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!


  1. Archer - August 9, 2010 1:53 pm

    I have to agree with this review. I too have played this game since 1999–2000 some­time (When it was known as Arti­fact 1). At first it looks real­ly hard and it takes some time to learn the game… But once you get past that, it is by far the best game I have ever played.

  2. Alex - August 11, 2010 8:22 am

    Thanks for show­ing me this game so far so good, and you’re right about the “addict­ing” part


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