Steam is the world’s largest digital video game distribution platform, allowing users to create and customize a profile, as well as showcase their overall progress through achievements, badges, and other various decorations.
There are multiple ways to level up on Steam, so users often ponder over the most efficient method to achieve the most progress in the shortest time span.
If you’re wondering the same, you’ve come to the right place, as this guide explains Steam’s leveling system in detail and includes methods that will help you level up your Steam profile easily.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
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The Ideology Behind Leveling Up On Steam
Every gamer loves to level up, even when the only benefit of doing so is showcasing your progress for the rest of the gaming community to see. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing the numbers indicating your progress go up.
Luckily, Steam made this possible even outside of games by creating a level-up system for the users’ profiles with a lot of additional functionality behind it, providing plenty of reason to dedicate some time to raise your level.
If you enjoy customizing your profile down to the last pixel and earning functional rewards for doing so, increasing the number in the top right corner will likely be one of your main goals throughout this process.
If you think you might be alone in caring about profile aesthetics or want to know how serious some gamers are about this, check out this popular Steam Artwork Profiles community group, where competitions are held every week.
Now that you know more about the ideology of leveling up on Steam, let’s look at some of the options regarding the actual process.
How Do You Level Up On Steam?
Some of the more popular and efficient methods used to gain experience on Steam include:
- Crafting and upgrading badges using trading cards
- Participating in events, such as Steam’s Summer and Winter sales
- Purchasing games from the store
- Being the owner of your Steam account for a long time (“Years of service” badge)
You can find detailed explanations and step-by-step tutorials for each of these methods in the following sections below.
Alternatively, you could pay for a Steam level-up service if you want things done quickly, but we won’t be discussing that in this guide as most users prefer going on this exciting journey by themselves and without making this very expensive.
After all, showcasing your Steam account progress feels much better when you’ve earned it in true gamer fashion.
Let’s get started!
What Are Steam Levels, And Why Should I Level Up?
By leveling up your Steam profile, you unlock so-called “Featured Boxes”, which you can then utilize to display specific things on your profile.
Using these sections, you can showcase your favorite video game and your time spent playing it, your primary and favorite Steam group, hard-earned achievements, rare in-game items (cosmetics) of high monetary value, and more.
If you have a lot of Steam buddies, or you have the habit of adding fellow gamers to your friend list often, you will be happy to hear that Steam grants five additional friend list slots for each level.
To some Steam users, this is the main “motivating” factor to level up their profiles. Who said gamers aren’t social?
When your Steam profile reaches a high level, like the profiles on this Steam user leaderboard list, you’ll have all the additional sections unlocked, meaning a lot of creative freedom to display anything you want on your profile.
Take a look at the image examples below showcasing how the user in question displays their game collection and favorite achievements earned from excelling at those games.
But that’s not all. By leveling up, you also receive numerous shiny badges which look very impressive and are considered to be the ultimate show of progress amongst gamers on Steam.
Due to Steam allowing users to showcase only one main badge on their profiles, it’s often difficult to choose between a good-looking badge or one that helps boast a hard-to-obtain achievement.
Hint: You can switch between badges at any time.
This could be the badge for being a Steam member for more than ten years or a designated game collector with more than a few thousand games in your library.
Either way, badges are awesome and absolutely crucial for the whole Steam level-up journey, so in the following section, we’ll show you how to get your hands on them.
Level Up By Crafting Badges
If you are relatively new to Steam, you might wonder what Steam badges are and whether it’s worth collecting them.
Below is a quick and simple explanation that should give you a good idea of why badges are so sought-after amongst members of Steam’s passionate community.
Badges can be crafted by combining multiple trading cards into the basic, level-one version. You can earn the required trading cards by playing games but also by purchasing them on the Steam Community Market or trading duplicates with other Steam users.
Duplicate trading cards can also be used to re-craft a badge you already have, upgrading it to a higher level and changing its appearance.
Although most users prefer having their badges “maxed out” and at level five, some decide to keep a particular badge at a specific level because they prefer that design more than the one featured in the highest level version.
When the time comes to obtain your first badge, consider visiting Steam Card Exchange – a website where you can see what the badges for each game look like before spending time and funds crafting.
It’s also worth noting that for most games, there are both regular and foil badges available for crafting.
The differences between these two types of badges are mainly in the looks and the fact that foil badges require “special” foil cards to craft.
Also, foil badges have only one level. They cannot be upgraded and leveled up like regular badges, and they usually cost much more than regular ones, making them an inefficient choice for those looking to level up in the most wallet-friendly way.
As mentioned previously, you earn trading cards by playing games. This means they are effectively gained “for free” as you play. However, some great-looking badges can only be earned from games with high price tags.
Recently-released, triple-A games on Steam usually cost about $60, which could be a major financial setback for an aspiring badge collector.
