Valve appears to have quietly halved the number of card packs you get when buying a copy of Artifact. Before the game’s latest update, every new copy of Artifact would get you ten card packs. Check the Steam page now and scroll down to ‘what’s in the box’. It says “Artifact comes with five card packs”.
The change follows the game’s latest update, which added a leveling system. Card packs drop as a reward for hitting certain levels, with a maximum of 15 available this season. That cap likely exists to protect the value of cards in the marketplace, which has always been paramount to Valve, and is probably why the card packs you get in the initial purchase have just been halved.
Stingy though it may seem, Valve would no doubt argue that this is good for players – Artifact was designed to be a trading card game, with players buying and selling cards, and potentially earning money from doing so. That can’t happen if there are too many cards on the market for them to hold any value. The leveling system is also a wholly new pathway to earn cards without having to pay for them, and you do still get the starter decks, which enables new players to get into the game at a basic level.
Still, though. Having insufficient cards for more creative deck-building, and feeling nudged to go to the marketplace as a consequence, was one of the principal complaints after Artifact’s launch.
Here’s hoping new players don’t feel deterred from getting into the new progression system and earning those free decks. In my view, Artifact is well worth sticking with – I’ve had a lot of fun so far.