As one game enters free-to-play, another exits. Valve showed off Artifact, the Dota 2 card game, to a number of press outlets earlier this week, and it looks interesting. According to IGN, it will play on three boards, a.k.a. “lanes,” and you’ll control five heroes. When one dies, it takes a turn off to respawn and then comes back. You gain gold by killing your opponents, which you can then spend on buffs for your heroes. In other words, it plays a lot like a game of Dota 2, with a minimum 40-card deck on the side.
It does have one very big difference from Dota 2, however, one that’s highly relevant to this site: It won’t be free-to-play.
Not yet, at least, because if the response to the game continues to be massively negative, it might yet go the way of H1Z1. At the very least, since it will be on Steam, it should receive a massive enough discount at some point to be essentially free — or at least as free to start as any online CCG is. There’s no word yet on whether packs can be earned in the game or if they’ll require money.
If you still want to learn more about the game, check out IGN’s longer review of the mechanics, or similar hands-on articles from Venture Beat or PC Gamer. Artifact is scheduled to release on Steam by the end of this year, with Android/iOS launches coming in 2019.