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Despite two major patches this month alone, Artifact struggles still to retain players. Valve’s game has been failing to surpass 10,000 concurrent players for the past week, with no signs of slowing down. This marks a particularly dark anniversary for the game, which released a month ago on November 28.

Artifact enjoyed some heavy hype and commitments from pros, teams and personalities alike, but started oozing players almost immediately. The 60,000 concurrent players peak at launch never repeated. The community raised concerns and addressed a myriad of problems. This included Artifact’s complexity, stream-friendliness, lack of progression, and monetization models as the reasons for the outflow.

Valve have been quick to fix the most pressing issues and released two significant updates in December. The first one introduced quality of life changes, such as color blind mode and improved chat modes, as well as automated community tournament system. The second one included a generous new progression system, rewarding players with free packs and event tickets. The same patch also featured a slew of balance changes to some of Artifact’s most problematic cards.

The latter update sparked the first uptick in Artifact’s player base. For the first time in a week, the game peaked above 10,000 concurrent players and fans hoped that this was a sign of stabilization. This, however, has not been the case and with the winter holidays past, Artifact is back to its previous state.

While this is a bad state to end 2018 on, there’s more hope still for Valve’s game as it still possesses a stellar gameplay engine. 2019 is to see the game’s first truly major tournament, the $1 million event hosted by Valve. The company has also promised to deliver more major updates next year, but hasn’t given hints as to what they’ll address.

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