Valve has just announced Steam Trading Cards, a new Steam feature that allows participants to earn virtual cards by simply playing games on Steam. The beta begins today, of which 1000 invitations have been sent out. In order to join, you have to join the Steam Trading Card Group in the Steam Community, where invitations will be sent out in the order of people who have joined.
Okay, that's how you get into it, but what exactly is Steam Trading Cards? Basically, each game will have a set of cards. Half of each set can be unlocked through playing the game, but the other half is earned through what Valve calls, "collecting prowess." I guess that means trading with friends?
After you've collected a full set of cards for a game you can exchange them for a game badge. Badges are already implemented in Steam, though rare, and are shown in a player's profile. Unlike current badges, however, unlocking a game badge will earn various things like: emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons. Then you can collect the set of cards again to "level up" your badge and earn more items. Goodness gracious, this is pure insanity.
All badges now have an associated XP which will contribute to your Steam Level -- a summary of your badge collection. Basically, a way to compare and measure our e-egos. Leveling up also unlocks non-tradable items like: profile showcases, extra friends list slots, and more.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, hats are not a convertible currency for Steam Trading Cards.
Here's the current list of participating games in the Steam Trading Card beta:
- Team Fortress 2
- Dota 2
- Portal 2
- Half-Life 2
- Don't Starve
With many more supposed to come.
Don't wait, go join the Steam Trading Card Group and hopefully get a beta invitation as soon as possible. That way we can figure out this insanity together. For instance, will these cards, badges and rewards be worth investing time into, or just a fun thing to participate in passively? Much to learn, much to discover. Another brilliant move by Valve.