Almost any PC gamer has a Steam account, and probably dozens of games with it.
However, not many users seem to bother building up their profile and leveling it.
I don’t know whether it’s because of people not caring about it or not knowing how, but I’m aiming at both audiences with this guide.
To the first, I want to show you that a personalized Steam profile is awesome to have and fun to build.
To the second, I will take you step by step on everything you need to know.
Without further ado:
Table of Contents
To check the basics on your profile, the first thing you do is hover over your profile name on Steam’s menu up on the left, and then click “Profile”.
There, you will see your profile overview, as seen by other players who visit.
On the top, there is a block that contains your profile image, your username and any personal information you may add (location, real name, a brief description).
On the far left of that block, you will see your level and featured badge (if you have any). There is also the option to edit your profile just below.
As you move down, you will see your showcase(s) (don’t worry if it’s empty, we’ll get to that later.
To the left and below the level and featured badge, there are links to all your badges collection, your owned games, your inventory, screenshots, videos, workshop items, reviews, guides and finally, artworks.
Each of these categories will be filled as you get more into it.
The important thing to know here is your showcase(s). You might not have one, and even if you do, you may notice that others have many more.
The general rule is that you can have 1 showcase for every 10 Steam levels.
To level up, you need to gain experience.
You can only get experience with badges.
Steam offers quite a lot of badges and therefore experience, as well as the badge you get for owning more and more games and the one that renews every year on the anniversary of your account’s creation.
I guess you can go the free route and just gain experience just by buying games and being active in various events.
However, the main way to gain experience is by crafting badges. You can craft badges for any game you own that has Steam Trading Cards (you can check that in the game’s Steam page).
Most Steam games have a certain amount of cards that can drop (usually half the number of the set rounded either up or down). The rest you can buy or trade.
There will be a more comprehensive trading section in a while, but let’s focus on the badges for now.
Should you gain the full set for any given game, you can craft its badge. The badge will give 100 XP, as well as a random emoticon and background from the game’s pool. There is also a chance to gain a random sale on a random game (but don’t get your hopes up for this, you won’t get anything popular or outright good).
Every badge can be leveled up to 5 times, each time having a new appearance. Each game with trading cards also has a foil badge.
A foil badge only has 1 level and is essentially a more fancy badge. To get it you must have a full set of foil cards. You can also get these by trading or buying them, but you cannot get them from regular drops.
You can also randomly get a foil card from a booster pack, but again, more on that later.
Badges can be used to
You can check any game’s badges, foil badge, cards, emoticons, and backgrounds, as well as prices for each on this website.
If you want to level up, mastering the art of trading is a must. But gem crafting is another thing you must keep in mind.
Let’s start with trading now, shall we?
By going to your badges page, through the link in your profile mentioned earlier, you will see a list of all your badges.
You can also see above your level and the required experience to level up.
There are also links to your booster pack eligibility and the booster pack creator but we’ll ignore these for now.
For every badge you have, you can see some of the cards you have, how many card drops you have remaining for that game (you get card drops by playing), and if you unlocked it, you can see when you did it.
By clicking on any one badge you can see more details on which cards you have and which you are missing.
Lower on the page, you can see a prompt to buy every remaining card on the market, something I recommend if you can spare the money, or make it by selling from your inventory.
Lower, for every card you are missing, you can check the market for it individually, or visit the trade forum.
The trade forum is an excellent way to gain missing cards, provided you have some duplicates. However, as you’ll see, there are many people who offer to trade 2 random of your cards for one of theirs.
If you really want that badge, I guess it’s worth it.
Anyway, when I first got into a trade forum, I was overwhelmed. I saw all the post titles and I couldn’t figure out their language for the life of me.
Luckily, I’m here to explain it to anyone who feels the same:
Let’s get the basics out first. [H] means [H]ave, which means that [H] is the cards someone who starts a discussion owns.
When someone says [H] 1, it means they own and want to give the first card of the set.
[W] means [W]ant, which is practically the user’s demands.
In the above-circled example, [W] 1:2 or offers means that he’s willing to give his 4th, 8th, 10th or 14th card of the set for any 2 random of your cards (hence the 1:2), or offers, which means, if you offer him something that is expensive or rare or one of your foil cards, he will consider it.
