Genshin Impact players are not happy with MiHoYo's planned anniversary rewards and contests program, complaining that the studio is effectively using fans for free content and publicity while offering minimal rewards in return.
Instead of giving generous gifts to thank players for their support, MiHoYo is asking players to participate in fan art contests and to promote the game on social media, in exchange for a tiny chance of winning an expensive prize, or a trifling amount of in-game currency. While there is precedent for studios to prompt this kind of activity from their fans, or to do stuff like distribute art kits and cosplay tutorials to help their games get promoted, it's the gacha-like reward scheme that many fans are taking issue with.
Rewards across a number of different contests range from in-game items like Primogems and Mora to iPads, AirPods, and an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Some of it sounds like pretty sweet loot, but it's the amount of effort required to take part, and the fact that some of the prizes will be awarded via raffle, that's angering people. 10% of the entrants in the "Message in Time" event, for instance, will get a Blessing of the Welkin Moon 30-day subscription offer worth $5, but everyone else will only get 100,000 Mora, which according to GamesRadar can be earned with about five hours' worth of original resin.
The first comment on the anniversary page gets right to the heart of the matter. "I can't even express just how frustrated I am with the state of the game right now," Raiat wrote. "After a year worth of SIGNIFICANT support from the player base, this is what you managed mihoyo? Web events with gacha? Are you kidding me?
"Genshin is still running just because of the player base. How much would you have to lose if just gave the players decent rewards? Would it break your bank? Would it make the in game purchases pointless? Mihoyo, ban me if you want, but you are the epitome of a greedy and stingy company and you are no better than the likes of EA."
The non-randomized rewards appear to be drawing even more upset. Prizes for a fan art contest, for instance, include five iPads, 10 AirPods, and 75 in-game merchandise sets; MiHoYo will select winners "based on aspects such as the completeness, aesthetics, and how well the entry stays true to the background of Genshin Impact."
"Our artists and cosplayers deserve better," one fan wrote on Twitter, while another replied that it's "unfair giving petty rewards for all their hard work." One follower suggested, probably rightly, that the raffle events, at least, are likely going to attract an awful lot of low-effort entries.
"They're basically tricking artists to do work for free which would cost thousands for the company to commision official artwork," a fan tweeted. "And they can choose [the] best one out of it for free and u get a chance at few primos which doesn't buy u bread."
This tweet is now pushing 20,000 likes:
i hope you realize that not all of your playerbase are artists, and even if they are, they don’t have the luxury of time to do FREE work for you and for what, just a couple of primogems????September 20, 2021
It's unfortunate that what should have been a simple celebration for an extremely popular and successful game has gone so wrong, although as GamesRadar points out, there may be more in-game rewards coming, as these are explicitly "community" events. The actual anniversary takes place on September 28, so there's still time for MiHoYo to turn things around—I've reached out to the studio to ask if it plans any changes or additions to the event, and will update if I receive a reply.