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[Artifact] Call to Arms set released. Give mid or feed!

SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
edited December 2018 in Games and Technology
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Hey Spawn, what is this?
Artifact is the upcoming card game to be released by Valve software. It is a digital card game similar to Hearthstone.

I already play (Hearthstone/Eternal/Shadowverse/Faeria/Duelyst), why should I care?
Artifact is designed by Richard Garfield, aka the creator of Magic: the Gathering. You will be able to trade cards, so it won't be a CCG (collectible card game), it will be more along the lines of a TCG (trading card game). It will not be Free To Play, there will be a buy-in cost. Valve seems to want to integrate the Steam marketplace to allow people to trade cards.

Wait, is this a...Dota card game?
Yes, this is using the existing Dota 2 IP. This has a lot of people concerned that Valve is just jumping on the digital card game bandwagon. Valve has assured everyone in press events that they are not, it just made the most sense to leverage the Dota IP for this game.

How do you know so much about this game?
Glad you asked, there was a press event recently where they unveiled some of the first hints about the game.

Gabe Newell talking about Artifact for 20 minutes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mERhtoD21rU

Full match in 4K:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od5XamlmNxQ

PCGamer
PC Gamer wrote:
The sense from Valve is threefold. 1) Trading will take the sting out of hoping to pull the card you want from a pack, but only getting filler. 2) Each player's collection will retain value in the same way that binders of Magic cards do in real life. In contrast, if I stopped playing Hearthstone tomorrow, I couldn't sell my cards. Hell, Blizzard's small print means I can't even leave the account to someone in my will. 3) Valve knows how to do trading. It already has the tech to make it safe and secure, and it's learned a lot of lessons from CS:GO and Dota 2.

Ars Technica
Garfield admitted that Artifact's basic concepts, of hero cards impacting what can be played in which lane, had existed in a digital game concept he'd been toying with before allying with Valve. It began as a "trading object game" prototype concept that he pitched to Valve roughly four years ago, he said, though his desire to make a robust, "open" TCG for computers and game systems had picked up in earnest roughly 10 years ago. When asked about comparisons to more modern digital TCGs, the game's development team doubled down by claiming Artifact development began in earnest "before Hearthstone existed."

When asked how his prototype and the Dota 2 universe came together, Garfield says the process was similar to his work on King of Tokyo, a board game that began as a "generic fantasy game" before evolving with the theme of kaiju destruction. "The basic concepts we were working with [on Artifact] were very flexible. There's a lot of art and science in matching up an IP to a game mechanic and having it feel correct. If it wasn’t related to Dota, maybe it'd be six heroes per side. It's just a few constraints."

Game Informer
Like I said, it’s a lot to take in. Like in any good card game, turns only get more complicated as you gain access to more mana, start unleashing intricate spell combos, and turn every round into that much more of a minefield. Do you abandon one lane entirely for a couple of turns by blinking a hero out of it and pray you can destroy the two surrounding towers before they destroy your unprotected ancient? Do you clear an entire lane using the Annihilation spell now, or try to bait your opponent into investing more heavily into it before blowing it all up? Do you save your gold for a card that will make future purchases much cheaper, or spend what you have The Blink Dagger and Healing Salve that could save your Legion Commander from certain doom? The combination of more reactive turns, lane distribution, and hero variety make certain answers hard to come by, and it makes Artifact feel like a more open-ended card game.

IGN Q&A session on Twitch.tv, 03/12/2018

Okay everyone, discuss!

We have a steam chat now, permanent link:
https://s.team/chat/bTqXiRcW

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Posts

  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    At the very minimum I'm interested to see where this goes.

    I love it when card games get weird. The sheer grand scale of it and how it's not really something you would want to do in a physical game is definitely points in it's favor, even if the DOTA trappings do nothing normally for me.

