Valve has given up on Artifact and now might be the best time to play

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Artifact was Valve’s play at creating a card game that was based on a more popular game, that game being Dota 2.

While comparisons to Blizzard’s Hearthstone were a dime a dozen, Valve was adamant that Artifact was different from Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, and they were right, only not in the way we’re sure they imagined.

From the moment Artifact launched it was clear that the game was not for everybody. Not only was the game complex in its systems, getting your hands on cards would cost you real money. While this isn’t strange for a card game, what made this a problem was Valve’s Steam Marketplace where early on meta cards were identified and prices soared.

We lay this all out because Valve has called time on Artifact and Artifact 2.0, the would-be revival of the game.

“It’s now been about a year and a half since the current Artifact team began work on a reboot in earnest. While we’re reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven’t managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we’ve made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta,” wrote the Artifact team.

For those who enjoyed Artifact but loathed the progression system, the cost of cards and getting hammered by a player who had a bigger wallet than you, there is some good news. At least we think it’s good news.

Both Artifact and Artifact 2.0 (also known as Artifact Foundry) will become completely free to anybody.

What does this mean? Thankfully the team explained in a bullet-pointed list.

For Artifact this means:

  • The game is free to everybody
  • All players get every card for free. Card packs can no longer be purchased
  • Paid players’ existing cards have been converted into special Collector’s Edition versions, which will remain marketable. Marketplace integration has been removed from the game.
  • Paid event tickets have been removed
  • If you paid for the game you will earn packs of Collector’s Edition cards but free players won’t

For Artifact Foundry:

  • The game is free to everybody
  • Players get access to cards by playing the game. Cards cannot be purchased.

The Artifact teams says that while some artwork for Artifact Foundry will be missing, the core of the game is working and the game is playable.

The biggest issue here is that both versions of the game will no longer be receiving gameplay updates. It’s unclear whether there will be patches to fix issues but we won’t hold our breath.

With all of this in mind, Artifact was a fun game albeit marred by the ill-effects of microtransactions, now that those have been removed, perhaps the game can be fun again.

Of course the game also has no future so it could just fade into obscurity.

It seems then that Artifact really was nothing like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering – both of those games are still around.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.