Multiplayer in Genshin Impact is kind of weird, to say the least.
You can’t play all the content in co-op and some things just work very unintuitively.
So to save you the trouble of having to bang your head against the wall trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t in an endless cycle of trial-and-error, here’s everything you need to know about co-op in Genshin Impact.
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Genshin Impact is primarily designed as a single-player experience. In a sense, co-op here is similar to what you’d find in Dark Souls. Instead of featuring a large world that all the players collectively inhabit, like in most MMOs, each player has their very own open world to which they can invite friends.
But you have to put in some work before you can do this.
As with most other systems in the game, co-op is something you unlock after playing the game for a while. To unlock co-op, you are first required to reach Adventure Rank 16. If you aren’t sure what Adventure Ranks are, we suggest checking out our Beginner’s Guide.
In short, Adventure Rank is like your account level. Adventure ranks are easily obtainable at the start of the game, but you will still either need to speedrun the beginning or spend a day or two playing solo before you can invite your friends to join up with you or hop into their worlds.
What Can You Loot In Genshin Impact Co-op?
Half the fun of playing Genshin Impact is discovering hidden chests and looting them for all they’re worth. But in co-op, you won’t be able to loot everything unless you’re the host.
So let’s look at which things you will and won’t be able to loot while playing Genshin Impact in co-op.
Chests – No
Treasure chests in Genshin Impact don’t respawn randomly. Each one is hand-placed by the developers for you to find and unlock. There is, admittedly, a huge number of them, but this number is limited. At some point, you will run out of chests if you’re a dedicated enough player.
This is why only the co-op host can loot chests in their own world!
As an insurance policy to prevent greedy (or just unsuspecting) players from raiding the limited resources of new players, this works incredibly well. But while exploring in a friend’s world as a beginner player, it can be hugely disappointing knowing you’ll have to backtrack everything in your own open world to get the same loot.
Oculi – No
For beginner players, Oculi are some of the most precious resources in the game, as it’s only through collecting them that you’ll be able to increase the maximum stamina for your characters. Stealing oculi from another player’s world would make it so that they can never unlock the stamina cap unless they were to also steal oculi from other players’ worlds.
That’s why you can’t farm them in co-op (unless, of course, you’re the host). This also goes for all other non-respawning collectibles.
Domains – Yes
Challenging different domains with your friends is the most enjoyable way to grind the best artifacts for every character in Genshin Impact. This will make the enemies beefier, but it will also make the encounters more engaging.
Best of all, each player can loot the Domain rewards separately. You’ll still need to have a sufficient amount of resin to do this, but if you’re itching for some slightly more challenging content, this is the best way to experience it. It’s a shame that resin depletes so quickly, as this is one of the more fun pieces of content you can tackle in co-op.
The same goes for Weekly and World bosses, as well as Ley Lines. Basically, if it costs resin, you can do it regardless of whether you’re playing solo or in co-op.
Local Specialties – Yes, But…
Some local specialties – materials unique to a particular region, like dandelion seeds, glaze lilies, sakura blooms, etc. – take days to respawn. And these materials are necessary in order to ascend characters. As a side note, we recommend using the official Genshin Impact interactive map if you’re having trouble finding them.
In any case, you can only find so many of them while exploring the map. But once you’re done picking all of them up in your world, you can move into a friend’s world and farm them all over again.
Just remember that the host won’t be able to farm them until they respawn if you do so, so always remember to ask for consent. This is also why many players don’t want to co-op with strangers – they don’t want their precious resources farmed by someone else.
Ore – Yes
For some reason, mining ore isn’t anything like farming local specialties. When you break the ore, it will drop as loot for both the host and the guest players separately. Each player will only see the loot that they can pick up, so there’s no way to abuse this system.
Just keep in mind that this refers to standard ore. In Liyue, you can find some ore-like local specialties – Cor Lapis and Noctilucous Jade. Even though you have to mine them before you can farm them, these materials are still counted as local specialties, meaning that only one player can loot them.
Enemy Drops – Yes
Enemies encountered in the open world will drop their loot for both players. If, for some reason, you’re lacking slime condensate or other mundane items, you can farm them to your heart’s content, be it on co-op or solo play.
