Valve has had one of the best and worst runs in gaming recently. Half-Life Alyx is pretty much being hailed as the gold standard in virtual reality, a benchmark of excellence that proves that’s there’s still plenty of magic to be mined from them Half-Life bones. On the other hand that has been copiously washed with sanitising gel, there’s Artifact.
A stab at the collectible card game genre that seems to be all the rage these days, Artifact was a flop and a half that landed with barely splash at the end of 2018 and still managed to lose its paltry sum of players in the months after launch. To call Artifact a flop would be generous, but also baffling. How does a game which featured the talent of Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield in the design and execution phase, manage to misfire so badly?
A complex system of rules, piss-poor balancing and being asked to cough up cash in advance did little to draw fans in, eventually resulting in Artifact having mere tens of players by the middle of 2019. Tens! TENS!
With Half-Life: Alyx done, Valve’s ready to give Artifact a second chance, ushering in changes that’ll shape a relaunch of the game. Called Artifact 2.0, Valve has plenty to tweak and tinker with, focusing on retooling the game to actually be worth sinking some time and effort into. “We’ve been focusing on gameplay changes first. The biggest change is zooming out to allow players access to all three lanes at once,” Valve said in an Artifact update via Eurogamer.
The majority of effects still work on individual lanes so they still maintain their identity, but it’s less likely that a player will get shut out in the same way they used to. We’ve also focused on making the game easier to pick up. We aren’t selling cards, so you won’t face an opponent with a stacked deck. We’ve also added a new draft mode, Hero Draft, that gives you a taste of constructing decks without all the pressure.
The beta will exist as a new executable and access will be granted to individual accounts. When we are ready to send out invites we will let you know the process
According to Valve, cards will be unlocked through play in Artifact 2.0, with individual cards “likely to have been changed, removed, or brand new; so old decks and stats wouldn’t be valid”. There’s not much else to Valve’s announcement, other than the company hoping to have a proper beta version out soon which will be expanded to a full release “quicker than Dota 2”. Here’s an idea Valve, for making Artifact awesome: Card games but like on motorcycles. CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES!
Last Updated: April 1, 2020
April 2, 2020 at 09:15
Artifact died because of a stale meta, no new cards, etc. and the whole pay to play and then having to buy cards for constructed. Not the best business model. I only played draft so the need for buying cards wasn’t something that affected me. And then as fewer people were playing, only good players were left which meant that new players were just dominated, in a pretty bad cycle. So sad, because it was a really good game.
It wasn’t too complex a game, just look at Legends of Runeterra as a recent example of something much more complex that’s been doing reasonably well.