Valve’s Artifact released out to a lackluster reception, despite the hype surrounding the title in 2018. Designed by Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Artifact is a digital card playing game based in the DOTA 2 universe and uses features from DOTA 2 and more traditional card games like Hearthstone. While the game had a decent player base on launch, it rapidly dwindled. The game has rested on a low player base to the point of being non-serviceable for about a year peaking only about 100 players in a day’s time. Players often complained that Artifact was over-complicated and convoluted to play along with over monetization for a game with an entry price.
Valve has started taking steps to overhaul the game in an attempt to revitalize it. Valve is calling the game Artifact 2.0, the aim of the overhaul is to make it accessible to more mainstream card game players. Changing the gameplay was a priority for the team. Valve is now making it possible for players to view all three lanes of a given match instead of micromanaging a single lane on at a time.
The most drastic change is Artifact 2.0 completely ditching its monetization model that was present in the previous version. Individual playing cards and card decks used to be available to purchase. The model was very poorly received and caused a divide in the player base, as people who paid often had cutting edge decks, while other players struggled to organically grow theirs.
Valve is not ditching additional monetization completely. They have stated that they are exploring different options on what they can sell that are not card packs. Artifact 2.0 does not have a release date, but Valve has teased a closed beta version soon, but they stated that they will reach out to certain people to test instead of having to signup.