Richard Garfield has weighed in on what went wrong with Valve’s Artifact, and he partially blames review bombs.
It’s no secret that Artifact is basically a dead game. Steamcharts reports player counts dipping into the double digits, and the Artifact Twitch directory is basically deserted of Artifact players (although not entirely deserted, with the remaining denizens up to some pretty weird stuff).
There were many complaints against Artifact, ranging from a steep learning curve to a monetization model that basically forced the player to pay money to gain new cards, with many calling it “pay-to-win.” As such, Artifact received a very negative review score on Steam.
Richard Garfield, co-creator of Artifact and creator of the far more successful real-life card game Magic: The Gathering, went a step further and even called the negative reviews a review bomb which prevented Artifact from reaching its core audience.
In an interview with Win.gg, Garfield got into the weeds about Artifact and what went wrong where he offered his opinion on the whole debacle.
“My perspective was that there were three problems—the revenue model was poorly received, there weren’t enough community tools and short-term goals in place online like achievements or missions, and, perhaps because of these things, there was a rating bombing that made it hard to get the message out about what the game offered to the player who it was built for,” he said.
By Valve’s own definition, it’s hard to call Artifact’s response a “review bomb.” Valve defines a review bomb as a period of negative reviews that weren’t actually about the game itself, whereas Artifact's complaints are both prolonged and aimed squarely at the game itself.
Especially it’s monetization model, which Garfield said he doesn’t believe went as far as “pay-to-win.”
"Of course, there were also a lot of complaints about the revenue model, which appeared generous to Magic players, but stingy to players who expected free-to-play with grinding for cards."
Valve has since said they would take Artifact back to the drawing board where it’s widely expected to receive a complete overhaul. No word on when they’ll be done, but expect some form of free acquisition of cards to come as part of a reborn Artifact.