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?

Artifact is currently in a closed beta state, where several seasoned veterans of the card playing genre are putting the games through its paces. We don’t have an exact release date just yet, but we do know it’s going to be coming out in 2018.

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 market place.

The game wil 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 odd cross over 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 a shop in game, 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.

Will Artifact be free-to-play?

No.

While the exact system for monetisation hasn’t been announced as of yet, we do know that the game will not be free to play. Most likely we will be seeing a box price that will include an amount of cards to get you started.

Valve has stated they’re against any form of pay-to-win too, so it will be interesting to see how they plan upon building their system to combat this.