Valve Tweaks the Monetization Model for Artifact

Artifact, the online CCG being launched by Valve, is already making some waves before it even enters beta…and not the good kind. Complaints regarding the “pay for everything” style of the Artifact monetization scheme has prompted backlash from potential players and a bit of adjustment by the game’s publisher.

artifact monetization

As we reported earlier this year, Artifact is a buy-to-play game that requires you to pay additional money for card boosters or to purchase cards from the in-game marketplace. The only in-game way to earn cards would be through winning draft events, which require you to use an Event Ticket — another item that’s bought with real money.

On top of these paywalls, players have expressed their dismay about the fact that cards from said boosters are almost always the same you’d get from the base game, making them ultimately worthless in the marketplace.

In response to at least a few of these concerns, Valve has penned a dev blog post that will introduce some changes in the next beta builds. An option to create a draft event with friends will be included, and a Casual Phantom Draft mode in Casual Play will let players practice the draft style of gameplay without burning an Event Ticket. Additionally, a system will be included that lets players recycle unwanted cards into event tickets.

Nothing in the blog post, however, addressed any of the other paywall complaints.

The draft options will be available with today’s public beta, while the card recycling system will go live over the next week or so along with other beta improvements.

Our Thoughts

The dev blog reads to us like they’re slowly walking back changes to see just how much paywalling they can actually get away with, which probably won’t sit well with fans of online CCGs. Especially when there are other, more freely open and available digital card games out there.

Sources: PC Gamer, official site

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Artifact and Valve Clarify Chat Moderation Statements

Judging solely on earlier word about Artifact chat, it’d perhaps be easy to assume the game would be a smoldering landscape of text-based toxicity. After some clarification from both the devs of the CCG and Valve, that doesn’t appear to quite be the case.

artifact chat

According to statements from programmer Jeep Barnett, the chat system being used in-game isn’t being made by Artifact itself but from the Steam devs.

“I don’t want to commit to features that other people at the company are then going to have to do,” said Barnett. “I don’t want to come back to the office and have a bunch of people yell at me like ‘why are you promising to have these things that we’re not planning on doing or are planning on doing?’”

When pressed about the matter, Valve confirmed that the option to entirely shut chat off will be included in the full game – a feature that was then confirmed by Barnett: “If you don’t want to hear what other people are saying, you can turn them off,” he said.

Further details on other chat moderation tools being implemented by Valve are expected to be confirmed at some point later.

Our Thoughts

Hopefully the ability to have digital loudmouths scream mindlessly into the void will alleviate some of the reservations people have about Artifact. As much fun as multiplayer games can be, often hell can be other people as well. It’s an interesting catch-22.

Source: IGN

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Hearthstone’s August Ranked Play Season Offers a Lemony Fresh Card Back

One of the oldest pieces of advice is “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” And while that can perhaps be more difficult when it comes to the lemons of online multiplayer losses on account of all the salt, the new Hearthstone August ranked season is taking that advice to heart in a fresh and crisp new card back.

hearthstone august ranked season

The prerequisite for getting the Lemonade card back you see above is pretty simple. All you’ve got to do is win five games in any Rank in either Standard or Wild formats and Hearthstone will pour your card decks a refreshing glass of Lemonade at the end of the August season.

This new card back will be a guaranteed reward on top of the usual Ranked Play reward chests players unlock, which are based on the highest rank earned over the length of a season. Chests include other items like seasonal card backs, Arcane Dust, and golden cards.

In other Hearthstone news, the game continues to ramp up excitement for its upcoming Boomsday Project expansion with a number of pre-release events, including livestreams, pre-release parties and Fireside Brawls over the weekend of August 4-5. All of the details for those can be found here.

Our Thoughts

We adore the sentiment of the Lemonade card back, and while the requirements to unlock it aren’t what one would call taxing, the whole thing does strike as a nice bit of sunshine-y fun to what is perhaps the more serious, cloudy experience of Ranked play.

Source: official site

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The Boomsday Project is Coming to Hearthstone

Hearthstone’s next expansion has been announced and it’s all about the power of irresponsible science. The Boomsday Project will have players using new keywords and features to empower their mechanically inclined cards and decks with unique new abilities.

the boomsday project

The Boomsday Project introduces the Magnetic keyword, which lets players either use the card on its own or fuse the attributes and abilities of that same card to Mech minions. One such example is the card Spider Bomb, which grants the Mech card its fused to +2/+2 and Deathrattle.

The Boomsday Project will also introduce all new cards with totally unique abilities. One of these new card types are Project cards that apply affects to both players, such as Biology Project that adds 2 Mana Crystals. The other are Omega cards, which are otherwise ordinary when they arrive to the field unless they’re played when you have 10 Mana Crystals. An example card is the Omega Defender, which is a 4 Mana 2/6 Taunt minion normally, but gets +10 Attack if you bring it to the board with 10 Mana Crystals in tow.

The new expansion will also feature some new Legendary cards. One of these is a 3 Mana 3/3 Elemental with a Battlecry ability that lets you cast your next spell card twice this turn. Another, Myra’s Unstable Element, lets you draw the rest of your cards in your entire deck.

The Boomsday Project will release on Tuesday, August 7th. An additional livestream showing off more cards from the expansion is scheduled for Monday, July 23rd at 10am PST/1pm EDT, but for now you can get the initial details in the video below.

Our Thoughts

Considering the expansion’s website isn’t up and running at the time of this story’s writing, it would appear that the cat maybe was left out of the bag a bit early. That slip-up is every Hearthstone fan’s gain, however, as this new expansion definitely sounds like another unique collection of card and gameplay ideas.

Source: YouTube

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Return to Clockwork City Launches

Return to Clockwork City launches in Elder Scrolls: Legends today! This latest story expansion is inspired by classic adventure tales and is set hundreds of years after the death of Sotha Sil. Players will venture into the Clockwork City, which Elder Scrolls Online players recently gained access to, where they’ll be met with a number of monsters, traps, and betrayals on their way to the shiny loot at the end.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends - Return to Clockwork City Launches

This new expansion to Elder Scrolls: Legends introduces 35 story missions spread across 3 acts, more than 50 new cards, as well as the Fabricants, a new creature that rewards players for playing with neutral cards such as the Dwemer Contructs. It also sees two new mechanics:

  • ‘Assemble’ – When players play an Assemble creature, they will choose one of two bonuses. That bonus will be bestowed upon both that creature and every Factotum in the player’s hand and deck.
  • ‘Treasure Hunt’ – While in play, these creatures will watch each card the player draws to see if it’s the treasure they’re looking for. Once the player draws everything the hunters want, a reward awaits.

Return to Clockwork City is available to download right now for PC, iOS, and Android. You can grab all 3 new acts along with alternate Laaneth card art as a bundle for $19.99. Alternatively, you can purchase the acts individually for $7.99 or 1,000 gold. Don’t forget to check our preview before you go!

Our Thoughts

Return to Clockwork City is a neat tie-in with the recent Elder Scrolls Online expansion, something I’ve often wondered if Blizzard would ever do with Hearthstone. While they don’t directly mention a correlation between the two, it can’t be a coincidence that they released so close together. We can’t wait to check it out for ourselves, new mechanics and ways to play card games are always exciting.

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