Valve’s Artifact will feature no moderation and no cards earned through play

    
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How are you this dumb.

Oh boy.

If you’ve avoided hearing about Valve’s upcoming digital card game, Artifact, you might want to take a look at the latest interview from GameIndustry.biz with programmer Jeep Barnett and legendary card game designer Richard Garfield. (Mr. Garfield is best known for designing Magic: the Gathering, better known as the game every other digital game is aping to some degree.) The interview features both designers taking pains to stress that they are not trying to copy Hearthstone whilst making it clear that they have avoided learning absolutely any lessons from Hearthstone’s success.

For example, do you like earning cards through play in that game? There will be none of that in Artifact. In addition to having a box price, the absolute only way to get new cards for your deck will be buying them, thereby “removing the grind” by adding in the exact same imbalance as has existed in Magic: the Gathering for years. Early on, MtG was designed this way because it was assumed no one would spend enough money on the game for it to matter; there is years of evidence proving this is not the case.

“It’s not pay to win,” Garfield said. “It’s pay to participate. Any hobby you have, you have to invest something. If you play tennis, you buy a racket. So here, we’ve got a model where you can put in a very modest amount and be competitive. We can control that in the sense that common cards in this game are very powerful. We expect top-tier play to include a lot of common cards. We also make sure that rare cards that are there are not so rare they drag prices up.”

The game will also feature chat between players, and to the surprise of absolutely no one who has been paying the slightest attention to Valve over the past few years, it will be entirely unmoderated.

“Psychologically, we find that people misbehave when there is somebody else to observe them misbehaving,” Barnett said. “When it’s a one-on-one game, what is my motivation for saying something awful?”

It is left as an exercise for the reader to spend a few moments perusing the history of other card games to see if there is any history of nasty behavior in one-on-one games, a question which the more cynical might point out could be entirely answered in form of .GIF files in which Magic: the Gathering players literally flip over tables on their opponents. And that’s with physical cards which can actually be damaged, which the Artifact cards are not; you just have to pay for them as if they are.

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Ondrej Filip

I think what Valve is doing is smart. they are aiming for a different niche of players compared to Hearthstone.
Hearthstone is for players who prefer games where you can own the entire collection for 300 bucks every 3 months or earn about 25 cents/hour worth of cards by playing casually every day.

If Valve lets us pay 40-100 bucks for the entire collection and keeps the rarity of the rare cards low (making even meta cards somewhat affordable on community market), disallowing gaining cards by play seems like a good deal for me.

My only worry with Artifact is that its gonna be another Duelyst, a better game mechanically than hearthstone but with inferior humor. Having Yogg pyroblast me in the face with exaggerated graphics was the only reason I played Hearthstone at all. Haven’t seen any funny meme cards so far for Artifact, and the visual style is somewhat too understated for generating good Trolden videos.
The percentage of players who not only want but would actually play serious, somewhat deterministic online CCGs is I believe FAR lower than the usual estimates.

As for online toxicity, there is no way there isn’t gonna be a disable chat option in the settings, which I personally find preferable to squelching my opponent every time in hs.

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Baemir

You sound extremely assblasted for no real reason, Elliot.

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agemyth ?

At least I can let other idiots buy the card packs and I will just get the cards that I want when the prices inevitably go down. Works well with Dota hats.

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mugen

I wouldn’t mind this format if they had an auction house to sell your cards for real world money, therefor making it an investment.. in fact that would be amazing! The fact that they have included former card game designers into the mix though and are taking this approach screams that this is a cash grab. They know how TCG’s work yet they’re coming at us with a system rigged heavily in their favor as these digital “cards” have absolutely no real world value. I’ve been playing Hearthstone for free, for years, and although I’m not climbing to Legend it really doesn’t bother me in the slightest because it’s at no cost to me.

Zulika Mi-Nam
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Zulika Mi-Nam

As someone who follows DOTA, has watched a few hours of this game, and read the source article….I have found all the comments here to be very entertaining. Thank you all.

