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Valve rose to prominence as a game developer, which brought us iconic games such as Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and various incarnations of Counter-Strike. In the past years, Valve has been notable for holding some of the biggest esports events, including the 7-year-old The International. In last year’s TI, Valve announced that they will be bringing a new game into the fold, which turned out to be Artifact.
Artifact, although being a standalone game, will be sharing its universe with Dota 2. It shares the characters and the setting of Dota 2. The similarities don’t stop there, however. Valve announced that the $19.99 price tag for the game will be used to fuel the game’s in-game tournament module. It seems like Valve has big plans for the game in the esports scene. They even went out to say that they will be using everything they’ve learned from CS:GO, Dota 2 and TF2 in making sure that Artifact’s competitive scene will become a success. Outside the in-game tournaments, professional tournaments will also be held separately.
Lukewarm fan reaction
Valve’s announcement that they will be revealing something big last The International gave a lot of hope for fans of Half-Life. However, as soon as it became clear that Valve wasn’t working on Half-Life 3, as fans hoped for, the game received lukewarm reactions from the crowd. More vocal fans even booed the game. However, critic reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, coming from the game’s early non-disclosure release.
Although the game itself won’t be released until November 29, critics and select players have been able to access the game early. However, the game will have its first public showing this PAX West 2018 in Seattle, which is near Valve’s office headquarters. PAX West 2018 takes place on August 31 to September 3 at the Washington State Convention Center. Participants will be receiving Artifact merchandise and two keys for the game, redeemable once it releases on Steam.
Being a digital card game, many players have likened it to Hearthstone, which is free-to-play. Artifact’s buy-in price of $19.99 grants players a starter deck, similar to real life card games. It has also been reported that cards could be individually traded for or bought and sold in the Steam marketplace. Buying, selling, and trading cards is integral in paper card gaming culture. This allows players to acquire cards that they need for their decks without spending too much opening booster packs. However, everything in Artifact will have a price. Reportedly, there would be no free packs, as it is customary in existing digital card games like Gwent and Hearthstone. Instead, players will have to purchase booster packs in-game, or individual cards through the Steam marketplace.
Artifact’s gameplay will be more akin to Magic: The Gathering, with its whole payment scheme reflecting this. Artifact’s game mechanics and meta culture draw heavily from Magic as well. Fans of tabletop card gaming will be at home with Artifact’s structure. Magic’s influence in Artifact can’t be denied, especially since its lead designer is Richard Garfield. Garfield was Magic’s original creator, making the iconic game and inventing a whole new genre of tabletop gaming. Valve promised that unlike other digital card games, Artifact will be focused more on strategy and deck-building. It will have less reliance on RNG.
Artifact will be available to the public starting November 29, via Steam. It will be available in Linux, Mac and Windows. Valve plans to release a mobile version for iOS and Android sometime in 2019.