Valve Software is shipping a new game for the first time in what seems like forever, and it’s kicking off one of three releases with Artifact, a trading card game based on the DOTA universe. Artifact is a new contender in the somewhat crowded TCG space, aiming to craft itself a space next to Hearthstone, Gwent, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Pokémon Online, and Hex: Shards of Fate. A release date for the game has finally been announced, and with it Valve has detailed how the game will ship at launch.
In an unexpected turn of events, Valve announced that Artifact won’t be a free-to-play game. Instead, there’s a base cost of $20 to purchase the game, but you do get to claim two starter decks of 60 cards along with ten booster packs to open, which contain 12 cards each. The starter set is not unlike the ones you find in Magic: The Gathering’s yearly Sets, which include decks and pack collections, but it’s much more expensive to get the same amount of cards in Magic than it is in Artifact. With a starting set of 240 cards, you’ll have enough to craft your own decks and start to tweak and learn new strategies.
Artifact is also going to feature full-on card trading mechanics. You can trade with players for other cards or Steam wallet funds, and there will be an online market to buy and sell cards. For players who want to get into the game, this makes Artifact a familiar experience compared to other TCGs, and the trading mechanic will allow people to act as traders. I have no doubt that we’ll see card traders pop up who buy boosters and then price out the individual cards so that people can buy rares as new boosters and sets become available. Valve, of course, will receive a portion of these sales.
Artifact will launch on 28 November 2018 for Windows PC, macOS, and Linux platforms, with cross-platform play between operating systems. Valve has not announced any pre-order incentives.