Quick Thoughts: Realm of Illusion

Early game analysis about new content from the Realm of Illusion update, featuring way too much math.

Hi, again. Surprised to see me so soon? Well to be honest, I was supposed to be working on articles for Wuthering Waves (hi boss, I’ll get to it soon I promise), but that game somehow wants me to download a stupidly large update every single time I boot it up so here I am instead. At any rate, the new Realm of Illusion update has brought quite a lot of new stuff to talk about - aside from Siris’ new look, we’ve got a permanent way to farm event-limited weapons and a banner system that lets you not have to worry about losing 50/50s. So let’s just get into it, and maybe my WuWa update will be done by the time I finish writing this. We’ll see.

The Goldfish in the Room

Disclaimer: this is an EARLY review of Siris - Ksana, and may be missing some information. Take any conclusions here with a grain of salt.

So Siris now has a new getup, with big shields and other… big things. Like damage. Her gameplay loop is basically just ramming into enemies with her standard ability to charge up her Resilience stacks, which she then converts into big burst damage using her ultimate ability. It works well enough, though it does look pretty silly when running into non-displaceable enemies like bosses and some elites. It’s also great as a mobility tool, which can help you get around on larger or open-world maps.

Her ultimate is kinda like Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud’s standard ability in that you mark enemies to deal damage to them, but instead of continuously taking damage after the mark, you just immediately blow them up. You also really can’t adjust your aim during the scanning period, despite the charge-up period suggesting otherwise. If you whiff during the initial cast, you kinda just end up wasting the ult. Rough.

Fortunately, Siris’ ultimate doesn’t actually have that long of a cooldown, and you can reduce it by doing any non-ultimate ability damage with her. There’s actually a build floating around where you take advantage of the extra damage instances you get from Discordance’s weapon skill to spam the hell out of Siris’ ultimate ability. Despite not being able to get that many Resilience stacks to properly juice up her ultimate damage running this setup, the rate at which you can cast ultimate after ultimate ends up making the setup shockingly good. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets patched out at some point, so don’t get too attached just yet.

Her support skill exists. It’s okay.

Overall, Siris is kinda like Cherno in the sense that you build up stacks of some variety and then use them for a big burst of damage. Siris will generally charge up faster, but Cherno pops for more. For now, it seems that Cherno is stronger overall, but Siris is still a powerful DPS pick in her own right. It’s a strong enough performance to put her at a provisional Tier 0.5, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for new techs and other discoveries that might let her charge into a higher rating.

Siris releases alongside Scarab Squad, and it’s easily the best option for her. I mean It better be, because there’s zero use for it on any other character. Thanks, Seasun. Its main benefit is the absolutely massive and very easily accessible 50% Thermal damage buff - this will actually be important later, so keep that in mind. The only other logistics sets worth considering are Thebes and Fenya, and Scarab blows those two out of the water from how big its buff numbers are. So then, what stats are you looking for? The top priority actually ends up being HP, surprisingly enough. While Siris has much larger attack ratios on her abilities, she also has way more health than attack. This makes any %HP boost a larger absolute increase compared to an equivalent %ATK boost. This means more damage on your shield pops, and bigger nukes from your ultimate ability. Attack ends up being a secondary priority, and while Alignment Index provides a decent boost to Siris’ damage as well, stacking Siris’ Deiwos buff can take some time which means that you’ll be getting the most out of those Index rolls later than the immediate impact that an attack boost will. Skill haste, while not ideal, is at least not a dead stat as it lets you use your ultimate that much faster.

Onto weapons, then. Scarabei, despite having a very weird name, is a pretty decent freebie weapon. It ticks the boxes for things that Siris really wants: a generous amount of max HP increase (her abilities scale with max HP as well as attack) and bonus Thermal damage to boot. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Her gacha weapon, Crowned Flail, is more of the same, with bigger numbers and an attack boost to really sweeten the deal. The Thermal damage increase comes from collecting weapon-specific buff stacks that you get from charging her abilities, and maxing those out is really easy, so you’ll probably always have the maximum amount of those stacks by the time you actually do the damage. Directly comparing the two in a vacuum, it works out to about 20% extra damage. This clearly makes for an open and shut endorsement to pull it, right?

Well… have you ever heard of the concept of diminishing returns?

Earlier, I mentioned that Crowned Flail is basically just Scarabei but with bigger numbers, and that definitely makes it better. These increases come via three stats: attack, HP, and Thermal damage boost. The problem is that these are also the same types of stat boosts that Scarab Squad provides. This leads to some issues. Let me illustrate this with a table:

StatScarabei boost(T5)Crowned Flail Boost (T1)Scarab Squad BoostCrowned Flail % increase vs ScarabeiCrowned Flail % increase vs Scarabei (with logis)
HP (includes weapon stat boost)53%65%15%23%18%
Thermal Damage30%36%50%20%7.5%

The value of all three stats is diluted by the boost that Scarab Squad provides, with the effective advantage in Thermal Damage being reduced to just 7.5%! The result of this is that Crowned Flail’s advantage in practice ends up being around 15%, which is a much harder sell. There’s currently chatter over on CN side about it potentially getting buffed, so keep your eyes out for any further news about that. But as it stands, Siris’ gacha weapon ends up being less mandatory than it might initially seem.

