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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Artifact loses 80.9% of its playerbase in just 3 weeks

Artifact launched on 28th November to mixed player reactions. Before the game had even launched, the subreddit r/Artifact had posts calling out Valve on the monetization model as being pay to everything. I have to admit I was personally very concerned about the issues raised before the game launched. The game saw mixed reviews on Steam almost straight away. Although I understand the market was going to be volatile in the beginning, having cards such as Axe costing more than the base game cost wasn’t good for Artifact’s image. Players myself included, felt those willing to drop enough cash would have a big advantage compared to those who have limited funds.

In 3 weeks Artifact has lost a worrying 80.9% of the original playerbase

At launch the game saw over 60,000 players. A week later this had dropped to around 28,000. This rapid decline only continued with the 24 peak as of 13th December of 11,596. In 3 weeks Artifact has lost a worrying 80.9% of the original playerbase. Those watching Artifact on Twitch doesn’t look any better, with just over 1.5k viewers at the time this article was written. Hearthstone Blizzard’s digital card game has 29.5k viewers a huge difference.

Artifact Playercount on SteamAnticipated games often release to a large number of players but seeing such a steep decline is a clear signal that players are not happy and I think we all know what the elephant in the room here. I honestly expected Valve react and start communicating with fans if the downtrend continued. The fact 3 weeks has passed and very little outside of patch notes has been released.

The cost of the most expensive cards has also dropped often by 50% or more

The cost of the most expensive cards has also dropped, often by 50% or more. Considering the current playerbase situation. this isn’t a surprise. I sold every card of value within the first week because I expected their value to drop. I was also not happy with the monetization model, feeling it takes micro-transactions too far also playing a part in selling off my cards. A compromise should have been made, implementing some kind of progression/rewards system. Instead players have to spend real money, and win 4 games without losing 2 to see any returns, outside of a new ticket if they manage 3 wins.

My honest opinion is Artifact is a really good card game, even if some of the RNG isn’t ideal at times. The game has immense depth, and can be hugely rewarding to play. On the other hand the lack of progression and the pay to play model just isn’t working.

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