Before Genshin Impact goes ahead and adds a whole new area, it has to finish with the current one. The developers, Mihoyo today confirmed that the main storyline's chapter in Liyue will wrap up with the first major update on November 11th. That'll also add reputation levels with cities, with useful rewards like a portable stove and treasure compass, as well as start the first event.
All of this was broadly planned before, but the date was only an estimate then. Seems official now. Along with the new storyblast, Version 1.1 will start the 'Unreconciled Stars' event. That'll run for a fortnight as players "fight back against a sudden and terrible catastrophe facing Teyvat" in new quests and co-op challenges. As for rep, the devs explain:
"A brand new per-city 'Reputation' system will also be introduced in this version of Genshin Impact, allowing the Traveler to gradually build up their reputation as they delve into each region and unlock bountiful rewards and brand-new, region-exclusive items and customizations. New tools, such as a portable waypoint, portable stove, treasure compass, and oculus resonance stones, will be particularly useful for exploring, surviving, and battling across the vast lands of Teyvat."
Four new playable characters will arrive with the update, two five-star and two four-star, though I assume they'll be some in sort of gatcha hell and therefore aren't fussing about. Our man Graham has been playing a fair bit of Genshin and says he's having a grand old time without splashing cash on gatcha nonsense, mind (he's muttered stuff about free wishes? I assume he's not wishing for "more wishes", the fool).
Graham really has dug Genshin Impact and its Breath Of The Wild-ish adventuring, declaring it one of the best games of 2020.
Genshin Impact is available F2P from its site. It's also on PS4 and pocket telephones, and will be on PS5 too. The update adding the new area, Dragonspine, was estimated to arrive on December 23rd.