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Valve responds after ‘Artifact’ slammed for taking microtransactions too far

Artifact, the upcoming digital card game based on DOTA 2, was targeted by heavy criticism for its monetization model, prompting Valve to make changes heading into its public beta stage.

Shortly after Valve lifted the streaming embargo on Artifact, popular Twitch streamers such as Disguised Toast and Savjz published their comments on the upcoming card game.

Tried Artifact for 5 hours today.

High Skill Ceiling
Lots of mechanics and strategy

Hard to watch as a viewer
$20 Initial Cost
Must pay for more cards
$1 per Draft Run (unless you hit 3 wins)
Too much IQ needed for my small brain

Not the game for me.

— Disguised Toast (@DisguisedToast) November 18, 2018

I have played all ccg and tcg games on the planet and the constructed format of artifact does not stand out, it is not the next big thing.

The game is truly dead on arrival if they push constructed first.

Draft is actually something elevating.

— Savjz (@Savjz) November 18, 2018

The gameplay of Artifact is interesting, to say the least, with its attempt to mimic the style of DOTA 2 with heroes and three lanes on the playing field, along with a unique resources system consisting of mana and gold. The issue pointed out by some streamers, including some users on various threads on Reddit over the weekend, is the game’s microtransactions.

The base game of Artifact costs $20, and buying it gives players 10 booster packs from the base set named Call to Arms, five event tickets, and a pair of starter decks composed of common cards. Initially, the only way to earn new cards is by spending real-world money. Players may purchase booster packs at $2 each, buy specific cards through the Steam marketplace, or win cards through game modes that require event tickets at $1 each.

Heroes, which are needed to play in Artifact, may only be acquired through the Call to Arms packs. Players will have no choice but to hit the marketplace or keep spending real-world money to buy booster packs if they are looking for a specific hero.

In comparison, Blizzard’s Hearthstone offers players various ways of earning new cards and gold to purchase booster packs by completing daily quests, winning regular matches, participating in the weekly Tavern Brawl, and competing in Arena. All of the methods are accessible without requiring players to spend real-world cash.

Valve, addressing the early backlash against Artifact‘s monetization model, tried to make amends through a blog post. Valve will be adding a Call to Arms Phantom Draft, which will allow players to draft with their friends, and the Casual Phantom Draft gauntlet in Casual Play, which will allow players to practice drafting without spending an event ticket, to the game’s public beta. Additionally, before the end of the public beta, Valve will add a system that will allow players to recycle extra, unwanted cards in Artifact into event tickets.

It remains to be seen if Valve’s actions are enough to ease the outrage of players, but the early responses to the changes appear to be mostly positive.

Artifact is set to be released on November 28 on Steam. Valve announced the digital card game at The International 2017, when most players were expecting Half-Life 3.

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Aaron Mamiit
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