The first gameplay footage of the upcoming Artifact 2.0 beta has arrived, and it's mighty promising.
The eight-minute clip (opens in new tab) is all about the game's new hero draft mode, which was built in response to player feedback requesting a way to learn cards and mechanics without investing in a constructed deck. The reboot won't have a card market, so no more buying and selling on the Steam marketplace, and the draft will only make it easier to get into things.
In this mode, two players take turns drafting six heroes, then pick their five favorites to play with before loading into a game. You'll notice that some of the heroes in the video have placeholder art, most notably Phantom Lancer and Mirana. Obviously, these and other visuals - including the board itself, which will be 3D at launch - will be improved and/or added in as work on Artifact 2.0 progresses, and Valve says it is still experimenting with plenty more than that. Here are just some of the things that are subject to change, straight from Valve's video description:
- Placeholder art and temporary effects in places
- Changing cards, art, and even game rules as we go
- Play modes that are currently disabled for testing will gradually be enabled as we add more players
- Card collections and stats may be reset during the beta
- We’re still working on the ability to do observed playtests during this time, so expect some usability issues as we work out those kinks
This is also our first look at the new three-lane perspective, which resolves all lanes simultaneously at the end of each turn. Originally, lanes were managed individually and in sequence, but Valve pulled back the camera to make things easier to track. As the beta video shows, lanes resolve from left to right on even turns, and from right to left on odd turns. It'll be interesting to see how this order synergizes with some heroes, especially the more aggressive ones.
The Artifact 2.0 beta will initially be limited to players who bought the original game early on, but it will open up in the months ahead. You can sign up for the beta here (opens in new tab).
Artifact 2.0 will add plenty more than a draft mode; it's also got an all-new story mode (opens in new tab).