Honkai: Star Rail Combat and Exploration Guide

Honkai: Star Rail deploys a turn-based combat style akin to a typical JRPG. You will assemble a team of 4 unique characters, each ready to face the adversaries head-on. The sequence of moves, both for characters and foes, is governed by their individual Speed statistic. Moreover, the Speed stat also influences the intervals between each entity’s turns.

The Pre-Combat Dynamics

As you traverse the expansive overworld, engaging in skirmishes with wandering enemies or being targeted by them triggers a combat phase. However, the commencement of the battle hinges on specific conditions that may position your squad or the antagonist at a disadvantage.

If you decide to strike first with a Basic Attack or Technique, the fight ensues as standard. However, if the initiating character’s element happens to be the foe’s Achilles heel, your squad enters the battle in a state of Weakness. This state diminishes the enemy’s Toughness bar, simplifying the task of inducing a Weakness Break. Essentially, this allows your squad to penetrate enemy defenses with relative ease.

Alternatively, if you find yourself outflanked by an enemy and fail to retaliate with a Basic Attack or Technique before they strike, the battle will begin with you in the Ambushed state, where the foe gets the upper hand.

For a comprehensive understanding of enemy elemental weakness and Weakness Break, please refer to the “Enemies” section below:

Choices at Your Disposal

Upon your character’s turn, you may opt for one of the following actions:

  • Deploy a Basic Attack ability
  • Utilize a Skill ability. Bear in mind that this consumes Skill Point(s), primarily regenerated via the Battle Attack ability. A maximum of 5 Skill Points can be accumulated and are shared amongst the team. Without any Skill Points, you cannot trigger a Skill ability.
  • If charged to the brim, unleash an Ultimate ability. Launching an Ultimate ability doesn’t signal the end of the character’s turn. They will execute the Ultimate ability instantaneously, after which you may dictate their subsequent action. Ultimate abilities can also be deployed when it’s not the character’s turn, in which case the character activates their Ultimate ability once the ongoing turn is over. This grants the flexibility to disrupt the standard turn flow. Multiple Ultimates can be linked in this manner, paving the way for potent damage outside of turn.

Ultimate abilities require Energy to be triggered, obtained via the following methods:

  • Basic Attack ability – Yields 20 Energy
  • Skill ability – Generates 30 Energy
  • Ultimate ability – Produces 5 Energy
  • Vanquishing foes – Generates 10 Energy/enemy
  • Receiving blows from enemies in combat – The Energy gained depends on the enemy.

Characters, Light Cones, and Energy Gain

The Energy garnered from each of the actions can be escalated by enhancing the Character’s Energy Restoration Rate statistic.

Understanding Your Foes

In Honkai: Star Rail, enemies possess two distinct bars symbolizing their durability: HP and Toughness.

The red HP bar indicates the quantum of damage an enemy can endure before being vanquished. Damage inflicted causes a reduction in the HP bar.

Contrasting the Toughness Bar

On the flip side, the Toughness bar (identified by its white color) can only be whittled down by the elements the enemy is vulnerable to. Each enemy has a particular set of elemental weaknesses (typically 2 or 3), signified above their head. When you assault an enemy using an element it’s weak to, its Toughness (denoted by the white bar atop its HP) reduces. You can impose a Weakness Break on a foe by diminishing its Toughness to zero. This state leaves an enemy more susceptible to damage and imposes a debuff related to the element that depleted its Toughness.

Each element triggers a unique Weakness Break:

  • Physical: Inflicts additional physical damage and triggers Bleeding (Physical DoT)
  • Fire: Imposes additional fire damage and incites Burning (Fire DoT)
  • Ice: Freezes the enemy, rendering it immobile and triggers Ice DoT
  • Lightning: Deals extra lightning damage and triggers Shock (Lightning DoT)
  • Wind: Inflicts additional wind damage and initiates Wind Shear (Wind DoT)
  • Quantum: Triggers the Entanglement effect (Disrupts enemy turn order and incites Quantum DoT)
  • Imaginary: Induces the Imprisonment effect (Alters enemy turn order and reduces enemy’s Speed)

While broken, the enemy’s Toughness lingers at zero, and further attacks of a weak element have no added impact. A broken enemy will recover on its next turn, restoring its Toughness fully and once again becoming vulnerable to a Weakness Break.

Venturing Into the Unknown

As a player, you have the liberty to explore the vast expanses of Honkai: Star Rail, unraveling treasure chests, adversaries, puzzles, and more. Each area operates as an isolated zone, thus necessitating a loading screen when migrating between different regions in the overworld.

While exploring, you choose one character from your quartet to be the active character, the one you directly control. You can switch your active character whenever you’re not engaged in combat.

In areas beyond town boundaries, you’ll encounter enemies roaming freely. If you venture too close, they will aggro and pursue you. To trigger combat in the overworld, approach an enemy and deploy your Basic Attack ability. Some characters’ Technique abilities can also be used to initiate combat, which results in a special attack at the onset of battle. Bear in mind, this consumes a Technique charge. You can initially store Technique charges, with the maximum limit increasing as your Trailblaze Level elevates. Technique charges can be replenished by shattering purple containers scattered in the overworld. Each container restores 2 Technique charges and is generally located near fast travel points (Space Anchors and Calyx entrances) outside city zones.

Combat can also be triggered when an enemy tailing you manages to close the gap. If you’re unable to retaliate with either your Basic Attack or Technique ability before they reach you, the fight will begin with you in an “Ambushed” state. In this state, the enemy gets the first move.

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