful healer like Barbara. Her shields can be extremely useful in the right circumstances—especially if you're trying to complete the Spiral Abyss and fighting powerful monsters many levels higher than you, but most of the time you're better off replacing her with an attack character. And unlike everyone else in this Banner, her passive ability isn't that useful. 

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

Sucrose is definitely worth getting

Sucrose is the last of the promotional four-star characters in the Sparkling Steps Banner and definitely one of the ones you should hope for. Since Anemo characters are in relatively short supply, Sucrose is a strong addition to a lot of teams—especially if you're desperate for some powerful crowd control abilities.

Let's break her down:

  • Sucrose is an Anemo mage that uses Catalyst weapons.
  • We gave Sucrose a C rating in our Genshin Impact characters tier list.
  • Her Elemental Skill is Astable Anemohypostasis Creation - 6308, which creates a small wind spirit that sucks enemies towards it and deals Anemo damage.
  • Her Elemental Burst is Forbidden Creation - Isomer 75/Type II and it creates an even larger wind spirit that pulls in enemies one at a time and then launches them far away. It'll also react to other elements it touches, like Pyro.
  • Her non-combat passive ability gives her 10 percent chance to receive double the product when crafting character or weapon enhancement materials.

Sucrose's C rating is a bit misleading. She's not as powerful as your main character if they're attuned to Anemo, but if you want to make your Traveller switch to the Geo element, there's not a whole lot of Anemo characters you can rely on—especially if you don't already have Venti. That can make Sucrose situationally useful, especially while exploring Liyue when you'll likely want to have your main character swap to Geo so they can easily solve certain puzzles.

But even if Sucrose doesn't see much combat, you'll want her just for the passive alone. Like Xingqiu, Sucrose helps make grinding for character and weapon enhancement materials just a little easier. A 10 percent boost might not seem like much, but you'd be surprised how often that saves you some Resin that could be much better spent elsewhere.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.