Valve revealed that its upcoming card game, Artifact, would utilise the Steam Marketplace in order to openly buy and sell cards, prompting worries over the game’s balance. Fortunately, the developers behind the game are confident that the price of powerful cards will remain in check thanks to cheaper decks becoming the metagame.
Allowing individual cards to be sold on Steam’s largely unregulated Marketplace allows players to determine a card’s worth. This understandably worried potential Artifact buyers, who believed that powerful cards would continually rise in price, becoming out of reach for the average player. PC Gamer vetted the situation, prompting designer Skaff Elias and gameplay programmer Brad Muir to reveal that the cheaper desks would still rule the roost.
“If there’s one expensive deck, maybe there will also be ten cheap decks. We definitely want to make sure [Artifact is] a reasonable price for people to play. We would not want to see all the decks be $500 decks. It’s just not going to happen,” explains Elias.
“The original philosophy of ‘rarity does not equal power level' is more pronounced here. I think there will be decks that have a decent number of commons and uncommons inside of them. In the case of common cards, they’ll be so abundant that the price [of those cards] will have a hard time getting off the floor,” added Muir.
This speaks volumes about Valve’s confidence in the balancing of its initial 280 cards, hinting that the combination in which they’re played is a lot more important than any singular powerful card. It will be particularly interesting to see how the developer plans to add more cards beyond the 28th November release date without affecting such fine tuning.
KitGuru Says: This is quite the experiment for Valve, which has been out of the video game development business for quite some time. It’s nice to see things shaping up nicely, and the confidence exuded behind Artifact. Do you plan on jumping in late November or will you wait for a meta to be established first?