It would be fair to say that Valve’s digital card game, Artifact, failed to make much of an impact following its high-profile launch at the end of 2018. Mere weeks after its arrival, user numbers had tumbled – and now, after a year of silence, Valve has finally announced a radical overhaul for the game, one that even ditches its fundamental monetisation model of selling cards.
Designed by Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, who left Valve last March, Artifact struggled from the off, with players rejecting everything from the game’s perceived complexity to balance issues and even its pricing model, which – unlike free-to-play competitors Hearthstone and Gwent – included an upfront cost, alongside payment for additional cards. By the time July came around, Artifact was barely seeing 100 players online in a 24-hour period.
Valve said little about Artifact for almost year, but suddenly, earlier this month, it began to tease new activity for the game, saying it would reveal “more news after the launch of Half-Life: Alyx”. Now, with Alyx out the door and basking in the light of rave reviews, Valve has kept its promise, outlining some early changes for what it’s calling Artifact 2.0.