Huh: Steam Adds Trading Cards, Profile XP System

By Nathan Grayson on May 16th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

There is a line, I think, between metagame-y stuff and full-on gamification, and I’m beginning to worry that Valve might have crossed it. Admittedly, Steam sales have tasked players with accomplishing special goals to earn tangible rewards for ages, but now all of Steam is doing it. Today, Valve introduced the beta for Steam Trading Cards, which can be earned and crafted into badges. Why are badges important? Because this: “Unlike the current badges, crafting games badges earns you marketable items like emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons. Level up your badge by collecting the set again and earning more items.” Oh, you can level up now, too. Your whole profile. I guess it’s cool that we’re getting something of worth out of it, but remember when the point of gaming was, well, the games?

So base trading cards sound a lot like snazzier achievements, except with more of a community element. Here’s the skinny:

“Each participating game drops up to half the set of cards into your Steam inventory during gameplay. The other half of the card set can be collected from other community members. Try the beta group discussions, community market, barter with friends, and trade discussions.”

Badges, meanwhile, enter the picture once you’ve completed a card set, and they’ll pop, loot-pinata-like, into a glittering mess of emoticons, profile backgrounds, Steam level XP, and the chance to get a coupon for another game or pertinent DLC. All of that culminates in a level-up, which basically does nothing except make a number increase. Oh, also, it lets you add more friends to your friends list, which seems like kind of a not-great feature to arbitrarily limit.

So basically, Steam’s added super achievements. All well and good – especially since they actually hand out meaningful content for all your hard work play – but now the system permeates everything. I still need to spend some time with it, but it sounds like a giant numbers game, a rushing overflow of basic, depth-free RPG elements because every modern game ever couldn’t hold them all. LEVEL UP EVERYTHING YEAH. Why? Because you can. It’s there, and for some people, that’s irresistible. A game-changer.

As with all things that emerge from Valve’s time-immune future factory, I’m sure the trading card/badge system will undergo countless experiments and evolutions. Right now, it seems like a potentially problematic, worrisomely hollow shell, but I could see regular events breathing some life into it. Or maybe Valve will dream up something else entirely. This is only the beginning, but here’s hoping it ends up becoming a means to a much greater end.

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144 Comments »

  1. Poppis says:

    Oh god…

    • Koojav says:

      I know, right? … It’s AWESOME! :D

    • Contrafibularity says:

      It must be April fool’s in Valve time or something. If it’s not.. well, this is why I don’t social media. I would count all the hours of precious time of my life not spent on social mediating but that would just be unfair to rub in to those unfortunate souls who waste so much energy on being “in the loop” (far more compulsive and less interesting than it sounds) and making up their profile and status messages and masturbating to the magnificence of each other’s walls.

      But yeah it’s somewhere upwards of 10000 hours, at the very least. That’s more than 50 long games, a lot of films, some books, a few HBO boxsets and some sex thrown in for good measure. Just sayin’, it’s never too late to unplug your pre-frontal cortex and hippocampus from the Global Advertising Network. Or GAN9000 as I call it.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Yeah, look at all those idiots wasting away their time by talking with friends and family. What a bunch of losers!

        I had a friend who used to say the same thing. Over the last few years he increasingly became more and more of a hermit, more and more unpleasant to be around, and more and more of a smug and self-righteous twit. He used to constantly complain about people wasting time with their imaginary friends on Facebook. Yet, when his real friends would want to talk to him or hang out, he’d retreat away, smoke pot by himself and play Fallout, SimCity, or Elder Scrolls.

        No offense (so, prepare to be offended ;) ), but your comment reminds me of the vacuous and snide-laden statements of those that “don’t watch/own a TV.” I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “I learn more and am more informed than before I watched TV.” To which I can only think, “well, then you must have had a sourcing and/or impulse control problem, and ditching the TV isn’t going to fix that. You’re still going to find horrible sources on the internet or in papers, magazines, etc. and you’re still going to have impulses to engage in gossip instead of watching reality TV” Amazingly enough, I’ve learned tons of stuff from BookTV, C-SPAN, even more than I do via papers and magazines. Discovery is infinitely fascinating. Hell, I often learn more from watching The Daily Show than I do from from reading The Atlantic or The Economist.

        All of the criticism so often levied against social media is the exact same stuff people used to say about email. Before that, people said it about the telephone. Nowadays you also hear about cellphones and text messaging. I had to justify why I’d rather send one text message to 10 people than individually call them when a friend exuded about how much he hates text messages, how stupid they are, and how impersonal and insulting they were. To which I replied that I think he’s reading into it a bit too
        much.

