Honkai Star Rail beginner tips
Screenshot by Destructoid

Honkai: Star Rail beginner tips to get you situated aboard the Astral Express

Here’s how to progress fast in Honkai Star Rail

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Honkai Star Rail has arrived on mobile and PC, letting players board the Astral Express and explore the cosmos. You don’t need to know anything about the previous game in the series, Honkai Impact 3rd, to play this gacha RPG. However, there are some things you should know about before playing.

For example, you might find yourself overwhelmed with all the systems Honkai Star Rail introduces to you. Even if you are a veteran of MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact, there are a few aspects of Honkai Star Rail that initially look confusing, not least of which is the combat. Here are eight key beginner tips to get you started in Honkai Star Rail.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Always check the weaknesses above enemies

Combat is the most important part of Honkai Star Rail. Unlike Genshin Impact, this game uses a turn-based battle system. You take turns, choose moves for each character in your party, and then your opponents do the same.

Hitting weaknesses is vital in this combat system. Every enemy has at least one weakness listed above its health bar. These are indicated by their elemental symbols, such as Physical, Fire, or Imaginary. If your character selects an attack with an element that matches a weakness, its corresponding symbol will flash above the enemy.

Hitting an enemy won’t inflict additional damage, but it will deplete the white bar visible above the red health bar. After this white bar is completely drained, the enemy will become broken. Once broken, enemies will take bonus damage from incoming attacks. Furthermore, they’ll suffer an additional effect depending on the element used to break them. For this reason, you’ll want to memorize the unique properties of every element.

While exploring, use a diverse party so you can account for most weaknesses. Later on, if you know a tough enemy carries certain weaknesses, you can customize your team to counter them specifically.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Don’t waste your Skill Points or Ultimates

Every character has three abilities to use in battle: Basic Attacks, Skills, and Ultimates.

Basic Attacks are free, and these typically deal average damage corresponding with the attacking character’s elemental affinity. Meanwhile, Skills boast more power and have unique attributes, but they consume Skill Points that are shared by your entire party. You get Skill Points back via basic attacks, so characters with more situational abilities should simply use Basic Attacks and let their teammates spam their skills instead.

Either way, you’ll want to plan the best times to use Skills strategically. I like to save Skills for when I want to break an enemy or need an area-of-effect (AoE) attack. Additionally, I unleash all of my Skills once an enemy is broken.

Ultimates work a bit differently. Ultimates can immediately be used once a character’s Energy is full, even during an enemy’s turn. I find they are quite generous, since characters accrue Energy when they take and receive damage. For most encounters, use these as soon as you get them, with or without a break.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Explore the map for chests and secrets

Honkai Star Rail isn’t exactly an open-world experience like Genshin Impact. That said, some of the maps get quite large as and contain plenty of secrets and treasure chests.

Break apart any containers you see for quick credits and materials. Additionally, you’ll find documents and computers you can interact with that reveal more about the lore and characters you meet. Collecting readable items can unlock achievements, which award Stellar Jade. Stellar Jade is a rare currency that free-to-play players will rely on to summon more characters.

But the most important part of exploration are chests. Each one you open up gives you some Trailblazer experience, which is otherwise a finite resource. In addition, they can give you more Stellar Jade.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Techniques are your best friend

Every character has a Technique usable outside of battle, and these are easy to overlook. For instance, the main character knows “Immortal Third Strike,” which heals your party when used.

Other characters might have Techniques that freeze enemies in place to give you a chance to score a preemptive strike. Unfortunately, you initially can only use Techniques three times before you need to recharge. I generally save these for later in a dungeon or when approaching a powerful foe.

If you need to refill Techniques charges, look for containers that glow purple. Break them apart to recharge your Techniques mid-dungeon.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Don’t forget to level up characters and deck them out

Unlike other console RPGs, battles in Honkai Star Rail aren’t your best source of EXP. In fact, if you rely on battles to level up, you’ll quickly find yourself underpowered. Instead, you’ll want to level using materials you get from quests and other content to gain instant EXP.

Additionally, if you’re not fully equipping every party member on your team, you’re leaving tons of power on the table. Make sure to equip everyone with Light Cones, Traces, and Eidolons (if you have them). These can make the difference between a victory and a wipe.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Plan your gacha warps

Warps are this game’s version of gacha character summons. Similar to Genshin Impact, summons are sorted into two categories.

The first of these is the Regular Warp, which consumes Star Rail Passes. This is a permanent banner that draws from the game’s standard pool of heroes, so this can be used anytime. The second option includes Event Warps, which grant a higher chance of obtaining a certain Character or Light Cone. These typically feature a unit who is only available for a limited time, and they require Special Star Rail Passes to summon.

You can purchase both Star Rail Passes and Special Star Rail Passes by using Star Jades or the premium Oneiric Shard currency. Additionally, the game will distribute Star Rail Passes or Special Star Rail Passes specifically, such as through preregistration rewards.

For new players, you’ll actually want to focus on the Departure Warp. This banner consumes Star Rail Passes like the Regular Warp, except you’ll get a 20% discount for every 10-pull. Additionally, you’ll receive a guaranteed 5-Star unit within 50 pulls. This will give you a huge power boost for your early game progression.

For best results, throw all Star Rail Passes at the Departure Warp, and save your Stellar Jades for Special Star Rail Passes to use on Event Warps. This approach will fast track you towards a powerful and robust squad, even for free-to-play players.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Change your FPS and other settings

As soon as you launch Honkai Star Rail, head into the settings and make any necessary changes.

On mobile, for instance, you can change the FPS to 60 FPS, which will make the game run much smoother. Additionally, many PC players will need to adjust the game’s resolution to match their monitors. These few tweaks can seriously improve performance.

There are other changes you might want to make, such as mapping controller buttons (PC-only for now), adjusting the graphical settings, or changing the language for voiceovers.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Redeem those codes

Lastly, never forget about the Honkai Star Rail codes.

Even at launch, there are many codes available to reward you with valuable resources. To redeem these codes, open up the main menu in-game and then select the three little dots next to your character to find the “redeem code” option.

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Cody Perez
Contributing Writer - Cody has been a huge fan of Destructoid for more than a decade as well as a freelance writer for various publications. Now working for Destructoid, he has the chance to share his passion for Final Fantasy XIV, Pokemon, Call of Duty, and many more games.