Valve announces Artifact, finally jumps into virtual collectible card gaming


Interesting. I wasnt aware of mobile release plans, but it’s obvious that they’re required to compete with Hearthstone. So, this proves they’re going after that market in a real way, and aren’t just making a weird PC thing.


It sounds like they’re making a competitor to Magic, the physical card game. At least that’s what the 20€ buy in, and being able to sell cards to other players sounds like to me.


The internet’s hot take on this is 1) it’s not free to play, and 2) there’s no in-game currency, so a lot of people are already turned off by it.

But Valve allowing a secondary market is something that has only been done in Hex – no other card game lets you buy and sell specific cards. So yeah, packs cost two bucks, but if you need a playset of a card you don’t have, you have the option to buy that specific card without playing the pack lottery. People are assuming the economy will work like a free to play game when it won’t.

Is that going to make it more expensive to play? Yes – but they know that, and that’s where they want to compete.


Always good to remember that 90% of free to play players are freeloaders, there to provide competition (or in most games, ground to steamroll) for the paying customers. Those people complaining doesn’t necessarily provide any indicators as to the potential success here.

I think Hex had plenty of opportunities to succeed that they blew and that game doesn’t have the Steam Market backing it and providing longer term value for cards. (Since you can to some degree “cash out” your collection for games or hats or whatever on Steam)


Good point. I think there’s a difference between what people think about it (“Valve is leaving MY money on the table by not offering a F2P option”) and what actually happens (“It was free, so I tried it for a few games before uninstalling”).

Definitely. We’re in mostly new territory here.


I thought the idea of “dust” in other games (like Hearthstone) is that you can turn your useless duplicates into cards you need for your deck. I never really played enough of any of those games to figure out if the system worked or not. Does it?


It does, mostly, but a card’s “dust value” is always locked to being a quarter or an eighth of it’s crafting cost. And it’s completely locked to your own account. So the only way to get a specific card in Hearthstone is to either 1) open it in a pack, or 2) open enough packs that give you enough duplicates for you to craft it.

With Artifact, you’ll sell your extra copies on the Steam Marketplace instead. So as a seller, you get something closer to actual value for your extra copies. And as a buyer, you can buy the specific card you want from someone else. And since you’ll be using a marketplace with market forces, that means that high-demand, low-supply cards (rare powerful cards) will be more expensive, and high-supply, low-demand cards (commons or low-power rares) will be less expensive.

Of course, since we’re dealing with digital goods, I’m curious if Valve has any way to remove cards from the marketplace. If not, you’d have an infinitely growing supply of cards that would depress prices like crazy.


Well, Magic already solved that problem. You just “rotate” sets out of “standard”, making them basically worthless, and keep introducing new sets.


The difference being that Magic actively supports multiple competitive and casual formats for those old cards to be usable in, something other CCGs (both paper and digital) have traditionally been poor at handling.


Supposing, for a moment, that I don’t know very much about Hearthstone, how should I interpret the last paragraph of the article @kerzain posted? Are Hearthstone’s expansions substantially different from new sets in Magic? And does “a game that is regularly updated by introducing new, paid cards as opposed to requiring expansions that may render older cards moot” imply sets like Magic, or rather a steady and somewhat rapid stream of a few new cards at a time?

I’m sure I’m missing something obvious there, but I’m not sure what.

At any rate, I love the rotating sets in Magic. It preys on my weaknesses in all the worst ways, true, but it helps give the Standard environment a new identity every few months, and makes it easier for new players to get in on the ground floor at the same time. And, as @WarpRattler said, having eternal formats like Modern and Commander helps take the sting out of the constant turnover.


Hearthstone’s standard mode is heavily inspired by Magic’s release sets.

A new expansion comes out 2-3 times a year (a timing they’ve played with), which includes maybe 100+ new cards and generally introduces a couple of new mechanics. “Standard” mode includes cards from the past 2 years of expansions.* There’s also a “Wild” mode that allows you to play with all cards ever released.

/* There’s a bit of weirdness here where it isn’t “24 months”, but “2 years”, so it doesn’t tick over until the end of the year, at which point an entire years worth of cards go away. Which means that the size of the pool of cards can vary significantly over time.


Oh apparently everyone at TI8 gets a copy on release + beta access in October (with a linked Steam account)


But… I am not at TI8?


Artifact tournament streaming on twitch at the moment… and it seems like maybe Steam should have had some intro videos or better commentary on what is actually going on.

I am not sure this is a very stream-friendly game, but maybe things will be better when cards/rules are familiar.


Based on the Twitch gameplay I’ve seen, I wasn’t that interested in the game because overall it’s a mess with a few great ideas sandwiched in between. But that was before I found out that it was visually stunning:

A collaboration between legendary card game designer Richard Garfield and Valve, Artifact is a digital card game that combines deeply-strategic, competitive gameplay with the rich setting of Dota 2. The result is an immersive and visually-stunning trading card game unlike any other.

How could I possibly pass it up now?


Immersive and visually stunning might be too much to handle. It’s certainly a bit much for a card game.



I wouldn’t call it visually stunning, lol. The board itself is nice, with the cute mascots, but the card design is eww

Compare it with new Gwent:


I give that press release a 6/10 for screwing up the compound modifier rule twice. Shame! Shame!


Same. What a wholly-unplayable mess. Hard pass.


Artifact cards look like they were designed more for VR vs. flat screens. Flat screen they look ugly, but maybe in VR they have depth that works nice.