Valve officially enters the ring of digital card games with Artifact, which launched this week. Watch the new launch trailer above.
Artifact is a card game based on the world and characters of Dota 2, Valve’s very popular online hero brawler. Like Dota, Artifact uses three lanes where heroes can be deployed to battle for supremacy. The launch wave of cards is called Call to Arms and features 280 cards, including heroes, spells, creeps, and items. There’s also a tie-in digital comic.
The first event is called Call to Arms Gauntlet, and tasks players with head-to-head matches featuring specific pre-constructed decks. Six are currently available, with more coming later this month.
Artifact is available exclusively on Steam, and making its way to mobile devices next year. Unlike similar digital card games such as Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Artifact is not free-to-play. You’ll have to pony up $20, which gets you two pre-made base decks, plus 10 random booster packs. Additional booster packs will cost $2 each.
Fans are not particularly pleased with this worst of both worlds pricing scheme, and many players are reporting that it costs a lot more money to procure a decently competitive deck. As a result Artifact has launched to Mixed reviews on Steam, though the game itself is being very well received.
Artifact was designed by Richard Garfield, the legendary card and board game designer behind Magic: The Gathering, and most recently, Keyforge: Call of the Archons. Artifact represents Valve’s first actual game release since 2013’s Dota 2, which remains free-to-play with microtransactions.