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Honkai Star Rail: Are we Creepin’?


Honkai Star Rail is an immersive turn-based open-world RPG game released in late April 2023, the fourth in the Honkai series. As the player, you tag along with the Astral Express crew to explore and help save planets across the universe from seeds of disaster known as “stellarons.” There are many aspects to the game that can be seen in other Hoyoverse titles, but one of the most unique aspects is the turn-based combat and the paths that characters follow that is not seen in their other games.

Here are the basics of the combat system: you pick an action for your character to do. Once they’re done, you move onto the next character, and so on, until the enemies get their turns and then the cycle continues. There are three different actions a character can take: basic attacks, which deal damage and recover skill points (SP); skills that consume SP to perform special effects; and Ultimates that can be used at any time and have even stronger special effects. Depending on the character’s chosen path, they fill a different role, such as dealing damage or keeping the team alive.

There are seven paths that are all (at least) slightly different from each other and they are marked with different symbols. When it comes to games like Honkai Star Rail, there’s a particular phenomenon called “power creep” (scary, right? Creepy? Halloweeny?) as more and more characters are released, which essentially means older characters are eventually outclassed and become obsolete. I will be sharing my opinions on each path and its state of power creep, in order of least to most “creeped” (creeping? crept?) and whether this is even a serious issue.

The Path of Erudition has been in an unfortunate spot since the beginning of the game, since it features many characters that are just . . . lackluster. There has only been one new Erudition character since the beginning of the game, and with him came only more disappointment. In my opinion, Erudition has not been power crept because there is nobody strong that follows this path.

The Path of Harmony features characters that apply positive effects to your teammates to increase damage output. So far, we only have four (five including the upcoming character Hanya) characters and they are all rather balanced so far. One of them outshines the others in most scenarios, but she is harder to get and she didn’t power creep anyone because she came out with the game.

The Hunt is designed to deal high single-target damage to quickly kill tough enemies. The Hunt has a larger array of characters that all provide good damage: the problem here is not the characters within the path, but other paths. There are two characters, Seele and Topaz, one of which came out in April, the other of which came out October 27th. They both output similar amounts of damage despite having far apart release dates.

Nihility serves two purposes: number one, to weaken enemies, and two, deal damage to enemies using DOT (damage-over-time) attacks. Several characters of the Nihility have been released since the game’s beginning and with it, some older characters became either weaker or stronger. For example, the character Pelageya Sergeyevna (Pela) is used to reduce the defense of enemies. By June, there was a new character named Silver Wolf who also reduces defense, but also got rid of needing to match your team’s elements to the enemy by making them weaker to certain elements. Silver Wolf somewhat power crept Pela, but it wasn’t major. Then there’s Kafka, another Nihility character who does major DOT damage, and she actually increased the power of older characters because she can make their DOTs damage immediately. Still rather tame, but now we get into the meat of it.

Destruction was originally a lackluster path, consisting mainly of bad characters and one good character who is difficult to get. Then began what I like to call “The Emo Era,” where three edgy Destruction characters were released into the game. The Destruction is designed to be more AOE (area of effect) instead of single-target like the Hunt, yet it does the Hunt’s job better. Not only is Destruction power-creeping itself, it’s power-creeping the other damage paths as well. Many Destruction characters consistently out-damage Hunt characters on a single target. I can testify to this.

To round off this list, I’m going to combine the Preservation and the Abundance into one section as they both serve the same role, keeping your characters alive. There was a point in the game where if you did not have the Abundance character Luocha (see image below), you basically could not play.

I am lucky to have this Preservation character who not only keeps my entire team alive (she has healed herself for 25,000 health in one turn), but she also buffs them (like the Harmony). The Preservation and Abundance are the most important characters for a team, because dying is very easy, but they power-creep not only their own paths, but also branch out into others like Nihility and Harmony, which makes the other paths less valuable.


Power creep in Honkai Star Rail is not a prevalent issue yet, and for now I’m not too worried as they are constantly gutting characters before they even are released. (I weep for Argenti.) But if this game goes on a similar path as Genshin Impact, then power creep will be a factor that drives players away.

An aside for any Honkai Star Rail players, my UID is 600470682. Feel free to look at my builds and send me a friend request.

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