Genshin Impact is a phenomenal game. I gave it a glowing review, wrote extensive early guides on it, and it snagged this site's game of the year award for 2020. Since I first started playing a year ago, I don't think I've gone a single day without logging in and enjoying myself, and I've been able to do so without paying any money whatsoever.
As of this writing, though, the community as a whole is not satisfied with the game. Much of this has come to a head around the game's anniversary. It is common for gacha games like Genshin Impact to celebrate anniversaries and other milestones by giving out rewards to players or holding special events. The only problem is Genshin Impact isn't doing that. Aside from a few community contests and other, largely promotional, marketing events, miHoYo basically hasn't said they are doing anything to commemorate the 1st anniversary of what is far and away the most successful (read: profitable) game they've ever released.
In response to this silence, the Genshin Impact community is getting loud. The game's Discord channels are flooded with spammed emojis of Qiqi (a sort of "joke" character among the community for her relative uselessness), the game is getting review bombed on every storefront where that can happen, and the majority of top posts on the game's subreddit are full of complaints about miHoYo.
From the outside, all of this might look like a needless temper tantrum. After all, these players are whipping themselves up into a frenzy because they didn't get free stuff from a game that is free. If that's all there was to it, you'd be right to think that. But there's more going on here. The restlessness in the Genshin Impact community has been building for a long time coming, and this backlash to the anniversary has simply been the flashpoint in taking this unrest to new heights.
At the crux of most community complaints about Genshin Impact is miHoYo's lack of communication. Whether its a nonexistent content roadmap, a failure to fix extremely well documented bugs for specific characters, no announcements for additional endgame content, or the issue surrounding the anniversary celebration, everyone is upset because they want things to look forward to, plan around, or celebrate, and miHoYo basically gives them nothing. Actually, it's worse than nothing. It's silence--a silence that allows for just about any sort of speculation, rumor, or sentiment to enter one of the largest echo chambers in gaming right now and run rampant.
This is to say the outcry surrounding Genshin Impact's rewards isn't about greed or stinginess, or the degree to which the game is fun without constantly being rewarded by it. It's about miHoYo's failure to effectively manage its community, and it's apparent lack of interest in doing so. Even as a religious Genshin Impact player, I'm still not entirely sure if there's anything planned for the anniversary, and it'll be basically impossible to tell at this point if any rewards given are a response to the community reaction or not. In any case, I know I'd be a lot happier playing the game daily if I trusted the developers and they gave me more things to look forward to enjoying with the game, and I'm far from the only one who feels this way.
I also know that Genshin Impact is very popular, and it has made a lot of money primarily through employing the same psychological tricks that make gambling addictive. This disgusting practice alone (that I personally do not feel comfortable contributing any money toward) is more than enough reason in my book for any and everyone to be loudly critical of miHoYo for any misstep or failing they make as they continue to work on Genshin Impact. Responding with silence might continue to be miHoYo's stance, but it would be a confusing move that doesn't really serve them or the community, and will exacerbate things based on how this anniversary kerfuffle has played out.
In any case, the community has more than just in-game presents to be dissatisfied about, and it's on miHoYo to fix these problems, or at least say how they plan to address them. If they don't, I hope the community gets louder. There's no reason to defend a company in most circumstances, and there are extra reasons not to cape for Genshin Impact's creators here. They certainly can't please everyone with their future plans for the game, but their current strategy of staying quiet pleases no one.