When it first launched, Artifact promised that it would “reimagine” the online card game market in a game with cards only bought for real money, no free cards, and no way to earn anything through play. Then it launched, and despite being the first new game from Valve since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, it proceeded to quickly lose even those players who still bought in. So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the game has already patched in a new account leveling system that unlocks free tickets and card packs.
There are a limited number of these available, of course, but it means that this is how long it took for the game’s designers to do a complete about-face on the design philosophy.
The patch also rebalances several cards, which is another thing that the developer had not planned to do originally (with the intent being to handle overpowered cards with periodic bannings and restrictions, like physical card games). Players who purchased the affected cards will be able to sell them back for market value if they so desire. The game’s player numbers having picked up yet on Steam, so it remains to be seen if this is enough to win back the crowd after initial ill-conceived ideas.