Artifact: A Launch – The Story Of Valve’s Digital Card Game Disaster

November 28th, 2018. Artifact was released. Designed by one of the grandfather’s of trading card games, and published by one of the most successful and innovative video game companies of the 21st century. A full year of anticipation from the game’s initial announcement was laden with praises by card game figure heads and industry professionals. Artifacts game-play promised a deep strategic experience that was easy to pick up and hard to master. And with additional promises of a mobile version and a million-dollar tournament in the first quarter of the following year many were expecting a smash hit. What was to follow was anything but. This is the story of artifacts launch. August 8th, 2017. On day 2 of the International rumors began circulating that valve would announce a brand-new game. At that point to valve sizable library included nothing but critically acclaimed titles – all of which fans would welcome a sequel for. So it’s no wonder this rumor began to stir excitement. After all, it had been 5 years since a new valve title had released. This announcement however would be something that not even the biggest valve fan could anticipate. The lights dimmed in the arena, the teaser began, in it, some a moving stones a dramatic soundtrack, and ultimately the title of the game. Artifact, subheading, a dota card game. (Crowd boos) That crowd reaction would go viral and perhaps indicative of events to come. Claims of valve jumping on the card game bandwagon spread, alongside warranted skepticism of a new title in such an already saturated market. However, excitement slowly began. Valve was known for their innovative takes on old ideas, and it was clear that if anyone could come in swinging on an already established genre it would be the brilliant minds behind portal and half-life. Verbal account so the game would follow the released teaser. This game, anything you see in dota it’s here. There’s not just one board but three boards, you control five heroes, deploy them among the different lanes, creeps spawn every turn the heroes that you play in dota they’re in the game. You can play as bounty hunter, and cast track on an enemy hero, killing it gives you extra gold, use the gold to buy item cards, equip them to your heroes, and I gotta say, it’s a really cool experience because you really feel like the commander. It would not be until five months of complete silence from the developer that at the beginning of march in 2018 we would see Artifact’s first game-play. Reporters from prominent gaming news outlets were invited to valves offices in Bellevue Washington, for the opportunity to be the first members of the public to play the game. Only handheld footage was allowed to be taken during this time. The first game-play videos of artifact had a mixed response. First and foremost it was clear that this was a valve game with the valve polish that they were known for. It had excellent art direction combined with expressive animations. The innovation was in the form of the three board nature of the game, which was not the first of its kind. The elder scrolls card game also shared a multiple board layout. However Artifacts Dota 2 theming was more appropriate for the mechanic. Three lanes, three boards. Jokes and thinly veiled concerns began stirring that Valve wanted players to play three card games at once, as the complexity of the game-play became more and more apparent. Most of these concerns would be quickly dismissed. Valve seemed to want to treat fans of the card game genre with something different, as even though the card game genre was deeply saturated, it was unfortunately prone to a lack of evolution. Hearthstone, the biggest success in its fields became the giant it is by offering a low skill floor, but here valve was showing something that was not only hard to parse at a glance to a new player, but also seasoned veterans of the card game genre. A presentation was given at this event by none other than Valve’s own CEO Gabe Newell, describing their expectations and thought process moving forward with Artifact. The requirements for DOTA, I mean for Artifact, was to build the best possible car game. It wasn’t to build a Dota2 card game. The DOTA 2 teams didnt say “Oh look everybody else, they’ve got card games, we should have one too” The artifact team was like let’s go build the best card game, and they said out of the available IP’s that we have, which one is most appropriate? Mr. Newell would continue on to state that they envisioned Artifact to be a game where power did not correlate to rarity, investment in the game would reward the player, and that it would move away from being pay to win. Every card game player is aware of these problems and most players outside of the genre are hesitant to approach because of them. The trepidation that valve could not tackle such major concepts was set aside, if anyone could do it, it was valve. Here, he would announce a mobile version and a 1 million dollar tournament in the first quarter of 2019. However, at this presentation the most notable reveal was that Artifact was designed by none other than Richard Garfield. Mr. Garfield is renown for his success in the card game genre. Extremely prolific and widely praised for his hits like Netrunner, Key Forge and the most successful paper card game in history Magic: the Gathering. This was the icing on top of the cake the most successful card game designer combined with one of the most critically acclaimed publishers. Garfield’s name would be plastered on any future news piece covering the game, and Artifact small fanbase began to grow exponentially as the designer became known. At this press event and subsequent interviews going on until the games released in November, Garfield would reveal his vision for the game. The electronic card games that had been made to that point, (were) much simpler than paper card games, and that seemed like a shame because you’ve got this resource, the computer, which could handle much more complicated things than a tabletop, and so I had some mechanical ideas for how to keep the game flowing because there are these issues, for instance with magic. When you make magic into an electronic card game, there’s a lot of things which don’t work as well electronically as they do over a tabletop. You constantly have to be on the alert for what your opponent is going to do so you can interrupt the action at any time. So mechanical things like that have been, when thinking about them and other products it had made the games become, simpler. I think than a lot of the game players were looking for. The press tour continued. More valve giants revealed their participation in the project: Brandon Reinhardt, the project manager. Originally a programmer