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Artifact becomes completely free as Valve ends its development

After a year and a half of trying to fix the core gameplay of Artifact, Valve has officially decided to put an end to the game's development, while making both current versions of the game completely free for everyone.
Artifact becomes completely free as Valve ends its development

Valve's digital card game Artifact was a very ambitious project when it was released back in 2018.

Card game fans saw the game as the "Hearthstone killer", a moniker which many card games failed to justify, including Artifact.

The game had a promising start, but the player count has sunk quickly, as the game was criticised for its greedy monetisation and some fundamentally bad and random gameplay mechanics.

A few months after Artifact's release barely anyone had played the game and the grandiose announcements of huge esports events have been quietly forgotten as the game fell into oblivion.

The game practically died off, but Valve didn't want to just let it die in peace, and instead, they fired the main designer Richard Garfield (MTG creator) and started working on a complete overhaul of the game's mechanics.

Artifact free to play
Valve tried to redesign the game to make it more fun and competitive (Picture: Valve)

Throughout 2020, they were sharing their progress with the redesign, called Artifact 2.0, and even launched the Artifact 2.0 Beta, but ultimately the number of active players simply wasn't big enough for them to justify further development, and so today Valve officially announces that they will no longer work on any future updates.

Although this is undoubtedly sad news for what's left of the community, the positive side of this is that starting immediately, Artifact will become a completely free game, which includes all cards and all game modes.

This goes for both versions of the game, Artifact Classic (the original game) and Artifact 2.0 Beta (renamed Artifact Foundry).

This might actually breathe new life into the game, at least for a while, as some curious people might decide to try to game and see what it's all about.

Here's an overview of Valve's final changes to Artifact Classic:

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • All players get every card for free. You will no longer be able to buy card packs.
  • Paid players' existing cards have been converted into special Collector's Edition versions, which will remain marketable. Marketplace integration has been removed from the game.
  • Paid event tickets have been removed.
  • Customers who paid for the game will still earn packs of Collector's Edition cards for playing; players who got the game for free will not.

The final release of Artifact Foundry looks like this:

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • Players gain access to cards by playing the game. All cards are earned this way; no cards or packs will be for sale and Artifact Foundry cards are not marketable.
  • All final card art that was in the pipeline is now in the game.