August 8, 2010
Artifact, hard to start…quite addicting
I started playing Artifact in 1999 when Samu Games closed down PBN which was an online paintball game. The client was a 2d shooter where you played against other players and bots in order to complete an objective, like capture the flag. Their second endeavour was Artifact which became a large part of my online activity. The goal is to build a city strong enough that you can build troops, find, and capture the artifacts, as well as eliminate the other players. The problem (and allure) of the game is that it is a persistant realtime strategy game. So, you may have a great city built with a lot of troops but if you’re not online when someone attacks you, they have a good chance of wiping you out.
One of the best ways to overcome the continuous nature of the game is to make an alliance with other players that will be able to watch, build, and attack with your city while you’re not online. The good, and often bad, part about this is you end up playing way longer than you wanted to just to make sure your city is safe. But, while you work on your city, the Artifact community is quite active and becomes more of a social outlet than anything. Many players have been on since the game started in ’99. They know the best ways to build and the best ways to play. There are Trainers which are players put in the position to help new players learn the game.
There are a few issues with the game such as the outdated graphics, which I’ve heard are in the process of a complete overhaul. This leads me to believe that this game may be ready for another 11+ years of addicting entertainment. The biggest issue most new players will find is that there’s a lot to learn in just getting started. You are given a certain number of settlers, with which you build a city. Your first obstacle is to build your city well enough so that it can grow while you’re not logged in, or while you’re busy talking with the other players. Certain facilities have to be built on certain terrain, like any rock quarry can’t be built on a grassland, there’s simply no rocks available. The beauty of the game is that once you learn how to build a strong city, you’re set.
Many new players quit before they learn how to build a proper city, which may be something the Artifact developers look into in the coming update of the game. However, after passing this point, anyone is able to support an army and begin learning the more crucial details such as the best way to use catapults to hit an enemy’s town hall. The characteristics that bring players back to any game is a reason to improve their character or interact with the other players in the game. After I got my first medal for population growth, I was hooked.
There are plenty of players willing to help you pass the tough learning curve this game has, and plenty of reasons to continue logging in at every chance you get. You never know when someone could be attacking you while you’re offline. Find the artifacts early, and conquer!