After its dramatic fall from grace and Valve's subsequent attempt to rebuild, it looks like the return of Artifact is just over the horizon. In an announcement last night, the developers confirmed that they were ready to move towards a new beta, allowing players back into the game.
Announcing the upcoming beta, Valve said that "the beta for the original game started too late and was too short. We've decided to approach things a bit different this time around by gradually inviting people to join us while we are still 'Under Construction'." Anyone who purchased the original game before March 30, 2020, will get an email inviting them to opt-in to the beta, whereupon participants will be ushered in through a lottery system.
Pretty much everything is under scrutiny in this new testing phase. Valve says it's looking into "gameplay, balance, hero identity, color identity, social features, card unlocks, ranked play, replays, spectating and the Campaign." That seems pretty exhaustive, and only a few gameplay modes won't be available.
I'll be interested to see how Valve is attempting to change up Artifact. Personally, I quite enjoyed it, but it seems as though the messaging was very wrong. Whether it can be salvaged remains to be seen, however, especially with another MOBA-inspired card game - Legends of Runeterra - seeming to succeed where Dota couldn't.