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I'm fine with not getting combat artifacts right off the bat(Or possibly ever), personally. While I enjoy combat in IRE games, I always felt... Practically obligated to buy combat oriented artifacts before I got the ones I actually wanted, which tended to be utility or the like. You know, a custom pet, and various other customization stuff for looking fancy, the cameo of the changling, and stuff to get all the racial emotes, and just other stuff that is fun, but doesn't really have a combat application. The things like that are why I'm a bit disappointed that we, from my understanding, can't make use of retirement credits right at launch. I would gladly spend my retirement credits on a cusom cyborgpuppy, and all sorts of more RP-oriented artifacts.
I can -somewhat- understand the leadership points on holding off on retirement credits. I think we're going to have a slew of fresh mud-blood (teehee) and if they're coming in to the game where a bunch of people have every artie they can imagine it could come off as intimidating. This is a silly reason IMO because lots of arties doesn't make me a jerk. This is all speculation from me anyway, maybe it's a technical limitation or effort oriented.