Artifact, Valve’s attempt to create a card game based on its popular DOTA franchise has been hitting some issues since it launched on November 28. Though the game had a strong start, with more than 60,000 concurrent users at peak, the first signs of trouble were already showing.
People began reporting that progression in Artifact was glacial, unless you paid money yo unlock new cards. Sure, you could earn booster packs and event tickets through normal play, but the trickle of new cards angered many users. These concerns were exacerbated by the fact that Artifact isn’t free-to-play.
Players began quitting the game in droves, but that wasn’t the only thing they did. Artifact was hit with thousands of negative reviews on Steam, many of which cited the railroading nature of the monetization and overall progression as a major motivation for leaving the game. This mass-departure has had a major impact on player numbers, as one would expect. As of yesterday, the game now has around 12,000 people still playing according to SteamCharts. Artifact has dropped from fourth place on Steam to 32nd. That’s an 80% drop in players. It’s sad that what could be an interesting entry in a genre which could use some fresh blood has been effectively undermined by a terrible money-making scheme.
It will be interesting to see how Artifact and Valve respond to these developments. It’s questionable as to whether the monetization strategy will remain in place, which honestly probably won’t happen, but some fans hold out hope that Valve is going to adjust the monetization strategy to make it easier to actually get ahead in the card game. Whether that happens and the player numbers in the game improve, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Artifact is out now for PC.