In a recent post, Blizzard revealed information about an upcoming patch to their ARTS/MOBA game Heroes of the Storm that included information regarding changes to the player progression and rewards system. In this post they made mention of a new feature known as “Artifacts”. Yesterday, Blizzard revealed more information regarding this feature in another post.
Artifacts are purchasable items that affect your character load-out by modifying various stats. They become available at player level 15 with 2 extra slots able to be purchased for in game gold. These are powerful items that have their own progression path that allows them to grow in strength the more they are used starting at level 1 and maxing out at level 10. These items modify stats like offense in the form of ability damage(damage done by skills), survivability via maximum health increases, or utility like movement speed increases among other things. Blizzard presents these items as another way to customize your hero in order to fit your playstyle but realistically the addition of these items will simply lead to optimal build paths for specific heroes and serve to stagnate the meta.
The Artifact system in my opinion is effectively the Rune system from League of Legends, a gold sink that requires ridiculous amounts of grinding in order to gain access to all the runes you need to be competitive. The exact same thing is presented here by Blizzard and it will only serve as an unnecessary grind that will keep players from enjoying the game as they see fit. Personally I believe that if Blizzard wants to implement such a system, that they remove the grind and make all artifacts available to all players of a certain level for free and adjust matchmaking to ensure that a low level player without access to artifacts is never matched against a team of players who have such an advantage. The better option is simply to not implement this kind of system at all. It really does nothing to add to the game and based on my experience, every hero is already OP in their own right and that seems to be the balanced and with the current way talents work there’s already enough customization that doesn’t require an unreasonable and unnecessary time investment towards grinding in-game currency.
Overall I don’t agree with Blizzard’s currently planned method of implementing the Artifacts system but it will not ultimately prevent me from playing the game more to see how it develops as it is still just in the alpha stages and hopefully with enough feedback they will find a better way to handle artifacts. Here’s hoping they choose not to add more grinding to a game with so much potential.