First let us talk about the different weapon variants in Genshin Impact. There are 5 weapon variants which are bows, catalysts, claymores, polearms, and swords. The character you choose to use will determine which weapon type they are capable of utilizing. As of now, there are no characters capable of wielding multiple weapon types. When looking at the main characters, which everyone will get at the start of the game, they can only use weapons that are swords. So, when determining which weapons, you want to invest your time into building it is important to consider which team or characters you are building the weapon for. Weapons will have a base attack, secondary stat and unique passive skills. For example, the Prototype Animus claymore which you can obtain through the ?Get Ready for the Road? event has a passive 50% chance while performing a normal or charged attack to proc an additional % attack damage AoE in a small radius capable of occurring once every 15s. Weapons of 5-star rarity can only be obtained through the gacha while 4-star weapons can be gotten through gacha or crafted.
Bows are long-ranged weapons. The normal attack of bows will do quick mid-range attacks in succession. The charged attack of bows on the other hand will imbue the attack with the element of the wielder and drastically increase the range of the bow to become as if a sniper.
Catalyst are ranged weapons which deals elemental damage with the normal and charged attacks. The catalysts normal attack will be single or AoE depending on the character and will apply the element of the character to enemies. A catalyst user charged attack will typically consume stamina before unleashing a powerful elemental AoE attack.
Claymores are melee weapons capable of doing powerful, wide and slow attacks. The claymores normal attack will deal slow attacks in succession. The claymores charged attack will drain stamina while performing a whirlwind or continuous slashing attack with a powerful hitting slash at the end.
Polearms are the fastest weapon variant in the game. The normal attack of polearms performs quick melee attacks in succession. The charged attack of polearms drastically depends on the character you use so until there are more characters added I am unsure if there will be a common theme between the charged attacks of polearm users.
Swords are in-between claymores and polearms when it comes to speed. The normal attack of swords performs fast melee attacks in succession. The swords charged attack has a small windup before unleashing 2 fast cleaving attacks in front of them.
Outside of weapons, characters will be equipped further with artifacts. Artifacts can be seen as Genshin Impacts form of armor. There are 5 artifact slots known as the flower of life, plume of death, Sands of Eon, Goblet of Enotherm and Circlet of Logos. I know their names are a little dramatic, but you can alternatively just call the slots; flower, plume (feather), sands, goblet and circlet (helm). Artifacts will be foundational when building your character. There are two parts to artifacts being the stats they give and the set they belong within. Depending on the set of the artifact different passive effects will be given to a character. For example, the gladiator?s finale set from the ?Get Ready for the Road? event will give +20% attack if you have a 2-set pieces and 4-set pieces will give sword, claymore or polearm users an increase damage of 40% to their normal attacks. You can match two 2-set pieces or just go for a 4-set bonuses.
Now when it comes to the individual stat increases of artifacts. Artifacts will have a main stat and sub stats. The sub stats will be randomly chosen as the artifact levels up at every 4th level up to 4 sub stats. The main stats will be dependent on the artifact slot though. You will want to go first for artifact main stats that fits a character?s kit that you are using and then hope to have complimentary sub stats.
The flower of life will give a flat amount of health main stat.
The Plume of Death will give a flat amount of attack main stat.
The Sands of Eon will give a percentage health, attack, defense, or energy recharge increase or a flat elemental mastery increase main stat.
The Goblet of Enotherm will give a percentage health, attack, defense, elemental DMG bonus or physical DMG bonus main stat.
The Circlet of Logos will give a percentage health, attack, defense, crit rate, crit dmg or healing bonus main stat.
I hope you now know exactly how the different equipment slots in Genshin Impact work!