        There is nothing wrong nor inherently bad about any of these things. They are all good, valuable tools, in their own right. The problem isn’t the medium, but the media. Sure, some people use Facebook as if it is an ARG of The Sims, hoarding imaginary friends. Most people I know use it to get in touch with old friends, let people know what they’ve been up to, invite and inform about events, parties, and social causes. I have a friend who routinely posts shelter animals that are about to be put down in hopes that someone will want to adopt them. What a stupid thing to do, right? Just because someone, or a subset of people, abuse the initial principle of text messaging and do long, conversational texts, that doesn’t invalidate the usefulness and potential benefits of the medium.

        • drvoke says:

          That sucks about your friend.

        • agoddamnedbear says:

          Yikes, sounds like your friend has some issues. I sure hope he has a good set of friends who won’t abandon him just because he got himself addicted to pot and video games, you need a good support group to get yourself out of those situations.

    • rb2610 says:

      Why ‘oh god’? While at first it seems like pointless madness, have you ever seen or heard of Raptr?

      It’s kinda like Xfire in that it tracks your hours and achievements in games (cross-platform as well) BUT, it has the added bonus of offering rewards to people who have increased their rank to a certain level in some games (levels being based on achievements and play-time).

      The great thing is that some of their rewards are actually really damn good, I’ve got an ACIII multiplayer DLC for free, and the Storm Legion Expansion for Rift plus a month of free game time, just for playing the games I already play, while having an extra client open.

      So if Steam manages to pull off something similar, that can only be a good thing, and if it really offends you that much, ignore it?

  2. finalfanatik says:

    Limiting your number of friends is probably second in the list of daft ideas, only behind limiting the number of games you can play….

    • LionsPhil says:

      Christ, I missed that.

      extra friends list slots

      The hell, Valve? Did you forget the part where the point of a friends system on your gaming platform is to say “hey, that friend of yours is having a lot of fun playing X, why don’t you buy it too, perhaps jump in for some co-op?”

      Edit: Apparently the current (technical) limit is a rather infeasably high 250, mind. As long as they go UP from that…

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        Not really sure how infeasible 250 is, since I’ve already got 113, and most of those were just people who added me; I never really went “hunting” for friends.

        Once your network is large enough and you hang out in regular places, people start adding you just because you’re friends with all their friends, and you seem like a nice enough person.

        On the other hand, I could probably trim that list down a bit if necessary.

      • Mctittles says:

        25 multiplayer games. 10 friends per game; Limit reached.

      • Premium User Badge

        Joga5000 says:

        Well, I suppose it depends on who your friends are. Most of my IRL friends are from my university’s PC gaming/LAN party club – I personally have 164 Steam friends (the vast majority of whom I know in real life), and most of them have at least 100+ Steam friends. I know several people who are at the current limit of 300 (250 base, plus an extra 50 if you link your Steam account to your Facebook account).

        If you’re in a clan or University gaming club or a heavy TF2 trader or a mild Youtube celebrity or just play games a lot, it can be pretty easy to hit the friend cap. It seems like an odd choice to arbitrarily limit the friend count of the people who are probably Valve’s most ardent supporters/people who spend gobs of money on games.

        • Reapy says:

          Am I weird that I only keep people on my friend list I talk to? I didn’t see enough filters for a big friend list, there are some I want as a contact and others I do want to see full notifications for, but I end up dropping the contacts as I don’t want a million notifications popping up as I game.

          • Premium User Badge

            Martel says:

            I’d say you’re not weird, I have like 8. If you’re not an actual friend you don’t make my list, but I’m a minimalist so maybe I’m leaning towards the other way.

          • Shuck says:

            No, my friend list is just actual friends/coworkers. I regularly get friend requests, however, from random strangers who, I assume, based on their profiles, want to trade TF2 items (a game I don’t even play). I find it rather annoying.

      • ChocolateWaffle says:

        Current Steam friend limit is 250, it can be increased to 300 if you link your facebook account. This limit is mostly to not overload the Steam servers by letting everyone have thousands of people. Increasing this cap via reward seems like a good choice, since those with the most friends will probably be the more hardcore Steam users, and those will probably be chasing these badges already in the first place.

        • C0llic says:

          Yeah, they aren’t going to reduce the number of freinds people are currently limited to. People are looking at this as a negative, when really it’s just valve letting you increase that limit if you level the account.

          There is always a limit to how big a freinds list can be on a service like steam, there has to be for practical reasons. The limit is pretty high and not of consequence to the majority of people.

