It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason why so many people dislike Artifact and why the player base has vanished since its launch - there are just too many reasons to dislike the game to pick just one.
Longtime Valve fans see Artifact as just another step away from Valve making single-player games and blindly following trends in order to make a quick buck, which is inexcusable to some when you consider how much money the company already makes with Steam.
The fact that Valve seems determined to squeeze every single dollar from their fanbase is the reason why Artifact has received so much ire since it was first announced, as the game tries to shake you down at every turn if you want to have any hope of playing the game at a competitive level.
Artifact has a lot of good ideas and has the potential to be a hugely popular game, but Valve has just made to many anti-consumer choices.
The Artifact fanbase might be bleeding members, but all is not lost for the game. Valve still has some options left that could bring back the fans that they scared away.
One can only assume that the business decisions behind the creation of Artifact were inspired by fits of madness or unfathomable greed, as the choice to charge upfront for the game was such a baffling error in a world where its biggest competitors are free.
The way that games like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering Arena make money is not unlike a drug dealer - they give you a free taste in order to get you hooked so that you will eventually want to pay money in order to buy new cards and take part in events.
The fact that you even have to pay an entry fee for Artifact is a terrible idea, as the PC gaming market is full of popular games that don't cost a penny upfront.
Artifact's competitors give the player the opportunity to decide whether they like the game first before they start shelling out money, yet Artifact acts like it was sprung fully-formed from the brow of the Muses and expects you to believe that its content has value without you even trying it first.
If Artifact is to have any hope of survival, then it needs to move to a free-to-play model as soon as possible and offer a boatload of incentives to those who have already paid for the game.
ADD SINGLE-PLAYER CONTENT
via KotakuLearning a new card game can be a daunting experience, which is why a lot of digital card games will offer some kind of single-player mode that will introduce the player to the world of the game and give them a chance to learn the rules at their own pace.
Artifact has tutorial matches against A. I. opponents and has some free modes, but it needs to give people who aren't as familiar with the world of Dota 2 a reason to care.
A lengthy single-player campaign that gives the players the chance to try out various different pre-made decks would also have gone a long way to alleviating the complaints about the game's entry fee, as that could have offered a lot of content and given players a thirst to try out their skills against human opponents.
REBRAND THE GAME - AND BRING OUT THE BIG VALVE GUNS
It might be in Valve's best interests to rebrand Artifact alongside any major changes that they make, in order to let the fans know that things are going to be different.
One way in which they can rebrand could be to shift the focus away from Dota 2 content. Dota 2 might have a huge fanbase, but its appeal is very insular and limited to those with an interest in esports, whereas Blizzard was able to use the name recognition of World of Warcraft to promote Hearthstone, and the same being true for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.
So, what could Valve do to make Artifact more appealing?
It's time to bring Gordon Freeman out of retirement.
That's right, Valve should go all Heroes of the Storm and introduce cards & decks based on their other popular franchises, such as Half-Life, Portal, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, and Left 4 Dead.
Valve isn't doing anything interesting with most of their old franchises so they may as well try and use them to promote the rebirth of Artifact. There are a lot of old-school PC gamers who might be willing to overlook the game's flaws if it meant being able to see some new Half-Life content.
Do You Guys Not Have Phones?
A mobile version of Artifact is due to come out sometime in 2019, but the game might be completely dead by the time that happens. It might have helped Artifact's chances if they had waited to launch the mobile version of the game alongside the desktop version, but we doubt it.
In 2018, Gabe Newell said that Valve was going to be developing games again and that Artifact was just the first of many new titles to come. If the next few Valve games share the same business model as Artifact, then they may see a similar reaction from the fanbase.
There is a lot to love about Artifact and its gameplay, but Valve went over the top in their pursuit of cash and it has alienated their fans to a degree that has never been seen before.
The business of making video games is exactly that: a business. But there comes a time when the players will peer into their wallet and wonder whether your product is worth their precious cash and free time when there are so many cheaper options out there in the world of gaming.
Is the fat lady singing for Artifact? That all depends on Valve, as they have the kind of cash that can keep the game afloat for as long as they desire, but if they want to have any hopes of competing with Hearthstone, then they will have to make a lot of changes to their card game.