During Artifact’s recent beta release, players became extremely frustrated with Valve’s idea of an in-game economy.
Not only does Artifact already cost $20 to play, but it includes the typical micro-transactions seen in free-to-play games.
There is no way to earn cards for free. Players are provided a starting pack containing 10 booster packs (containing 12 card a piece), five “event tickets” used to gain access to draft modes, and two complete decks. After the cards included in the starter pack, players must pay $2 for each new pack of cards and event tickets must be bought in packs of 5 for $5.
Unlike the popular Hearthstone, there is no way at all to earn your way through the game. While many may argue that you can’t really be competitive in Hearthstone unless you pay money, which is true really, at least you can play the game casually and have something to earn.
According to users on Reddit’s r/Artifact, starter hero cards can also appear in purchased booster packs, meaning booster packs can end up being completely worthless.
So the Artifact devs replied already. I always hope to see early dev replies to the community's issues, but somehow I'm still surprised when we actually get one. Good changes, but those that were expecting the game to become a lot cheaper will still be disappointed pic.twitter.com/RyDsOvHshi— TSM Kripparrian (@Kripparrian) November 18, 2018
Valve has since responded to some of the controversy.
While these changes are better than nothing, they don’t fully address the poor monetization scheme of an already heavily criticized release.