I’m sure you’ve heard of the many comparisons made to HoYoverse’s best-selling game, Genshin Impact. From comparisons to Breath of the Wild for its exploration, Cooking Mama for cooking, or Bomberman, Pacman or Tetris for the limited minigame events—the list goes on. But regardless of its similarities to other games, Genshin Impact is more than just a regular gacha game for the masses. Within the main game, there’s the Serenitea Pot, a system that allows players to create and build outside of the gameplay mechanics and story-driven narrative.

After the Genshin Impact‘s Liyue Archon quest concludes, you talk to Madame Ping in the city of Liyue and are introduced to the Serenitea Pot—also known as the teapot—a space where you can enter different realms based on each nation and create your mansion, town or whatever you’re inspired by. Think of the build mode in The Sims!

Currently, there’s five nations that have their own realms: Cool Isle in Mondstadt, Emerald Peak and Floating Abode in Liyue, Silken Courtyard in Inazuma, Sublime Spicewood in Sumeru and Swirling Isles in Fontaine. In Tevyat, you can collect new furniture items from remarkable chests and spincrystals to change the realm’s music, giving players a whole new reason to explore and collect them all!

A screenshot of a player's creation in Genshin Impact (2020, miHoYo, HoYoverse) depicting a character overlooking a walled pond with an arched bridge in its centre.

The Serenitea Pot gets overlooked because of the need to farm wood or the endless remarkable chests for furniture that many don’t use. But for players who are burnt out from world quests, exploration or artificial farming, the teapot is a relaxing way to get creative but also envision the world of Tevyat in your own way, one realm at a time.

However, I can’t ignore the limitations that many players bring up such as the load limit per area, which restricts extensive building and results in most designs being built in one space. There’s also the issue of not being able to mix interior and exterior furniture and the difficulty of ascending or descending anything with ease.

The game’s 4.2 version introduced the long-awaited Fontaine-inspired realm, Swirling Isles, and it’s not hard to see why it was a disappointment. Many players voiced that they wanted to have a half-underwater, half-beach realm where they could dive into the water and see their designs while swimming. In addition, the mansion does not align well aesthetically with the realm being completely underwater—it’s more for the surface if anything.

A screenshot of a player's creation in Genshin Impact (2020, miHoYo, HoYoverse) depicting a stone table with a number of books on it.

But even with the limitations, there are many who still find ways around this and make designs beyond my imagination. Tanje-kun, Genshin Asriel and UnluckyTabibito are just a few of the players who stand out for their elaborate designs and uploads on YouTube. I’ve even been inspired by many of these creators, including Baizhu’s small villa by Moni*g10 もにじっと, Scholar’s Study Hall by HZO, and Beach Bonfire by Little Bit Imagination. I have also had fun in the teapot: I’ve created a hotel in the mountains, a bathhouse and onsen and a lavender road. Next, I’m working on a redesign of Dark Chronicle’s Moon Flower Palace for the Swirling Isles realm.

Just like many Genshin players want to see the game improve quality of life for battle and exploratory play, Serenitea Pot creators want improvements for their sandbox… but their ideas and wishes tend to get put on the back burner. It would be nice to see HoYoverse touch on the glaring issues mentioned above but also focus on ways to make the teapot more appealing to other players who want downtime from the exploration or fighting aspects of the game.

With Natlan, the Pyro nation, coming in Version 5.0, we may see more crumbs given to the teapot community, like carnival-related items, an arena, baby dragons as pets, more hot springs, lava lamps, and so on. I hope some of my wishes, such as a volcanic terrain for the realm and a worn but sunny mansion, will be brought to reality this year.