Steam’s latest mega-sale has just about reached its conclusion, and for the most part, it’s been standard fare – but that doesn’t mean nothing notable has come out of it. Back when the sale launched, I noted that a special holiday badge could be constructed, something we first saw during the sale last summer. What I didn’t realize at the time is that this badge could be crafted over, and over, and over again.
As Valve gave no listed limit on the level, it seemed that a lot of people would wind up with level 10s, or perhaps even level 50s. The thing to bear in mind here is that while these badges could be crafted by a single user without spending anything, those cards would have to come from voting, which means at best you’d be able to complete two (that requires never missing a vote). At about $0.15 per card, crafting just one level’s worth would cost about $1.50.
Despite that, one Steam user, PalmDesert, has reached level 1,000 – that’s at least $1,500 spent on cards. As hard as it is to believe, that’s not even the worst of it. The same user has a level 100 foil version as well. Those cards have gone for an average of $2 a pop, which means each set would cost about $20 – so, that’s $2,000 to reach level 100.
That’s at least $3,500 spent on nothing more than e-peen enhancement, and this is definitely the kind of thing Valve anticipated. While PalmDesert is a unique case, I’ve even seen people on my own friend’s list with badges crafted into the dozens.
In the article “Steam Cards: How Do They Work?” I wrote this past summer, I said:
After the recent Steam sale, I had wondered if Valve had foreseen this sort of dedication from gamers, but then I realized something: once level 100 is reached, the circle around the level becomes a hexagon. Of course Valve expected this. Reaching high levels cannot be done without spending money, and some of these gamers are spending a lot of it.
Interestingly, I mentioned PalmDesert in that very article, as he was the first person on Steam to reach level 150. Today, he sits at level 260, after having gone a couple of months allowing himself to be out-leveled by a couple of people on his friend’s list. Now, he leaves them in the dust.
According to Steam Card Exchange, the base badge was programmed to support up to at least level 2,000, whereas it seems level 100 was the max supported on the foil side – at least with regards to its graphics (I’d imagine it could still be leveled beyond 100).
There’s really not too much to say here that’s not blatantly obvious, so I’ll leave it at that. All of this is the reason I decided to not craft a holiday badge, though, because when Valve encourages you to build a badge indefinitely, which requires you to fork over more and more cash… no thanks. I’d rather use that money on games.
Update (4:30PM EST): It appears that PalmDesert isn’t the holder of the highest-level Snow Globe badge. Instead, that title belongs to bUm805, who at the current time has achieved a level 2013 badge – really. PalmDesert still holds the title for highest-level foil badge. Cheers to Redditor Sukasa for pointing this out.