Everyone wants to join the digital card game money-making fiesta, and Valve is no exception. Whether you're excited for Artifact or not, it may be one to keep an eye on, since it's doing things a little differently from the rest of the pack.
First off, the game will not be free to play. On its launch on November 28th, 2018, Artifact will let you pass through its gilded gates for $19.99. This doesn't mean you'll be getting all 280 cards and 44 heroes that the game is launching with, however. You'll have to earn or buy those the same way as other games such as Hearthstone, in packs. Still, Gabe Newell is emphatic that Artifact will not be pay to win, but doesn't remark on the potential advantage those with rarer cards will have. Unsurprisingly, the cards will also be available to be bought and sold on the Steam marketplace.
Artifact will be available to play at PAX West in Seattle from August 31st to September 3rd, which will be the first public showing of the game. Players who attend will be able to join a tournament, and everyone who plays will get two copies of the game, along with some sweet merch.
With Magic: The Gathering designer Richard Garfield working on Artifact, Valve seems to be seeking to push the genre forward, and break some of the conventions we've gotten used to in digital trading card games, something no one will fault them for. Matches will be played across three lanes, just like Dota 2, and the lanes will interact with each other.
Every deck will be based around five heroes, which are split into four colors, which represent their type of gameplay. Each lane will have a tower, and if you destroy it, it will turn into an Ancient (which is the home base structure in Dota 2). Destroy the ancient or two towers to win the game. While separate lanes is nothing new in card games (The Elder Scrolls: Legends uses dual lanes), Artifact seems to have several tricks up its sleeves, such as a shopping phase, where you can acquire items mid-game that can turn the tide of victory.
Artifact will release on Windows, Mac and Linux November 28, 2018, and is also planned to come out on Android and iOS in 2019.
Are you exhausted with TCGs, or are you excited to check out Artifact? Do you think Valve will succeed in making it stand out? Let us know in the comments below!