The disappointment was palpable at the International DOTA 2 Championships. But not because a favored team suffered a heartbreaking loss.
Just before the final match between Team Liquid and Team Secret during day 2 of the Championship games, Valve released a teaser video for an upcoming game. Everyone was expecting a sequel to many of Valve’s beloved franchises, Half Life being top among them, but many would have settled for a new Portal game.
Instead, a video rolled showing what appeared to be colored rocks floating in space, followed by the words “Artifact” and “the DOTA card game, 2018.” The noise made by the many thousands in attendance was as though the home team missed the game winning field goal at the Superbowl.
The teaser video gives us nothing but a name and a year, but announcer Sean “Day” Plott gave us a few more details to describe the upcoming card game. It is indeed based on DOTA 2, taking a selection of characters from the game, and also features gameplay inspired by the popular multiplayer battle arena. Players face off on a battlefield with three boards, signifying the lanes from the game, and build barracks, creeps, and heroes to attack their opponent.
Other than that, details remain strikingly light for Artifact, but it seems almost certain the game will be coming to a smartphone near you.
If the disappointment of the crowd wasn’t obvious, the comment sections on YouTube are ablaze with frustrated fans eagerly voicing their displeasure.
“Instead of putting minimal resources to TF2 to continue being updated, instead... chooses to make a CARD game. Great Job Valve. Probably the worst game company of this year,” reads one angry commenter, while another responds with a string of epithets so numerous it doesn’t even bare repeating in this article.
Many YouTube comments lament the fact that Half Life 3 is still nowhere to be seen with Valve, with most responders saying they have given up hope of ever seeing the fabled sequel in their lifetime.
While the dreams of many Half Life fans may have been crushed once again, there’s no denying the popularity of DOTA 2. It remains the most popular game played on Steam, and although a card game will inevitably lead to unfriendly comparisons with Hearthstone, there are many millions of DOTA 2 fans that would eagerly purchase a mobile game based on the MOBA.