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    IGN just hosted an hour-long Q&A session with the two people who went to Valve to try out Artifact:

    https://twitch.tv/videos/238108656##

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
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  • KoopahTroopahKoopahTroopah The koopas, the troopas. Philadelphia, PARegistered User regular
  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    Volvo pls giv NDA lift

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  • WyvernWyvern Registered User regular
    Jeez, at 7:30 in that Newell video he just straight-up comes out with "The original Magic: The Gathering players typically were spending about $400 a year on cards. That's just kind of a concrete number." And then everything else is about how to design a system for a playerbase consisting exclusively of people who are fine with that number. "What about potential players who aren't willing to put up $400 a year" is not a question which seems to have been asked or answered at any point in the process.

    I'm not sure if all the video games I play combined work out to more than $400 a year, at least if you set aside hardware costs. So as much as my brain craves new systems to puzzle out, I guess there's just no possible scenario where I get anything out of Artifact.

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  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    Even if this is an amazing TCG I think Valve really has an uphill battle to fight here. Almost all the discussion I see around this game is dominated by negativity towards Valve and dismissiveness towards CCGs. I feel like this is a case of "wrong place, wrong time" - things might have been different if they had released it 2 years ago. Not only would it have been closer to the genre revival of Hearthstone, but also I think the fans hadn't quite turned on Valve and their development practices back then.

    3cl1ps3
  • 3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    edited March 2018
    Also when Hearthstone is coming under fire for the common investment to stay fully relevant being $150/year, no fucking way is Valve going to be able to sell people on a $400/year game.

    They are, like everyone else in the digital CCG space, neglecting that the reason MtG can get away with its costs are a) you will have the physical cards forever, not just until they turn the servers off and b) the ENORMOUS SECONDARY MARKET that lets people sell cards or get specific cards for cheap, which so far none of these games have.

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  • WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    Also, Magic was, if not the actual first CCG, then at least the first CCG to really make it big.

    Making a brand new CCG in this day and age and expecting it to do Magic numbers is a bit like making a brand new MMO and expecting it to do World of Warcraft numbers.

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  • WyvernWyvern Registered User regular
    edited March 2018
    In fairness, there are some issues with FTP economies in card games. I pretty much fell off of Hearthstone a couple years ago because I couldn't keep up as a free player and I was totally dissatisfied with the value proposition of what you actually get for spending money. And they actively shuffled up their release model to make it even harder for free players to stay relevant.

    But if Valve was actually looking to capture those burnouts, they'd be trying something like a Netrunner-esque format where you just pay for complete sets and there's no RNG involved. What they really want is to spawn a digital secondary market that spirals out of control which they can leech off of via transaction fees. I mean, people pay $600 for hats and gun skins in PUBG and CS:Go, and that stuff is purely cosmetic. Imagine what you can get for the rarest card in the most popular netdeck when you're whispering in players' ears, "it's fine, it's an investment, it'll totally retain its value when you stop playing in a few years".

    Plus you get the compulsive gamblers who don't even necessarily play the game. $10 a pack, the typical pack produces like 75 cents of resellable value, but who knows, maybe the next pack will be the one that has a $500 Black Lotus!

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    Also, Magic was, if not the actual first CCG, then at least the first CCG to really make it big.

    Making a brand new CCG in this day and age and expecting it to do Magic numbers is a bit like making a brand new MMO and expecting it to do World of Warcraft numbers.

    Not sure if I agree with this. Nobody has actually tried to implement a trading system in a digital card game outside of Magic Online. Magic Online isn't popular outside of MtG nerds because the user interface is straight out of the early 2000s.

    I'm fairly excited about the game from what we've seen so far, but I am like...the target market for this sort of thing, I play all card games and enjoy all of them for different reasons.

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited March 2018
    Also you guys seem to be ignoring that this game is published by Valve, the company that doesn't make bad games. Also the project lead is Richard Garfield, the man who can't design a bad game.

    Spawnbroker on
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  • 3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    Valve hasn't actually made a game in a decade and a half, who knows if they've still got it.

    BeefersRiusDarkewolfe
  • WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    Also, Magic was, if not the actual first CCG, then at least the first CCG to really make it big.

    Making a brand new CCG in this day and age and expecting it to do Magic numbers is a bit like making a brand new MMO and expecting it to do World of Warcraft numbers.

