Image: Valve

Valve has decided to terminate the development of Artifact 2.0, a rebooted version of its troubled and critically panned Dota 2 card game. The company announced the disappointing news on Steam today, admitting that the decision had everything to do with the Artifact franchise’s poor reception and inability to attract new players despite a genuine effort to reinvent the game. Artifact and Artifact 2.0, which have been renamed to Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry, respectively, are now free to play as a result.

“It’s now been about a year and a half since the current Artifact team began work on a reboot in earnest,” Valve wrote. “While we’re reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven’t managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we’ve made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta.”

“However, we recognize that both versions of Artifact still have players and still have value to the community. For this reason, we’re opening both games up to make them available for free to everyone. Final releases of both Artifact Classic and Artifact 2.0 Beta (renamed Artifact Foundry) are now available. Technically Artifact Foundry remains an unfinished product, but most of what’s missing is polish and art – the core gameplay is all there. While both games will remain playable, we don’t plan to ship any further gameplay updates.”

The original version of Artifact launched in November 2018 and was supposed to be a big hit due to its ties with Richard Garfield, the renowned mathematician and designer responsible for the hit Magic: The Gathering series. Unfortunately, the game never took off due to a variety of issues ranging from the cost of card packs and complex mechanics to a simple lack of marketing. Here’s how the two versions of Artifact break down, per Valve.

Artifact Classic Changes

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • All players get every card for free. You will no longer be able to buy card packs.
  • Paid players’ existing cards have been converted into special Collector’s Edition versions, which will remain marketable. Marketplace integration has been removed from the game.
  • Paid event tickets have been removed.
  • Customers who paid for the game will still earn packs of Collector’s Edition cards for playing; players who got the game for free will not.

Artifact Classic Game Modes

  • Full-deck draft gauntlets (build your deck out of a limited selection of cards, then win 5 before you lose 2).
  • Constructed gauntlets (build your deck from the entire set, win 5 before you lose 2).
  • Preconstructed event with a win-streak leaderboard (choose a pre-built deck, play until you lose).
  • Single game constructed global matchmaking
  • In-game tournament system
  • Constructed bot play
  • Tutorial

Artifact Foundry Changes

  • The game is free for everyone to play.
  • Players gain access to cards by playing the game. All cards are earned this way; no cards or packs will be for sale and Artifact Foundry cards are not marketable.
  • All final card art that was in the pipeline is now in the game.

Artifact Foundry Game Modes

  • 1v1 Hero Draft ladder (pick and counter-pick heroes against your opponent, then play with decks generated from those heroes, rank up based on skill).
  • Constructed ladder (build your deck from the entire set, rank up based on skill).
  • Tutorial (expanded)
  • Single Player Campaign
  • Constructed bot play
  • Hero Draft bot play
  • Bot puzzles (including support for player-authored puzzles)

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