After becoming Valve’s single biggest failure, Artifact is going to make a return after all. The Dota 2 card game, which launched to much anticipation only to lose over 90% of its players in one month due to its convoluted gameplay and questionable monetization, is now being reworked in the Bellevue offices.
Valve first confirmed the revamp last week, saying that Artifact 2.0 is “Under construction”. On Monday, a new blog post shed more information about what the new version of the game, or at least its 2.0 Beta Phase, will be like.
What we know about Artifact Beta 2.0?
The quick answer is: very little. The blog post is short and vague, only giving information in broad strokes. But here’s what we know so far:
- Players will have access to all three lanes at ones — We’re yet to see how this will work exactly, but Valve say that while the majority of effects will be lane specific, “it’s less likely that a player will get shut out in the same way they used to.
This was a rather off-putting issue in the original Artifact. Lanes to the left had higher priority and importance than lanes on the right. If a player completely shut out their opponent in those lanes, it gave them a disproportionately higher chance of winning and took away some of the cross-lane dynamic that games of Dota 2 are known to have.
- The card market is gone. Cards will be unlocked by playing — Valve confirmed that cards and packs will not be sold on the Steam market or in-game.
This is perhaps a controversial decision. The cheapness of purchasing a fully competitive constructed deck in Artifact was one of the game’s main assets. With the ability to buy specific cards, instead of waiting for them to drop from packs, players could also build the exact decks they wanted, as fast as possible.
“We have some ideas about what we’d like to sell, but none of them are cards/packs,” Valve doubled down, also confirming that all previous purchases would not be valid, since many cards are likely to be “changed, removed, or brand new”. It’s going to be a fresh start for all, which begs the question what will the players who spent real money on an Artifact collection get in return?
What Valve didn’t say is when Artifact Beta 2.0 will launch. For now, we wait.