working on Epic Games on Unreal Tournament and now involved in the design of Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2. Jeep Barnett, a programmer on and a member of the original team that made Narbacular Drop, who were all hired to create Portal as a result. Bruno Carlucci, a legendary caster and analyst for DOTA 2, later hired full-time for software development to valve. And many more. These were the type of people working on Artifact, industry icons. Further accelerated by the fact that valves flat management structure meant that these people were working on Artifact out of their own interest. Despite this all was not peachy amongst Artifacts public perception. Slowly Artifact began to develop a stigma. From the very first reveal of Artifact at the International, it was clear that regardless of the quality of the product, Artifact was not what Valve’s core fanbase wanted out of the developer. Frustration and anger stemmed from diehard valve fans who were looking for a sequel to one of their single-player titles. Who asked for this? Valve, it could have been anything So after so much time has passed since valve launched their last acclaimed title, it is fully understandable to be disappointed when their new game turns out to be their own version of hearthstone. My favorite internet comment was this person who said: “Well done valve, not only can you not count to 3 you can’t even be counted on.” Oof Tough crowd. Around this time during the press rounds, it would be revealed that several digital card game figure heads and streamers were being gradually invited to play an NDA laden, closed alpha of the game. The selection of invitees was wide, successful card game players made sense, but big-name DOTA personalities and contenders were also brought in. Furthermore reports of eSports teams officially signing on artifact players began to surface, some of which would also be selectively granted alpha access. Those that did have access to the game would speak highly of it. Yeah, I’m looking forward to artifact It’s gonna be like an eSports card game, you know Pretty hyped, there is finally an eSports card game . There is a lot of play and counter play, and I think you guys are gonna love it. Yeah, I can’t talk about a game too much but I’m really excited for it. I think Artifact will be a an excellent game. An air of thinly veiled elitism began to emanate from Artifacts core community. Criticisms of the games, perhaps unnecessary depth was rebutted with fans claiming that this was the game’s primary selling point. Claims of a lack of mass appeal was met with disdain for even insinuating the idea that it was something to strive for. The concept of a closed group of people playing this highly anticipated game and giving their praise only added to the effect that artifact was not for everyone. From the initial announcement at the International it was rumored that Valve would integrate their steam marketplace into Artifact. This made sense, the infrastructure was already there and it was a proven success by its implementation and titles like Counter Strike Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2. Additionally this transactional nature was a traditional aspect of trading card games, card game stores to this day offer a similar service. Confirmation of artifacts inclusion in the steam marketplace was made loud and clear at the press event, alongside was the announcement that while cards were able to be put up on the market and similarly bought off by players, they would not be tradable. Meaning that all card transactions that would occur in Artifact, would have to go through the marketplace, and more importantly have their value deducted by the valve tax. A cut that the developer takes with every transaction. This news was universally met with distaste. With this system intentional or not, a player’s collection would slowly depreciate in value over time. Assuming they would sell and buy cards as needed this meant that a player would periodically have to input money or earn packs into their collection. But strange revelations on artifacts economy did not end there, yet another bombshell that was dropped at this press event by the CEO was that artifact would launch with a $20 price tag. Almost unheard of in the current digital card game space, a paywall to begin playing is quite the deterrent for new players. Despite the fact that the value of digital goods that would be received on launch amounted to more than $20 (being 10 packs priced at $2 each and five tickets valued at $5). Speaking of new players the DOTA 2 audience seemed to be the primary marketed demographic for being announced at the International, to the DOTA 2 IP being used, to an in-game marketing push on the game map. What was clear was that Valve wanted the DOTA 2 audience to see artifact and participate in it. What wasn’t clear was their pitch. The DOTA community is used to getting their gameplay components all at once and for free, as is the system in DOTA 2 the monetization model of a card game and by extension Artifact is the polar opposite of such system. However many DOTA fans did end up playing artifact many more disregarded the game entirely thanks to its economy. August 1st, 2018 Nearly a year since the last tweet that the official PlayArtifact Twitter account sent out an announcement was made that Artifact would be playable at PAX West, a popular gaming expo later that month. Also revealed was that at this event participants would be given codes that would grant access to artifacts beta, which was scheduled in October, providing a month of in advance access. During this period many more streamers and card game professionals came out of the woodwork to reveal that they have been playing in the closed alpha. Positive feedback across the board, but with doubts of mass appeal. For career hearthstone players this was at a time when the meta game was feeling pretty stale, so many were eager for something new or some reason to switch games. Believing that artifact would be the next big thing many announced their switch. So I have made the choice to move to Artifact. The people were hungry. The genre saturation meant that people were looking for something new, and seemingly valve was willing to provide. If feedback about the game was to be believed, then nothing could stop Artifact. The month of August was home to many further revelations. Gabe Newell took the stage at the International 8, a full year after the game’s first initial teaser and revealed that all attendees would be granted free beta access to Artifact. If you’ve linked your ticket to your account, You’ll get a free copy of artifact. (Crowd cheers) Quite the different reaction from the year previous. August 31st, 2018. PAX West began. It was revealed beforehand that only four