Removing the Coinflip

It was a pretty big deal when Seasun announced that they would be adding the option of a gacha banner without a 50/50. These are uncommon in modern gacha games, and even less so in ones that started off with 50/50s to begin with. It of course comes with some caveats: a higher hard pity threshold and lower SSR rates overall. But how much of a difference does that make, and is ditching the 50/50 really worth it? Well to figure that out, you’d have to understand exactly how the gacha works, which requires digging through game files that are ahem not exactly intended for players to look at.

So that’s exactly what I did. If you want to take the plunge as I explain how exactly the gacha works and math our way to a conclusion, you can read the full-length article here (I’ll make it easy to understand, I promise). But if you don’t, I won’t take it too personally (probably), and you can find the results just below.

Operative Banner

Weapon Banner


What can we take away from this? Well:

  • Gacha is hell
  • In both cases, you can expect to save around 10-20 pulls on the 50/50 banner assuming that you win said 50/50
  • Losing a 50/50 will almost definitely cost you more pulls, though. Compared to if you used the 100% banner, losing on the 50/50 operative banner will set you back around 40-50 more pulls and losing the weapon 50/50 will cost 30-40 more, in both cases as a result of having to build your pity back up from scratch.
  • You are a bit more likely to get an early SSR on 50/50 banners, but even then you only have around 1/5 odds to strike gold before soft pity. This is also sort of balanced out by the 100% banner’s bonus boxes at 165 pulls for operatives and 130 for weapons.

So what does this mean for you, the player? The more responsible method obviously is to choose the 100% banner. It’ll cost you a little more compared to winning a 50/50, for sure. Its comparatively low rates also means that it’ll feel more like paying a set price for an SSR rather than outright gambling - but that’s not inherently a bad thing, despite what some people think:

I'd like to remind you all that you can expect to get an SSR on the 100% banner in ten fewer pulls than this user claims.

While you lose out on the potential for early wins, you gain much more predictability in how many pulls you’ll need to get what you want, which will help you more effectively plan your savings for future banners. Stocking up 90 pulls to accommodate for bad luck on a 100% banner pull is a lot cheaper than hoarding up to 130 to make sure you don't miss out if you get a 50/50 loss, after all. Plus, the bonus box you get when you hit the pull count milestones doesn't hurt either.

There are some other factors that will come into play based on your own situation and your perceived luck, so here are some additional considerations:

Good Reasons to Pull on 50/50

  • You already have a guarantee or very high pity count on the 50/50 banner
  • You have extremely high confidence in your ability to win 50/50s
  • You really want an operative, have very few pulls, and are willing to risk it all on a hail mary

Bad Reasons to Pull on 50/50

  • You want to fish for early SSRs (the odds are against you five to one at best; it’s really not as worthwhile as you think)
  • It feeds your gambling addiction
  • “F*ck it, we ball”


(This awful section title counts as my one allowed bad joke per article)

With this update, Seasun has graciously allowed you to farm for previously-limited event weapons through a new permanent Operation. How much will it cost you? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Each run of the Operation will cost you 40AP and rewards 10 shop currency. With each weapon in the shop costing 165 a pop, this means you need 17 runs to buy one copy, and 83 runs to max out a weapon. This would cost 680 and 3,320AP respectively, taking just over two days of natural AP (240 from natural regen, 20+30 from daily friends and free refill bonuses) to farm one and around eleven and a half days for a T5.

Compared to buying a weapon through an event shop, you get 15 currency on every 30AP Abyss run, with each weapon costing 300 currency (rerun weapons don't get their first copy discounted). This means that one weapon will need 20 runs, and a T5 will need 100. This will set you back 600 and 3,000AP, which is anywhere from eight hours to a bit over a day’s worth of AP savings (this doesn’t even include event currency rewards you can get from event missions!). So yeah, buy it from the event shop when you can. Duh.

So with these weapons being not exactly cheap to obtain, which ones are worth it? I’m so glad you asked (because wow some of these were an absolute pain to math out).

Wild Wasp Stinger (Haru - Absconditus)

This weapon arguably has the most competition, with up to six other pistols vying for a chance to see action depending on how generous you are with your judgement. I’ve narrowed down the field to three other competitors - Nexus, Yojimbo, and Concrete Jungle. Tiny Tool and Wild Construct are too finicky to use in practice, and Star Ocean will obviously be way better than any of these options, so those won’t be considered.

