Our Artifact trading guide contains everything we currently know about how the game's marketplace will work.
One of the most interesting aspects of Artifact involves the way that Valve intends to monetise its upcoming Dota-inspired card game. Whereas games like Hearthstone have you acquiring new cards through the purchase of booster packs which contain largely random rewards, in Artifact you'll be able to acquire new cards in a more direct fashion.
The game's expected to undergo an open beta phase before it launches towards the end of 2018, and when that happens we'll have more detailed information on the precise mechanics of trading in Artifact. Until then, we wanted to bring everything that's known about the trading system together in one place.
Expect many updates to this article over time, in other words, but if you think we've missed anything out then do let us know in the comments. We'll do our research and update the relevant section as quickly as we can!
The cost of building decks
Rather than being free to play, Artifact will have an upfront cost at launch - that price has yes to be confirmed, however. This initial cost will provide you with a number of cards, which we imagine will work in much the same way that Hearthstone's Basic set functions. The developers have claimed that decks can be built for just a few dollars, and when you've grown tired of the deck in question, you'll be able to trade in the key cards so you can invest in another deck.
How the marketplace will likely work
Although the Artifact trading marketplace mechanics have not yet been revealed, it seems extremely likely that it will function in much the same way as it does in other Valve games such as CS:GO and Dota 2. In that sense, it seems sensible to expect that we'll be able to store our cards as part of our Steam inventory, and then trade them with other players on the Steam marketplace.
How Artifact will avoid pay-to-win design
As the game does not incorporate the so-called pay-to-win design philosophy, Valve wants its playerbase to head to the marketplace instead and go bargain-hunting for new elements to empower their decks with. You will presumably be able to trade your own cards in this marketplace at the same time, and so acquire funds for your own use elsewhere.
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How card rarities and power levels are designed
Cards that are sold directly by big-name players will undoubtedly attract a higher price tag, but the developers are confident that the regular versions of each card will retain a normalised cost. It's also been claimed that some of the most powerful cards in Artifact will actually be quite easy to acquire, as there's not necessarily a direct link between a card's rarity attribute and its actual power level.
Cards will not rotate out of competitive play
There are no plans for Artifact cards to ever become redundant through a rotation system. Hearthstone introduced just such a system several expansion ago, which in effect retires competitive cards from play unless you want to get involved in the secondary ladder. Valve would instead prefer players to invest in their collection over time, and focus on deck-building skills instead of relying on a capacity to simply buy established decks with deep pockets.
That the end of the first edition of our Artifact trading guide, and should provide a good overview of Valve's philosophy for the CCG's trading system. Once we've had a chance to play the game for ourselves in the upcoming beta, we'll comprehensively update this article with details on the precise mechanics involved.