pre-constructed dccks would be available to play. This was still enough new content that people haven’t seen to get interest raging. On day two of the event an official stream began, highlighting the game between attendees of the event and casters. Casting the event were major DOTA 2 figures. Valve was in the fortunate position where they could shift some of their DOTA personalities to Artifact, to curate the scene with some of their great talent. It was let slip during this time that Valve was hosting weekly private tournaments for alpha testers with generous prize pools going up to $10,000. It seemed that Valve cared and wanted their alpha testers to put their best minds to the game and push it to the limit. Artifact at PAX was a success in its purpose. Anticipation was at an all-time high, but the keys handed out the event were at an all-time high demand as well. In general beta codes are a good method of generating excitement about a product. They are artificially scarce and can easily be distributed to content creators, who in turn can promote themselves and the product at the same time. It’s a system that works but can create many frustrating outlier situations. Seeing the success that the beta key system had for DOTA 2’s beta it made sense that valve would employ a similar system for Artifact. However, as expected, and similarly to what happened to DOTA a secondary market developed. Key’s could range and would sell from anywhere to $50 to upwards of $400 on eBay. Perhaps more than anything this was indicative of the level of hype that was generated around Artifact. The fear of missing out on the next big game caused many to look for any chance they could to begin playing the game early and practicing for the big eSports scene, that was seemingly on the horizon. In fact at this point in time this was a growing concern from the community. Understandably, many of the big names invited in the closed alpha were major card game competitors that planned on competing themselves in the eSports scene, upon the game’s release. Concerns were brought up that these players would have an unfair advantage going into launch and that perhaps even that the constructed meta game would be solved going in. Regardless if these concerns were rooted in truth, they did fuel the growing dissent. The elitist stigma that artifact was developing was certainly not helped by the key system. More than ever, fans of artifact were considered pompous with their private clubs, complex gameplay, and willingness to abide by the game’s economy. After PAX a spoiler season began. Important figureheads in the scene got their share of cards, but surprisingly, valve did provide some new and up-and-coming content creators card spoilers as well. Some did get their spoilers taken from them by some of the many leaks that came out, but regardless, Valve was being more generous than usual during spoiler season. In fact, community involvement was at an all-time high from the developer, from accepting interviews to their social media presence, which was extremely unusual. Reviews that the gameplay was stellar, but all the fans had to go on was blind faith at this point. As a clear picture of the first set began to form, some took matters into their own hands and printed out the cards to play the game physically. Others took to creating their own digital versions of the game through JavaScript apps and Tabletop Simulator. The Tabletop Simulator mod really highlighted just how dedicated the fans were to playing Artifact. An average game of Artifact at the time took about 15 to 20 minutes, but a game on Tabletop Simulator, where he had to manually execute some of the more strenuous mechanics, a game could take anywhere from an hour plus. Some signed artifact pros would reveal months later that they used Tabletop Simulator to practice for the pro scene when no other option was available. However fans decided to pass the time, the end of October was coming closer and closer, and while communication was at an all-time high from the official play artifact Twitter account, no new information about the keyed beta was being revealed. Then finally on October 19th, players who had entered a beta key into their accounts received an Email that read that the game would be open on November 19th. Only 9 days before the release of the game. Significantly shorter than the previously promised month. This news while disappointing for many was not unexpected, Valve has developed a reputation for delaying their projected dates, a phenomenon dubbed valve time. A heavier burden to bear for those that spent an exorbitant amount on a key the general reception was that if this was what it took for a polished end product, so be it. Set 1 was now revealed in its entirety, and many clamored for a stream of one of those exclusive private tournaments that Valve was hosting. A surprise to all, Valve listened. Hosted by beyond the summit, the event would take place on the weekend of November the 10th, about three weeks prior to launch. To highlight a previously unseen game-mode the format would be draft. Day one of the tournament did not go over well for casual fans. Additionally being the first official tournament of Valve’s new title, many more tuned in to see exactly what all the fuss was about. To the majority of uninformed viewers with a casual interest, the rapid fire of terminology laden casting formed a confusing and incomprehensible stream. Artifacts first tournament nosedived the public perception further. While the issue was rectified the next day after feedback the complexity of artifact was perpetuated further. The tournament would continue without a hitch, but it would never recover its Day 1 viewership. Beta was creeping closer and while alpha testers were free to talk about the game and its strategies, they were still barred by NDA to stream the game itself. However, it was announced that the weekend before the beta release on November the 17th, the NDA would be dropped and those in the Alpha would be free to stream the game. This day would be the biggest surge of popularity that artifact had thus far. Nearly every card game figurehead and popular streamer that was involved in the Alpha streamed the game to their audience. However, with the beta only being the following Monday a clear picture of Artifact that launch was formed. Artifact will be too complex for the casual hearthstone viewer. I think artifact is a bad game and is the only card game I’ve liked, It’s one of the only card games I’ve ever played where I would say that. Wow They got rid of draft. That is, something we weren’t allowed to share with you guys. I will be really disappointed if the economy ends up being just like the biggest shortcoming with the game, because I really actually enjoy the game itself, but I mean They