In a closed-door meeting with the game press yesterday, Valve President Gabe Newell revealed the first few details about their upcoming Dota-inspired card game, Artifact. Perhaps the most important of all though, is that the title will not be free to play.
Now on to the other juicier details. First off, Artifact will feature its own marketplace, much like the one that Dota 2 has, where users can buy and sell in-game goods. The game will be running on the Souce 2 engine and will hit iOS and Android devices by mid-2019, with the PC, Android, and iOS tablet release slated for 2018. The first official tournament will be on Q1 2019 with a prize pool of $1 Million. The game will not have any single-player campaign and will focus solely on multiplayer.
As for gameplay, based on the screenshots and videos floating about on the internet, we’ll have the same MOBA setup as with Dota Games. Only this time, the lanes are replaced with boards, and turns will rotate starting from the top lane/board then proceeding to the middle, and then the bottom. To win, players must defeat two of the three towers of their opponents to obtain the board that the tower was in. Another option is to defeat the opponent’s Ancient, which will be exposed once one of their towers fall.
Combat takes place in an automatic manner, where creeps and heroes attack the units directly in front or diagonally from them. If there’s nothing stopping the creep or hero, then it will hit the enemy tower directly. Destroyed creeps are shuffled out of play and will be replaced by a new set, while defeated heroes will respawn after a one turn delay.
As for the cards, there are currently a total of 280, with 44 of them being heroes. Some of the heroes in the game are originals but will make their way to Dota 2 at some point. Heroes are split into four color groups — Red, Black, Blue, and Green. Each of the colored groups has specific roles and strategies — Red heroes are generally bruisers, Blue ones are mages, Black ones are assassins, and Green ones focus on utilities and summons. For deck building, players are given the choice of picking two suits and a team of five heroes.
Each hero suit will also come with a set of spells, which can only be used if a hero of that suit is on the board. Some spells have “cross-board” capabilities but under normal circumstances, they can only be used on the board where the same colored hero is present. As for the heroes, each card will feature three item slots (one for the weapon, one for the armor, and then one for bonus health). To fill those slots, players are given the chance to purchase items at the end of every third turn with the gold they’ve earned from killing creeps and enemy heroes. So far, Artifact stays true to its name as a MOBA-inspired card game. But then again, let’s wait and see if this system will carry over the vibe and feel of one of the most popular gaming genres out there.
Pricing and exact release date of Artifact weren’t revealed during the sit-down. Guess we all have to wait a little bit longer for more info.