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Sray

So… Valve continues to act shitty… wow… I am shocked… please allow me a moment to pick my jaw up off the floor.

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Sorenthaz

So it’s basically like a real life TCG where you’ll get some options for starter decks or such but then you have to go buy booster packs.

Don’t see why this is really an issue other than the fact that these are digital, not physical cards. If folks don’t want to pay then there’s obviously other alternatives like Hearthstone. But to me it sounds like they know what sort of market they want and they don’t care about the F2P card game crowd.

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Sariel

The problem is that they’re marketing to phantoms. I /really/ don’t think there is going to even be a crowd for this new game. I’m going to ASSUME you have a starter deck? But once people see “oh, I can’t earn cards through gameplay” it’s going to fall flat on its face. People like progression earned through gameplay for obvious reasons.

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Bruno Brito

We expect top-tier play to include a lot of common cards.

No. You expect this shit to be kept afloat by whales. At least be fucking honest. This is a dine-and-dash game.

“Psychologically, we find that people misbehave when there is somebody else to observe them misbehaving,” Barnett said. “When it’s a one-on-one game, what is my motivation for saying something awful?”

HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhAHAHAhAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH++++

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Serrenity

Oh Christ. Clearly the entire panopticon concept is flawed because some game company that loves the smell of it’s own collective flatulence has decided it’s not. O can’t eyeroll big enough.

Fun fact, pay for card parks only works when you have physical good with actually scarcity – digital scarcity doesn’t exist.

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agemyth ?

The Steam Marketplace economy is always thriving. Especially with Valve’s own games. There is digital scarcity when you manage a market in a way makes it so.

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Serrenity

I mean the entire concept of digital scarcity doesn’t really work. It has to be manufactured, artificially created and maintained. The same can be true of physical goods — with physical TCG you might only print X number of cards, thereby creating scarcity because there’s a significant gap between the production of said cards and actually arriving in a player’s hand. There’s also the cost associated with creating physical goods and etc etc.

Digital isn’t the same – the gap between production and being in a player’s hands is virtually non-existent and the cost of the goods actually falls off of a cliff after the initial production and has negligible cost (basically the processing power for the digital goods) beyond the initial production.

And similar to gamblingboxes, there’s no way to verify the odds are consistent on the drops and that Valve isn’t monkeying with the drop-rates to incentivize you to spend more money. Moreover they have a vested interested monkeying with drop-rates because they’ll make more money that way.

Valve is at least honest about the fact that they are at best an amoral company (arguably immoral), and you can always trust them to be amoral because they have a stranglehold on the digital market. They literally don’t care about the fairness of their games in any way shape or form so the I fully expect them to take ‘liberties’ with the drop-rates to benefit their bottom line.

That’s why the digital scarcity here doesn’t work. There’s literally nothing stopping Valve from screwing with scarcity to generate more revenue at their leisure.

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Baemir

It works just fine. People spend millions.

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Gamie Glasglow

I’ve played MTG in it’s various forms on and off since Revised edition.

I got to say, MTG Arena is a step in the right direction for Magic the Gathering. The wild card system is great, letting you choose which cards you want to unlock.

This though? This is more of the same garbage that keeps folks away from TCG games. SOme folks will never learn. Shame on you Richard….

I’ve always felt that, especially with MTGO, players should be able to enter non-sealed tournaments with full access to all legal cards for the format being played. Import/ build your deck and go. Let the best/luckiest player win. They have the technology and they still get free money from entry fees. I feel a truly even playing field like this would do wonders for the game.

I’ve always loved MTG. The cost always pushes me away.

WCCF tech and some other sites are giving away beta keys today, give MTG Arena a try. It plays like hearthstone, lets you earn in game currency for packs and events and the the pay to win aspect, while inherently there, isn’t so oppressive.

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Ryan Keilhofer

I really enjoy Areana ALOT. Ive longed to play Magic, but I never have time nor desire to go to a game shop and play. The fact i can play for cards, or buy cards, i can grind for entry fees, or pay, really is smart. This game is a step in the right direction for card games digitally. This Artifact bullshit will bomb.