After Valve announced Artifact at the 2017 International, the world’s largest Dota 2 tournament, some eyebrows were raised. Valve has been quiet about the development of the game, but that’s coming to an end now as several members of the press were invited to their offices in Seattle to have a look at the new digital trading card game.

When is the Artifact release date?

Following a period of silence after the initial reveal of Artifact, Valve confirmed that the card game made by Richard Garfield will be released on Steam on 28 November 2018.

Will Artifact be free-to-play?

No, the best game will cost £20 / $20.

However, this will include two starter decks and 10 booster packs of cards. Additional packs from that point will be $2 each.

The benefit of this system is that cards you own can be sold on the Steam marketplace, so in this way, they're much more like physical cards. You can own them, keep them and chose to buy or sell specific cards as you wish.

This means that rather than buying endless random booster packs to get that card you want or grinding a free in-game currency like Dust in Hearthstone to eventually be able to make it - you can buy the cards you want directly from the marketplace from other players.

This means that you will be able to pick up all the common cards in the game for a few pounds or dollars, which is something that would take a very long time, or a very large amount of money in Hearthstone.

The danger of this system is that like in CS:GO or DOTA 2, certain items (cards) could become extremely expensive due to being a lynchpin in certain decks. Valve has come out to say, very firmly, that they're aiming to keep cards at a manageable cost - so that popular card you really need to make your deck work doesn't end up being $20, $50 or even $100.

What platforms will the game be on?

While nothing has been confirmed, we’re pretty certain that Artifact will only be available on PC initially, with talk of a mobile release at some point in 2019.

It’s not impossible that it could see its way to consoles in the future, but not too likely.

What is Artifact?

Artifact is a DTCG (digital trading card game) being developed by Valve. The company have enlisted creative help of none other than Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering, the wildly popular physical trading card game.

We should note that Valve is directly calling this a trading card game, and so the intent is to trade cards through Valve’s steam marketplace.

The game will draw its lore, and indeed a lot of its mechanics, from Dota 2 – Valve’s intensely popular MOBA. While this may initially seem like an ocrossoverver there some very interesting things being done to shake up the digital card game space.

The easiest way to view Artifact is to think of it like a cross between Hearthstone and Dota 2.

Artifact screenshot

Each game will feature three boards (or lanes). You can deploy creatures and ability across these lanes in a turn order, back and forth with your opponent. You will then have an attack phase where the minions on either side of the lane will attack each other.

Each of the lanes will have one friendly tower and one enemy tower. Destroy your enemy’s tower and you will then be able to attack their ancient. Win the game by destroying two towers or killing the ancient.

The game will also feature heroes that can be placed in each lane. These heroes will have access to unique spells and abilities, and like in a moba, will be proficient in different types of combat (tanking, DPS, support etc).

There will also be an in-game shop where you can spend gold acquired by killing your enemy’s heroes and minions, to equip your heroes with items, just as you would in a MOBA too.

There will be ways that different lanes can interact with each other, via spells and buffs, and even by heroes swapping lanes depending on their items or abilities.