When Sumeru was released back in Version 3.0, it came with Genshin Impact’s biggest game changer yet, which is the introduction of the Dendro element and its variety of powerful elemental reactions. It was integrated flawlessly, not just in combat but also in the region’s overall setting. Due to its success, it’s unsurprising to say that players will have high expectations for Fontaine, Teyvat’s most technologically advanced region, and the next region announced for Version 4.0 coming this August 16.
While the official trailers and announcements have teased new characters and even an underwater map, Genshin Impact has kept a tight lip when it comes to Fontaine’s new mechanics. However, much like the Hydro element that symbolizes Fontaine, numerous leaks have sprung out from the waterworks, and it’s through these leaks that we are introduced to their newest affinity-based system called the Arkhe, consisting of the two opposing energies of Pneuma and Ousia.
But what is Pneuma and Ousia, and how does it work? With Fontaine fast approaching, here’s a crash course on what we know.
What Does Pneuma and Ousia Mean?
The terms Pneuma and Ousia might be new to Genshin Impact, but they’re actually real concepts outside of the game. Both words have Greek roots – with Pneuma meaning ‘breath, spirit, or soul’ while Ousia meaning ‘being, essence, or substance.’
In the world of Teyvat, they are described as properties contained in the life forms, earth, air, and watery veins of Fontaine. Combining the two results in the two properties causing an Annihilation reaction which negates both energies and produces a great energy output as a byproduct. Those residing in Fontaine have found a way to harness these properties and reaction to power their various machinations like the Clockwork Mekas which lends itself perfectly to Fontaine’s steampunk aesthetics. However, this system is imperfect, with its instability resulting in Pneuma or Ousia aligned energy states.
Effects of Pneuma and Ousia
The Pneumousia mechanic keeps fairly faithful to its own lore of negating one another and causing an electrifying (but not Electro) effect. Using Pneuma attacks on Ousia-aligned enemies triggers an Annihilation reaction to enemies upon hit. This reaction also works the other way around, with Ousia attacks on Pneuma enemies triggering the same reaction. In gameplay, it’s rumored to have a paralysis effect. It is currently unknown how long the paralysis effect lasts and whether or not there is a difference between the two orders (like the damage multipliers in Melt and Vaporize reactions).
This effect is not exclusive to enemies alone, as it also works on playable characters as well. Enemies can also stagger and paralyze your characters if they happen to have the right alignment to trigger the reaction. Not all characters are affected by this, however, as only the Fontaine characters and the Traveler are included in this mechanic, either to their benefit or detriment, so characters hailing from previous regions will not have to worry about it.
What Does Pneuma and Ousia Affect?
So far, this mechanic is revealed to be prevalent in the following:
As many eagle-eyed fans have pointed out during the release of Genshin Impact’s ‘drip’ marketing for siblings Lyney, Lynette, and Freminet, Fontaine seems to have two distinct designs for the casing of their visions. Freminet’s Cryo vision seems to sport a more angular shape than Lynette’s Anemo vision which is more rounded.
While many have theorized early on that the different visions are due to Fontaine being split into two different factions, it’s more than likely that the Pneumousia mechanic is the reason behind it. Leaks have confirmed that the two siblings wield different energies- with Freminet having Pneuma and Lynette having Ousia, respectively.
Abilities and Skills
To put it simply, every Fontaine character and the Traveler has an innate Arkhe type secondary to their main element. They can unleash attacks with either Pneuma or Ousia, depending on this alignment. More specifically, they are linked to a specific skill of each character and have their unique internal cooldowns independent of their skills’ cooldowns. This means that not every attack will be infused with Pneuma or Ousia.
Examples of characters and their Pneuma/Ousia skills:
- Lyney: His Lv2 Charge Attack can trigger the Pneuma affinity with a 6s cooldown.
- Hydro Traveler and Freminet: Both have the Pneuma affinity tied to their Elemental Skills with a 9s cooldown.
- Lynette: Her elemental skill has the Ousia affinity with a 10s cooldown.
Not only does the new region come with new exploration, characters, and story, but it also brings a whole new slew of weapons for players to equip their characters with. These weapons would usually be made available either through wishing or crafting with new materials.
