- Overall Patch Notes: https://steamcommunity.com/games/583950/announcements/detail/1714081669510213123
- Progression: https://playartifact.com/buildyourlegend
For the main changes here:
+ Show Spoiler +
Today's Build Your Legend Update focuses on skill rating, account leveling, and card balance.
Skill Rating and Account Leveling
This update introduces independent skill ratings for constructed and draft games. It also includes an account leveling system that tracks your overall experience with the game and allows you to unlock level icons and a set number of tickets and packs. More information on both systems is available on the update page and the patch notes below.
A common pattern in physical card games is to design around the goal of never changing cards, and to only make card changes or bans in extremely rare cases. Our initial approach to the game was to follow this type of methodology and keep balancing changes as a last resort, in large part because we thought players valued immutability very highly.
Since the release of Artifact, there have been a lot of discussions surrounding this topic. Input came in many forms, some from online discussions, some from direct feedback with players, and some through discussions among our own team members. This caused us to take a step back and spend a bunch of time debating the merits of the different arguments presented.
In the end, we struggled to see the benefits of immutability outweighing the numerous downsides. The average player mainly wants the game quality to be high above all other considerations. Players who focus a lot on deck building would prefer a more diverse and engaging meta to play around. While some card collectors enjoy having a small number of really valuable cards, many others are happier in a world where the full set value isn’t overly dominated by one or two cards.
Further consideration also made us realize it was the wrong approach from the development side. An extremely high bar for making iterations will indirectly cause future set development to be worse off. Long term set creativity will suffer if we are reluctant to try new ideas because of fears around not being able to make adjustments.
Our conclusion was that embracing ongoing card balance for a digital game has a lot more upsides for the game as a whole. Once we shifted over to this new mindset, it became obvious to us that it was a more natural fit with how we tend to develop games. Starting with today's update, we will be taking an incremental approach to balancing, with the primary goal being to improve the gameplay quality over time. New set expansions will undoubtedly cause bigger meta shifts, but we'll use incremental balancing between sets as a way to make sure that gameplay quality is as good as it can be.
We think player activity and demand is by far the biggest factor for overall card value, so we expect this to be a net positive for everyone over the long term. We also believe the marketplace remains valuable as a whole, as some changes will cause some cards to go down in value and indirectly cause other cards to go up. However, we realize that some players had a different expectation when buying from the marketplace, and so as a result we'll allow a one time buyback exception for the next two weeks. Any player that previously purchased today's changed cards from the marketplace can now visit this link to learn how to sell the cards directly back to us for what their peak selling price was in the 24 hours prior to this announcement.
Base stats changed from 7/2/11 to 6/2/10.
Base stats changed from 7/6 to 7/7. Blood Rage (signature spell) mana cost changed from 5 to 4.
Mana cost changed from 5 to 4. Old Text: "If there is an allied green hero in this lane, allies have a 50% chance of surviving with 1 Health when they would die." New Text: "Active (Cooldown 1): Give a unit a Death Shield this round. May only be used if there is an allied green hero in this lane."
Gust (signature spell) Old Text: "Silence enemy heroes this round." Gust (signature spell) New Text: "Silence an enemy hero and its allied neighbors this round."
Gold cost changed from 7 to 5. Old Text: "Equipped hero has +2 Attack and Pierce." New Text: "Equipped hero has +2 Attack and Pierce. Equip Effect: Purge your opponent's effects from equipped hero."
Finger of Death (active ability) Old Text: "Deal 8 piercing damage to a unit." Finger of Death (active ability) New Text: "Deal 8 piercing damage to a unit. Quicken." (Quicken means "reduce cooldown by 1, but not below 1".)
Base stats changed from 4/6 to 4/7.
Reactive Armor (passive) Old Text: "Timbersaw has +1 Armor for each of its attackers." Reactive Armor (passive) New Text: "Timbersaw has +1 Armor for each of its attackers. Each of Timbersaw's attackers have -1 Armor."
Added Skill Rating. Skill rating is specific to a particular time period and game mode (draft or constructed) and ranges from 1 to 75. Once you've earned a rating, it will not decrease this season. Every matchmaking game outside of the Call To Arms featured event contributes to skill rating adjustments.
Added account levels and unlocks. Every matchmaking game grants experience that contributes to account level. Increasing account level unlocks portraits and a number of event tickets and card packs.
Added Quicken keyword. On activated abilities, this means "reduce cooldown by 1, but not below 1". (See Finger of Death in the card changes section.)
Added Equip Effect keyword. On items, this ability will trigger immediately after the item is equipped to a hero. (See Jasper Daggers in the card changes section.)
Fixed some words being underlined on ability tooltips in-game. Fixed the complete deck list not being visible for the opponent in Call To Arms gauntlet matches. Fixed some instances of Red Mist Pillager not showing their combat target arrows after being spawned. Fixed a number of other minor bugs and issues. Updated the localization files.
I'm personally mixed about the update as I had built a deck I haven't seen anyone else playing (including pros) that beats the current popular meta for the upcoming open bracket $15,000 WePlay tournament. (Of course, this is hard to prove, but it did do five perfect constructed runs in a row without any real difficulty from my last test of how it plays). These balance changes means I'll need to play a bunch to come up with a new deck once the meta stabilizes again. >< Slight Correction: While three cards and two items are different (+ Show Spoiler +
), XIXO's deck in SeatStory Cup is essentially the deck I had been playing. Had not seen those games that were played today when I originally wrote this.
I have -1 horn, -1 hourglass for other options as his curve is way too high for what the deck can support optimally imo
But overall this is great for the game as almost all of these changes were needed to stop the game from becoming stale due to certain broken cards. Kudos to Valve for that! Will it be enough to change the downward trend of interest in the game? I don't know as the damage that was done from the initial release was pretty severe.
One more final thought: I do wonder how this will affect the current invite-only SeatStory Cup event happening tomorrow? This isn't like the old days where these games have a LAN mode to bypass having to update and I don't think Valve has tournament servers? Will be interesting to see what happens to that event as while the curve ball should be entertaining for spectators, I imagine it will suck for competitors that actually put in the effort to practice for the event.