Artifact is Dead, long live Artifact

After years or plugging away at it to no avail, Valve has officially ended development on its much aligned Artifact card game, and has opened it up entirely for free to anyone who wants to play it. Ah Artifact, we hardly knew ye.

Originally released as the first spin off game for DotA 2 — later to be followed by DotA 2 Autochess — Artifact is a collective card game that drew from the DotA franchise's well of characters, items, and lore to create a unique lane-based card game experience. While it saw a lot of initial interest, the player base quickly dissipated, and despite continued efforts to make it worthwhile for players and developers, it never garnered the support it needed from the wider gaming community and now it's simply run out of steam.

"While we're reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven't managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time," Valve said in a statement. "As such, we've made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta. We're grateful to all Artifact players, and particularly to those who were able to help us tune and refine what would become Artifact Foundry. The team feels this is the approach that best serves the community. We're proud of the work we've done on both games and excited about delivering them to a much larger audience of gamers."

The only upside to this news for players who do enjoy Artifact or hoped to bring their friends round to playing it, is that both existing versions of it will be entirely free moving forward. That includes Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry, with neither game requiring paying for card packs. In the former, you'll get every card for free straight away, while the latter will require you to earn them through play.

There is global matchmaking and bot play in both, so there should be some people to play against for some time. In fact, this move is likely to boost player count, at least in the short term.

Are you sad about what's happened to Artifact? Do you think you'll end up playing more now that it's free?

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