Behind the Scenes: Artifacts

27 November 2023

Greetings, Adventurers!

The energies of Aeternum can be chaotic and unpredictable, as many of the island’s adventurers well know. But what is less understood is how those wild energies can he harnessed and focused into an item, granting benefits to those who possess them. Scholars and sages call these Artifacts, as many of the origins of these items is a mystery, even though they seem to have some connection to historical events.

While their creation methods are likely lost to time, their effects on those who take the time to bind to their power are very potent, seeming to change how weapons and magic work in subtle, but significant, ways. Thus, they are often sought after by adventurers across Aeternum who want augment their attacks or surprise their unsuspecting opponents.

Artifacts are the most powerful level of gear rarity. Originally introduced in the Rise of the Angry Earth Expansion, their distinct abilities redefine New World combat. Life Staffs are designed to excel solely at healing, but with the Vengeance Artifact, even a healer can take on a more offensive role. Other Artifacts counter popular builds. Learn how the Development Team brought some of the most desirable endgame loot to life with a glimpse into Artifact goals, design, and balance.


The goal of Artifacts is fun through engaging, alternative playstyles. This level of gear rarity is unique, so we want to throw a wrench into the current meta and make players feel overpowered without creating a major power imbalance. That means toning down “required” Artifacts while also improving underutilized or unenjoyable options. We greatly appreciate feedback on underpowered things. It is often harder to see what’s underpowered than overpowered.


Artifacts start as rough themes. We then prototype different ideas for Perks that fit those themes and either create a new strategy or counter one of the most effective tactics. After the Perk is finalized, the Artifact will undergo multiple rounds of testing. Many change during development because something doesn't feel right. Scorpion's Sting had a prototype version that pulled enemies in but if you were too close it pulled them really far behind you—over cliffs or any other nefarious place.


Not every Artifact is designed purely around power. We primarily focus on viability and versatility.

  • First we determine if an Artifact is heavily used because it is best in slot or because it is easy to obtain, like the Attuned Leather Pants.

  • Next, we use that data, plus player feedback, to gauge which Artifacts are more or less favorable.

  • Finally, we review item pairings and balance them universally. This helps us account for builds many consider overpowered without weakening less powerful combinations.

Moving forward we will prioritize Artifact counter buffs over nerfs, but sometimes nerfs will be necessary to keep combat fun.


Players often ask why only some Artifacts have trade-offs. We add higher values or unique functionality to make Artifacts feel even more satisfying. Trade-offs are designed to prevent those powerful traits from overwhelming the current meta.

For example, the Anhk Amulet’s incoming healing buff is so strong that we had to add a trade-off and make balance changes. There are additional tweaks coming in Eternal Frost that will make Anhk and Life Staff abilities no longer increase Lifesteal. Further adjustments are always a possibility based on the impact of those changes.

More freedom for effective Artifact builds encourages players to experiment outside of their preferred playstyle, ultimately creating a more balanced, enjoyable combat experience for every Adventurer. Thanks for your continued feedback and support! Let us know your favorite Artifact combinations. We’ll see you in Aeternum.