Playing free games for trading cards is another viable option, but some Steam users believe displaying an easily-obtained badge on their profile is just not satisfying enough.
So, what’s the solution for this?
It’s possible to obtain trading cards for a game you do not own in your library. You can do this via the Steam Community Market, where users who have the game and received the card drops are now listing them for sale.
If you want a foil badge, you need to search for the foil versions of trading cards, which are often a lot more expensive. A foil badge awards 100 experience points and will cost three or four times more than crafting regular badges.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck when leveling your profile, it’s best to avoid foil badges altogether.
It is also a good idea to learn how to trade cards rather than purchase them. There are many ways to accomplish this, but we recommend the Steam Trading Cards community group as the best starting point.
Reminder: Badges come in five different “basic” versions and one foil version. Each level of the badge showcases one version, meaning the design also changes upon upgrading it, and foil badges cost more and cannot be upgraded, meaning you can’t change their design.
If, for example, you want to display the third-level version of the badge on your profile, you’ll need to acquire each trading card from that badge’s set three times. If you want the fifth-level version, acquire each card from the set five times, etc.
Once again, you can use Steam Card Exchange to see what different versions of a badge look like before investing funds and time into crafting it. This is really useful to get an idea of what will match your profile design the best.
Now it’s time to craft a badge!
To craft a badge, begin by acquiring the five required trading cards. You’ll need some funds in your Steam wallet if you plan to purchase the cards from the market.
Once you’re done shopping, head to the crafting section, which you can open by hovering over your username on Steam and clicking Badges from the list of options.
The badges ready for crafting will be displayed at the top of the list before the others. Simply click the “ready” button to proceed.
You will be greeted with one last confirmation screen.
And you’re done!
You now have the basic version of the badge and a few extra rewards you get each time you craft something on Steam. If you want to improve the badge and have the necessary “ingredients” to do so, feel free to repeat the process.
However, there’s something important to keep in mind when upgrading badges.
If you level up a badge, you can no longer display the previous versions of it on your profile. Keep this in mind if you really like what a badge looks like at a specific level because once you upgrade it, you cannot go back to the previous version anymore.
To pin the brand-new, freshly-crafted badge on your profile, click the Edit my Profile button on the post-crafting screen, as seen in the image above. Otherwise, feel free to continue shopping and crafting more badges.
Keep up the pace, and your Steam level will rise quickly.
Some Badges Can Be Earned Without Crafting
For anyone looking to level up their profile on a budget, there are a few options to consider.
Firstly, there is the “The Game Collector” badge, which is upgraded by adding games to your library, and awards experience points each time you level it up.
You don’t need to purchase games to level up this badge; you only need to have more titles in your library, including free games.
However, if you want to level up this badge to its highest level, which requires having more than 28.000 games in your library, you’ll need to invest some money as there aren’t enough free games on Steam.
In addition, some free games count towards this badge’s progress, and others don’t. There hasn’t been an official answer yet on why this happens.
The first level of the badge is called “One-Stop Shopper.” It requires you to have just one game in your Steam library. You’ll see many Steam users showcasing this badge on their profiles, as it’s really easy to get.
If you want to see what the rest of the levels look like, and decide whether or not you want to invest in the badge, take a look at this guide.
A cost-efficient way to level up this badge is by purchasing game bundles. To maximize quantity (as the badge favors that), Steam users often purchase older games due to their lower price, which makes buying in bulk much cheaper.
You can do this and donate money to charity simultaneously by purchasing game bundles from The Humble Bundle Store, which is already a known “tactic” amongst the Steam community.
Finally, we have the “Community Leader” badge, which you can quite easily obtain and level up by performing simple actions on Steam.
This includes reviewing a game and a few other tasks you can find in this thorough guide dedicated to the Steam community badge(s).
Being rewarded with profile XP and brand-new, shiny badges for your Steam profile feels great, especially when it’s free, so use the opportunity to get a headstart in your leveling journey!
Level Up By Being Active During Seasonal Events & Sales
Besides crafting badges, there are other ways to earn free Steam profile XP every once in a while.
Steam occasionally hosts special events where you can purchase games at discounted prices, as well as complete specific XP-yielding tasks for free.
The two most well-known events, hosted annually, are the Steam Summer and Steam Winter sales. However, there are also other “irregular” events.
During seasonal events, users often have an opportunity to earn exclusive or limited Steam badges. If you want to level up your Steam profile, it’s important to be active on the platform during these periods.
Steam sales and events often feature puzzles, missions, and other interesting community tasks and challenges that you can complete to earn exclusive, time-locked rewards, which are very valuable to a dedicated Steam collector.
Leveling up your Steam profile is an enjoyable activity, and participating in it allows you to showcase your achievements and creativity to fellow Steam friends.
Luckily, you now know how to begin this satisfying and often expensive journey, so put the knowledge to good use and decorate your Steam profile the way you want it to be.