Valve is speeding up news about Artifact 2.0.
A month ago, Gabe talked about Artifact 2.0 for the first time, and since then, a steady stream of blogs about changes is being posted on Steam. Most recently, we saw a new Deployment system, now with significantly less randomness involved, which will add more depth and strategic decisions.
And the latest blog post today is the biggest to date when it comes to Artifact 2.0, which surely means that we are approaching the day when Artifact 2.0 Beta will start.
Initiative and Mana are now changed so that they are now shared across all lanes. Players are still performing actions until both players pass in a row, after which the combat starts. In general, there will now be more rounds per game, but each round will be shorter. Spell with "Get Initiative" effect are still present, but are now renamed "Quick".
Players now have a single mana pool that starts with 3 mana and increases by 1 per turn. Mana cost for many cards has been reduced, but high-end cards still remain expensive. Each action in the game will now cost at least 1 mana.
Developers explained that they understand how important the initiative system was for players in the previous version of the game and that they approached these changes very carefully.
"Some players ignored initiative. Other players felt that controlling initiative was the main strategic concern, so we don't think this is a change that should be taken lightly," devs say in the blog post.
"We think that the current system gets to a similar place where the actions you take, and the order you take them are both very important without the big downsides of the learning cliff and the resulting struggles with lockout."
They've also talked about their desire for cards to sound less technical and to be less wordy, but clear and understandable at the same time.
Some keywords are now working slightly differently; Armor is now simplified by blocking 1 damage per 1 point of Armor, while Cleave and Siege now working regardless of blocking. Ther's also a mention of a new keyword, called Feeble. When a unit with Feeble is attacked, excess damage will be dealt to the tower instead.
As it's mentioned earlier, cards will be unlocked simply by playing, in a pace that will allow players to be excited about new cards they are getting but also not to overwhelm them with new stuff too quickly. Players will always be matched against other players with a similar card pool, and Hero Draft pulls from the combined set of cards that you and your opponent have unlocked.
Finally, they've talked about players' feedback and how they have read it almost all, and that they will add a lot of staff based on it, including a better progression system, social features such as chat history, the ability to spectate friends, access to more game modes when challenging friends, and saving templates for tournament settings, better ranking system, better localisation, and one particularly interesting thing - single players missions.