What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “level up”? It’s safe to say that most people would happily exclaim “Video games!” Then, the gamer might describe the process of moving up a level in their favorite games or possibly other skills they’re working on. You may or may not think of Steam in particular with regard to “leveling up.”
When you ‘level up’ it can fill you with a sense of accomplishment. You’ve reached that coveted next level and achieved a bit of personal satisfaction. Steam has attempted to replicate this effect by adding levels to their gaming library platform. These levels can grant you perks and prestige for every attained milestone that you achieve in Steam.
A list of what you can earn through Steam leveling include the following:
- Increased Friends List – Your Steam friends list is set to 250 slots by default. With every Steam level earned, this number increases by 5 additional slots. So far there is no confirmed maximum to this list.
- Additional Steam Showcase Slots – A showcase will display various milestones for which you feel most proud. They are shown near the top of your profile and can be chosen from a list of milestones you’ve accomplished.
You unlock 1 additional showcase slot for every 10 levels acquired. This does not affect the number of slots visible, but rather additional types you’re able to display. There are a total of 16 different showcase types to choose from and you can set them in any way that you’d like.
- Increased Booster Pack Chances – Once you reach level 10 on your Steam profile, booster packs will become available with a 20% chance to earn one. This means you’re eligible to receive a booster pack containing 3 random cards from the set of a game you play once all possible cards have been earned for that game.
Every 10 levels will double your chances to receive a booster pack. Booster packs are randomly awarded to eligible users every time a member of the Steam community crafts a badge.
How do you even level on Steam?
Perhaps you’ve purchased so many games over the years and it’s barely registered a dent in your score.
Every Steam user has a level but most are uncertain as to what steps are needed in order to gain more. With higher levels granting each user bonuses, it may be time that you were in the know on how Steam leveling up actually works.
Leveling Up Your Steam Profile
If you want to level up your Steam profile quickly, we should start with the basics of experience (XP) acquisition.
What you should know before you begin this process:
- Badges award the most XP so you’ll want to craft as many as possible. Each one can be leveled up four times and will net you 100 XP apiece.
- You can craft Badges via the trading cards that you acquire from the games you play most on Steam.
- You can only collect a half-set of trading cards from playing any one game. To collect the remaining portion of that game’s set, you’ll need to either trade for or purchase them on the Steam marketplace.
- To reiterate on booster packs; after crafting a game’s badge, depending on your current Steam level, you may receive a booster pack. This booster pack will contain three random cards. Every 10 levels you attain will grant you a 20% increase in the drop rate of a booster pack.
Now that the basics are out of the way, we can get into the nitty gritty of it all. Firstly, you need not purchase nor play any games on Steam to craft a game’s badge.
This may come as a shock to some but it’s true. You can trade for or purchase the necessary cards off of the Steam marketplace instead.
That’s right. To level up quickly on a gaming platform, you don’t even need to buy or play games. You don’t have to spend money in order to level up. What a peculiar setup.
Regardless, if you don’t know which cards to buy or trade for, you won’t get very far in your leveling up endeavors. Knowledge of how Steam works is the key to making progress.
Using Steam Tools
To get things rolling on badge creation and the following XP storm, you should first take a look at Steam Tools . Here you can find a list of card sets for sale.
The list displays the name of the set, the average price on the Steam marketplace, the discount amount, and when it was posted. You can use the many filters to find the cheapest sets and hide those that you’ve already crafted.
By using Steam Tools you can save ample amounts of time with the whole process as opposed to purchases being made directly on Steam.
Steam Tools also has a nifty little feature that will help put the cost of the whole leveling process into perspective. The level-cost calculator will provide an approximation for how much you’ll need to spend on card purchases to reach the desired level.
Though quite useful, it doesn’t take into account the amount of XP you can or have earned through non-card badges or Steam sales (more on these later).
The Steam Subscriber Agreement  dictates “You may not use cheats, automation software (bots), mods, hacks, or any unauthorized third-party software, to modify or automate any Subscription Marketplace process.” However, if you feel the reward is worth the risk, you can check out Steam Card Exchange .
