Few people expected Valve’s next game to be a collectible card title based on the Dota 2 universe, but that’s exactly what we have in Artifact.
Before you roll your eyes, though, you might want to use them to take a closer look at this game. Artifact isn’t like any other CCG out there. Actually, it’s kind of like a version of Dota 2 that you play with cards instead of with heroes and teammates. Artifact‘s implementation of Dota 2 staples like lanes of battle, heroes, and in-game markets is made all the more fascinating by the fact that the title also boasts some traditional – albeit hardcore – CCG elements. Of course, that last part shouldn’t be a surprise given that the game was at least partially designed by Magic: The Gathering creator, Richard Garfield. It will be fascinating to see what that creative team comes up with.
Here’s everything that we know about Artifact:
Artifact Release Date
Valve plans on releasing Artifact for Steam sometime before the end of 2018. They’re also planning to release a version of the game for mobile devices sometime in 2019.
PC Gamer has released a full breakdown of how Valve’s Artifact card game will work. It’s a lot of information to take in, but here’s what you need to know:
Artifact has you build a deck of 40 cards that contains five heroes. The base game will include 280+ cards and 44 heroes. You can’t have more than three of any type of non-hero card in your deck.
Gameplay sees you essentially play across three different boards designed to strategically resemble Dota 2‘s lanes. Each lane has its own mana pool, heroes, and a tower. Lose that tower, and a much stronger Ancient appears. If you manage to either kill an Ancient or if your opponent loses two towers, you win the game.
Complicating all of this is the presence of creeps in all lanes that heroes must battle as well as some truly in-depth mechanics that require you to manage the resources of all lanes using the same deck of cards. Fortunately, your resources are bolstered by the ability to earn gold whenever you destroy an opponent’s cards and use that gold to buy items from the store that your heroes can equip. Heroes can never be permanently killed, but they can be taken out of action for a round.
Valve seems to be aware that this multi-lane style of CCG play creates a lot of complications, but they are embracing those complications. It seems like Artifact is mostly going to appeal to veteran CCG players or those that are willing to learn an entirely different style of game. Hearthstone this is not.
Speaking of Hearthstone, Valve is already planning on separating Artifact from that game by reducing the amount of randomness in matches and by allowing players to trade cards via Steam’s marketplace. That last one is a huge deal as it could drastically impact both gameplay and the costs of Artifact in the long run. Indeed, Valve has stated they do not want Artifact to be a pay-to-win experience.
It all sounds fascinating, and Artifact might end up being extremely appealing to those who demand more complexity from CCG titles.
Here’s the teaser trailer that formally introduced Artifact to the world.