Of the weapons that are in contention, all come with their own downsides. Nexus is a Chaos weapon, and thus does not benefit from Haru’s standard skill neuronic that provides a significant 20% final damage buff. Yojimbo is strictly a paywalled weapon, only being available from a weapon box you get from the premium battlepass, and Concrete Jungle is only available at T1 since it too can only be obtained from a weapon box that has only ever been given out once. So how do they perform?

Thebes Squad Damage Comparison

WeaponRelative Performance vs T1 Wild Wasp StingerRelative Performance vs T5 Wild Wasp Stinger
Nexus (T1)97%92%
Nexus (T5)111%106%
Yojimbo (T1)110%105%
Yojimbo (T5)121%116%
Concrete Jungle (T1)95%91%
Calculations assume maximum stacks of Thebes

Akitsu Squad Damage Comparison

WeaponRelative Performance vs T1 Wild Wasp StingerRelative Performance vs T5 Wild Wasp Stinger
Nexus (T1)93%88%
Nexus (T5)105%100%
Yojimbo (T1)107%101%
Yojimbo (T5)116%110%
Concrete Jungle (T1)100%95%
Calculations assume all buffs are active.

The takeaways from this will vary depending on which logistics set you personally use on Haru. T4 or higher Nexus actually beats out T5 Wild Wasp Stinger if you’re using Thebes, but T5 only matches it when using Akitsu. Meanwhile, Yojimbo beats even T5 Wild Wasp Stinger with just a single copy, which is… damn. Concrete Jungle tried its best.

It is worth noting that Yojimbo is a revolver-type pistol, which will make your Haru experience less pleasant if you run out of standard skill charges. But having to shoot with Haru kinda sucks anyways, so you might as well do more damage with your skill so that you shoot less to begin with. It takes the crown for the best non-SSR weapon you can put on Haru, so if you’ve got a couple of battlepass weapon boxes lying around, getting even one copy will save you a lot of AP that can be better used elsewhere.

Wave (Mauxir - Shadow Ka)

This weapon provides a mediocre attack boost that takes too long to scale up. Just use Frigatebird instead.

Wasp (Tess - The Magician)

This is kind of a unique case, as no other non-SSR sniper really does the same thing as Wasp. Its only real competition is Deep Sea’s Call, which trades extra U-Energy generation for an attack buff on support skill usage instead. It will very likely depend on if you really need the extra U-Energy, as using Deep Sea’s Call will also turn off Tess’ first Manifest’s effects.

Alpine Gentian (Katya - Blue Bolt)

Normally, this would be a slam dunk recommendation, as you have literally no other options besides the starter crossbow, which will obviously be less effective. However, Katya’s rerun is less than three weeks away, and farming this through the event shop will be cheaper. If you’re willing to wait, it’ll save you (at least) 320AP for a T5, which can be better spent on other things.

Rock Python (Eatchel - The Cub)


Halo of Hope (Cherno - Enigma)

If you remember the last meta report, I had very high praise for this weapon, as it’s honestly really good for an event weapon. There are simply no non-SSR Chaos SMGs (being on-element is important for being able to stack Enmity on ricochets) that do what this weapon does. The only real competition aside from her signature weapon (duh) is 100 Battle Veteran, which is better by virtue of SSR stat checking it. Halo of Hope gets the thumbs up.

Tribute of Rose (Enya - Exuvia)

Another pretty good event weapon, but its overall value diminishes as it is a support weapon. Prismatic Igniter provides a straightforward attack buff on support skill use, and Enya’s support skill being recastable once while active will allow for you to refresh that buff as soon as it runs out. However, if you’re using Areca Squad (which you should be unless Enya is specifically supporting an Electric DPS), you’ll lose the permanent 12% attack buff from Areca just for having an Electric weapon equipped as well as her own Manifest 3 effect. So despite it being a tough sell in a vacuum, practical conditions end up making Tribute of Rose surprisingly effective.

Wild Leer (Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud)

I’m just going to level with you: the non-SSR assault rifle pool is kinda awful. As a result, Wild Leer only ends up competing with Indicator. And even then, it’s not really that close. Indicator does provide a 50% ballistic damage boost versus Leer’s 40% attack, but remember our good friend Diminishing Returns from earlier in the article? The massive amount of damage (not attack) boosts you get from your logistics sets (either Amano-Iwato or Mingyi) reduces the value that you get from Indicator’s ballistic damage buff. Wild Leer handily beats it out as a result. The only word of caution I’d provide is that Chenxing miiiiight be rerunning next event, but that’s quite a ways off and not even guaranteed. So in the meantime, the watermelon gun does turn out to be a worthwhile pickup.