MoonduckTV is a talent agency for Dota 2 casters and personalities that have been heavily involved in the Artifact beta. During PAX West two of the studio members — Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner and Shannon "SUNSfan" Scotten — acted as casters and players on the official stream.
In the last episode of "What the DUCK?!" — the studios own podcast — SirActionSlacks, SUNSfan, Kevin "Purge" Godec, and Andrew "Zyori" Campbell gave their thoughts on the game, as they were all part of the closed beta. As to not break the NDA they were intentionally vague in the information they gave out but we still received their feelings about the game, something that can still be very valuable. The best quotes came from Purge and SUNSfan.
Purge seemed to be very impressed by the game design. He said that Artifact solved some of the issues he had with Blizzard's Hearthstone and card games in general:
I love the game design. I haven't played Hearthstone a lot[...] but the fact that it's only one lane meant that one turn they play a card that wipes your whole board and there's not a lot you can do about it. The fact that you have a hero on the board, [means] that somebody can deal with in ways that allows you to play cards... I feel like there's always ways to get around things.
The torch was then passed off to SUNSfan whose story was similar. He admitted to not actually having liked Hearthstone even though he "watched a shittonne of it." His take was a bit different than that of Purge as the lore was dragged him in, even though he's not big on lore normally:
I have been fucking obsessed with this game. I was mentally preparing myself, I said "I have to brainwash myself to like this game" cause I know it's gonna be good. I didn't have to do that at all. The Dota lore behind it [...] I don't care about lore normally but it really made me feel invested in the game.
The quartet also discussed the drama surrounding SEA Dota caster Treephob "Xyclopz" Tiangtrong who, back in July, released a lot of information regarding the game, which resulted in him being removed from the closed beta. SUNSfan says he doesn't believe it was a mistake from Xyclopz as "it was made very very clear" that there was an NDA.
While PAX mostly displayed the gameplay it seems like spectators missed out on other features such as the lore. The semi-open beta is drawing closer and closer — Valve said they plan to release it in October — and it seems like Valve has really nailed it with Artifact. It has the depth to impress someone like Purge — who has made a name for himself by analyzing Dota 2 patches for 8 hours straight — as well as SUNSfan — someone who often turns to humor rather than deep analysis.