can’t release it like this. The biggest offender in the eyes of the community was the lack of a free draft mode between players. Other digital TCG’s offer a virtual currency that can be generated by the player by completing daily or weekly objectives, which could then be redeemed for a draft entry. Artifact had no such virtual currency, a free draft mode was in the game, but only against bots. So the only way for players to play against each other was spending money on a ticket. The outcry combined with additional concern from alpha testers got our first update post on November 18th, only one day from beta launch. Valve stated that in response to the community’s concerns a free non-prized draft mode would be available alongside a new light crafting system that lets you convert unwanted cards down to an event ticket. This response was prompt and a breath of relief to anyone involved in the game. While not solving some of the more glaring holes present, it was a good response to lead the beta off. Yo, you can scrap unwanted cards into event tickets This feature will ship before the end of the beta period so that means in like 10 days, right? Okay, so they saved the game praise gaben November 19th, 2018 The Artifact closed beta for key holders was released, after a little over a year of anticipation since the game’s announcement the key holding public could finally play artifact. Smooth was the launch, however, previous game problems which were either disregarded or lacked a first-person perspective began to make themselves apparent. Core gameplay problems were brought up, such as the game not clearly telegraphing why exactly a play you made caused you to win or lose. Another complaint was the feeling of a lack of player agency involved when the game dictates the direction that your units attack and spawn. This was in contrast to the players who enjoyed these mechanics, saying that the telegraphing is learned with time and the game is designed to put you on your feet by reacting to the random components. Outside of the game-play the three big points that Gabe Newell wished Artifact to address or not tackled. These being power not correlating to rarity, moving away from being pay to win, and reward for investment. A problem that affects most TCG systems power has to correlate to rarity in order for a draft format to function properly. Valve themselves even went through this conundrum when they had to increase Lunas rarity from common to uncommon, and increased Drow’s rarity from uncommon to rare in response to feedback. Other games tackle this problem by having rarity correlate to the complexity level of the card wherein skill is the determinant of whether or not the card ends up being powerful. In Artifact on launched many of the cards that ended up being powerful staples in the constructed format were at the highest rarity. Pay to win is a more complicated concept within the scope of card games. At its most base definition, Artifact and by extension all card games could be called pay to win. Simply because there is an option to pay money to circumvent effort that a player not paying will have to go through. While would be more appropriate to call Artifact, pay to compete, since the desired outcomes of gameplay are different per player, it’s a topic for a different discussion. Artifact did not provide enough ways for players to acquire cards beyond spending money. Regardless of whether or not this was because they cared about the economy of the Steam Marketplace or because they were greedy, at launch the only way to keep growing your collection without having a good winrate was to pay. This ties into the last point that Gabe Newell said that Artifact was to address. Reward for investment. Now even though Gabe Newell was talking about this in regards to a player focusing on improving on various gameplay points and being rewarded for it, it is still relevant, but on a grander scale. One of the most egregious holes that artifact launched with was the lack of a reason to keep coming back. Disregarding the discussion on whether or not a game needs to have auxiliary objectives to be worthwhile, most if not all card games today have some sort of daily or weekly objectives to keep the player engaged and returning. Artifact was in a dilemma, Valve did not want to put free cards into the game’s economy as not to tank their overall value and with a lack of any cosmetics or similar fluff there was nothing else that they could provide the player to feel rewarded. November 28th, 2018 Artifact launched. Designed by one of the grandfather’s of trading card games and published by one of the most successful and innovative video game companies of the 21st century. Sporting critically acclaimed gameplay and promises of an eSports scene, Artifact launched with a player count of over 60,000. For all its shortcomings and missing features artifact did many things right. The art direction, soundtrack and polish, proved that this was the work of a AAA developer. The comics released during the beta period and launch were wonderfully drawn and written, both setting up and fleshing out to the world of Artifact. Each card was expertly voice-acted and individual cards could have upwards of 200 voice lines that could play in game. While many disliked the gameplay loop, many more enjoyed the strategic depth and swingy nature of the games. While many strayed far away due to the monetization model, many more enjoyed playing the market and selling their cards for steam cash. While artifact was not something that the Valve audience wanted, it still had the level of detail and execution that they were known for. You could say that artifacts biggest fault was that it was a niche experience for a niche audience in a niche genre. Artifact story post-launch is still being written. Player numbers dropped significantly after release, and even with sizable updates that tried to address many of its issues, by the end of 2018 it never did recover its player count. A disappointing launch, but with problems not unfix-able. Only time will tell will becomes a Valve’s take on a genre as old as gaming itself. What I would say the most exciting thing about watching people jump in, it hasn’t led to changes, but it sort of gotten me very excited, is this sort of constant feedback that this game really appeals to me, I want to play it again, but I don’t think anybody else will play it because it’s too complicated. When you get that again, and again, it feels really special because you’re getting all these people saying this is something which appeals to me, but I’m not sure whether it’s going to be broadly appealing that’s sort of some sort of secret sauce there.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. You should rename this vid to: "How to suck Valve´s cock 101"

