Honkai: Star Rail is a new game by Hoyoverse, the folks behind Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact 3rd. The game features a fantasy space odyssey story with turn-based combat, and you can play it without spending a single cent on gacha.
If you’re unfamiliar with mobile gacha games or are just confused by the terms Honkai: Star Rail uses, we’re here to help. We compiled some of the questions Polygon staffers had while playing and answer them below.
What’s the gameplay loop for Honkai: Star Rail?
Using a party of four characters, you fight enemies using turn-based combat and progress through main story quests and side quests. To power-up your characters and light cones (weapons), you’ll need to fight specific enemies that consume your Trailblaze Power (stamina that refills over time). It becomes a cycle of logging on, doing some dailies, and grinding to strengthen your characters and give them better equips.
What’s the plot of Honkai: Star Rail?
The Trailblazer (you) mysteriously wakes up after being created with a Stellaron. Stellarons are powerful energy sources that can cause disaster, but the Trailblazer is able to communicate with it and harness its power without doing anything super awful (or so we’ve seen so far). You join the Astral Express crew, who flies around the stars on their train, stopping any disasters about to occur due to Stellarons on different planets.
Do I need to spend money in Honkai: Star Rail to be successful?
No. All of the story will be clearable with four-star characters, so you won’t have to spend money to play.
However, advanced content like Simulated Universe and Forgotten Hall will be easier with five-star characters. This doesn’t mean you can’t beat it using lower-rarity characters, though. There are already videos of beta players doing Forgotten Hall with only four-star characters, so it’s not impossible. It will be harder, though.
Is Honkai: Star Rail like Genshin Impact or Honkai Impact 3rd?
A lot of the similarities between Honkai: Star Rail, Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact 3rd are there because of the mobile RPG genre more than any other reason. Honkai: Star Rail shares a lot of traits with mobile games (including Genshin Impact), such as stamina-based farming and unlocking characters via gacha.
There are a few things that do look almost exactly like Genshin Impact, like the character screen and other UI elements. If you’re familiar with Genshin already, you will be able to quickly adapt to Honkai: Star Rail thanks to the UI layout alone.
The gameplay loop (as talked about above) is very similar to both Hoyoverse titles, but it should be noted that Honkai: Star Rail is not an open-world game and it doesn’t have active multiplayer like how Genshin Impact does.
How do I find Calyx/Stagnant Shadow/Cavern of Corrosion/Echo of War?
You can find these marked on your map and teleport to them, but since Honkai: Star Rail doesn’t use an open world map, it can be a pain in the butt to find what exactly you’re looking for quickly. We recommend just using the “survival index” tab of the Insterastral Guide, which you can access via the main menu or by tapping the rectangle with a ring around it in the top right corner.
How do I replenish Trailblaze Power?
Just be patient. It takes six minutes to recharge one and 18 hours to recharge the full set of 180.
You can also use Stellar Jade to replenish your resin up to eight times per day. 50 Stellar Jade replenishes 60 Trailblaze Power. You can also use Fuel, a reward for completing battle pass missions and other bonuses, to recharge 60 Trailblaze Power.
How do I recharge a technique in Honkai: Star Rail?
You’ll want to hit those glowing purple canisters you see around maps to refuel your technique points. Each one will restore two technique points.
How do raise my equilibrium level?
At certain Trailblaze levels (your account level), you will be prompted with a quest to increase your equilibrium level. Doing this will make the enemies around you a bit harder, but it will also allow you to power up your characters more. Just keep leveling up your trailblaze level and pay attention to your quest log to unlock higher equilibrium levels.
Notably, you will need to be at equilibrium level three to start farming any five-star relics.
How do I cook in Honkai: Star Rail?
As you progress through the early game, Pom-Pom will teach you how to Synthesize, which is Honkai: Star Rail’s version of cooking. After he teaches you how, you can access the Synthesize feature from the in-game menu to cook whenever you want, as long as you have the ingredients.
What does the support character in the profile do?
Instead of using four of your own characters, you can borrow other people’s characters, as long as they’re set as their support character. Whoever you set as your support character is who other people can borrow from you.
For example, if I have a fully built Bronya, I can set that as my support character, and other players can borrow her to use in their own battles.
You cannot use support characters in Forgotten Hall or Simulated Universe.
Do your own characters have weaknesses to certain combat types?
Nope. Enemies have weaknesses, but your characters don’t, so don’t worry about being countered.
How do I look up a monster’s weakness?
All enemies have their weaknesses displayed above their heads. You can also check enemy weaknesses in the data bank, which is accessible from the main menu.
Which character should I level up first?
It’s up to you, but most of the characters on your team should be leveled up equally. The starter characters given to you are actually pretty useful. The only thing we strongly recommend when starting out is to make sure you either have a shielder or healer on your team. March 7th and Natasha are both given to you for free and fit these roles respectively.
Should I roll on the beginner gacha warp banner?
The consensus is kind of split on whether or not you should do this. The beginner banner is discounted (costing eight Star Rail Passes instead of 10 for 10 pulls). After 50 pulls (40 Star Rail Passes), you’re guaranteed a random five-star character from the regular banner. The regular warp banner allows you to pick a standard five-star character one time, if you do a whopping 300 pulls.
Based on personal experience with regard to Hoyoverse games alone, I would recommend just pulling on the beginner warp using any Star Rail Passes rewarded to you. Do not turn your Stellar Jade into extra passes — only use the passes the game actually hands to you. You can use any extra Star Rail Passes on the standard warp after.
300 pulls is a lot, and if you don’t plan on spending money in this game, it can take a while to amass the Star Rail Passes to hit this goal, even with the bountiful starting rewards Hoyoverse hands out.
Ultimately, based on Genshin Impact, power creep will be plentiful in Honkai: Star Rail. Whatever characters you get from the the beginner or standard warp will be useful at the start, but it’s a toss up if they’ll be useful in six months or beyond that. That said, if you don’t get the strongest character around at first, maybe the meta will shift and they’ll be more useful down the line.
Whether or not you should use the 40 passes that would go towards the standard warp on the beginner warp is up to you and how much you value specific five-star characters over others. That brings us to the next question…
What Honkai: Star Rail characters are the strongest at launch?
Most players are pointing towards Welt and Bronya being the best standard warp characters because their debuffs and buffs are extremely useful. However, this can change as more characters release over time and the meta shifts.
As of writing this, DPS calculators have Seele and Jing Yuan at the top of the single-target and multi-target charts, respectively. That said, you do not need to pull for these characters, as there are four-star characters, like Sushang and Serval, who can still dish out big numbers when built correctly. These calculators also rely on specific builds and situations that you may not use.
That all said, this will all change as patches roll out, so we don’t recommend going all-in on a character this early unless you really like them.
If you have more questions, drop them below, and we can do our best to answer based on what we know from the game’s beta.