Of course, by going into the discussion, he’ll probably give further explanation for the offers part.
This second example is much more simple.
He has a spare copy of card number 10 and is willing to give it for any of the mentioned cards in his title (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13).
You might notice some closed discussions. That means that the users that created these discussions had their wishes fulfilled.
Again by hovering on your name, or through your profile, you can access your inventory.
This will display your owned items. We are interested in your Steam items only, not anything you might have from other games.
For every Steam Card, background and emoticons, you can see its price in gems, in the market, and how many were sold during a small period till today.
Sometimes, you might want to sell some of your belonging to buy a game, more cards, or just plainly don’t want it.
However, don’t get too excited about the prices.
You see, when a card costs, for example, 0.07€ (like the above), you put that into the Buyer pays box, and with taxes, you will gain less (0.05€ to be specific).
You can put more or less, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both practices.
If you put less, you guarantee your item to be on top of the list, thus selling faster. This is especially good if the item you’re selling isn’t very popular, and doesn’t sell well. Obviously the negative is the less money you get.
Contrariwise, selling a popular item higher means that you might not sell immediately, but as soon as all the items that are listed with a lower price are sold out, you will sell. The negative is the waiting time.
(All of the above apply when buying as well.)
Now to the important part:
As I mentioned quite often, many items can be turned into Gems. But what are they actually?
Years ago, the gems could be used for various purposes. Now, their only use is badge crafting.
The gems can be used to craft booster packs. All you need to do is go to the Booster Pack creator accessed from your badge page.
Notice different booster packs have different gem costs. Some are more efficient and some just aren’t.
A booster pack gives you 3 random cards from its game. If you’re really lucky, you might get a foil. Nevertheless, it’s your best chance of finishing a badge without needing to buy any cards.
If you get duplicates, you can just trade them with other users.
There is one very important thing to know here.
A pouch of 1000 gems can be found and bought in the community market. They cost about 0.30€ but that fluctuates.
However, it’s a good average to keep in mind. If so, that means that 100 gems cost 0.03€, and 0.01€ gives you about 33 gems. You should keep these values for reference before you buy anything.
If you do want to go the efficient route (booster packs for card selling) I suggest using this site. You can see which of your eligible booster packs is the most efficient to make if you want to sell all the cards.
Finally, something about their drop rate (yes… booster packs can drop randomly). You are eligible for a booster pack drop only after you’ve collected all the free card drops.
Booster packs drop randomly to players when other players craft badges for that game. Of course, there is a bad luck barrier, so each game does get a booster pack drop even if no one is crafting badges.
The point here is, that every 10 levels on your account boost your chance of getting a booster pack by 10%!
The bonus is multiplicative though and not additive. That means that if your base chance is 10% and you are level 10-19, you have 11% of getting it (10 + (10% of 10)).
There is a trading practice I’ve learned while trading.
When you have spare cards (from events, or if you get a booster pack on a game that you have full badges on), while selling or turning in to gems is very good and typical, you can actually profit from them.
If these cards are from a game with an active community, you can actually do the 1:2 trade we saw earlier. Here’s the trick:
You ask for a 1:2 trade, 1 is yours from that set for 2 random cards of their choosing from their inventory. This way you can have 2 cards to sell or turn into gems, or even trade them both for a 1:2!
Just make sure to check the prices of the items given to you so you don’t actually lose money.
To sweeten the pot, you can instead ask for a 1:1 foil that they have or a 1:1 card + a number of gems (20 for example if your card is less than 20). This way you get surefire winnings. Stonks.
Also, if you make enough money to mass buy a badge, it’s not a bad idea, and you also get some refund back in the form of backgrounds and emoticons.
Don’t forget to edit your account and build your showcase. That’s the purpose of this guide after all!
I hope I clarified some things for you. Messing around with your Steam account can be rather fun and if you don’t lose yourself with buying all the badges and mass leveling, it’s a perfect way to spend your extra time between games or work.
If you have any question feel free to ask. I wish you all a happy profile building!
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