Artifact properties are significantly altered, a large number of artifacts that previously had mainly beneficial qualities have been changed to have more drastic negative side effects with use. Many artifacts are also deliberately designed to not be even counters to other artifacts.
Use of artifacts now requires a judicious sense of weighing their risks against their rewards. Previously a large number of artifacts merely gave off radiation as an negative side effect, this has been altered but there are now other negative effects on stamina/hunger regeneration, health, and bleeding.
As a result, traveling around the Zone with artifacts equipped at all times is ill-advised, a number of artifacts react very harshly with anomalous Zones, exceptions being ones which explicitly protect the actor from those Zones. Many artifacts also alter the actor's metabolism, with prolonged use they require the player to consume more food to regenerate stamina. Other types of artifacts, namely several varieties which cure radiation poisoning may do so at the cost of draining the player's health and vitality. Requiring their use to be situational and out of combat.
There are also several types of artifacts which are highly radioactive, but provide various benefits against radiation, wounding, strikes, explosive shock, and possibly bullet wounds while vastly increasing carrying capacity. However their weight and requirement of suitable anti-radiation artifacts alone is one of the main drawbacks of using them. Most of these artifacts in particular are of the graviform type, and often require a higher tier detector to find. Another use of these artifacts is in combat, I am not certain about this, but in my tests they have appeared to reduce weapon damage to the player, meaning that when equipped they can provide a momentary advantage against small arms fire in lieu of armor.
Many of the traditional tiers and some of the previous roles of artifacts have been switched around.
I explicitly made the choice to move most of the anti-radiation artifacts into tiers 2 and 3, and corrected all of the untiered artifacts from the config files. The exception to this being Thorn, which is a tier 1 artifact that requires the basic detector. All other anti-radiation varieties often involve searching hazardous chemical fields or thermally active anomalies, and this is largely a balance decision in preparation for altering suit balance and anomaly field damage. It is no longer easy to walk near a springboard anomaly with a basic suit and detector and find an anti-radiation artifact and therefore not require expensive drugs or treatment.
A compromise I have made for the above, (if players choose to use it) was that I added Veles detector drops for dead Ecologists. This allows for players playing as bandits or monolith, or whatever faction in an antisocial manner to poach scientists for the ability to find a higher tier detector and then use them to find tier 3 artifacts as a viable alternative to merely relying on the probability game of searching stashes for them.
Additionally, all artifacts have had their prices altered, tier 1 artifacts had their prices decreased, tiers 2 and 3 have had their prices increase, this is especially so with anti-radiation artifacts, which are sought-after and valuable to stalkers.
As a general rule:
-Artifacts which reduce radiation either reduce health, bleeding, or reduce stamina
-Artifacts which reduce bleeding either reduce health, or stamina
-Artifacts which increase stamina do so temporarily while decreasing hunger and irradiating the actor
-Artifacts which regenerate health either reduce stamina, or irradiate the actor
-Artifacts which protect against anomalies are radioactive
-Artifacts which increase weight limit and/or protect from sources of damage or radiation are themselves radioactive.
-There are zero artifacts with only positive attributes