After it failed to set the world on fire, Valve went back to the drawing board with Artifact (opens in new tab), and lately it's been teasing some of the significant changes coming to the new version of the card-battling romp. One of the most notable new additions, at least for story-hungry people like myself, is a singleplayer campaign.
Did you know that Artifact has a story? It's been relegated to comics and lore, but it's there, hanging out in the wings. The Dota universe is fat with characters and history, but there aren't many ways for interested players to really engage with it. Thankfully, it looks like that's changing.
"We are doubling down on that effort through a single-player campaign which will both teach new players the game and continue the story that began with A Call To Arms," reads Valve's latest update (opens in new tab). "Tying in to our progressions systems, we want people to feel rewarded no matter which way they choose to play the game, whether it be in competitive play or the campaign."
Valve's still not spilling the beans about what shape this new singleplayer story campaign will take, but I'm interested to see if it takes any lessons from Hearthstone, arguably its main competitor, which has done a pretty good job of leveraging Warcraft's history and creating singleplayer diversions.
The campaign isn't the only change to Artifact's progression—it's also trying out some new ways to reward players and help them improve their skills to become better competitors. Valve's still figuring things out, apparently, but for competitive play it's decided to use something that's evocative of Dota Underlords' ranked system.
There's still no word on when Artifact 2.0 will be playable, but it looks like Valve's been fiddling with absolutely everything, from initiative and mana mechanics to how players unlock cards. The impact remains to be seen, but the quantity of the changes suggests that it will border on being effectively a new game, though one not entirely unfamiliar to those of you who checked out the original version.