Since its reveal just over a month ago, I’ve been following the amazing saga of Artifact: The Dota Card Game. I’m not sure what kind of response Valve was expecting from the crowd when it revealed the game at The International 7, but it probably wasn’t a loud “Awwwww” followed by tepid, almost forced, applause.

A lot of folks were disappointed by Artifact’s reveal, because it seems like just about everything is getting card-game-ified these days. The last time I can remember this big of a backlash from a digital CCG announcement was when The Elder Scrolls Legends was revealed. Its trailer on YouTube did something that’s very difficult to do for any but the internet’s most hated videos, garnering more dislikes than likes – currently 6,000 to 5,000, as best as can be approximated, given YouTube’s rounding. Going by those numbers, the TES Legends initial reveal trailer has 45% approval from viewers on YouTube.

Let’s check in on Artifact’s trailer and see if it’s – sweet mother of mourning!

So that’s … 6% likes, 94% dislikes.

In terms of raw numbers, its 60,000+ dislikes don’t rate it anywhere near the top (bottom?) of YouTube. I couldn’t find any source that would let me view dislike percentages, to see how 94% would stack up; it’s not #1 at least, judging by the above link.

Still, between that and TES Legends, I got to thinking – have any digital CCG initial reveal videos gone over well with the masses, at least on YouTube? More specifically, how have they fared when the games were based upon another property, as Artifact and Legends were? Those games seem to have received their overwhelming negative reactions at least in part because fans wanted to see more of the company’s core games – Elder Scrolls and Fallout from Bethesda, Dota and Half-Life from Valve – than yet another CCG.

Here’s the list I came up with. While not exactly a “card game,” I included Smite Tactics/Hand of the Gods for having some card/collectible mechanics and matching the “spin-off” criteria.

GameDate PostedViewsLikesDislikes%Likes
Gwent06/13/161.3 million40009098
Magic Duels06/16/15236k5672196
Hearthstone03/22/132.5 million900072693
Fable Fortune05/31/1618k1281391
Pokemon TCG Online04/13/1118k46590
Might & Magic: Duel of Champions08/15/1284k831089
Smite Tactics10/19/16232k300040788
Magic: The Gathering Arena09/07/17154k200034285
The Elder Scrolls Legends06/14/151.2 million5000600045
Chronicle: RuneScape Legends10/05/15107k26738641

So if the question is, “Do gamers not want any CCGs based on existing properties?” I’d say the answer is pretty much “No.” With just a few exceptions, such games get positive reviews, at least based on their initial reveals.

What about in terms of timing? Were people positive about Pokemon TCG Online’s or Hearthstone’s reveals several years ago but have soured as more and more such games are announced? Again, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Artifact’s ratio may be horrific, but other CCGs that were announced over the last two years have all had pretty good receptions. Even last Thursday’s Magic: The Gathering Arena reveal has been well-received, despite Magic Duels’ failure being fresh in people’s memories.

Maybe it’s just the companies involved, and the sky-high expectations and desires gamers have for their products. Everyone wants to see The Elder Scrolls VI (and Fallout 4 had yet to be released at the time of TES Legends’ reveal) and Half-Life 3, but maybe there’s not as much desire – not yet, anyway – for a fourth Witcher game, and World of Warcraft and Magic: The Gathering are still chugging along nicely. I’m not sure what particular issues RuneScape fans had with Chronicle, though.

In the end, though, maybe all the negativity doesn’t matter. The Artifact video has nearly a million views and 4,000 likes to go with those 64,000 dislikes. That’s approximately the same number of likes as Gwent, with its 98-2 like/dislike ratio, and nearly as many views, which it could pass in the next month.

For all its acclaim, The Witcher 3 has sold just over 10 million copies, while Dota 2 had over 10 million active players in one month, and over 100 million owners, according to SteamSpy. Even with the negative response, there are simply going to be more people paying attention to Artifact than Gwent. Valve probably isn’t happy with the game’s negative reception, but it’s better than being ignored.

(All views, likes, and dislikes numbers are as of on Sept. 11, 2017.)


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