Once upon a time, digital card games were all the rage thanks to the success of Blizzard’s Hearthstone, based on the Warcraft lore, but few managed to replicate its magic formula. Even long-time brands in the real-world physical TCG/CCG industry like Magic The Gathering didn’t fare as well and Mojang’s first foray into that market, Scrolls, was an even bigger failure. Unsurprisingly, Valve also tried its hand at that by designing Artifact around the Dota 2 MOBA but it now seems that the end is nigh for both Classic and “2.0” Foundry versions.
Hearthstone brought the concept of “heroes” from RTS and MOBA genres to the card game mechanic but Artifact took it one step further. It also applied the ideas of lanes, towers, and even creeps, making the game really resemble Dota 2 skirmishes, just played out on digital cards. Although praised for its unique gameplay, even Valve admits that player numbers plummeted soon after its launch in 2018.
That pushed Valve’s team to work on a reboot, informally called Artifact 2.0, last year. The developers said that they were able to achieve their game-side goals but, in the end, the dwindling player numbers couldn’t justify working further on the game. As such, it is formally announcing that development on Artifact 2.0, which was already in Beta, will no longer continue but, fortunately, it isn’t throwing it away entirely either.
In what may be regarded as a generous move, Valve is releasing Artifact 2.0 to the public for free, now known formally as Artifact Foundry. Everything in the game is free and there is going to be no economy for selling and buying cards, whether in-game or otherwise. In other words, Artifact Foundry is being made available as it was during the beta development.
Unfortunately, the announcement also mentions the final release of the original game that is now being called Artifact Classic. Valve is shutting down the game’s Marketplace integration and players will no longer be able to buy card packs. If it sounds like the company is winding down Artifact, that is probably exactly what it is and it will only be a matter of time before servers are shut down completely, officially ending the game’s short life.