Artifact publisher Valve has updated the game’s blog to give some details on the game’s closed beta. Long story short, it’s coming very soon.
According to the blog post, keys for the “Artifact 2.0” beta will be sent out next week. No specific date was given, but this is likely welcome news for fans that were left wondering when it would be time to duel.
Unfortunately for fans that want to get into the new Artifact beta, things are largely out of their hands. Only those who purchased the original Artifact will be able to enter into the closed beta. Invites and instructions on how to enter the beta will be sent via email to those who are selected to take part. The new Artifact will require a second client from the original, which will be downloadable through digital distribution platform Steam.
No details were given on when the game will enter into an open beta stage, but the blog post was explicit that early adapters to Artifact will be prioritized.
The closed beta will focus in on a variety of things, including “gameplay, balance, hero identity, color identity, social features, card unlocks, ranked play, replays, spectating, and the campaign.” Streamers will be allowed to broadcast the game, which should allow those who can’t get in to have an early glimpse of what’s to come.
Seeing Valve investing itself in Artifact is a surprise for the handful of players that actually purchased the game. The game launched in late 2018 to a generally positive critical response, but the game quickly crashed from there. The game’s monetization system frustrated many players and resulted in some PR backlash, while the lacking “games as service” tools failed to retain many of those who purchased it.
After just two months, the game had average player counts of just three figures. By the summer of 2019, the game was averaging fewer than 100 players.
Despite prior claims about a major esports push for Artifact and expansion packs being added, the declining player base was met with a complete retreat from Artifact by Valve. As the company redirected its attention towards Dota Underlords, Half-Life: Alyx, and other projects, the publisher stopped updating the game’s social media channels and blog, with the only bit of news coming in the form of a vague blog post that left it unclear whether Valve actually had plans for the game.
Nearly a year later, Valve reemerged with plans for a relaunch of Artifact.
Details are scarce on what Artifact 2.0 will actually look like, but fans of digital card games ought to be keeping a close eye on how the new version’s beta develops.