    Other then that, the video is about as bland and worthless as Artifact itself. (You got me there, I guess)

  2. the game was dead the moment they included a major game mode that costs money; everything else would have been carried by the IP and developer (hearthstone like buyable cardpacks, chests, etc.) but to exclude the normal f2p crowd completely after they forked over 20 bucks they would not spend on DOTA or Hearthstone with witch Artifact competed… stupid, stupid, stupid.

  3. Artifact was just another attempt from steam to make money with as little efford as posible. no wonder 97% of the player base quit within 1 month of launch…

  4. bro if artifact was f2p with tons of custom cosmetic things to buy with real money the game would be doing so great right now imo

  5. I exclusively care about Draft/Arena. Keeping the cards I draft is just a way to make drafts more expensive. I am willing to pay up front if I can draft in a fair way.
    Hearthstone still has the best format on this.
    I really wanted to like Artifact, but they went too deep on the greed, which is obviously always a balance in card games.

  6. I think it was a bit incorrect to mention 'pay-to-win' and then show footage of Gwent, which is one of the most f2p-friendly card games ever. Otherwise, I love the history and research!

  7. According to steam chartts, Artifact peak players in the last 30 days is <1400, in december it was 46k
    Turns out B2P+P2P as monetization system does not work.

  8. The downfall (as if there was actually a rise…) of Artifact is twofold: First of all the monetization ruins the game big time; it makes the player pool too small to create a healthy competitive scene and not rewarding people in any way is not enough for a card game…
    Secondly and more importantly. The gameplay sucks if the goal is to be a serious and less casual game. The game is indeed more complex and deckbuilding is harder than in other games, but there are ridiculous "coin-flips" that completely ruin any tactical play. Obviously the random placement of minions and semi-random attack direction is a big problem; adding possibly unfair RNG that might ruin any solid tactics. But worse are the cards that are literally gamebreakingly strong or an instant loss; from what I played Slarks 50% chance to either be the strongest assasin or being barely more than a creep is kinda breaking. But worse is Tidehunter with his potetntial to stun an infinite amount of people are stun only 1 out of 20+ targets (I've seen both happen). Ruins the serious tactical nature of the game it claims to have; it's a casual card game that tries to tell you it is not. Resulting in people sticking with the better casual card games that are more self aware of their casual nature and give some rewards for playing.

    Such a shame… R.I.P. Artifact 2018-2018

  9. Sad the game tanked so hard, Richard seemed really interested in it and the pass turn mechanic he came up with is short of perfect, fantastic for maintaining the back and forward that makes card games so fun to begin with, wish more TCG/CCGs adopted it.

  10. I think the base card set was the most important factor in the games decline. If the game was good enough people would have kept it alive long enough for perception of it to recover. But even for the core audience, there was just not enough diversity in the gameplay to make you want to keep playing past the first couple hundred hours.

  11. I've been playing Magic for 11 years, Hearthstone for 5 and Eternal for about 18 months. I've played a few games of WoW TCG, YuGiOh and Faeria on the side. These games vary in complexity but have a lot of similarities, and even though Magic is the worst offender in terms of how messed up the rules can get (hello Layers!), the base game is very simple to learn and the so-called New World Order of cards being less complex at lower rarities makes it easy for new players to jump in. Paper TCGs let you have test games with your friends or a local store, while most digital TCGs have a free to download option with microtransactions for packs or an in-game currency that lets you attain them through play.

