Ding Dong the Artifacts are Gone
That was quick. A raucous community outcry, Blizzard developers listened, and a feature that an overwhelming majority of the player base loathed was removed. They even adjusted talent unlocks a bit, sort of as a bonus prize. (There was some vitriol about the talent gating but the focus of the ire was on the artifacts.)
The reasoning for artifacts was a bit dubious given the implementation.
Artifacts were designed to provide you with a meaningful way to spend gold, while also providing additional options to customize your heroes.
Meaningful? Customize heroes? Does a raw statistical boost do that? Does my Nova hitting 10% harder for 10% less life really show a customized hero? Were any of the artifacts meaningful beyond the compulsory obligation to pick the correct one?
Pish posh. Regardless of the motivations, artifacts have been pitched. No more artifacts. Gone gone gone.
Don’t be so sure. I suspect they’ll appear again, but it in a different form. After all, the reasoning is good – gold will eventually pile up and tweaking how Sonya behaves in a match can reflect a player’s preferred style. That’s a great idea.
So artifacts should come back but not as they were. The artifacts should reflect HotS’s central idea: player options. Instead of looking for a match and then picking your hero, you pick your hero and then find a match where you fit. Rather than leveling a suite of abilities akin to Dota2, you get options for them or entirely different talents to change what you bring to a match. Brightwing can crowd control better or call down a MULE and keep structures alive. Bribe mercs or hit harder. These are good things.
So how do artifacts fit into this idea? Talents already offer a way to change how a hero is played in a game, right? A healing Rehgar, an aggressive Rehgar. However, Rehgar is still Rehgar. If you pick Bloodlust and you don’t lose Chain Heal. And when the talents buff or alter an ability, it’s usually subtle or small. For example, an extra .75 seconds on Nova’s tazer round or 20% more distance on Falstad’s barrel roll. Not the most profound alteration.
That’s what artifacts should give: powerful alterations to your hero. Not just an extra 20% to mounted speed but, rather, trade offs. A way to demonstrate a play style, especially in a premade group. Imagine this, just as a jumping off point:
Gazlowe has an artifact that modifies his Rock-It! Turrent into a Sentry Turret. It lasts twice as long, does 1/3 of the damage but reveals stealthed units in its vision radius. He has another artifact that transforms his the turret into a weaker version of a Moonwell – no damage, same duration, 3 charges and restores 15% or so of a hero’s health and mana overtime. Obviously this means that the talent effects will need to be reworked and adjusted to properly effect the artifacts but, that’s what alpha is for. Testing, trying, playing with ideas.
I’d like to see Blizzard attempt something like this with an artifact system. Each artifact is 1,000 gold, you can only have 3 on a hero.
This idea might be too complex and the artifact system may not return, or not in this form. Regardless, the stat boosts are gone and Heroes of the Storm is once again fun, versatile, and simple.