What can we expect from Artifact in 2019?
Pretty much happening
$1 Million Dollar Tournament
Valve already announced the "Artifact TI" way back in March of last year, 2018. We were told the tournament would happen some time in Quarter One of 2019, but we don't have any other details. There is supposed to be an open qualifier system, to allow anyone to enter, not just the selected batch of players during the closed beta phase. Hopefully soon, Valve can give us more details on the event. Like location, dates, and how we can qualify!
Valve already announced Mobile Artifact. Most people don't think the game is playable on a phone, with so many tiny clickable icons and improvements, it doesn't seem very "phone friendly". But what about an iPad? That seems pretty doable. However, Valve has had some issues with the App Store. This happened two months after Valve announced a Mobile Artifact. Let's hope Valve and Apple can come to an agreement on the issue, because I'd love to play Artifact on an iPad!
Set 2's Icon is already in the game files. And knowing a second set is looming creates a lot of questions. The first being, when is this second set going to release? I imagine Valve will make a major announcement at the Artifact TI Tournament. The reason I think the set won't come out prior, is because players have been practicing for so long with the current set. Why release a new set merely a month before your "mega tournament"?
The next big question, how many Sets per year can we expect from Valve? Will it be one per quarter? If that's the case, Valve would be expecting players to shell out quite a bit of money for full collections. Right now, howmuchdoesartifactcost.com is reporting a full collection is $140. If Valve were to release a new set every quarter, Artifact would quickly become a pretty expensive card game.
But what if Valve makes the second set kind of a half set? Maybe 140 or so cards? If that were the case, I could see a new "set" coming out every quarter. Two large sets per year, followed up with half sets. But then of course, this leads to another big question... How will rotations work every year for Constructed tournaments? Ah! I'm getting pretty far ahead of myself. Either way, we can certainly expect at least one set in 2019!
Upgraded Camera Options
This is one of the most requested features and likely something Valve can easily implement, giving players an option for free roam camera during matches. Something I do quite frequently, is zooming out and looking at the entire battlefield, while I decide my next move during my opponent's turn. However, it is fairly obnoxious when I zoome out, I'm immediately ripped back down into the lane, where my opponent is just passing, then the camera pulls me over to the next lane.
As nice as animation is, it often times slightly oriented incorrectly, missing the bolts coming down on my opponents Heroes. Hopefully Valve can fix this, as well as the next issue, that is kind of tied into animation...
A fix for clock issues
If anything has to happen first in 2019, it's definitely this one. If you haven't been following the esports scene in the last month, this has been... a recurring issue... for many players. The in-game timer will often start and stop at random intervals, as well as ticking down during animations, forcing players to spam their space hope in desperation, hoping the game counts them as passing the turn.
I've heard many suggestions for this one. Increase cost, increase , change 's health from 12 to 10. I don't actually know what the best solution is, but I think it could be something minor, to balance it out. Currently, I think is one of the big issues with blue.
Would nerfing Blue really balance the game though? Having strong board clears is important for the game to be healthy, otherwise everyone would be running around with Aggro decks, dominating. In an environment like that, I feel many more cards would need re-balancing, to compensate for really strong Aggro cards like and . Personally, I think Blue is fine. However, Valve has shown they might be interested in nerfing/buffing cards much more than we all initially thought.
Expanding the Ranks and Player Pages
As I explained in a previous article, I really think the Ranking system and Player level system were thrown together, to appease the complaints of the community. With much more time and fine tuning, there is a real possibility that Valve revisits this system. A player profile would allow users to see all of the detailed statistics we are looking for. Win Percentage, Profile Rank, Matchmaking rating or Level, etc can all be stored on a Profile Page, similar to how it is in DotA 2.
Right now, nobody can really "show off" their Skill Rating, other than screenshotting it and sharing it online. This doesn't feel very good, and it would be much better if you could just inspect a Person during a match, seeing their profile. Their level, their rank, and maybe some of their most recently played matches.
1 vs. 1 Draft
It's pretty silly you can't challenge a friend to a 1 vs. 1 duel in Draft Mode. This is a very simple solution, just add "Draft" into the drop down menu of Game Modes in the 1 vs. 1 Lobby. I can understand why this feature wasn't in at the Game Launch. Back then, Valve didn't want us to play Draft for Free, only in the "Competitive Play" (Now renamed to "Prize Play") where it cost $1 to Draft cards.
Thankfully, Valve listened to the public outcry, giving us a Free Draft Mode. But they only forgot one thing, allowing users to challenge one another to 1 vs. 1 Draft Mode! Surely Valve is aware of this and will be adding it in soon, right?
DotA 2's "Gems"
Imagine socketing your Artifact cards with "Gems" like in DotA 2. If you need a refresher on DotA 2's Gems, take a look here. Essentially they are cosmetic add-ons to items, allowing you to alter the in-game animation of spells, keep track of stats for specific spells, as well as allow Pro Players to "sign" your item.
This can add a great way for Valve to create easy revenue in Artifact, by allowing players to buy cosmetic gems for their cards. It's also a creative way to allow players to keep track of interesting stats. How much gold you've generated from , how much total damage you've dealt with , or how many you've summoned with .
I've poked around the game files and actually stumbled on this folder...
I've also heard that Replays were in the Closed Beta, but with very limited functionality. Maybe Valve pulled the plug on it, to improve the feature? Hopefully we'll get Game Replays soon, because many of us want this!
I'm sure everyone has seen Bruno's tweet by now...
Hats for Imps, Different looks for the imps, unique dances for the imps, any imp related cosmetic will do wonders for Valve. Many people have been begging for this already, myself included. But the cosmetics don't have to stop there, Valve recently included a new Banner on the game board, adjacent to the Imps. Will we have the opportunity to buy unique banners? Or are the Banners going to be for professional players, like the banners in DotA 2 are used for?
Lastly, many people have also asked for Golden Cards. Or even just animated cards. While I think it would be a great way for value to be included into a pack purchase, I don't know if Valve is going to go this direction. If they were, surely they would have done this in the first set for the game, Call to Arms?
Free to Play
I've actually covered the idea of this in a previous article, and while I do think it's possible it could happen, I think Valve is too stubborn to go through with it. There isn't any drawback to doing it and many people believe this could be a way to get new players to try the game out. As it stands, the game is pretty complicated and fairly daunting to new players, why does Valve think those players are willing to drop $20 on Artifact?
While I'd love to see the concept for Free to Play that I talked about in that article, I don't think Valve is willing to do it. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive recently went Free to Play, boosting the daily average number of players from 500,000 to 600,000, a week after the change. While Valve did add an entire game mode to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, 100,000 more players is pretty remarkable. Valve has the data, I just don't see them pulling the trigger with Artifact any time soon.
What do you want to see happen with Artifact in 2019? Write to us in the comments!