It's Lantern Rite season in Genshin Impact! The latest update to the game adds a whole bunch of new stuff to see and do to commemorate this in-game holiday, which is presumably a reflection of Chinese New Year. Celebrated primarily in Liyue Harbor, the bustling merchant city has transformed into a festive market where merchants sell their wares to raise funds for the construction of Xiao Lanterns.
As part of this celebration, game designer Ruijin has set up her game, Theater Mechanicus, in the harbor, which you can spend Xiao Lanterns to play to earn sweet rewards while playing a cool tower defense mode in the process. Check out some video above to see how the mode works, and read on below to learn what you should know about Theater Mechanicus, including some tips on how to make you a Mechanicus Master.
How to unlock Theater Mechanicus
When the Lantern Rite festival kicked off on February 10, players didn't automatically agin access to Theater Mechanicus. There's a story quest for Genshin Impact's newest playable character, Xiao, that you have to complete first. This quest is only available to players who have an Adventure Rank of 23 or higher.
Once you've completed the quest (Alatus Chapter: Act I "Butterfly's Dream"), you then have to complete a couple of other quests to be able to talk to Ruijin. These quests "The Origin of the Lanterns" and "Liyue: Theater Mechanicus" play more like tutorials for the entire Lantern Rite celebration and Theater Mechanicus mode respectively, though, so they don't really feel like prerequisites. Both quests mostly consist of talking to people to learn more lore behind the festival and game before letting you try it out for yourself.
What you'll learn after these quests is that rounds of Theater Mechanicus require you to craft and exchange Xiao Lanterns to play. These are new items you can make at any crafting bench that require special new materials to build. Luckily, you can gather their required components from doing most normal activities in Genshin Impact. You can find Lantern Fibers whenever you pick up any plant material (Sweet Flowers, Mint, etc.), Wick Materials now drop from a variety of enemies and animals (Hilichurls, Fatui, Abyss Mages, Boars, etc.), and Paustrite Shards pop out of all minerals you can mine. You just need one of each to build one lantern, so it should be pretty easy to gain access to a lot of lanterns pretty quickly.
How Theater Mechanicus works
Theater Mechanicus is a pretty big twist on Genshin Impact's traditional mechanics. Where most challenges in the game have tended to focus on combat skill and damage output of characters, this mode is all about constructing deathtraps out of Mechanici: elemental turrets that deal damage and apply elemental effects to waves of enemies that are trying to escape through an arena.
In this mode, your adventurers can run around and attack enemies, but they will not deal any damage to them. Instead, you have to manage your towers to effectively set off elemental reactions in hopes of killing as many enemies as possible while preventing their escape. To help you out, you can play Theater Mechanicus with another player, though co-op is limited to only two players.
Theater Mechanicus Strategy
If you want to maximize your rewards in Theater Mechanicus, you want to do more than just survive. Clearing all five waves without allowing any enemies to escape gives you the most Peace Talismans, which are a currency you'll want to earn as much of as possible to clear out the Xiao Market. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Since you can't deal or take any damage in this mode, you are free to pick any adventurers in your roster that you want. Best picks are adventurers that are good at elemental application (e.g. Catalyst users) or Claymore characters (for crow control). You can also bring Anemo adventurers that reduce elemental resistances like Sucrose.
- Look at the kinds of enemies coming in a wave before setting up your defenses. If it's quick enemies, try to set a freeze trap with hydro and cryo Mechanici. If it's Abyss Mages, try towers that counter their shields.
- Speaking of shields, your adventurers can contribute to shield destruction, so make sure you wail away at any protected enemies to get their defenses down ahead of your Mechanici setup.
- Don't be afraid to change your setup. Although you are only limited to 14 Mechanici on a level, you and mix and match them all throughout the challenge (even in the middle of a wave!). In fact, you should definitely do this depending on the enemy waves coming your way. You'll likely earn plenty of building points across the mode to do this without much issue.
- If your build currency starts to become an issue, try to make a "kill zone" with a Recovery Mechanicus in the middle of it. These towers don't deal damage, but grant bonus build points for enemies killed in its radius. You can also set this up early to ensure you won't have any economy problems for later waves.
- When given the option of purchasing modifiers between waves, only buy upgrades if you can afford them, or if you feel like you really need them for the upcoming wave. If you're feeling confident, go for the Fearless modifiers to put your Mechanicus skills to the test.
- Between bouts of Theater Mechanicus, make sure to upgrade your Mechanici in the Armory menu! Having stronger towers is key to playing the more difficult modes of Theater Mechanicus, and clearing those are the best way to get a whole boatload of Peace Talismans.