    In contrast, Artifact attempted to blast the genre with a brand new paradigm (the lanes system) and wanted players to pay $15 to even try the game. Between the impression of overcomplexity and the requirement to pay up front, they really sabotaged themselves from the start and while the marketplace was a good idea, in practice it was a mess and Axe being $20 was hilarious.

  12. I think maybe MAYBE it could have survived with its monetization scheme if it were balanced, and (more importantly) it wasn't a shitstorm of RNG. At least Hearthstone makes its RNG fun to an extent and integral to the experience so that even if you lose the roll of the dice, it can play out in a fun, weird way. Or like Magic where the randomness is isolated solely to the card draws for the most part.

    Artifact has a DEVASTATING problem with Rng. In Artifact, losing a coin toss more often than not gets your hero dead, meaning you just straight up can't play cards/play the fucking game. On top of that, the random creep generation, the random directions for attacking, the immutability of creep hero placement outside of fringe cards and cost investment (limited to when you even have those cards), AND random effects on cards makes for an RNG mess, made worse by the complexity of the game and sheer amount of cards allowed on board and in hand, making planning all near impossible.

    Possibly worst of all is the flop and shop (I kinda wanna coin the phrase tbh). Basically, having gold and items is often times REALLY FUCKING GOOD, and often having it early means your heros/creeps clear their heroes and creeps, meaning YOU snowball gold and they can never gain traction. And this ends up happening fucking a LOT because of the flop and the random placement of the heroes, not just in which lane, but also where exactly in that lane. Most games feel like shit because you feel like the rng fucked you from where they put your heroes (even black heroes, who were designed with this in mind, meaning Garfield was aware of this issue and put a bandaid on it), and then the opponent snowballs with gold, as you wind up not even being able to play cards just because you got bad RNG. Winning or losing in those games never feels good because it doesn't feel earned, and it happened WAAAYYYY too fucking much. It felt like only 1 in 5 or 6 games had a fair flop and felt kinda fun afterwards. It makes me actually MISS manascrew/flood in Magic, it's that bad. I have no idea how that got past the testing stage, though admittedly, it felt like Garfield was just throwing out ideas for this game and wasn't fully invested in it. I mean, the 3 lane thing in an interview sounded like it was suggested to him and he went "yeah, fuck it, just put it in, why not?" He should have been asking if they should instead of saying whether they could (same with the hand/board sizes)

  13. Ok, so, i like artifact gameplay. Dont get me wrong, i hate artifact as game. Gameplay is tactical, makes you on edge; trying to watch everything, reacting to randomness thinking 2 steps ahead. But game itself is shyt. Rank is non existing, pay 2 draft and get rewards is nice idea on paper, retarded in practice. No pay no rewards draft is fun but gets boring with time if there is nothing to gain. They implemented ways to get rewards for playing but 2 little 2 late. Pay 2 get in is also retarded. I mean i get it. You get boosters and starter decks, dont want to overpopulate market with rarer cars, but man you could have made free2play option that can get only starter decks. And if ppl try to make fake accs to get free boosters from them, why dont just make play x games get x common cards. That way you wont spam rare cards in market but will still alow players to sell common cards to get tickets or to buy rarer cars. My opinion that their biggest problem is that they didnt focus on making "in-game currency" better, they made split betwen using real money and cards as currency, wich is stupid, istead of only using money to buy cards and packs. Tickets should only be able to be purchasable with cards.
    Also i heard that some ppl actualy dont like Garfield cos of his doubious ideas, one guy said to me that one of his games was shyt when he was on team but got really good when they kicked him out (i think he also "left" artifact team, so that is good news).

  14. Something to note is that daily quests arent fun, but they add stakes which make things more intresting. Wanna get that new card? Gotta pay attention.

  15. If I remember right, Artifect had active 60k players during their peak, and currently have less than 600 active players.

    This is a lost of 99% of it's player base within months after release…. VALVE, WHAAAAT ARE YOU DOOOOOINH

  16. Where are all the mindless fanboys that said this game would dethrone Hearthstone? I knew nothing of the like would occur but I don't think anyone could have predicted the game bombing so hard so fast to the point where it is completely dead inside 2 months, omegalul.

  17. It's down to like 300 players a day. No amount of fixing and a twitter account that has not said a thing in 3 months is going to fix it. THERE IS MORE PEOPLE PLAYING ASSASSIN CREED UNITY THAN ARTIFACT. LMAO.

  18. Richard Garfield got incredibly lucky with MTG. Let's just say there's a good reason nobody is playing RoboRally and now Artifact.

