Almost two years after it launched and failed to find a following, Artifact is heading back into beta. Despite launching to positive reviews, Valve's card game struggled to find a mainstream audience and was all but abandoned by the developer in November 2018.
This week, following the launch of Half Life: Alyx behind them, Valve has finally begun to talk about what the next era of their digital card might look like. In typical Valve fashion, the details here are a little vague aside from one key thing: Artifact's controversial model of buying and selling cards is on the way out.
In a blog post, Valve says that "We aren’t selling cards, so you won’t face an opponent with a stacked deck."
"We have some ideas about what we’d like to sell, but none of them are cards/packs."
Other changes coming to game include a new Hero Draft mode and the ability to access and view all three lanes at once. For those who didn't try Artifact, one of the game's defining traits is that you have to manage multiple lanes in the same way that you do in DOTA 2, so the latter change is actually a quite significant one.
Still, Valve say "it’s less likely that a player will get shut out in the same way they used to."
The other big change here is your existing collection of Artifact cards won't necessarily translate over to the new version of the game.
"In the new version cards are unlocked through play. Individual cards are likely to have been changed, removed, or brand new; so old decks and stats wouldn’t be valid."
This is not great news if you're someone (like me) who sunk a bunch of time and money into growing their collection but, for new players, it's a move that theoretically puts Artifact 2.0 in line with Riot's Legends of Runeterra and makes it a little bit easier to jump into the game as a newcomer.
At this stage, Valve say they're still running internal tests for Artifact 2.0 but will be looking to roll closed beta access out to those who own the original game later this year before opening things up to the wider public.