posted by Olucaron,
One early criticism of the Dota 2 card game Artifact was the lack of a defined progression system for players to get their teeth into. Valve have looked to address that in today’s patch, introducing both skill rating and account levels. Similarly to how the Battle Pass works in Dota 2, players are awarded experience points from every matchmade game played, as well as achieving specific in-game goals. These points grant levels, with new levels bringing new rewards.

Addressing another controversy — namely the pay-real-money-for-everything nature of the game — rewards include card packs and event tickets, meaning there’s now a real incentive for players who do not wish to sink money into the game to keep playing. Other rewards include profile icons which show off your prowess.

Players can also earn a significant experience bonus each week, provided they win three games within that week. Again, any matchmade game will allow players to benefit from this reward.

The in-game goals read like missions of a kind. Win a game without healing? Earn a certain amount of gold? These enable players to experiment with their decks and their gameplay style in the name of progression and reward, adding a fun new dynamic to matches.

Alongside the levelling system is the new Skill Rating. This is a measure of your mastery of Artifact, and involves a scale of 1-75. Each season, players will be reset to 1, the lowest rating, and wins over opponents with a higher skill rating will increase your own.

Once a skill rating is earned, it cannot be lost during that season. Independent constructed and draft skill ratings mean that players will be able to choose which they wish to focus on dominating, or will be able to do battle in both.

Valve also announced they were to bring in card balancing, detailing a raft of initial changes. This is contrary to their initial strategy, where they intended only to step in when absolutely necessary.

However, they have now reverted this, saying that “embracing ongoing card balance for a digital game has a lot more upsides for the game as a whole.”

The question now is whether this can reinvigorate a flagging player base. The game hit an all-time low of just 3,141 concurrent players last night, but since the announcement of the patch has seen an uptick. As of the time of writing, 11,443 players were in-game — the highest since 12 December.

More details on changes can be found here.

Can these changes revive Artifact?

Header image: Valve

  • Olucaron


    David W. Duffy
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