This article will help understand Honkai: Star Rail’s unique stratification of characters
Honkai: Star Rail has a very interesting approach to categorizing their vastly colorful roster of characters, mainly in two ways: Paths and Elements. The turn-based game’s strategic implication only gets better the more you understand it, and thus the intention of this guide.
What is a Path?
Source: The Gamer
From a lore perspective, Paths are defined by the Aeons in the Honkai world; Greater Beings that act as Gods, each with a specific power and role in the universe. This is a concept similar to Eldritch truth, something that is also explored in games like Bloodborne and Elden Ring.
These Aeons have individual characteristics, such as wealthiness, selflessness or courage. When a person shows these traits in an abundant amount, the Aeons will choose to influence that person with their respective Path and he/she will be said to be following the said Path. For example, someone who follows the Path of Abundance will show clear inclination to being selfless, altruistic or helpful in general.
What a Path Does
Source: Pocket Tactics
Now from the gameplay perspective, a Path is basically the class of each character, as would be defined in a typical RPG game. Every Path has their distinct traits, pertinent to their respective lore, and there are 7 such paths. They are as follows:
- Path of Erudition: Classifies characters who admire thinking, logic and strategic behavior. In a party, they will be the ones who deal area of effect (AOE) damage to the opponents (e.g., Argenti, Herta, Serval).
- Path of Destruction: Classifies characters who admire recklessness, anger and destructive behavior. Path of Destruction characters are a jack of all trade who deal massive damage and are just as resilient. Can be great tanks (e.g., Trailblazer, Blade, Clara).
- Path of Nihility: Classifies characters who are lazy, passive or indolent. While this might give off a negative demeanor, Nihility characters apply debuffs to the opponent, which can be an extremely positive act for your team (e.g., Kafka, Silver Wolf, Welt).
- Path of Preservation: Characters who are patient, steadfast and enduring. These will be the defensive tanks of your team and the ones who will take the most hits so that the other members can stay alive and kickin’ (e.g., Gepard, March 7th, Trailblazer).
- Path of The Hunt: Classifies characters who are ruthless, determined, or tenacious. The DPS of your team. They might be a little fragile compared to health but their damage output will be unmatched by any other class (e.g., Dan Heng, Seele, Topaz).
- Path of Abundance: Characters who are selfless, altruistic and helpful. Their role is being the healer of the team, and a must-have for every party (e.g., Natasha, Bailu, Luocha).
- Path of Harmony: Characters who appreciate teamwork, cooperation and collegiality. They will be the ones who apply buffs to your team and help you bag the win a few turns faster (e.g., Bronya, Tingyun, Asta).
Now that we’ve covered what are Paths, we’ll be taking a look at the other way that Honkai categorizes their characters: the Elements.
Elements in Honkai are pretty much the same as in other games like Pokemon or Honkai’s close brother: Genshin Impact. Each character has a type which is usually associated with their personality or simply the power of the element they possess. Additionally, Each type of enemy usually has a certain weakness to one or more elements, so it helps to have a team that is versatile in terms of Elemental prowess. Each element also provides a status effect and they are explained as follows:
- Physical: Provides a status effect of ‘Bleed’ which does Physical damage over time to the enemy.
- Ice: Has a chance to ‘Freeze’ the enemy which makes them immobilized and unable to execute a turn. Also does Ice damage over time.
- Fire: Applies ‘Burn’ to the enemy which does Fire damage over time.
- Quantum: Applies the ‘Entanglement’ effect; Delays the enemy's action and deals Quantum damage to them at the start of their next turn. This extra damage increases every time they're hit before then.
- Lightning: Applies ‘Shock’ which does Lightning damage over time.
- Wind: Applies ‘Wind Shear’ which does wind damage over time.
- Imaginary: Applies ‘Imprisonment’ which reduces the enemy’s speed and delays the enemy’s action, similar to entanglement.
So there you have it, a thorough explanation of what Paths and Elements mean in Honkai: Star Rail. If you’re ever confused or had trouble understanding this system in the game, we hope this article provides clarification!