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Steam Trading Cards - An Introduction

Some individuals love the new Steam trading cards, others despise them. The rest of the gamers that make up the Steam community haven't got the foggiest idea what they are and how they work. Because of this, we bring to you: Steam Trading Cards - An Introduction.

Trading Cards

The theory behind the trading cards is pretty simple, but in practice they're slightly more confusing. There is a list of games that currently allow gamers to collect cards for with more being added frequently. To obtain said cards, all you have to do is play said game. Simple.

Currently, the cards are obtained on a 'time in game' basis (other than free to play games). If you play the game for a certain amount of time, you will earn a card for that game. This is a basic system and Valve wanted to link the cards into achievements for games instead but this didn't work out in the end. For free to play games, the amount of cards you can collect depends on how much you have spent in that game. Each card drop is equal to around $9.

So, you can leave your game on for hours at a time and horde all of the cards for that game, right? Wrong. For each game, you can only collect about half of the amount of cards available for that game by playing it. For instance, there are nine cards that drop for Guns of Icarus Online. You can obtain five of these cards by playing the game. Once you have obtained these five cards, you will no longer be able to obtain any cards for this game at all.

Trading Cards

You can then trade with other community users to get hold of the remaining cards. Along with trading, you can purchase (and sell) your cards on the Steam community marketplace. So, I now have all nine cards for Guns of Icarus Online, is that it? No. You can now craft these nine cards into a badge. Crafting this badge will give you six things: a random background for your Steam profile, a random emoticon to use in Steam chat, experience points which help to level up your Steam profile level (more on that later), a coupon for money off a game (sometimes), the badge itself and mad respect amongst your peers*.

This badge can now be displayed in all its glory on your profile but you're not finished yet. You can then collect the cards again, but not through playing the game. Once you have collected your five out of nine cards, you still can't get them again. You can, however, trade with the community members to re-obtain the nine cards and craft another badge. This will then level up your current badge and reward you with more experience points, for instance, you will go from an 'Iron Medal' to 'Copper Medal'. You can continue to do this for about five levels.

Seems pretty simple so far: collect cards, craft badges, get rewards. Well, there are also foil cards and badges. These are rare drops whilst playing a game so instead of receiving a normal card, you receive a foil (or 'shiny' for you Pokémon fans) card. This card does nothing extra, it's just rarer. You can then collect the set of foil cards to craft a foil badge. Again, this does nothing extra, it's just a less common badge to collect.

Trading Cards

You've now completed a game's set of cards, want more but don't have anybody to trade with. Fret not as there are also booster packs. Booster packs are randomly sent out to players every hour (how many per hour is yet to be known) to eligible users. To be eligible you must have logged into Steam in the past week and have collected all your drops for that set of trading cards. Each booster pack contains three cards for a specific game and can contain both foils and normal cards. Booster packs are completely random however, you can increase your chances of getting one by leveling up your Steam profile.

The level on your Steam profile is increased via experience points which were previously explained. Leveling up allows you to do two things: boast about your level and customise your profile. You can add in a custom panel to your profile such as your favorite games, what you're currently trading, your steamwork shop items etc. You also unlock more panels and panel spaces as you level up.

To recap:

  • You can collect cards for games but only half the amount you need to craft a badge.
  • You can then trade cards to craft your badge. You can recollect the cards to upgrade the badge.
  • There are foil cards and badges which are rarer.
  • Booster packs are randomly sent out to players.
  • All of this culminates into the customisation of your profile and shows other users how much you have invested into your profile.

Trading Cards

We hope that this has helped those of you who were having trouble understanding what Steam trading cards were and why they exist. If you have anymore questions about trading cards, please let us know in the comments.

*Please note: mad respect varies from peer to peer and is not guaranteed.

Kaostic | 12th July, 2013
Hairy's picture
TL; But did read.

HOLY.
FUCK.

That is all.
Kaostic's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hairy View Post
TL; But did read.

HOLY.
FUCK.

That is all.
Haha :P
Beanz's picture
So many duplicates and not a single booster pack so far
Kaostic's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanz View Post
So many duplicates and not a single booster pack so far
Yeah I've yet to get a booster pack either. Some people are saying they're getting tons.
Apparently, the only criteria is to be eligible (collected all of your cards) and have logged into steam in the past week.
Cronos's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaostic View Post
Apparently, the only criteria is to be eligible (collected all of your cards) and have logged into steam in the past week.
Yeah, as long as you've had all your drops for any give game you could get a booster.

I've had two so far but they only had crappy standard cards in them.
Kaostic's picture
IIRC, there's like, a 1% chance (or less) of getting a foil, regardless of whether it's a booster pack or not.
Sikopathic's picture
I Managed to get a Foil Reus Summer Getaway Card (which was totally useless to me). I also Managed to get a Super Meat boy Booster whcih I was quite pleased about

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