Valve's pathetic line-up of original games in the past few years has been a clear target of mockery within the gaming community. Many people looked back on the era of "Half-Life", "Portal", and "Left For Dead" with gleaming eyes and wondered where it all went wrong. And then, in August of 2017, we heard some beautiful words by Sean "Day[9]" Plott. "Valve has a new game coming soon." But alas, dreams are such fleeting things, and we saw a trailer for a "Dota 2" card game. Fans were quite disappointed, to say the least. But as the months passed, "Artifact" started gaining a relatively favorable public opinion.

Dota 2 players

While "Artifact" is fighting an uphill battle to convince MOBA fans that a digital turn-based card game could be worth their time, "Artifact" does have factors that excite "Dota 2" players in other ways. It being a new game, taking place in the "Dota 2" universe, there is no limit to how extensively it could try to expand upon the existing lore of "Dota 2." Steve Jaros, from the "Artifact" team, even gave a shout-out to Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner. "Dota 2" celebrity and creator of the well-received "Loregasm" video series on YouTube.

Now, this isn't to say that "Artifact" will have no appeal to "Dota 2's" core player base. There are a lot of players, especially those that played since the original "Dota", who have gotten tired of the game and may see "Artifact" as a good chance to expand into another professional eSport game.

Digital card game players

Artifact's mere presence in the digital card game market may change everything.

Blizzard has held dominant control with "Hearthstone" for years now. Many competitors have arrived and some have even done fairly well for themselves, but it's hardly any threat to Blizzard's monolithic beast. But "Artifact" is a different beast entirely. Valve has been calling on many internet personalities to take part in a secretive Closed Beta, and many are feeling optimistic about the game. Professional "Hearthstone" player Reynad has said on his Twitch stream that "'Artifact' will be an excellent game." And as we all know by now, streamers are a force to be reckoned with in the game industry. If streamers embrace Artifact to a similar degree as Hearthstone, then its success is as good as guaranteed.

Closed beta

Now if you aren't a major influencer, you most likely haven't been able to get your hands on a beta key. But according to a conversation between a redditor and a writer at Game Informer, we should be seeing a more public closed beta for the game sometime "later this spring." This information was apparently obtained when Suriel Vazquez was talking to staff at Valve. If this is true, then we could be seeing beta keys being released to the public anywhere from now to late in June.

A few weeks ago, Artifact also got its own Steam store page.

On that page, there was a placeholder date stating that the game would be made available on December 27, 2018. Valve quickly removed the month and day from the store page. It remains unclear whether that was the actual release date that someone accidentally revealed, or if it actually was just a placeholder date. Regardless, I'm really excited to try out the game myself. I'll be praying to Lord Gaben for a beta key.

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