    Not sure if I agree with this. Nobody has actually tried to implement a trading system in a digital card game outside of Magic Online. Magic Online isn't popular outside of MtG nerds because the user interface is straight out of the early 2000s.

    I'm fairly excited about the game from what we've seen so far, but I am like...the target market for this sort of thing, I play all card games and enjoy all of them for different reasons.

    It might do well, sure. I have zero interest in DotA, but I've heard of it and it seems popular? So that might hook people.

    On the other hand, I play The Elder Scrolls: Legends and that seems to be doing fairly OK at best, even though quite a few people appear to have enjoyed Skyrim.

    Also also, Artifact seems to want you to pay money up front. I don't know if a trading system is enough to make people willing to make that investment when there are so many other Free to Play card games out there.

    Artifact may become a good game and it may do perfectly fine. But I am skeptical of the idea that it'll do as well as a Magic or a Hearthstone. For one thing, I seriously doubt a lot of people are going to dump 400 dollars a year into it.

  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    3clipse wrote: »
    Valve hasn't actually made a game in a decade and a half, who knows if they've still got it.

    I'm genuinely unsure if you're serious or making a joke. Are you trying to say that the last game Valve made was Half Life 2 or something?

    You guys seem awfully certain that a game we've seen 5 minutes of is going to be bad. From a company that is known in the industry for not releasing products that they don't think live up to a high standard.

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  • 3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    3clipse wrote: »
    Valve hasn't actually made a game in a decade and a half, who knows if they've still got it.

    I'm genuinely unsure if you're serious or making a joke. Are you trying to say that the last game Valve made was Half Life 2 or something?

    You guys seem awfully certain that a game we've seen 5 minutes of is going to be bad. From a company that is known in the industry for not releasing products that they don't think live up to a high standard.

    I...haven't said shit about the game? My post literally only talked about monetization.

  • WyvernWyvern Registered User regular
    Also you guys seem to be ignoring that this game is published by Valve, the company that doesn't make bad games. Also the project lead is Richard Garfield, the man who can't design a bad game.
    If the game demands investing an amount of money I'm not willing to spend into an economic model that I'm not willing to support, then it doesn't really matter a whole lot to me personally whether or not the game is good in a vacuum.

    And with the kind of money it looks like they're expecting of players, it's not enough for the game to just be "good", or "not bad". It needs to be massively better than all the competition. It needs to attract a playerbase such that Artifact is virtually the only game they play, because those are the only types of people who invest that much money into a single ecosystem. Some games really do attract a playerbase that's that obsessive, and Dota 2 and Counterstrike are among them, but it's not an easy thing to do, especially when you're starting from scratch. People were already obsessed with Dota and Counterstrike for years before they were monetized the way they are now. Artifact wont have that head start.

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited March 2018
    Nobody knows anything about the monetization yet, they've been incredibly tight-lipped about it. The only thing they've said is that you will be able to use the steam marketplace to trade cards somehow. Edit: They've also said it will have a buy-in cost, but haven't said what that will be

    Everyone is making a lot of assumptions and seems to be looking for reasons to say the game will fail. As someone who is cautiously optimistic about the game, I'm just curious why that is.

    Spawnbroker on
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  • WyvernWyvern Registered User regular
    Nobody knows anything about the monetization yet, they've been incredibly tight-lipped about it. The only thing they've said is that you will be able to use the steam marketplace to trade cards somehow. Edit: They've also said it will have a buy-in cost, but haven't said what that will be

    Everyone is making a lot of assumptions and seems to be looking for reasons to say the game will fail. As someone who is cautiously optimistic about the game, I'm just curious why that is.
    We know that there are random packs, card rarities, and an open marketplace. We know that basic economic forces will drive the cost of desirable items on an open marketplace as high as they can possibly go. We know that the most desirable items in digital marketplaces routinely sell for hundreds of dollars, including in games owned by Valve specifically. We know that the most popular cards in real physical TCGs routinely sell for hundreds of dollars, including the most relevant one that Richard Garfield designed. We have not heard anything from Gabe Newell which implies that he thinks keeping the costs of cards artificially low is necessary or desirable for the health of the market.