Things You Can’t Do In Co-op
While running around the open world or grinding for artifacts with friends can certainly be fun, Genshin Impact doesn’t let you enjoy all of its aspects in co-op.
For example, you have to do all the story quests and character quests on your own. What’s more, once you start these quests, you will be locked out of co-op until you finish them. From a story perspective, it makes sense that you aren’t able to play through the story with friends, but that’s not the worst part.
The worst, and most disappointing, aspect of Genshin Impact co-op has to do with the Spiral Abyss.
Grinding for artifacts can be fun, but it’s also limited by your resin. Even if all players have capped out their resin at 160 and have 5 condensed resin in the bank, they will still burn through all of that in half an hour or so.
Meanwhile, the Spiral Abyss – Genshin Impact’s most challenging dungeon that, by the way, requires no resin – cannot be played in co-op. We really hope the folks at miHoYo will get around to fixing this in the near future, as this would open up a whole new avenue of opportunities for gamers who want a more serious challenge with their friends.
There are a lot of characters in Genshin Impact, but some are just more beloved than others. And since it takes a lot of resources to level up a character, most players will choose to focus on the same characters. For example, looking at our character tier list, you should expect to stumble upon players running S-Tier and A-Tier characters quite often when entering co-op.
So, is it a problem if you and another player both want to play the same character?
Well, yes and no. It depends on the context.
While exploring the open world, everyone can play the same character without any technical issues. Are four Zhonglis ganging up on the Geo Hypostasis a problem? Not at all, says the game’s system. Four Barbaras facing off against Oceanid? They won’t win, but they’re welcome to try and beat it as many times as they want.
However, when tackling Domains in co-op, you won’t be able to run any duplicate characters. So if you and another player both want to show off Ganyu, that’s not gonna fly. You won’t be able to start the domain until a team with no duplicates has been decided upon.
There is no PvP whatsoever in Genshin Impact.
And the chances of it being added are non-existent, at least in the traditional sense.
The closest thing we got to PvP was the limited-event Windtrace mini-game featured in patch 1.5. Windtrace is essentially a game of hide-and-seek, where the Elemental Skills and Bursts of characters were replaced by event-exclusive abilities. This way, the playing field was completely even, regardless of which character you had or how leveled up they were.
And it was loads of fun!
We may get similar mini-game-based PvP events in the future. For example, the Theatre Mechanicus Tower Defence mini-game could be turned into a PvP contest where it once again wouldn’t matter whether the contestants are free-to-play players or big spenders. If nothing else, we may get scoreboards for such events where the best players could earn some serious bragging rights.
But as for your traditional fight to the death flavor of PvP, we just don’t see it ever getting added to Genshin Impact. In a game where paying players are bound to have a massive competitive edge over F2P players, it just wouldn’t make sense.
Speaking of limited-events, they are honestly the best source of fun for co-op players in Genshin Impact.
Each new patch brings with it a plethora of new events, most of which can be played in co-op. We’ve already mentioned the exclusively co-op hide-and-seek-inspired mini-game event from patch 1.5, but truth be told, most events offered to option for both solo and co-op play.
For players looking to get some casual co-op fun with friends in Genshin Impact, we recommend keeping up with these limited events.
Lastly, there is the question of crossplay.
At the moment, Genshin Impact is available on PC, Mobile, and PlayStation. Regardless of which platform you’re on, the game offers seamless crossplay across all its platforms. So if you’re a PC gamers but some of your friends prefer to game on their PlayStation, you can still play Genshin Impact together.
To sum everything up, Genshin Impact is a single-player focused game. Some of its content can be done in co-op, but not all of it.
To unlock co-op, you will first have to get to AR16. In co-op, you will only be able to loot things that respawn in other player’s worlds. Keep in mind that many players don’t want their resources farmed by other players, as some can even take three days to respawn. This is why you may have a hard time joining a random player’s world.
So unless you’ve got specific friends that you want to play co-op Genshin Impact with, you’ll find the most enjoyment by participating in some limited-time events. In the meantime, perhaps some of these games will be able to scratch that co-op itch.