  19. Valve knows how to make Games… but the Model is brutally stupid. I predicted the failure of this game because of the Money Model. The Game itselve is good, it could need improvements, but the Problems with the hole system is not about the gameplay itselve. I am really glad that this model does not work. A sign that we are all not that stupid and fall for cashgrabs. I just wonder how long they can keep there Servers up…. and then you get a message… "Thank you for playing this Cardcollection game, we are sorry to tell you that the servers will be offline soon and you loose all your collected cards and…. you know…. thats live!" If that happens the gamer community should beycott Valve.

  20. Card Games are pretty hard to sell to a fanbase. I mean look at the state of the card games after Hearthstone & Magic. Even Elder Scrolls Legends is suffering, It is not a dead game obviously but it is nowhere near as big as those two.

  21. I'm surprised how hopeful this video makes artifact sound. Other content creators are releasing post mortem videos about artifact. In the end I think the two biggest fuckups was releasing this game in a super crowded market. Hearthstone, gwent, mtg arena, yugioh duel links, these games have literally snapped up any and all the players who want to play strategy card games. Most players who are really into this genre play two and it's hard to play more because you are splitting time and resources. This kinda reminds me of what happened with the DC moba Infinite Crisis which just came out too late in the moba craze and as a result died a quick death after releasing too late in a crowded genre full of more established competitors, another example is heroes of the storm which isn't dead by any means but the competitive scene for the game is dead and this shows that even the mighty Blizzard's moba game entry couldn't really do much as it was released very late to the party in a very crowded market.

    The second big fuckup was them not making it free to play. Like wtf, every other strategy card game is free to play, how did they fuck this up. I know it's because of how artifact cards are tied to the steam marketplace but they shouldn't have tied it to the marketplace if that was going to make the game not free to play. This just reminds me of pubg, like yea pubg came out and was the darling of steam for a few months, then fortnite came out which was basically the same thing but free and oh my god fortnite is and has been the biggest video game ever since. And as a loyal pubg player it hurts because that could have been pubg if only they had made the game free to play.

  22. Right after finishing watching this video I went to Twitch to see if I could find some Artifact Stream since I never really paid attention to it, the artifact page had a grand total of 75 viewers.


  23. The streamers and personalities were useless, shilling over the game for the last 6 months and when the game launched suddenly they found problems. I'm happy that half of them got their channels killed after their artifact transition.

  24. It's kinda sad that even the biggest designers could not get a game right and Valve has learned nothing from other card games, it's pain points and it's solutions. A typical card game player can easily list you the most problematic things about card games and they did nothing to address them.

  25. Nice #ad you got there. Really makes it seem like artifact didnt completely fail.
    Also lmao at making it seem like card games are niche. Both magic and hearthstone have global reach. Hell, hearthstone is in top5-10 most watched games on twitch every month without fail.

  26. I feel like the initial price tag is what kept the game down. I would have 100% tried the game if it was free, and I'm sure many would have, but bc of the "not for everyone nature" I don't feel like spending $20 to demo what is effectively a $100+ game

  27. I'm watching this on Feb 26 2019. The last thing I heard about Artifact was it lost like 99% of its player base (600 concurrent players or so) and Garfield was gone from the dev team… I don't think this game's gonna bounce back without a miracle and a major overhaul.

  28. This game sucks ass. No one wanted this shit………MAKE HALF LIFE 3 U FUCKING GREEDY CUM STAINS! That fat fuck gabe lost his talent

  29. The need for tickets to play special modes and the lack of trading between players ensured that this game would never be popular among a large group of people. You absolutely need a trading system in this day and age.

  30. Artifact was a really fun, unique take I enjoyed my time with but the price and lack of progression kept players away. Sucks. If it picks back up again I'd love to keep at it.

  31. The road from "Free to Play" to "To Expensive to Bother".
    Especially the change in pro response you can see with Reynad was funny.

    The way they would keep up the idea a game could work when "normal people" couldn't even understand it was especially funny.
    How would you expect a game to be succesfull when majority of people could neither play nor watch it.
    That would result in no player base, no viewer base, and therefor no chance of survivability.
    Pro's can't stream a game nobody is watching.
    Without players and fans, there is no game.

  32. Artifact is fucking dead due to Valve greed, implementing a printed card economic system in an digital card game.

  33. Hearthstone scraped the idea of drafting based on rarity. They put the similar win rate cards into buckets and had drafting based on buckets.

  34. I'm surprised you didn't mention mtga's open beta starting so close to artifacts release. While I don't know if this affected other people, I went to ti-8 and was planning on playing artifact because I got it for free but when mtga came out it was really fun and I played it pretty constantly for a couple of months (I think I should Also note that I've played paper magic for years), and when artifact came out the first thing that I thought about it was it just wasn't as fun. Once again I don't know if other people felt the same way but if I had to guess mtga being accessible to most players before artifact was probably a hit to artifact.

  35. Artifact is dead. One of the most disappointing launches in history. Their greed and suicidal monetization model killed the game.