    I only see one possible outcome here in terms of what the monetization will look like. What could possibly happen that would prevent it from going out of control, given what we know?

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  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    Wyvern wrote: »
    Nobody knows anything about the monetization yet, they've been incredibly tight-lipped about it. The only thing they've said is that you will be able to use the steam marketplace to trade cards somehow. Edit: They've also said it will have a buy-in cost, but haven't said what that will be

    Everyone is making a lot of assumptions and seems to be looking for reasons to say the game will fail. As someone who is cautiously optimistic about the game, I'm just curious why that is.
    We know that there are random packs, card rarities, and an open marketplace. We know that basic economic forces will drive the cost of desirable items on an open marketplace as high as they can possibly go. We know that the most desirable items in digital marketplaces routinely sell for hundreds of dollars, including in games owned by Valve specifically. We know that the most popular cards in real physical TCGs routinely sell for hundreds of dollars, including the most relevant one that Richard Garfield designed. We have not heard anything from Gabe Newell which implies that he thinks keeping the costs of cards artificially low is necessary or desirable for the health of the market.

    I only see one possible outcome here in terms of what the monetization will look like. What could possibly happen that would prevent it from going out of control, given what we know?

    I don't know. Sounds like an untestable hypothesis to me until we know more information. You seem pretty convinced, though!

    Steam: Spawnbroker
  • FryFry Registered User regular
    We have heard specifically that they do not want to allow F2P acquisition of cards, as that necessarily devalues everyone's collections over time. Seems very tough to get people in the door and playing if they can't be lured with the prospect of playing free forever.

    (I imagine there will be something to let people try it out for free, like letting you play with unmodified starter decks. Will that be enough to get people to actually buy in? Who knows!)

  • BeefersBeefers Registered User regular
    Can we talk about the lanes. I am on the road on a laptop with busted speakers unfortunately so I couldnt grab most of what was going on but it was very visually confusing to me.

    Are people stoked on the mechanics? Or at least on what we know so far.

  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    I'm not a big CCG guy but I liked Hearthstone all right, specifically because it's somewhat simplified and accessible. This game seems like it's not going for that at all and is instead very deep and complex, so it's not for me. Maybe there's a big audience for that type of game, I don't know. To be fair that's fairly accurate to what DotA is within its genre.

  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    richard garfield has made several bad games

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  • KoopahTroopahKoopahTroopah The koopas, the troopas. Philadelphia, PARegistered User regular
  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    Arise! Arise, thread, from your slumber, for we have a press release!

    Press Release
    August 1, 2018 -- Artifact, the digital card game from legendary designer Richard Garfield and Valve (Dota 2, Steam), will be playable by attendees of this year’s PAX West in Seattle, WA (Aug 31 – Sept 3) in the game’s first public showing.

    Players will battle each other in a continuous single elimination gauntlet for the right to challenge a champion on the main stage. Everyone who plays will earn Artifact merchandise, including signed prints of artwork and two keys for free copies of the game when it is released.

    Targeted for release on Steam on November 28th 2018, Artifact is designed to give Trading Card Game (TCG) enthusiasts the deepest gameplay and highest fidelity experience ever in a fantasy card game. Offering more than 280 cards in the shipping set, players will be able to buy and sell cards on the Steam Community Marketplace.

    Release Information:

    Desktop - Windows/Mac/Linux: November 28th, 2018
    Mobile - Android/IOS: 2019
    Price: $20 (US)



    Artifact will be at PAX West in a public showing, release date is November 28th, initial price of $20.

    No idea what the pack pricing will be or how many cards you get for that 20 dollars, but I imagine it will be like Magic the Gathering where you get some starter decks and have to pay/trade for more cards.

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I feel like "The people will obviously love buying packs in a game they already have to pay for!" is not a recipe for success.

    That Newell's first line of thinking is how much money the game will make Valve clearly shows a company that has loooooong stopped caring about their craft.

