If the monetization is exactly what we think it is then I am not sure if artifact is going to be a hit. Obviously the game can go on for years given who is running it.
What surprises me is that there has been no mention of cosmetics. Cosmetics you are rewarded as you play would be something that lower skilled players could sell on the marketplace. Right now the average person is not going to go all in on artifact. Yes people from hex can understand the game, but we are definitely not the average CCG gamer.
This is a good point and I think every big gaming franchise can have its own CCG if they take the same approach that Blizzard did in that they made it VERY simple to get into for a non TCG gamer (but ofc still with plenty of depth) and they made the card game actually play like the game it's based after. When you cast a bliizard or pyroblast or play some legendary creature, you almost forget for a second that you're playing a card game.I mean, Blizzard has turned non-card gamer Blizzard Cultists into card gamer(or "card gamer", if you don't think anyone who plays HS only deserve to be called one).
If you have those two things down then it's a no brainer to make a CCG as 1) it gives them something to play on their phones when they're not playing your core game, 2) it's an evergreen genre so it will stay relevant for a long time regardless of technology/graphics upgrades, 3) it's insanely monetizable, and 4) it even serves to make your core franchise even more 'sticky' as the characters within the game each get uniquely featured.
I don't know if Artifact achieved this with their game as I don't play DOTA or MOBAs in general. But the business model still doesn't make sense to me especially when you consider DOTA's model which is completely the opposite. I think it would have made much more sense to try to at least attract your existing players first and foremost instead of trying to cater some unknown hardcore TCG players which might or might not care about your game.
I do agree that making a CCG for it is like an easy and safe business decision. But Valve can be daring at times and they have the money to try so, and they did. Even if Artifact fails, they still have plenty of incomes from other games and the Steam platform.
Your third paragraph also makes perfect sense, but since I am an ex-DotA player who appreciate the model they are using, I guess I am thankful they are not making sense here, especially more so when the DotA community can be toxic as hell. You can do a random google search and find plenty of people suggest that DotA is more fun when you just silence all chats because players there can be super a-holeish. Like people always say LoL community is toxic but my experience is that DotA community is worst.