In a stunning commitment to playing RPGs your way, Genshin Impact player spends 3 years min-maxing the worst character: “I usually advise others not to build her”

I know I’m not the only person who regularly struggles to choose between game strategies that are considered mathematically superior and strategies that just seem fun to me. So it’s heartening to see a true demonstration of playing games your own way from Genshin Impact player pcr001, who’s spent nearly four years maxing out the damage of a character competing for the lowest spot on the RPG’s tier list. All bow before the true Amber main. 

On November 25, 2020, pcr began a journey to deal as much damage as possible with a single charged shot from Amber, a Pyro bow user. Amber is the first character you unlock after Genshin Impact’s protagonist, the Traveler, and is widely considered to be among the worst characters in the game, to the point that bad characters are often dumped in “Amber tier.” Her damage numbers are poor and her abilities have low uptime, so she’s generally been relegated to a utility slot for igniting objects in the open world. In an interview, even pcr agrees “her skills and stats are far from good.”

“To be honest I usually advise others not to build her whenever somebody asks me in my posts because there’s a lot of investment needed, and even then she still won’t be on par with the other characters,” they say. “But if they like Amber a lot just like I do, then welcome to the club! Going back to the question, yeah I agree [she’s weak] because stats don’t lie, but it won’t stop me from liking Amber.”

“I really like her characterization in-game,” pcr adds. “I actually call her my ‘little ray of sunshine.’ I like how she’s really optimistic and how she’s always there for her friends and the people who need her. Her influence on Collei is also lovely.”

Committed to Amber, pcr started at just 20,000 damage. In the following months and years, stat upgrades, new characters, and better equipment – including better equipable artifacts and stronger five-star weapons – steadily raised the damage ceiling. First came 30,000, then 50,000, and finally 100,000 in May 2021. But pcr wanted more, all while sticking to their rule of only using four-star characters, and all while staying centrally devoted to Amber.

“To be honest, even with my meta team, I rarely finish [the Spiral Abyss dungeon] with full stars,” they explain. “I tend to get clumsy in swapping characters properly with the time pressure and all. But yeah, there are some bosses and event challenges where I have used Amber exclusively. I have defeated [weekly boss Azhdaha] flawlessly before, using Amber solo.” 

Three months ago – yes, they’ve been going the whole time – they finally managed 200,000 damage without the aid of food or potion buffs. In late April, they were just shy of 250,000, which had long been their goal. Breakthroughs came hard and fast, and with a small overlooked tweak to their character rotation – using the sixth Constellation of Diona to boost the Elemental Mastery of Sucrose and Amber by extension – they managed 254,694, to the delight of the Genshin Impact subreddit that’s been cheering them on for years. 

“I think for the moment 250k is my end goal for now,” pcr said at the time. “I know it can be pushed further if I get to roll copies of the weapons I use in the party or if there will be a new artifact set that will be able to push the damage further. Both factors require a certain degree of luck though, but yeah, we’ll see.”

It turns out that “new artifact set” had already come. Four days ago, pcr clocked in a 275,923 damage charge shot with Amber. This was made possible by one of Genshin’s newest artifacts, Song of Days Past, which converts a portion of healing into a flat damage bonus that’s further amplified by all the buffs stacked on Amber. Ironically, the little cat girl Diona, who can heal your party members, was the key once again. 

For now, that’s the summit. Pcr could obviously push Amber’s damage higher with heavily invested five-star units and weapons. Genshin Impact is a gacha game, after all, so a credit card is the strongest option. But if anything, this makes their journey stand out even more. In a game built on FOMO and real financial opportunity costs – or at least resource costs, even for free-to-play players – they’ve stuck with Amber for years purely because they like her. You’ve just got to respect it. 

Genshin Impact studio’s new roguelike RPG joins Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail in setting early July release date to avoid Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.

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