Valve Says It Will Reduce Artifact’s Hidden Costs, Following Fan Complaints

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Artifact is, for better and worse, shaping up to be a very Valve card game in that it’s a clever, complex re-imagining of DOTA 2—complete with lanes and heroes—but it’s also heavily tied into a real-money marketplace. In fact, there’s currently no way to earn new cards without spending at least a pinch of your hard-earned cash. Some fans aren’t pleased about that last part. In response, Valve is making some changes.


In a popular thread posted to the Artifact subreddit over the weekend, players complained about the game’s money-driven systems. “Here are the ways to get cards,” read the thread. “Pay 2 dollars for a card pack, pay for cards on the market, or play expert. Every time you play expert you have to spend a ticket, which is a dollar.”

On top of that, booster packs contain some cards all players receive in Artifact’s starter kit—meaning there’s a chance players won’t even get full bang for their buck each time they pick up a pack.


By contrast, Hearthstone, the most popular digital collectable card game by enough landslides to fill in the Grand Canyon, offers players a handful of ways to earn cards while playing—for example, by completing quests, earning in-game currency from regular matches, playing the weekly “Tavern Brawl” event, and competing in arena mode (which, admittedly, costs a small fee upfront and is pretty challenging).

Back in September, Valve’s Jeep Barnett and Magic The Gathering creator Richard Garfield explained that, as a result of Artifact’s “pay to participate” system, the game will contain “zero grinding,” putting it more in line with Magic than, say, Hearthstone. However, staying competitive in Magic can be prohibitively expensive for those who don’t have cash to burn, even with regular format changes leveling the playing field a little.

In response to “interest and excitement” around “certain features that weren’t available in the initial beta build,” Valve announced in a blog post yesterday that it’s going to open things up a little. Specifically, this means a friend-specific deck drafting mode, as well as a casual “phantom” draft mode. The latter will allow players to practice building and playing with decks from a series of booster packs without spending money.

Lastly, Valve is also working on “a system that allows extra, unwanted cards to be recycled into event tickets,” which will be out before the game’s beta ends on November 28.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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Hearthstone: free to play the base game, you can grind cards. New, but has been around for awhile.

MTG Arena: free to play the base game, you can grind cards. A very established game.

Gwent (heh): free to play the base game, you can grind cards. New, but has been around for a bit.

Yu-Gi-Oh (again, HEH): free to play the base game, you can grind cards. An established game, has been around for a bit.

Artifact: Pay up before you even walk through the door, pay do to anything. A completely new game, hasn’t been released yet.

Whomever is in charge of their ideas dept should be fired outright for the most obvious, glaring hubris in all of 2018 gaming. Your entire competitive lineup is free-to-play with grinding able, and has been around for a looong time. MTG alone has been around for ~25 years in physical form, Yu-Gi-Oh for about 15.

The company that gave us some of the most legendary titles in gaming is really shooting themselves in the foot before they’ve even entered the race.