  36. Words cannot describe how happy it makes me to see this piece of shit cashcow trend chaser fail. Maybe now valve will actually listen

  37. To add to the point about the game not being friendly to outside view, I want to point out that it's just more confusing and crowded than most other TCGs. MtG and HS have clear board presentation and flow, while Artifact to an outside perspective was just massively confusing at every point. If you didn't understand the mechanics already, the game was just a mess to look at. That's what turned me away.

  38. If valve want's to innovative they go FTP and sell the cards in sets. Get rid of the card loot box and just give me all the cards at once, it's a digital card game no need for this fake scarcity in the fake cards

  39. i think one of the major things that kind of kicked artifact in was the fact that MTG arena's ppen came out and with a much friendlier free to play model.

  40. the game is terrible, it is not good. I don't know why people are hyping it at the start..I told a lot of people that it won't do well.
    here is 5 reasons why
    – Some heroes are just straight up out powering other heroes.( heroes like axe is just too strong )
    – very limited card pool ( you see the same cards being played over and over again )
    – 4 colors ( Having only 4 colors from all the options to choose from limit your options that already has limited options to begin with )
    – It feels like a RNG fest board game instead of a card game ( 1 game can take 40 – an hour which isn't good )
    – The game itself is not complex but it pretends to be complex ( it is not a complex game, but it pretend to be a complex game by making it 3 sided board. It is not a complex game because everything relies on RNG placement )

    i cant believe that all these industries icons actually work on something that comes out horribly.
    so what makes MTGA successful ?
    – The game is actually much more balanced than artifacts ( there are meta decks but on mtga there is no such thing as a must have in a deck, in artifacts..having axe in a red deck is almost a must have )
    – the game have a very healthy amount of playable cards even during release
    – 5 colors… 5 colors of options ( having 5 colors gives you more flexibility to build your deck )
    – its less rng reliant ( sure drawing the cards and mulligan is very rng, but at least you see the rng coming physically instead of digitally compose rng such as units placement ) and best of all is that it does not last for an hour.
    – Its a very complex game ( you got aggro, mid range, control, mill, discards, burn, planeswalker, swarm, graveyard control and etc )

  41. I had to drop it because winning matches was 100% a matter of luck. If they start letting you choose your minions' attack targets I'll come back in a heartbeat.

  42. Elitism was a huge problem. They got some of the most egotistical, dismissive headasses in existence to commentate. Horrifically stupid. Swim especially is such a huge douche and he viciously criticized people who either didn’t like the game or asked him beginner questions.

  43. 0:09 if you said this back in like 2012-2013 I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you, but as of recent years, they have lost that respect and reputation

  44. Just make it F2P like Hearthstone, Magic Arena and every other card game and people will play it, i guarantee it. No price to get the game client, no price to get matches, no direct cards being selled, just the usual "buy packs to get cards" with ingame currency and free stuff being given from time to time. I'm one that always wanted to play it, the complexity is something that actually attracts me on this game, but Artifact's monetization system was the deal break for me.

  45. Easy way to see if a game will survive. Check how many people are streaming it months after release. Right now, 1 on Twitch with 4 viewers.

  46. Simply explained. Only Dota players would play a Card game based on Dota 2. There already is a big ass Blizzard hard game that is Free. Dota card game came out with a Prize Tag while Dota 2 is a free game…. I mean jeez when you try to compete against a successive title with a potentially smaller player base that would rather just play Dota 2 Valve just had to put a prize on it… I played Dota for 13 years now, why on earth would I play a Dota based Card game?
    This is an other example of the difference in mentality between different type of players. A standard blizzard player will buy all blizzard games. A Dota 2 player is a competitive player of Dota 2, he is more likely to just you know play more Dota 2 then buy a card game that is not even a MOBA game, as the one that he loves to play. A typical example of a seller not understanding his buyers. You can't make an FPS player buy a Strategy turn game based on CS:GO either. Even if some die hard fans both Artifact this game is for the Card player gamer. Not the MOBA Dota 2 gamers.

  47. Considering how blizzard brought back diablo 3 from the dead and seeing how valve handled the artifact disaster, makes me think they didn't try hard enough

  48. I’ll be honest: I was a hater of this game. I simply hatred it on principle. I thought it was nothing more than valve trying to cash in their chips for another money maker. But now I don’t. After watching your video I feel bad that this game had such a rocky life. It deserved better.

  49. who will win?

    A multi billion dollar gaming company made card game, with epic creator and artists


    One Independent developer making a chess game out of a modded dota 2

  50. I wanted to play the game, i waited to see the gameplay and i was hyped instantly, watched some videos, started to wonder what i was going to play in the game…
    …and then i saw the price and i was "FUCK THIS!"

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