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Everything you need to know about Honkai: Star Rail, HoYoverse's new space fantasy RPG

Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play turn-based RPG by HoYoverse, the developers behind another smash-hit fantasy RPG in Genshin Impact.

Honkai: Star Rail is the latest entry in HoYoverse's Honkai series. (Photo: HoYoverse)
Honkai: Star Rail is the latest entry in HoYoverse's Honkai series. (Photo: HoYoverse)

Honkai: Star Rail, the upcoming space fantasy RPG title from Genshin Impact developer HoYoverse, is set to launch on 26 April.

Whether you're already on the stellar hype train or still looking to come aboard, HoYoverse's latest title promises to take players on a wonderful journey through a rich universe.

But as with every new adventure, it's a good idea to know what you're getting into before setting off.

So from its gameplay, story, and more, here's everything you need to know about Honkai: Star Rail:

Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play turn-based RPG by HoYoverse, the developers behind another smash-hit fantasy RPG in Genshin Impact.

Much like Genshin, HoYoverse uses its signature 3D anime artstyle to depict a colourful cast of characters as well as a rich universe. But unlike Genshin, Star Rail's scope is well beyond that of a single world and takes players on a journey across the vastness of space and a diverse host of planets.

Honkai: Star Rail is also the fourth installment in HoYoverse's longstanding Honkai series, with its cast notably featuring alternate versions of existing characters from its predecessor, Honkai Impact 3rd.

With that said, Star Rail will have its own story separate from previous Honkai titles while still continuing the spirit of the series.

And just like all other HoYoverse games, Star Rail also features a 'gacha' system in order to let players acquire new characters and equipment.

Honkai: Star Rail will be playable on PC and mobile upon release, with PlayStation ports arriving at a later date.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Honkai: Star Rail is largely divided into two parts: exploration and combat.

Exploration

Players will be able to travel through open-world locations, such as different planets and space stations, as well as explore dungeons.

A wide variety of mission types will encourage players to explore the game's universe, as completing them will advance the story and grant rewards.

There are four mission types, namely: Trailblaze missions, Companion missions, Adventure missions, and Daily missions.

Trailblaze missions advance the game's main storyline, Companion missions are side quests relating to certain playable characters while Adventure missions are side quests relating to the many worlds featured in the story. Finally, Daily missions are daily generated missions, with one being randomly provided per day.

Combat

Combat in Honkai: Star Rail features a strategic, turn-based combat system with stylish animations for character attacks and abilities. (Photo: HoYoverse)
Combat in Honkai: Star Rail features a strategic, turn-based combat system with stylish animations for character attacks and abilities. (Photo: HoYoverse)

While out exploring or completing missions, players will encounter enemies that they can engage in turn-based combat. Players will take control of a team of up to four characters, who are all able to control different elements and fall under distinct classes called 'Paths'.

There are seven Elements in Honkai: Star Rail: Physical, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Wind, Quantum, and Imaginary.

Each character is assigned an element and will deal matching elemental damage. Enemies will also have specific elemental weaknesses and exploiting them will prevent them from attacking for a turn while also dealing increased damage.

Meanwhile, the seven classes or Paths in Honkai: Star Rail are 'The Abundance', 'The Destruction', 'The Erudition', 'The Harmony', 'The Hunt', 'The Nihilty', and 'The Preservation'.

Here's are the roles each Path correspond to:

  • The Abundance: healers

  • The Destruction: frontline characters

  • The Erudition: area-of-effect damage dealers

  • The Harmony: buffers

  • The Hunt: single-target damage dealers

  • The Nihility: debuffers

  • The Preservation: Shielders and defenders

When in combat, characters will have three different types of actions: a Basic Attack, Skill, and Ultimate.

Basic Attacks are the main form of attack for each character while Skills and Ultimates have varying effects that depend on a character's Path. For example, characters from the Erudition or Hunt Paths will have skills and ultimates that deal damage to enemies.

Ultimates require energy to use, which can be generated from performing basic attacks. Skills do not require energy to use, though they have cooldown periods between each use.

In addition, characters also have talents and techniques. Talents are passive abilities that improve their performance in combat while Techniques either improve your characters or impair enemies prior to combat.

Characters can also equip 'Light Cones', equivalent to the weapons from Genshin Impact.

