How to unlock characters in Genshin Impact

Learn how to get new characters to build your dream team.

Images via miHoYo | Remix by Kacee Fay

The world of Teyvat in Genshin Impact boasts an impressive roster of characters with unique elemental powers and weapons. One of the most exciting features is the option to attain new characters, but the process isn’t always easy and unlocking characters oftentimes requires a lot of work.

Players can unlock characters in Genshin Impact in a few ways. Generally, there are two main ways to unlock characters: some can be obtained for free through gameplay and others are exclusive to wishes. A complete breakdown of both options and what characters can be obtained in each way is as follows.

Free characters

A select few characters are available to all Genshin Impact players for free. A total of two five-star and five four-star characters can be obtained through gameplay and other special conditions. But sometimes, other characters, usually only four-stars, temporarily appear for free during limited-time events, so players should keep an eye out for that too.

Images via miHoYo | Remix by Kacee Fay

The Traveler

All Genshin Impact players begin their journey by choosing between the female or male Traveler as their protagonist for the main storyline. This character is very helpful because they are the only character that has the unique ability to switch their chosen element at any time. As the game has progressed, more elements continue to be unlocked and it is expected that with each new region that is introduced into Genshin Impact, the Traveler will continue to unlock one new element, as has been the pattern thus far.

The Traveler is a five-star Sword character players can obtain simply by beginning their story in Genshin Impact.

Amber

This character is another one easy to obtain if players just follow the beginning quests and storyline in Genshin Impact. Amber is a four-star Pyro Bow character who isn’t very strong but is really useful for completing puzzles around Teyvat.

Lisa

Lisa can be obtained by completing the “Sparks Amongst the Pages” quest, which is an early-game quest players will receive. She is a four-star Electro Catalyst character.

Kaeya

Four-star Cryo Sword character Kaeya can be recruited to your roster by completing the “Crash Course” quest. Since this quest is one of the first ones players obtain in Genshin Impact, Kaeya is another character that is easy to attain.

Image via miHoYo

Barbara

The four-star Hydro Catalyst character is a decent healer that is a great addition to players’ rosters in the early game. Barbara is available to players who reach Adventure Rank 18 and complete the quest “A Long Shot.” This quest requires players to defeat Dvalin/Stormterror.

To obtain Barbara through this method, finish battling Dvalin/Stormterror then look under the special events page and find the indefinite event called “Baptism of Song.” Barbara has also been available for free in a few other events, meaning players should keep a look out to obtain her constellations for free as well.

Xiangling

The four-star Pyro polearm character is the most difficult free character to obtain. When players reach Adventure Rank 20, they will then unlock the Spiral Abyss, which is a series of extreme dungeon challenges that will likely take players a long time to complete successfully.

Xiangling can be unlocked by successfully completing Chamber three of Floor three within the Spiral Abyss.

Aloy

The main character of Horizon Zero Dawn appeared in Genshin Impact through a collaboration between the games and is a five-star Bow Cryo character that players previously obtained for free. Aloy is now currently unavailable by any means, but it is expected she will return at some point as a free character once again because there is no way for players to complete her constellations otherwise.

Wish characters

The vast majority of characters in Genshin Impact can only be unlocked through wishes. While players can sometimes obtain free wishes through special events, leveling up their Adventure Rank, completing journal investigation milestones, increasing their Battle Pass level, and other occasional means, they will generally need to work to earn Primogems to purchase wishes with.

Primogems can be obtained through quests, milestones, commissions, events, chests, general gameplay, and pretty much anything else you can do while exploring Teyvat. Basically, if you’re playing Genshin Impact, you are probably working toward Primogems in one way or another whether you realize it or not.

Screengrab via miHoYo

It costs 160 Primogems to purchase one of either wish. Players can also save their Primogems and do a massive 10-pull of wishes at once, though doing so doesn’t actually save any Primogems. Intertwined Fates are for the special wish banner while Aquaint Fates are for the standard wish banner.

While wishing, players will also occasionally receive two other kinds of currency that can be used for various items or more wishes. Starglitter is one, and five of them can be used to purchase one wish. Stardust is the other, with a total of 75 to 125 needed to purchase a wish.

Two types of wishes that players can wish on to obtain characters are available in Genshin Impact.

Character Event Wish

These wishes regularly rotate the featured five-star character alongside the three featured four-star characters. The featured five-star and three four-stars have an increased likelihood of being the character that players obtain when they wish.

Usually, there is only one special character wish running at a time, but occasionally, there has been more than one. Characters exclusive to the special event wish banner are as follows.

Screengrab via miHoYo

Five-star characters

  • Geo Sword character Albedo
  • Geo Claymore character Arataki Itto
  • Cryo Claymore character Eula
  • Cryo Bow character Ganyu
  • Pyro Polearm character Hu Tao
  • Anemo Sword character Kaedehara Kazuha
  • Cryo Sword character Kamisato Ayaka
  • Hydro Sword character Kamisato Ayato
Screengrab via miHoYo
  • Pyro Catalyst character Klee
  • Electro Polearm character Raiden Shogun
  • Hydro Catalyst character Sangonomiya Kokomi
  • Cryo Polearm character Shenhe
  • Hydro Bow character Tartaglia
  • Anemo Bow character Venti
  • Anemo Polearm character Xiao
  • Electro Catalyst character Yae Miko
  • Pyro Bow character Yoimiya
  • Geo Polearm character Zhongli

Standard Character Wish

This permanent wish features non-special event characters and can be wished on at any time. The characters available in this banner are as follows.

Screengrab via miHoYo

Five-star characters

  • Pyro Claymore character Diluc
  • Anemo Sword character Jean
  • Electro Sword character Keqing
  • Hydro Catalyst character Mona
  • Cryo Sword character Qiqi

Four-star characters

  • Pyro Bow character Amber
  • Hydro Catalyst character Barbara
  • Electro Claymore character Beidou
  • Pyro Sword character Bennett
  • Cryo Claymore character Chongyun
  • Cryo Bow character Diona
  • Electro Bow character Fischl
  • Geo Bow character Gorou
  • Cryo Sword character Kaeya
Screengrab via miHoYo
  • Electro Bow character Kujou Sara
  • Electro Catalyst character Lisa
  • Geo Catalyst character Ningguang
  • Geo Claymore character Noelle
  • Electro Claymore character Razor
  • Cryo Polearm character Rosaria
  • Anemo Claymore character Sayu
  • Anemo Catalyst character Sucrose
  • Pyro Polearm character Thoma
  • Pyro Polearm character Xiangling
  • Hydro Sword character Xingqiu
  • Pyro Claymore character Xinyan
  • Pyro Catalyst character Yanfei
  • Geo Polearm character Yun Jin

All five-star characters available in the standard wish can also be obtained in the special event banner wish. Most four-stars are also available in the special event banner wish, but certain early-game characters players can attain for free, such as Amber and Kaeya, are usually not.