Artifact goes free-to-play following a halt on all further updates

Valve will seemingly keep the servers on, but a little over two years after launch, all further development on Artifact is coming to an end.

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When Artifact launched in 2018, it failed to garner the same praise as other digital card games, pure and simple. The ridiculous complexity, the excessively long game times, the expensive microtransactions, and more just made it a slog compared to the systems of other games, and the player base bled dry as a result. Years later, Valve has finally decided to call it quits on the game. Artifact will be going free-to-play and it will not be receiving any further updates.

Valve announced this news in a developer blog post for Artifact on March 4, 2021. In the post, titled “The Future of Artifact,” Valve stated that while the team put honest effort into a reboot of the game, the player base had not returned in a way that made the effort worthwhile.

“We haven't managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time,” the post reads. “As such, we've made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta.”

In addition to making the game free-to-play, Valve will be releasing remaining in-progress art or assets into the existing versions of Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry.
In addition to making the game free-to-play, Valve will be releasing remaining in-progress art or assets into the existing versions of Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry.

With the above statement in mind, Valve is moving Artifact Classic and the Artifact 2.0 Beta (now renamed Artifact Foundry) towards a fully free-to-play model in their current states. The game will be free to download and play, card packs will no longer be purchasable and all cards will become available to every player in Artifact Classic, cards will be earnable as always in Artifact Foundry, and no card packs, tickets, or further microtransactions will be available from here on out.

In our 2018 review of Artifact, digital card game buff Ozzie Mejia gave Artifact a middling score. Where the main premise, tutorial, and game modes were acceptable, the business model, difficult learning curve, and luck-based microtransactions left the overall consensus a little cold.

It’s worth noting that Artifact also stopped updates in 2019 to start the reboot that would be called Artifact 2.0 and now Artifact Foundry, but this final decision sounds a bit more permanent. Nonetheless, Valve also recognizes that both Artifact and Artifact Foundry still have players, so it would seem the lights will be left on for them for the time being. Otherwise, it’s the end of the road for new Artifact content and updates.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 4, 2021 2:15 PM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Artifact goes free-to-play following a halt on all further updates

      • reply
        March 4, 2021 1:15 PM

        They should pay me to play it am I rite???

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          March 4, 2021 1:16 PM

          Man I really have such a bad taste in my mouth over that game. Bought it, played a bit and decided to refund it, but they wouldn't' because I opened a digital card pack. So it sits uninstalled and hidden in my Steam library.

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        March 4, 2021 1:22 PM

        That sound you hear in the sound of seven people caring. And two of them think it's some other game.

        Peak simultaneous players in the past 30 days: 77

        https://steamcharts.com/app/583950

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          March 4, 2021 1:24 PM

          Large part of the lack of players is due to their monetization in my opinion, so this is a reasonable step in the correct direction.. though as I recall even the monetization after the $20 buy was pretty bad.

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            March 4, 2021 1:37 PM

            Yeah, from what I recall there are a bunch of problems. Initial buy in, costs of additional cards, costs of playing in various game formats, etc. My impression was the whole thing was poorly conceived.

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          March 4, 2021 3:11 PM

          Remember when Artifact was so "popular" that Twitch channels, claiming they were playing Artifact, were being used to show porn?

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        March 4, 2021 1:24 PM

        Is this any good? I enjoy casual Hearthstone.

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          March 4, 2021 1:41 PM

          I didn't like it. Barrier of entry felt too high and the player base they had was toxic as shit.

          Keep playing Hearthstone casually (Classic mode is coming in a few weeks) and pick up Runeterra or MTG would be my recommendations.

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          March 4, 2021 1:56 PM

          Magic: Arena is the best, although I’ve heard good stuff about Runeterra.

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            March 4, 2021 2:01 PM

            When I was writing that card list for Runeterra last night, my thought was "Holy hell, that's a shit ton of keywords" to the point that I don't know how friendly it is to new players. Then again, that exact same complaint can be made for Hearthstone, so what do I know?

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              March 4, 2021 2:20 PM

              Yeah I take for granted I’ve been playing MTG since the mid 90s so it’s probably a steep hill to climb.

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              March 4, 2021 3:06 PM

              At least with digital CCG, popup help to explain keywords (which both HS and MTG:A use, and I think Runeterra does too) is there. But I can imagine in a physical setting that would be daunting.

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            March 4, 2021 4:45 PM

            Runeterra has the most player-friendly economy of all the major TCGs. That alone is why it's the only one I still play.

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        March 4, 2021 1:27 PM

        I wouldn't claim either versions even at free

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        March 4, 2021 1:34 PM

        I seriously thought about spending the $20 to buy this a few weeks ago since, other than Alyx, it was the only Valve game I didn't own.

        I'll check it out since I'm curious what it was like and all.

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          March 4, 2021 1:37 PM

          Oh I see, they're making it F2P because they're completely abandoning it. The real 2.0 release isn't happening. Expected, but sad.

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          March 4, 2021 1:43 PM

          It’s not a good game.

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        March 4, 2021 1:38 PM

        A better headline would be "Artifact is officially dead". No more updates or anything...

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        March 4, 2021 1:46 PM

        lol https://youtu.be/OR4jPtrDCLo

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        March 4, 2021 1:53 PM

        installing (on the 5400 spinner and not on the SSD)

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        March 4, 2021 2:18 PM

        The second "A" game to die in the last two weeks.

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          March 4, 2021 2:22 PM

          Oh shit Apex Legends is next

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            March 4, 2021 2:55 PM

            Astroneer is doooooomed!

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            March 4, 2021 3:08 PM

            it better fucking not, i got 13,000 apex coins coming my way

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        March 4, 2021 3:46 PM

        In related news, people are invited to stab themselves with forks repeatedly

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          March 4, 2021 4:24 PM

          That's totally different. Some people would actually enjoy stabbing themselves with a fork.

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