Updated on April 30, 1:31 a.m. (GMT+8): This guide was written in beta and has been updated with more accurate information upon release. Added Relics, corrected artifact mentions.

When you first log into a new game, everything feels foreign.

Even if Honkai Star Rail was made by the same developers as Genshin Impact, it’s still a different game altogether in a different genre — turn-based action RPG as opposed to open world RPG.

HoYoverse even told ONE Esports in an exclusive interview that Star Rail is made by an independent team comprising more than 500 people.

However, at the end of the day, these titles are HoYoverse’s creations, and certain systems have been adopted in Honkai Star Rail from Genshin Impact.

If you’re a Genshin player, here’s everything you need to know that’s similar, which in turn will help you grasp the game’s systems a lot faster.

Honkai Star Rail guide: Everything Genshin Impact players must know

Ascension is still called Ascension, and there are three types of XP books — no surprises here

Honkai Star Rail Caelus Destruction Traces
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

You need XP books to level up characters in Star Rail, and just like Genshin, there are three types:

  • Traveler’s Guide provides 20,000 EXP, the equivalent of Hero’s Wit
  • Adventure Log provides 5,000 EXP, the equivalent of Adventurer’s Experience
  • Travel Encounters provides 1,000 EXP, the equivalent of Wanderer’s Advice

If you don’t ascend your characters, certain abilities in Traces will be locked, as shown in the screenshot above. Certain talents in Genshin are also locked unless you ascend or character, which then allows you to level them up individually. The concept is the same.

Lumine next to XP books from Genshin Impact
Credit: HoYoverse, ONE Esports

Traces are Talents

Honkai Star Rail Caelus Traces
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

So yes, Traces are basically Talents.

Since this is a turn-based role playing game, you’ll notice that you have a lot more abilities available for unlocking. If you’ve played any game in the Final Fantasy series, this webbed system is all too familiar.

Unlocking more of them requires you to level up your character. Levelling up the abilities individually requires a certain set of materials, some of which are only available during limited time events, just like Crown of Insight.

Diluc's talents maxed out at level 10 in Genshin Impact showing Dawn ultimate description
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Eidolons are Constellations

Honkai Star Rail March 7th Eidolons with three activated
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

The last section on your character screen is labeled Eidolons, which are the equivalent of Constellations. You unlock them when you receive a copy of the same character.

Doing so makes them stronger in unique ways that aren’t possible elsewhere in the game. For March 7th for example, the first Eidolon “Memory of You” regenerates six energy when her ultimate freezes a target. Her second, “Memory of It”, automatically grants a shield to the ally with the lowest HP percentage that lasts three seconds.

Her third Eidolon, “Memory of Everything”, increases the maximum level of your ultimate and basic attack. Sound familiar?

So instead of C6, I guess now we’re calling it E6.

Yun Jin Constellations in Genshin Impact at C6
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Light Cones aren’t weapons, but they function and level up the same way

Honkai Star Rail Light Cones in Databank
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Light Cones is probably the section that requires the most unpacking.

You see, every character in Honkai Star Rail wields a weapon, but they’re not changeable.

So how do you make your characters stronger besides leveling them up? By equipping them with Light Cones corresponding to their Path.

Example of Light Cone in Honkai Star Rail
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

If you try to equip a Light Cone that doesn’t correspond to your character’s Path, a warning will show up telling you that the character isn’t of a corresponding Path, and its effects cannot be activated. Dan Heng’s Path is The Hunt, for example, so only The Hunt Light Cones will work with him.

Similar to weapons in Genshin Impact, you upgrade Light Cones with EXP materials or other weapons.

The raw materials are called Aethers. The Sparse Aether (blue color material) is similar to Enhancement Ore, which adds 500 XP to a Light Cone. Condensed Aether (yellow color material) gives 2,000 XP, just like Fine Enhancement Ore.

Example of Light Cone in Honkai Star Rail and materials required to level it up
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

And of course, just like in Genshin Impact, you can also use other Light Cores to level up your chosen one. Those 1-star, 2-star, and 3-star Cones have to go somewhere, or they’ll sit around collecting dust.

You’ll also notice in the above screenshot that the stats — HP, attack, and defense — all increase accordingly when you level up a Cone.

Besides leveling a Light Core, there’s also a second tab on the left called “Superimpose”. This is the equivalent of refining an item in Genshin. Only identical copies of the same Light Cone can be Superimposed onto each other, which of course, improves its stats further.

Light of Foliar Incision sword at level one with refine options
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Relics are artifacts

Example of Relics in Honkai Star Rail
Screenshot by Joseph Asuncion/ONE Esports

At release, there are 20 Relic sets available.

Just like artifacts, they give you bonuses if you equip two, and the full stats when you equip four. The grind for the perfect set continues.

Currencies have their equivalents too

We’re still W-gaming because instead of Wish, now we have Warp in Honkai Star Rail!

To top up Genesis Crystals, we go to Crystal Top-Up in the Genshin in-game shop. In Star Rail, you do the same for Oneiric Shards.

Just like the Gift Shop, these Shards can be used to buy bundles in the Contract Shop, which gives you a pack of starter items.

Perhaps its most important function, Oneiric Shards convert to Stellar Jades — yes, the equivalent of Primogems — which in turn can be exchanged for Star Rail Special Passes. Just like Intertwined Fate, you’ll need 1,600 Stellar Jades for 10 pulls.

As you roll on the Warp banners, two additional currencies are generated — Undying Starlight and Undying Embers.

Undying Starlight is rarer, and is the equivalent of Starglitter in Genshin Impact. Use Undying Starlight to exchange for Star Rail passes to roll on banners, 4-star characters, or Light Cones, as seen in the screenshot above.

Undying Embers work just like Masterless Stardust. Looking at the screenshot below, you can use them to exchange for in-game items that help you level up your character or Light Cones.

You can also make an exchange for up to five Star Rail Special Passes and Star Rail Passes each during limited periods, which are basically your Intertwined Fate and Acquaint Fate.

On all Warp banners, you have the choice to pull individually or in 10s.

Let’s say you decide to pull on a 5-star banner: if you don’t have any Star Rail Special Passes topped up, the game will prompt you, “Insufficient Star Rail Special Pass. Consume 1,600 Stellar Jade to purchase 10 Star Rail Special Passes?”

So as you can see, even the conversion rate of 1,600 Primogems is to 10 Intertwined Fate is the same.

Seele character banner in Honkai Star Rail
Screenshot by Kristine Tuting/ONE Esports

In summary, currencies can be understood this way:

Oneiric ShardGenesis Crystals
Undying StarlightMasterless Starglitter
Undying EmbersMasterless Stardust
Star Rail PassAcquaint Fate
Star Rail Special PassIntertwined Fate
Stellar JadePrimogems

And to sum up the general terms, you can think about them this way:

Trailblaze LevelAdventure Rank
Equilibrium LevelWorld Level
Light Cones
Level Up

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READ MORE: Exclusive: Genshin Impact players will enjoy these aspects of Honkai Star Rail — and more, says HoYoverse