It was years ago that Magic: the Gathering fans learned a very simple fact about collectible card games: Cards are toys, not investments, and toys only occasionally and unexpectedly appreciate in value. A toy is not a hedge against inflation. Apparently some of Artifact’s playerbase didn’t get that particular memo, since players were outraged when a minor exploit allowed players to flood the game’s market by purchasing card packs for a steep discount. While Valve has claimed that the overall impact will be negligible, many players are angry that the game’s supposedly fixed-value cards are already being devalued.
Of course, there aren’t all that many players in the game right now to have an opinion on it either way; it turns out the game has already lost a huge chunk of its playerbase, going from a peak around 60,000 players at launch to 11,000 within the last week. This is bad news for a new game that has a box price and no free progression whatsoever, especially when the game launched on November 28th. Given recent memory, this is not exactly reassuring.