We covered Artifact on release and then again a couple of weeks later. After launching to plenty of hype, big streams packed with viewers, deck building reddit posts and much more. Before the game even hit the shelves (your hard drive) the game was catching a lot of heat regarding the pay to everything business model.
Artifact has virtually no players left not even hitting 500 in a 24 hour period
Within a month a huge 80% of the player base had stopped play and as of writing this article on 21st March 2019, the game is peaking at just 391 players, a massive change from the numbers seen at launch. What started out as anger towards monetization, ended with one of gaming’s most loved game studios failing terribly and taking Artifact with it.
Micro transactions are a way of life for most gamers and often we see them taken too far. Artifact went a step further. The only way to get more cards was
1. Buy them on the Steam Marketplace
2. Wager tickets and/or card packs
3. Purchase card packs
The rules around what rewards you get in wager matches was abysmal. You have to get 3 wins without losing twice, just to get your initial stake back. To win card packs this way, you need to line up 4-5 wins. There are free versions of the wager matches, but without any reward or any progression this is a mute point.
Personally I think Value should have listened to gamers way back when the business model first became clear. Just adding a simple progression and rewards system, would have gone a long way. Instead gamers myself included, felt cheated when a single card (Axe), cost about the same as what you paid for Artifact in the first place.
It is true Valve has a near god like status in gaming, due to cult classic series Half Life. For over a decade gamers have wanted Half Life 3. Even though Artifact was pretty much a polar opposite, it still came from a studio universally loved. The damage is done, and even if major changes came I think it is too little too late. We had a some official statements at launch from Valve, but then it all went quiet, and people stopped caring enough to discuss Artifact and rightly so.
I thought it only right to take a look at this and see what we can learn. I would love to hear what you think about Artifact and most importantly, given the chance what would you change? Let us know down in the comments section.