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Artifact, Valve's newest game, is due out on November 28th and it will be coming with same-day Linux support. Valve provided me with an early copy and it's pleasing to see it running well. 

We won't have any formal review until after release, however, I do have some rather basic initial thoughts found from a few hours with the beta today. Mainly, I just wanted to assure people it's running nicely on Linux. I also don't want to break any rules by saying too much before release…

Some shots of the beta on Ubuntu 18.10 to start with. First up is a look at the three lanes during the hero placement section, which gives you a choice where to put them. It's interesting, because you can only play coloured cards if you have a hero of that colour in the same lane.

Heroes are your essential cards of course, for a number of reasons. They can really turn the tide when things get ugly. They can buff up other card, have their own special abilities, you can equip items on them to buff them further and so on. Honestly, I'm a little blown away at the level of detail here.

For those collectors amongst our readers, here's a little shot while opening a Booster Pack with the last one always being a rare card:

Lanes can extend across the screen, as shown here where I have an additional four cards not shown. You can amass a pretty big army of heroes and creeps. In this particular screenshot, I had already taken down the tower (there's one in each lane) which was replaced with an Ancient in this lane and so with my current combined attack power this was a fatal finishing blow to my opponent (destroying an Ancient is an instant win).

I haven't so far come across any Linux-specific issues, it certainly looks like Valve has given the Linux version plenty of attention. I would have been surprised if it wasn't running well, given Valve's focus on Linux lately. For those of you who might have had some worries—fear not!

It's worth mentioning they have been through a bit of controversy on it lately, with it having a bit of a backlash against the monetization model. This was amplified somewhat, because Valve didn't put enough focus into certain areas of the game. Valve responded here, to say they've added additional modes to practice and play with friends, along with allowing you to convert unwanted cards into event tickets. It sounds like they're going in the right direction with it and it is good to seem them act on feedback.

It's going to be interesting to see what more of you think of it once it has released. For me personally, I think I'm going to quite enjoy it. What I honestly thought would confuse the hell out of me, so far, hasn't in any way. There's quite a bit to learn of course and certain elements to it are quite complex, but it's nothing like what I expected.

You can follow along and wishlist it on Steam. As always, do ensure your platform preference is set on Steam in your account preferences at the bottom. More thorough thoughts will be up at release on the 28th.

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Kohrias 19 November 2018 at 11:43 pm UTC
Looking forward to try out my prepurchased copy ;-) Hope they give the monetization model some more thought and adjust. Since they are one of the most succesfull companies with free-to-play I am surprised they didn't do it here.
Ehvis 19 November 2018 at 11:48 pm UTC
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$20 is not so much if the game is good. Especially if you can play a lot without extra card packs. Then it may keep the troll kiddies away.
Purple Library Guy 20 November 2018 at 12:30 am UTC
1xokCan you play it with children or is it too complicated for that?
I thought you were supposed to play it with cards.
SuperTux 20 November 2018 at 2:54 am UTC
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Ehvis$20 is not so much if the game is good. Especially if you can play a lot without extra card packs. Then it may keep the troll kiddies away.

Indeed, if I think you don't go crazy on buying decks (unless you can afford to do so) and rather try trading them more.
SuperTux 20 November 2018 at 2:56 am UTC
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Really looking forward to it, but glad that WH II will be out in the meantime.

then again, not like I don't honestly have enough Linux games to keep me occupied .
DamonLinuxPL 20 November 2018 at 3:32 am UTC
Anyone one know if is possible to launch this game with OpenGL? Steam req show only Vulkan... but I still hope to see it on my old notebook. Anyone know is opengl is available?
Keyrock 20 November 2018 at 3:41 am UTC
I wish I had a beta key but I have to wait a little over a week. I've been really looking forward to this. I played MTG waaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day (the physical version) and have been wanting to get into a CCG for a while, but Hearthstone is just too simplistic for my tastes and no other CCG really grabbed my attention until Artifact.
Kimyrielle 20 November 2018 at 6:22 am UTC
I am generally not a fan of Pay-to-win card games, which this genre is honestly all about. Spend more mullah, get better cards! That's exactly? I didn't like it when Magic invented that idea. I don't like it now. What happened to giving both sides the same cards and let the better player win? Too boring for a world where people universally believe that having more than others makes you cool?

Going to pass on that one.

That being said, glad to see Valve make actual games again. That took them a while!
TheSHEEEP 20 November 2018 at 6:33 am UTC
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KimyrielleI am generally not a fan of Pay-to-win card games, which this genre is honestly all about. Spend more mullah, get better cards! That's exactly? I didn't like it when Magic invented that idea. I don't like it now.
Uhm... what?
When I first started playing Magic, I thought the same. And spent like 200€ on my first deck.
It was a catastrophe (I still have it, though, as a reminder of my own stupidity).
But slowly I learned that it has extremely little to do with how much money you spend. Just putting a bunch of rares/mythic rares together in a deck is just... bad. It won't work. If you're on a budget and can only spend 20-30€ on a deck, then you can still make myriads of well working decks + sideboard.

Some kinds of decks require you to reach deeper into your pocket, sure (if they happen to be based on an expensive card or require lots of those to function), but by far not all of them.
And the upgrade you get from spending hundreds of dollars vs only a few dozen isn't big.

Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 20 November 2018 at 6:34 am UTC
ajgp 20 November 2018 at 9:41 am UTC
Im interested in this; I did play Gwent but to be frank cant be arsed with the hassle of getting galaxy working on WINE. So looking at Artifact im curious on the cost of getting additional card packs; can you earn cards outside of cash purchases? Can you buy booster packs with any sort of ingame currency earned from playing?
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