While that isn’t unexpected, Fontaine takes this a step further by having the new Pneumousia affinities affect weapons hailing from the Fontaine set, manifesting in different visual effects. However, the effects only occur if a Fontaine character or the Traveler wields the weapon. A yellow light characterizes the Pneuma affinity, while those with the Ousia alignment will be shown with a bluish light.
Here’s the list of the 12 new weapons that were announced to come with the release of Fontaine:
- Wolf-Fang (Battle Pass Sword)
- Talking Stick (Battle Pass Claymore)
- Ballad of the Fjords (Battle Pass Polearm)
- Sacrificial Jade (Battle Pass Catalyst)
- Scion of the Blazing Sun (Battle Pass Bow)
- Finale of the Deep (Craftable Sword)
- Tidal Shadow (Craftable Claymore)
- Rightful Reward (Craftable Polearm)
- Flowing Purity (Craftable Catalyst)
- Song of Stillness (Craftable Bow)
- The First Great Magic (5-Star Limited Bow)
- Crossing of Fleuve Cendre (4-Star Sword obtained through Fishing)
Keep in mind that these leaks are still subject to change so take them with a grain of salt.
Genshin Impact’s open-world exploration can feel a little stale if it becomes too easy or repetitive, and HoYoverse is aware of this. They’ve done a good job of spicing things up to make the new regions feel distinct from previous regions and make exploring Teyvat feel new and exciting again. For Fontaine, the new affinities will play a big part in setting the theme for its open-world gameplay.
While venturing out into the new region, players will encounter Pneuma and Ousia nodes scattered throughout Fontaine. They’re a stronger version of the traditional amplifier nodes, buffing any nearby enemies with their corresponding affinity. There will also be puzzles that use the two polar energies as a solution.
Although it would be cool to travel with new companions from Fontaine, those who have their preferred exploration team members will be happy to know that they will not be forced to switch them out to solve the new puzzles that use the Pneumousia affinities. Much like the Dendrograna mechanic in Sumeru, there exist elemental blocks of Pneuma/Ousia in the overworld that will allow any character to deal one instance of Pneuma/Ousia in their attack upon being picked up.
As with most new mechanics introduced to the game, they will feature heavily in the Spiral Abyss, Genshin Impact’s defacto weekly endgame gauntlet.
The Pneuma and Ousia nodes found in the overworld show up as the new recurring gimmick that will test the players’ abilities in clearing the Spiral Abyss’ floors. These nodes will give either Pneuma or Ousia auras, mixed with one of Pyro/Hydro/Cryo/Electro elements for a total of 8 combinations possible. This aura will give enemies a bunch of resistances that will be difficult to bust through without permanently negating it.
There will also be new daunting enemies that have attacks and abilities that use Pneuma and Ousia. Much of the information about them is speculation at best, but it’s clear that players will have to take advantage of certain affiliations to take them down.
- Large Shatterstone Breacher Primus
- Icewind Suite
- Assault Specialist Mek
Which Characters Use Pneuma and Ousia?
Knowing which character wields what energy looks to be important for the upcoming challenges in Fontaine. Although most of the Fontaine cast has been shown in the Overture Teaser: The Final Feast, their affiliations to either Pneuma or Ousia have not been revealed yet. Here’s what we know so far and some predictions made from the teaser:
- Hydro Traveler (5-Star Hydro Sword)
- Lyney (5-Star Pyro Bow)
- Freminet (4-Star Cryo Claymore)
- Charlotte (Cryo; unconfirmed weapon and rarity)
- Lynette (4-Star Anemo Sword)
- Clorinde (Electro Sword, unconfirmed rarity)
As announced in Genshin Impact‘s Version 4.0 Special Program, Lynette is confirmed to be given to all players for free at the start of Fontaine. Players will need to reach at least Adventurer Rank 25 to claim the only Ousia-aligned character that will be playable during Fontaine’s release. Along with Hydro Traveler, this will make sure that everyone will be able to fully test and play the new Arkhe attributes once Fontaine drops this August 16.