i’m extraordinarily fascinated with how this impacts the typical Hearthstone-style pack-opening business plan. One of the problems from the standpoint of the developer with systems like Hearthstone packs or Battlefront 2 boxes and so on is how easy the math of the exploitation of the player is to figure out because there’s only one transaction. The player buys a pack rather than grind, and drop-rates of rarer cards as well as time saved the amount of money needed for certain levels of collection completion are easy systems to quantify. It’s harder to abandon reason as a player/consumer when the value proposition, such as it is, is easy to understand and see through from the jump.
What has my head spinning about Artifact is that it does not substitute a direct marketplace for the loot/pack system, it combines them together. This vastly complicates any attempt to understand details about how the systems work. For example, the Japan-style mandatory gatcha drop probability disclosure wouldn’t be enough here, as changing the ratio at which certain cards within a certain rarity drop could change prices, move the secondary market, increase transactions, and improve Valve’s take. Maybe somebody figures it out, maybe they don’t, the point is that these two systems together give Valve a million more levers to pull to manipulate money from whales.
Like, at least a few players will make a ton of money off this game. A few people will crack whatever the equivalent to Magic’s Alpha Black Lotus ends up being and basically win a lotto scratcher, a few more will anticipate a change in the metagame and buy thousands of a card that triples in value overnight, and others will get lucky when a balance patch upends the meta and by chance they have thousands of a newly overpowered card. This type of “investment” angle opens up a subset of people who might usually balk at spending a ton of money on a simpler, linear, entertainment-only type of micro-transaction model.