The site has an automated Trading Bot that will help trade all of your duplicate cards for other cards that you actually need.
Again, if you’re unabashed by the possibility of getting caught using automation software, Reddit has an option for you as well.
You can head on over to Steam Trading Cards community  and take a look at what they have to offer. I suggest looking into the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) or Team Fortress 2 (TF2) options.
- You can purchase a tradeable key by heading to OPSkins  and nabbing one for around $2.
- Then, locate an offer on the Steam Trading Cards Reddit that has either a 20:1 for CS:GO or 16:1 for TF2. This indicates that they are willing to provide you 20 (or 16) sets of cards for 1 tradeable key.
- Add the bot listed to your friends’ list on Steam.
- Open a chat between yourself and the bot, and type in !check. This will let you know if the sets promised on the Reddit post are available at this time. If all looks well, type in !help. This will display a list of commands from which to choose.
- Locate the trade command and input it into the text field.
- The bot will commence with the trade and you should see the sets in your profile.
- From the Steam profile, click on Badges. You can begin crafting badges from the newly acquired sets.
You can repeat this process to accumulate a great deal of XP!
More Than Just XP
Crafting offers more than just XP. For every badge crafted you’ll receive three random items. These can be things like emoticons, profile backgrounds, among other things. You may feel that these hold no value and are better discarded and forgotten.
Not so fast. These particular items may not hold any appeal to you, but as they say, “one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure”.
These items can be sold on the Steam marketplace for a pretty decent penny depending on demand. Though, unless you’re creating badges from the most popular, more recent games, the items will likely only net you a few cents a piece.
But you can take the gains from what you’d already considered junk and reinvest it into additional badges. Anything not picked up on the marketplace can be broken down into gems from which you can create booster packs for additional cards. It can be a continuous cycle of XP if you work it right.
There are a few ways that you can earn badges without the need for cards sets. Earning the Game Collector badge is automatic once a certain number of games has been accumulated in your Steam library. This begins with your first purchase and continues to level as you add more games. For those of you who drop cash on games during the sales but still haven’t touched them, well, this is your reward.
The Pillar of Community badge can be crafted through a few remedial tasks done on Steam. Review a game or vote on a Greenlight project, and you may find this badge awarded to your profile. The badge can also be leveled up one additional time for more XP so it may be in your interest to participate. By heading to the Badges section of your Steam profile, you can find a list of all the tasks required.
Foils Are A Waste (Well, sort of a waste)
Foils are ‘pretty’ collector’s item versions of the standard Steam trading cards. However, if speedy leveling is your goal, then going after foils for badge creation is not in your best interest. At least, not if you’re crafting them yourself. As shiny and rare as they are, foil cards serve no direct purpose to swift leveling.
A badge crafted using a foil card will earn the same 100 XP as a badge crafted from non-foils. The kicker is that there are in fact plenty of collectors out there that are willing to pay handsomely for them.
Any foil you come across should be sold on the Steam marketplace as foils sell for much more than the regular versions. Any cash you receive through the sales of foil cards is best reinvested into multiple cheaper, regular cards. By using this method, you should be able to reach your leveling goals much faster, which is a lot better than leveling up slowly!
Capitalizing On Steam Sales
So you’ve collected a bunch of sets and are now ready to begin crafting. I mean, it’s the next most logical step, right? Technically yes, but you may want to hold off for a bit. Especially if one of the big Steam Summer or Winter sales is soon approaching.
The reason for this is that all badges crafted during these events will award you with bonus Steam event cards. These bonus cards can then be crafted into event-specific badges, each of which can be continuously leveled up during the sale’s period. That’s an endless amount of XP you can accumulate across a large stretch of time.
You can (and should) go all-in on leveling your profile as the best time to level is hands down during one of these events.
If you’re a gamer who enjoys learning more in order to get an edge and have more fun, you might want to check out these TechJunkie articles: The 55 Best Games on Steam – Summer 2019  as well as How To Speed Up Steam Downloads. 
Do you know of any tricks or tips for leveling up faster in Steam? If so, please tell us about them in the tips below!