Honkai: Star Rail is advertised as a free-to-play game, yet many warn about the dangers of spending on it. That might be because of its status as a gacha game, one that gives you characters and weapons based on chance. You pull for characters and weapon-like cards called Light Cones from banners. However, you might not get the one you want, even over a hundred pulls later. Players often fawn over particular characters and weapons because of their stories and strengths. Still, HoYoverse says that the game is completely free-to-play.
Here’s the verdict on whether or not Honkai: Star Rail is free-to-play, if there’s anything you can buy in the game, and if you should buy anything in the game.
Is Honkai: Star Rail free-to-play?
Yes, Honkai: Star Rail is free-to-play in the traditional sense of the word. You can download it straight from the website or your respective app store right now and start playing without spending a cent. The only way someone could argue it isn’t free-to-play is because of what you would need to spend to enjoy it to its fullest. Even then, Honkai: Star Rail is what many would consider “free-to-play friendly.” You can progress through the story and many of the challenges without spending any money. However, your progress will start to slow down as you reach higher levels of the game like after Trailblaze Level 60.
Do you need to buy anything in Honkai: Star Rail?
Honkai: Star Rail doesn’t require you to spend real-life currency on most of the items in its store. Many of them instead require in-game currencies like Undying Starlight and Undying Embers to buy items. You can find the Store on your phone dashboard in the upper left corner.
These are the items currently up for sale:
- Express Supply Pass: $5
- Nameless Glory Battle Pass: $10
- Nameless Medal Battle Pass: $20
- Oneiric Shard x60: $1
- Oneiric Shard x300: $5
- Oneiric Shard x980: $15
- Oneiric Shard x1980: $30
- Oneiric Shard x3280: $50
- Oneiric Shard x6480: $100
You can find most of these items in the Oneiric Pouch section of the store. Oneiric Shards don’t have any other purpose than to be traded in for Stellar Jade, the currency you actually need to pull for characters and Light Cones from banners. Many players want the hottest new characters and their respective Light Cones — like Blade and Kafka for Honkai: Star Rail 1.2. Thus, they submit to buying Oneiric Pouches to get the Stellar Jade to do that.
Oneiric Pouches also seduce players with their first-time purchase bonuses, which offer you double the Shards when you first buy that particular bundle. For example, a 1980 Oneiric Shard bundle will give you 3960 Oneiric Shards the first time you buy that particular bundle. The equivalent bundles in Genshin Impact eventually reset their bonuses after a set amount of time.
Is the Express Supply Pass or Battle Pass worth it?
The Express Supply Pass and Battle Passes are the exceptions to the long list of Oneiric Pouch bundles. You can get up to 2,800 Stellar Jade from the Express Supply Pass if you log in consecutively for 30 days after buying it. It incentivizes you to play every day so that you can claim the 90 Stellar Jade it offers you per day and get the full amount. It also gives you 300 Oneiric Shards upon purchase, which can be traded in for the Stellar Jade you would need to pull for characters from banners.
The Nameless Glory Battle Pass Tier offers something completely different than Stellar Jade-fueled incentives. It gives you many more resources than you would get from just the free Nameless Honor tier — like a Battle Pass-exclusive four-star Light Cone. Each of the Battle Pass Light Cones is considered a strong weapon within the game’s meta. On the other hand, the Nameless Medal Battle Pass offers everything the Nameless Glory tier does and more, including boosting your Battle Pass tier immediately by 10 levels. It might be worth it for someone who wants to catch up quickly, especially if they have cash to burn.
In the end, Honkai: Star Rail still doesn’t require you to spend any money to play it. However, those with addiction-prone personalities might find it difficult to resist spending money to get the latest characters and level them up quickly with the resources you can get from spending. Spend your money wisely.
Honkai: Star Rail is currently available on PC, iOS, and Android.