Great news for the dozens of people anxiously awaiting the 2.0 rebirth of Valve’s catastrophically failed collectible card game Artifact: a new video has been unearthed from the recesses of Unlisted YouTube™, wherein Artifact Rework Project Team Lead Eric Tams walks the viewer through Artifact 2.0‘s new Hero Draft mode, showcasing several new changes and unfinished features along the way. (I’m kidding about the “dozens of people” thing, by the way. Surely there are at least a couple hundred of you!) While the video (embedded below for your convenience) remains unlisted, it was also added to a playlist on the official Artifact YouTube channel, and since unlisted videos still show up publicly on playlists, it was discovered by the Artifact subreddit in short order.
“We got a lot of feedback from our players that they wanted a way to learn the cards without jumping straight into Constructed,” Tams says in the video, “so this mode lets you choose your heroes and we build a deck for you based on the color combination you choose. For example, if you have three red and two green [heroes], we’ll build a deck for you that’s 60 percent red and 40 percent green.” This means that, unlike traditional draft modes in other card games where players typically take turns picking cards to build an entire deck, Artifact 2.0‘s draft mode is just about picking the heroes, after which an algorithm takes over. Players draft six heroes — five to keep, one to discard — and then select the order in which said heroes will become available during the course of the match.
“You can see the board looks a little bit different,” Tams says. “We actually have a 3D board in the works right now, but until then we get this beautiful 2D masterpiece we like to call the Frankenboard, because we built it out of old scraps and little bits from other models. Just one of the joys of active development.” This build also showcases a plethora of placeholder card art, somewhat reminiscent of Slay the Spire‘s Early Access days, if you were around for that.
In addition to the new draft mode, other major changes to Artifact‘s systems are also shown off, such as the addition of zero-cost and colorless cards. Items have been reworked so that replacing an item on a hero no longer destroys that item. Instead, the item being replaced is moved back into the player’s hand, where it can be used again during the next applicable round. And speaking of rounds, depending on whether the round is even- or odd-numbered dictates whether the board resolves from right to left, or left to right, respectively. “We wanted to make sure that we kept the lane balance pretty even,” Tams says.
Players who purchased the original version of Artifact before March 30 of this year are automatically enrolled in a lottery to receive an invitation to the Artifact 2.0 closed beta test, the first of which are set to arrive sometime next week. Valve will “eventually” move to an open beta format at some undisclosed point in the future.