9 tips to get started in Zenless Zone Zero

Looking for some ZZZ tips to get going in miHoYo’s latest game? Zenless Zone Zero has a lot in common with Honkai: Star Rail and even Genshin Impact before it, but in many ways it’s far more focused. Fans of those previous titles will recognise a lot of the mechanics at play, but ZZZ is less of an open-world RPG. 

In fact, the only time you’ll get to explore is when running around the city of New Eridu. There are no random enemy battles you can encounter, and the main time you’ll see the characters you pull is when you’re taking part in a commission—what ZZZ calls quests—or a Combat Simulation while farming for materials.

For some, it might feel like a downgrade, but for others who want a more laid-back experience that puts emphasis on sleek and stylish action combat, it’ll feel pretty good. If you’re thinking of checking it out, here are nine tips that’ll help you understand its fundamentals and get going.

Turn on Challenge Mode difficulty

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Zenless Zone Zero’s main story feels pretty easy, even by gacha game standards. You’ll breeze through most of it with a team of A-star characters provided you level a bit and equip relevant Drive Discs and W-Engines. Just to stop you getting bored at blending most enemies you come across, I recommend turning on Challenge Mode difficulty in the ‘Other’ section of the options menu. While it won’t make things absurdly hard, it will buff enemies a little so combat is more fun and lasts for a teensy bit longer.

Grab a bite before heading into commissions

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Just like in Monster Hunter, you can grab food before heading out on a commission that will provide benefits to your party for the duration of a fixed duration. Simply head to Waterfall Soup on Sixth Street and speak to General Chop to choose whichever buff bowl suits your team and the commission you’re about to tackle.

Don’t forget your daily coffee and scratchcard

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Once you unlock Coff Cafe on Sixth Street, you can visit Tin Master to get a daily coffee that will boost your Battery Charge by 60. Your battery is like Resin in Genshin Impact or your Trailblaze Energy in Star Rail, i.e, it determines how much you can do in a single day, so 60 will give you a little bump to do a few extra Combat Simulations. Drinking coffee also provides a secondary benefit such as boosting material drops, which makes farming for characters quicker and easier.

Specialize in an attribute or faction

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More so than Honkai: Star Rail or Genshin, ZZZ is a game where team composition is massively important. This is because each character has an additional ability that only unlocks when you bring another team member of the same faction or attribute, i.e, the damage element they deal. 

This incentivises you to either bring characters belonging to one of the game’s specific factions—such as The Cunning Hares who you start with—or characters who use the same damage-type. Some damage types and factions are pretty underrepresented right now, such as ether, but they’ll become easier to work with as the agent roster expands.

Manage the video store to get some money

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Despite being proxy guides to the Hollows, Belle and her brother Wise also run a video rental store, and somehow make money doing it in the year of our lord 2024. I guess streaming services don’t exist in New Eridu. You can run your store by speaking to the Bangboo at the counter, selecting a promoter, and then some films that fit the recommended genre tags at the top. It won’t earn you many dennies at first, but as you resolve customer inquiries, find new videotapes, and meet promoters, you can level up the store to the point where it provides a tidy income.

Pick a Bangboo that fits

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What exactly is a Bangboo? Within the context of the story, it’s a little robot that Belle and Wise inhabit when they’re guiding teams through the Hollows as their proxy. In practice, it’s kind of like a support minion with a set of abilities. During combat, your Bangboo will attack enemies, but you can sometimes select them as part of a chain attack. This is why it’s important to pick a Bangboo that compliments your team, even if only from a damage attribute perspective.

You won’t unlock Bangboos properly until after you complete your first Hollow Zero, when you’ll meet a quirky lumberjack-looking NPC who gives you access to the Remodeling Shop. Here you can level up your Bangboos and their skills. To acquire new Bangboos, you’ll need to spend Boopons on their unique Signal Search banner, but these aren’t a paid currency—you’ll need to grab Boopons in-game via events and game modes.

Nicole and Corin are the best free characters—plus don’t sleep on Ben

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While you’ll get Nicole no matter what, Corin is a pre-registration reward, so if you didn’t pre-register you won’t get her for free. The reason why Nicole is so strong is because she excels at weakening enemies, lowering their defense with her ether vortexes and enhanced bullets, while also applying the Corruption anomaly that lets squadmates deal extra damage. Her vortexes really group enemies together, too, making them easier to deal with.

Corin, on the other hand, is just a strong physical damage-dealer. Physical is a very good attribute in Zenless Zone Zero because it applies the Assault anomaly, dealing a huge chunk of damage when it procs. Since Corin has a circular saw that she can grind against enemies, she’s pretty effective at continuously building the anomaly and hitting Assault for that big bump of damage. 

Another A-tier character you really shouldn’t sleep on is Ben. This big bear is currently the only defense character in the game, able to create shields for himself and allies, and block counter with his skill—very powerful in a game with no healers. His attack also scales with his defense like another great miHoYo starter character I know (cough Noelle cough).

Bring teams that fit enemy weaknesses

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It makes the most sense to specialize your teams towards a particular attribute, especially as a lot of the support characters provide benefits specific to those. Soukaku, for instance, buffs the ice damage of her entire squad with her additional ability, while Rina increases shock duration and partywide electric damage. Each enemy faction is also weak to a particular element, which is shown in the ‘recommended attributes’ when you select a commission. It won’t matter as much early on, but you’ll want to spec into this when you get to tougher endgame content.

Do Errands for Polychrome and Inter-Knot XP

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Errands are the new term for your dailies, and these are even easier to complete than they were in Star Rail. Finish each of these tasks to build engagement and then collect the rewards. One new feature is the Weekly Custom Schedule; two weekly goals you can set yourself to earn some Inter-Knot XP and dennies. While you’ll earn a lot of Polychrome early on, these dailies are still the best way to gradually build your Inter-Knot level and accumulate a hoard of Polychrome for pulling characters further down the line.

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