In Honkai: Star Rail, characters can equip Light Cones to gain stat bonuses, but equipping ones that match their Paths will let them utilise unique abilities.

Finally, characters and Light Cones will have rarity levels. Characters either have 4-star or 5-star rarities while Light Cones range from 3-star to 5-star rarities.

Rarity levels do not necessarily mean a character or Light Cone is strong, but instead refers to the manner through which they are acquired. Generally speaking, 4-stars are much easier to acquire than 5-stars.

Story

Honkai: Star Rail takes players on a fun yet perilous journey through the universe aboard the titular Astral Express alongside a colourful cast of characters.

Players will take the role of the 'Trailblazer', an amnesiac young man or woman depending on the player's choice of gender, who is embedded with a mysterious power known as the Stellaron, known as the 'Cancer of All Worlds'.

Taken in by the crew of the Astral Express, the player character will form bonds with the likes of March 7th, a similarly amnesiac young woman who was found frozen in ice; Dan Heng, a mysterious man known as 'Cold Dragon Young'; Welt Yang, senior member and “former animator”; Himeko, the navigator, and finally, Pompom, the conductor and mascot of the Astral Express.

With this newfound family, players will explore different worlds like the icy planet Belobog, or the Sci-Fi paradise Xinzhou Luofu, in pursuit of Stellarons, while currying favour with the Aeons, who hold dominion over The Paths.

Players will also fight against the 'Stellaron Hunters', a group of mercenaries who have questionable goals that might not match their own.

As Trailblazers, it is the player's duty to collect the Stellarons, which inflict disasters on the worlds they visit, and along the way, aid the people we meet into a brighter future.

Warp: Star Rail's gacha system

Aside from its core exploration and combat elements, another big part of Honkai: Star Rail is the 'Warp', the game's gacha system. Through the Warp, players will be able to acquire new characters to mix and match in their parties as well as Light Cones to make them stronger.

Star Rail's Warp is largely similar to Genshin Impact's 'Wish' system. So if you play Genshin, then you already have a good idea of how you can get new characters in Star Rail.

For those unfamiliar, there are two main types of Warps: the permanent Standard Warp and limited-time Oriented Warps for Characters and Light Cones.

The Standard Warp is always available and requires a 'Star Rail Pass' to warp from it.

The Beginner Warp is available indefinitely until all 50 warps are made, has a 20 percent discount on the Star Rail Pass required to warp, and guarantees the player receives a random 5-star character in the 50 warps. Every 10 warps also guarantees a random 4-star object.

Limited-time Oriented Warps are split into two warps, one for characters and one for Light Cones. As the name implies they are only available for a limited time, with every game version in Honkai: Star Rail will featuring two Oriented Warps that each last 21 days.

Character Oriented Warps feature one 5-star character and three 4-star characters. Light Cone Oriented Warps will have one promotional 5-star Light Cone and three 4-star featured Light Cones. Both the featured 5-star and 4-star items will have an increased probability for players to acquire them when compared to the basic rates when the guarantees are factored in.

However, players have a 50/50 chance of getting the featured 5-star item in Oriented Warps after a certain amount of warps. Losing the 50/50 will instead net them an item from the Standard Warp. Don't fret though, as losing the 50/50 will guarantee that you will get the featured 5-star the next time you get a 5-star.

Oriented Warps require Star Rail Special Passes instead of Star Rail Passes.

Players can acquire Star Rail Passes and Star Rail Special Passes as rewards for completing missions or participating in in-game events. They can also be purchased through the in-game shop for Stellar Jade, Star Rail's equivalent of Genshin Impact's Primogems, that can be acquired as rewards for completing missions, exploring, participating in in-game events, or by purchasing with real money.

Both Star Rail Passes and Star Rail Special Passes cost 160 Stellar Jade.

Get your ticket ready!

It's not too late to board the hype train for Honkai: Star RailI! The game is still accepting pre-registrations here.

Those who pre-register will receive tons of rewards, including the 4-star character Serval and 20 Star Rail Passes, 50,000, credits, and the 'Trailblazer — Welcome' Avatar.

A little fun fact, in the Lunar Calendar, this April is the third lunar month, while 26 April is 7th day of that month. The game's release date is a great homage to fan-favourite character March 7th!

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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