8, Mar, 21

Artifact Development Ends, Base Game and Beta Now Free To Play

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Article at a Glance

In a blog post published on their Steam client, game developers Valve have announced that they are ceasing development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta. On top of that, they also revealed that they are making the Beta and the original Artifact game free to play for Steam users. The Beta will release as Artifact Foundry, while the original game client will go by Artifact Classic.


Valve outlined all the changes they were making to both games. For Artifact Classic, players who download the game for free will receive every card. Players can no longer purchase card packs or event tickets. As a bonus for people who bought the game, they can earn Collector’s Edition cards. Players who downloaded the game for free will not have access to these special versions of Artifact cards.

Meanwhile, players can also download Artifact Foundry for free. New cards are earned by playing the game. This is a departure from the game’s previous business model, where players had to spend money to build their collections. Cards and packs will be unavailable for purchase in the Foundry client. The game devs also noted that any card art previously in the pipeline is now in the final game.

According to Valve, they made this decision after the game’s “player count fell off pretty dramatically.” They noted that they had been working on the Artifact 2.0 Beta for the past year and a half. In that time, Artifact simply did not attract enough new players to justify continued development. The devs rounded out their statement on Artifact’s future by thanking the players.

What Went Wrong For Artifact?

Artifact is a digital collectible card game released by Valve and designed by the creator of Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield. It is set in the Dota universe and features heroes from the game. It was announced in 2017 and it released in November 18. The game initially received positive reviews for its strategic gameplay and depth. It didn’t take long, however, for players and reviewers to point out glaring flaws in the game’s gameplay and business model.

The game had barely released when the community slammed Valve for Artifact’s greedy economy. The base game cost $20 and only provided new players with starter cards. The only way to get new cards was to spend money to enter events, buy packs, or purchase cards in the marketplace. The initial fallout prompted Valve to tweak their business model, but concerns persisted.

Players also criticized the game for being too complex and difficult to follow on Twitch streams. The depth of strategy initially drew praise from streamers and Magic: The Gathering pros. On the other hand, it prevented the strong player growth the game needed to survive. Magic Pro Tour Hall of Famer and renowned deck designer Zvi Mowshowitz wrote a detailed blog post explaining what he thought went wrong with the game.

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