Valve announces Artifact, finally jumps into virtual collectible card gaming


This game just went live a couple minutes ago.


Launch trailer:

Market prices are high at the moment, but even now you can complete a whole card set for around $300 250, which is orders of magnitude lower than Hearthstone, and it’s only going to drop as the release gates open.


Played the tutorial games. Pretty fun so far, but I can understand how it might not be good for streaming, which unfortunately these days is almost as important as being fun. Their UI doesn’t do it any favors, which prioritizes giving you absolutely every bit of information even if that means flooding the screen with icons and numbers. While playing the game I get it (or at least I know where to look to get the important parts), but looking at a random screenshot it’s just a jumble that’ll probably put people off.


I’m really enjoying it so far. It is much more strategic than hearthstone, not just because of three lanes but the two win conditions keeps things interesting in the late game.

At the moment not sure whether to get more cards to get into constructed, or eschew all microtransactions and play the free draft format forever.


Currently steam reviews are mixed, with most of the negatives that I scanned complaining about the microtransaction structure of the game.

I can understand the perspective when someone says they don’t want any microtransactions in a game, even a card game which has a long history of fleecing people with rarities. But why would you buy the game then complain about it on steam when it’s really obvious what the game gives for free and what it asks you to pay for?

I also don’t understand why Hearthstone around release never attracted this kind of criticism, as the game was more expensive to play competitively?


Hearthstone gives you free currency… seems the only way to unlock stuff in Artifact is pay money. You can’t earn rewards playing the free mode.

I really, really like the look of it. I just absolutely can’t stand this monetization system. There’s no way I’m going to pay 20 bucks and then have to fork over another 40 just to get cards i want. it’s irritating!


I spose that is the difference. Hearthstone is free to download and you can earn gold in-game, whereas Artifact has neither. The advantages of Artifacts system doesn’t become apparent until you actually try to start winning in constructed, as the trading system in Artifact and lack of epic/legendary rarity tiers mean you can put together competitive decks for a fraction of the cost of Hearthstone (or Elder Scrolls Legends).

In Artifact you can draft for free forever too (after buying the base game at leasat), Hearthstone certainly didn’t have that the first few months (did they add it in later?)


Don’t underestimate how little many people value their time, too. They’d rather spend tens of hours playing modes and decks they don’t like as required for a trickle of free coins than just sucking up $20 and playing whatever they feel like.


but 20 dollars DOESN’T get you “whatever you feel like” in artifact. it gets you the base crappy cards and a couple arena mode attempts…


And 10 (12 card) packs of random drops. Which in Hearthstone last time I played (a year or so ago) is already roughly two weeks of daily quests to get enough coins for 10 (5 card) packs. Playing whatever the system feels like forcing you to play that day.


As @Mysterial said it includes 10 packs which is $20 if you bought them separately. So think of it more as an upfront ‘investment’.

That said, it does get you alot more than that. There are a number of free modes in the game, including drafts/arena (!). There is another mode which lets you play preconstructed decks from the card set (a wide range not just the basic cards) and it’s alot of fun too.

You could play the game as much as you like with only the upfront $20 price and do alot more than in Hearthstone (even if you are earning gold in HS by playing). It’s only if you want to play constructed that extra costs become an issue. Indeed, if you don’t want to play constructed you could sell all of the cards you got in the initial 10 booster packs and probably get back close to the initial price of the game, then play the free modes as much as you like.


I opened all of my packs and sold every card worth more than 50 cents. I now have 25 dollars in my Steam wallet, so really Artifact cost me negative five dollars.

I don’t understand the hate for the monetization. It’s not a free to play game. It’s not competing with Hearthstone. It’s competing with paper Magic. In Hearthstone, if I want a specific card, my only option is to buy packs until I open that card, or until I open enough cards I don’t want that I can disenchant, at a horrible rate of return. That winds up being a lot of money.

It’s like people are complaining that Valve gave them a way to avoid buying loot boxes.


Do you have to pay an additional fee to participate in constructed Magic matches?


If they’re giving out prizes? Pretty much always, yeah.


So it’s not really competing with Magic since there’s no way to play constructed without expense.


Once you own the game you can play constructed for free as much as you’d like (barring any cost to acquire more cards).

Kind of buried, but here’s their FAQ:


Because it’s literally the only reason Valve made this. You know, instead of a real game.

Give it a year, they’ll be selling hats for the cards too.


I don’t think you can underestimate the value in having a virtual TCG that can be traded for money. I mean, it’s not “real” money and Valve takes their tax but for most users it’s close enough to not matter.

I’m curious how the prices will hold up though. At the moment they have a system to crush commons (transmute to event tickets at an effective price of $0.05, or $0.07 in market cost) but not uncommons or rares, which seems like it would cause a trend towards rarer cards losing value over time.


If Valve only wanted to get into card games to make $ off boosters they would not have hired Richard Garfield to design it (you know, the guy who designed the Battletech CCG!), nor would they have a marketplace in steam for the cards.

CCGs already have their equivalent of hats: ultra rare glossy versions. Hearthstone has it, most other online CCGs have it, Artifact does not have it.


I’m really enjoying this so far. I really like the constant back-and-forth, and the three lanes add a lot of depth. It’s taking me forever to play against the bots, though. I imagine I’ll get quicker.

I don’t quite understand how creeps and heroes are placed during the hero-placement stage. Do heroes always go on the far left? Is it random? Also, in the same phase, the graphics depicting configuration of attack-placement arrows don’t help me much, at least not yet. Again, I imagine it will make more sense as I play more.

I pulled two Pugnas – gold heroes. Is there any reason I shouldn’t sell one? In constructed, you can’t have duplicate heroes in a deck. Will I ever be able to use these two cards simultaneously in any other mode?

I like the Artifact economy! No daily quests, no grinding - fine with me! I understand why many people prefer a pure free-to-play model, but I don’t. In general, I would rather pay a reasonable price for a game than to grind for free stuff in a “free to play” game. I guess I’m at the stage of life at which my time is worth it to me.