Genshin Impact got a strong new character in September, Raiden Shogun, and she’s already sending waves through the player community. While most of the reception has been positive, a vocal minority believe that developer miHoYo misled fans expecting Raiden to work well with an existing playable character.
The expectation was set during miHoYo’s beta tests, where players can try out upcoming content. While many of these testers sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent discussion of the content within the tests, leaks are fairly common. During said beta, players could see that Raiden had electric abilities. In Genshin Impact, the compatibility between different party members is an important part of combat. Combining elemental abilities can create powerful effects, while using two or more characters of the same element will confer special bonuses.
Raiden initially seemed to pair well with Beidou, another same-element character that was previously available for free in a limited event. That apparent initial synergy rumoured from the beta led some players to spend actual money to gamble for Raiden, with the assumption that it would eventually prove to be a worthwhile gacha investment.
Upon launch, Raiden’s moves turned out to not have an effect on Beidou’s ability at all. Development swerves like this are common, though, as the entire purpose of a beta is to test things out and tweak as necessary. Raiden is still a powerful character, but aggrieved fans believe that Raiden’s ability should be changed to what was available during the beta. Beyond feeling misled, if things remain as they are, players have also pointed out that Raiden is actually one of the few characters who can’t mesh with Beidou’s ability at all.
Community anger was further compounded when players discovered that a Raiden skill description was inaccurate about its ability effects. Several times after she was released to the public, her ability descriptions were changed. And so multiple players on miHoYo’s English and Chinese forums expressed dissatisfaction at this turn of events, with some likening it to corporate deception — or at least sloppiness.
One Chinese player was apparently upset enough at the changes from the beta that they threatened to sue. On September 1, that player posted a photo of their law licence on miHoYo’s official boards while airing their grievances. Five days later, a potentially different user threatened to sue miHoYo for fraud on a different forum, eventually editing the post to include a photo of a Chinese court portal. All of these posts mention Raiden and Beidou by name.
In the law licence photo circulating within the fandom, you can spot a piece of paper with a name that matches that of the forum poster. In the second forum post, the photo of the confirmation page provides a case number and a phone number that connects to the Shanghai Xuhui District People’s Court Case Filing Division and Prosecution Centre. The confirmation page notes that the court will respond to their filing within seven days, at which point a judge will make a decision about what happens next. The first lawsuit threat was also covered in Ginx TV, an esports news website. Kotaku has reached out to MiHoYo but did not hear back in time for publication.
This isn’t the first time that some players tried convincing the company to power up their favourite characters. Last December, Chinese players were so upset about Zhongli’s underwhelming combat performance that they complained to miHoYo until the studio agreed to patch him within the same month. Raiden’s ability description was changed last week, so it seems unlikely at this point that her gameplay abilities will be massively overhauled. However disgruntled players may feel, miHoYo’s actions suggest that Raiden’s abilities are functioning as designed.
Gacha games are popular because they’re designed around players’ emotional investment in their characters. It’s evident that Genshin Impact’s success in creating this investment can quickly result in resentment when players feel that their favourite characters are being shortchanged.