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Valve details major changes for Artifact’s new beta

Card game is about to make a comeback

A screenshot of a board and cards from Artifact, Valve’s Dota 2-themed digital trading card game. Image: Valve Software
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

In 2018, Valve released Artifact, its first game in years. About five months later, the studio put a hold on any updates, citing that it needed to reexamine the game. Now, Artifact is about to re-emerge into a new beta, according to a blog post, and Valve is making some serious changes.

The biggest change in what Valve is calling Artifact Beta 2.0 is that the studio will no longer sell cards. According to the blog post, Valve doesn’t want players going against those with “stacked decks.” As part of this free card initiative, Artifact will see a new Hero Draft mode, which will allow players to construct their own decks “without all the pressure.”

As for the actual game of Artifact, Valve will zoom the perspective out, allowing players to play cards on all three lanes at once — lanes being a unique mechanic in Artifact, similar to MOBAs like Dota 2. While Valve was clear that the game will still hold strong to the three lane identity, the studio hopes that this could alleviate some of the balance pressure, which caused players to get shut out of a lane.

Artifact Beta 2.0 will be its own executable when it launches, separate from the original Artifact program. The studio says it’s still testing some of the major features, but that it will start trickling out invitations soon — starting with players who checked out the original game.

In a short question and answer section at the bottom of the post, Valve was clear that players will unlock new versions of cards via play, so many players’ old decks and stats won’t be valid. The studio also said that they have ideas of items they’d like to sell in-game, but none of them are cards or card packs.

Valve is just starting to ramp up for Artifact Beta 2.0, but the company says it hopes to eventually transition the new version of the game to open beta.

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