Valve puts Artifact updates on hold to reexamine game’s design, economy

Valve’s digital card game based on Dota 2, Artifact, has not turned out how the company hoped. Despite praise for its depth and complexity, the game’s November launch drew harsh reaction from players, primarily for its pricing structure and game economy. Since then, the game’s player base has bottomed out, plummeting from a peak of some 60,000 concurrent players to a few hundred per day. Recent Steam reviews of Artifact have been overwhelmingly negative, accusing Valve of abandoning the game and neglecting player feedback.

On Friday, Valve addressed the state of the game, saying that it now plans to pause on shipping updates for Artifact and instead focus on the game’s larger issues.

In a statement posted to the official Artifact website and the game’s Steam page, Valve said its plan to support the card game through scheduled updates “didn’t turn out how we hoped.”

Artifact represents the largest discrepancy between our expectations for how one of our games would be received and the actual outcome,” Valve said. “But we don’t think that players misunderstand our game, or that they’re playing it wrong. Artifact now represents an opportunity for us to improve our craft and use that knowledge to build better games.”

Valve said that since Artifact’s launch, it “has become clear that there are deep-rooted issues with the game and that our original update strategy of releasing new features and cards would be insufficient to address them.” Instead, Valve says it will course correct by “[re-examining] the decisions we’ve made along the way regarding game design, the economy, the social experience of playing, and more.”

Since Artifact officially launched on Steam on Nov. 28, 2018, Valve has shipped a handful of updates to the game, fixing bugs, tweaking balance, and adding new features and hundreds of new cards.

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