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  • KoopahTroopahKoopahTroopah The koopas, the troopas. Philadelphia, PARegistered User regular
    Yeah, not a big fan of having to pay for more cards if I'm paying $20 already to play the thing. If it gives me all 280 cards for $20, then that is fine.

  • 3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    Micros for cards in a game with an up front price? Go fuck yourself, Valve.

  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    I'm basically preparing for the eventuality that I'll have to spend similar amounts of money as Magic the Gathering to play this game. Understandably, that's not going to be for everyone. I don't even know if something like that will succeed with free-to-play juggernauts like Hearthstone in the digital card game space.

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  • CyrenicCyrenic Registered User regular
    This was on my radar, but if the business model stays as reported, I'll pass. Disappointing because the game looks interesting.

    I don't really mind paying $20 for a partial collection, but if there's no way to earn new cards with some kind of free currency I'm not interested.

  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    Ars Technica article on Artifact, with some more info about the business model:
    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/08/valves-first-new-game-in-5-years-artifact-coming-in-november-starting-at-20/
    What exactly does $19.99 get you? The game maker didn't answer this in its press release, so we reached out to Valve's Doug Lombardi, who broke down the exact package included in that cost: two pre-made "base" decks of 54 cards each ("5 heroes, 9 items, and 40 other cards") and 10 sealed packs of cards, which each include 12 random cards, one of which is guaranteed to be "rare." Additional 12-card packs will be sold directly by Valve at $2 a pop at launch.

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  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    So 108 cards from the base decks, plus the possibility of 10*12=120 other cards. I'm assuming there may be duplicates in those packs so it will be less than 120.

    I'm intrigued, though a bit bummed the mobile version of the game won't be out until 2019.

  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    Yeah, one of the things I remember reading was that they’re doing the buy-in so the cards you get are “real.” It’s basically like buying starter decks. They don’t have to do anything like make the cards untradeable or soul bound, so in case you ever get extras or decide to retire you can still sell them off or give them to friends.

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  • RiusRius Globex CEO Nobody ever says ItalyRegistered User regular
    Never thought I'd say I wasn't at all interested in playing a Valve game, but I've done it for their last two "games" and this'll make a third!

    Good job, Valve. I'm sure this will be more successful than Hex.

    I'm especially tickled that this impending garbage pile is coming out before a VR game for their flagship hardware headset.

    38thDoe
  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    i think it will be pretty successful to be honest, and against my desires

    RiusSeGaTaiFry
  • SeGaTaiSeGaTai Registered User regular
    Yea all the but I have to pay money comments are amusing when the HS thread has finally admitted to ourselves that we end up spending 100-200 a year in order to actually play fun decks

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  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    I sort of accept on a fundamental level that card games are inherently a manifestation of Loot Boxes As Game and I can live with that for the gameplay they provide. A lot of the things I find gross about Artifact's structure are the way that the Steam Marketplace is set up as a system of Eternal Revenue for Valve. If they didn't take a cut I'd be less reserved about it, but the fact that they do makes it seem like a game whose genre was chosen with the Steam Marketplace in mind. And while it's possible to still turn around and make a good game after that, I have a lot of reservations about the naked capitalism involved in that closed ecosystem.

    3cl1ps3Cyrenic
  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    I was really hoping that this would use a "living card game" model. I like being able to buy proper expansions for my card games.

    It might be okay if the core set is robust enough as a stand-alone product... but this quote from March makes me dubious:
    Team member Brandon Reinhart described how the game's eventual "starter pack" will be pretty good... but ultimately not good enough.

    "When you pick up the initial starter experience, you’ll have a lot of stuff to do," Reinhart told Ars. "Play in leagues, play competitively, a lot against the game's AI. You wouldn’t expect to buy the starter deck and take it to end of a pro tournament. You’ll have a lot of runway." When I pressed about the starter deck's pro-tourney weaknesses, Reinhart responded, "It isn't the case that that deck wouldn’t be competitive because it has bad cards. It’s because everyone will know that deck. Those decks won’t have the same metagame advantages you get from doing intentional deck design."

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