The eternal mystery of the freemium gacha game: why spend money to maybe get a virtual character? Some people have an extreme surplus of funds so they don’t mind wasting the cash. Some people have figured out a rather unscrupulous trick for “spending” money then refunding it. Some people just simply do not have the self control to stop themselves, virtual spending being so much easier and more convenient while also not having an easy way to track how much you’ve spent so far. And of course, streamers often get their funding from viewers and rarely ever actually have to pay anything from their own pocket.
That said, the odds are not quite as bad as it sounds, due to the “mercy pull” concept. Many gacha games have a “mercy” or “pity” system in place to reward big spenders. Genshin Impact, specifically, has several of these in place, as well as a means of tracking how far you are from the next mercy.
The first is that you are guarenteed a 4 star item or character within 10 pulls since the last time you got one. This means that if it has been 9 pulls since the last time you got a good item or character, the next one is guarenteed to be at least 4 star, with a 1.6% chance it is a 5 star.
The second is the “90” pull mercy. This guarantees a 5 star character at least once every 90 pulls. Conveniently, this carries over between events, which is a function most gacha games do not have. This means that if you have done 89 pulls since the last time you recieved a 5 star character, the next one is guarenteed to be a 5 star. If using a special event banner to pull from, this also gives a 50% chance of it being the advertised character the first time you hit the 90 mercy, as well as a 100% chance of them the second time. I myself am a free player (havent spent any money) but I have done 60 pulls so far since the last time I got a 5 star. This means that if I did 30 more pulls, I am guarenteed to have a 5 star character. The last 5 star I had was not the advertised character (I got Keqing during the Venti banner) so if I did 30 pulls now then I am guarenteed to get Klee (*this was written during the Sparkling Steps event in October of 2020, for any future readers wondering*).
Another major difference here vs most gacha games is the history tracker. Genshin Impact actually let’s you see the previous pulls you’ve done in each major banner. This means you can easily track how far along you are in the mercy pulls. If you know the next time you pull is definitely a major character you want, you are more likely to give in to temptation and pay for it, especially since at that point it isn’t even a gamble or risk.