Valve has slowly started to reveal details regarding their planned redesign/relaunch of Artifact: the studio’s previously launched that failed to find much of an audience.
So far as that goes, we have to start with what will likely be the most welcome and impact anticipated change to the game. According to Valve, the company is looking at ways to completely revamp the game’s monetization system. It seems that the plan is to no longer offer players the chance to purchase individual cards and packs. While it certainly seems like the specifics are being worked out, the plan at this moment is apparently to only offer cards through gameplay.
This would have an interesting dual-effect on the game. Theoretically, it would invalidate players existing decks as well as their hopes to play the market. While that may frustrate the few how have stuck with Artifact to this point, it will likely do more to bring back the thousands of players who were turned off by the game’s aggressive microtransaction systems.
While Valve has indicated that Artifact could eventually feature some form of microtransactions, it does sound like they’re trying to avoid having said microtransactions impact gameplay quite as drastically as they did before.
Most of the other proposed changes revealed so far concern gameplay alterations. For instance, it sounds like Valve is working on ways to allow players to view all three lanes of combat at once. Their hope is that such systems will make it easier to follow the action and may contribute to better overall match balancing.
What you really need to know, though, is that Valve is essentially referring to this re-imagined version of Artifact as Artifact 2.0. It won’t be an entirely new game (at least not based on what we’ve heard so far), but it does certainly sound like Valve is approaching the re-launch of Artifact as a refresh. They’ve even indicated that they will slowly release the game to users over a longer period of time with more dedicated existing Artifact players likely receiving access first.
Generally speaking, though, it sounds like the studio is still trying to work out exactly how all of this will play out. That casts some doubt on any planned release date for Artifact 2.0. We imagine we’ll see more of it before the end of the year, but even that is difficult to say.
With Hearthstone introducing so many welcome changes and content updates (and physical CCG titles not going anywhere), Artifact still faces an uphill battle if it’s going to find a home in this market. We’ll keep an eye on whether or not it’s able to stage such an impressive comeback.