When it comes to the relatively young genre now known as MOBA, short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, there is no name that rings louder than Dota. Be it the original DotA or the Valve-owned Dota 2, the game formerly known as the “Defense of the Ancients” has become both the poster boy as well as cookie cutter for MOBAs that followed. The franchise, however, has mostly been confined to that. At the International Dota 2 tournament, Valve surprised everyone that it was ready to break into new ground while still carrying that beloved name. Artifact: The Dota Card Game is coming next year and it has Blizzard’s Hearthstone in its cross-hair.
Just as MOBAs are now a dime a plenty, collectible card battle games are as numerous as the developers that are willing to invest some time or money, or both, into making them. But while these card games draw from the success of physical card games like Magic: The Gathering in the West or Yu-Gi-Oh in the East, very few can boast of the enjoying the same amount of success as some newer MOBAs enjoy.
Except for Hearthstone. Launched back in 2014, the digital card game also came somewhat as a surprise. Considering how many have tried and failed, including Magic, it wasn’t expected that Hearthstone would last long. And yet, three years later, it has become the household name in digital card games. A name that seemed to promise that there is money to be made from such games.
That promise seems to have also emboldened Valve to spread Dota to a different genre. Aside from the trailer above, details on Artifact are super light. Based on the hints and teasers dropped during the announcement, it seems that the game won’t merely take characters and lore from the MOBA, like what Hearthstone does. It might even take mechanics as well.
The digital card battle game will still be played one on one just like in a regular card game. However, it will also have “lanes”, just like in Dota 2. And just like in the MOA, you supposedly will also build barracks and send out creeps. How much the card game will resemble the MOBA is still unknown, but there’s plenty of time to speculate. Artifact: The Dota Card Game launches some time in 2018.