          I can see it being a nice bonus for serious traders and other people who create content. Perhaps also for well-known people; youtubers, pro gamers, journalists and the like it could be something desirable as well, or for people who run or are heavily involved with large steam comunities.

          Really though, it’s probably just going to be power traders :)

        • jon_hill987 says:

          People have Facebook accounts? I thought everyone had realised it was just advertising and deleted them by now…

      • Grey Ganado says:

        If you have hit the friend limit it’s a lot easier to get your friend limit raised.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Artificial scarcity in a digital world. Not only that, but artificial scarcity on an artistic (possibly, could just be a card with stats, so not even artistic :P) artificially priced item. Oh my, they are going to make a killing off the gullible.

      • Mctittles says:

        I’m not a fan of some of these new features either, but to be fair artificial scarcity and random pricing have been in place long before the digital world.

        Why do I pay different prices for tissues; toilet paper; printing paper; cardboard; or even soda when they all cost nearly zero to make?

        Why is the price of a beer different depending on if you are in a run down bar or a fancy hotel?

        Pricing is all random and based more on perception in the purchase environment than any real data, as well as most things you buy in or out of digital have markups well beyond 100′s of percent.

    • sophof says:

      My mind boggled all over the place reading that…

    • randomgamer342 says:

      Are people forgetting the point where it’s ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS?

      Steam’s had the 250 friends limit for as long as i can remember, the badges don’t arbitrarily limit your friendlist, it increases the old maximum cap

      I don’t think people that don’t care will notice this that much, minus occasional levels and emoticons popping up in chats

    • Richeh says:

      In fairness, that isn’t quite what it says. It says extra friend slots. Imagine if you could have as many friends as you wanted, but you had a slot for a nemesis, a sidekick, and so on. That might be kind of neat, depending on implementation.

      • Jeeva says:

        To take that to the (clearly logical) CoH style conclusion: Sidekicking a friend to get a buddy for coop in a game for a few hours? (giving the other guy a 2-3h PSN style full-game demo for the game, for the purposes of getting immersed in the first third of the cooperative fun)

        Awesome. But won’t happen. But would be cool. I mean, if the game was large enough to take that kind of hit, they’d probably get some business from people wanting to finish delightful experiences. Hmm…

        My imagination makes me sad. =(

  3. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Err… Think I will just stick to using Steam to buy games.

    This is the kind of arbitrary grinding that bugs me in games. I don’t see any reason why I would want it outside of the games too.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      Some people really enjoy arbitrary “you’ve played this game this much” -achievements. My guess would be that they’ll enjoy them in a virtual game store just as much. I’ve got no idea why though.

      • davorschwarz says:

        Some people really enjoy arbitrary “you’ve played this game this much” — i did until my wife saw that too

      • Premium User Badge

        DeVadder says:

        When i play non-steam games, what i really miss the most is the little line under the games name in my library telling me how many hours i have spent in the game.
        I don’t know why, but i would really like to know how many hundreds of hours i have spent in SMITE.

        Oh and of course i would miss the possibility to redownload my games easily when i format my machine if not all games i play that are not on Steam were either Free2Play or Eve Online.

      • Shivoa says:

        The details unfortunately make this sound a lot less like more fun achievements with benefits and ‘push our cash store’ mechanism.

        The currently enabled games (Valve titles) all seem to have 8 trading cards. As you play the game you can get up to 4 (a random 4 for each player) of these trading cards via random drop. Once you do this then you are donesies and so obviously there a 4 other cards that will never drop for you but do for other people. Have Valve mentioned that you can use their real money (Steam walled) auction house/market to buy and sell these trading cards (with a cut for Valve) as well as finding someone to trade with and do a swap to get your full set of 8? Because that’s the bit where it gets rather iffy for me.

        I will probably see if I have friends (or even forum / website facilitated trades) to maybe complete at least one set of cards to craft them into a game badge (which can be done 5 times to upgrade the badge for the real achievement hunters who haven’t realised this is based on random drops and not achievements and even then locks you to not be capable of getting half the drops) but the system seems rather gross and a blatant push for people to use the real money market and trading system more. The latter being a fine thing to push for but the former being iffy (any legacy things like gift coupons etc in your inventory seem to be flagged as non-markettable so you can’t actually use it to sell your existing duplicate game vouchers, just TF2 hats and trading cards).

        Random drop + arbitrary restriction on what can drop for each user + rewards with discounts etc for using system = both kinda gross gamification to push their auxiliary facilities in Steam & people will try to game the system which could be rubbish if it drive spam/hack attempts to increase.

  4. Crosmando says:

    Kinda reminds me of the evolution of RPS

    1873 – A site for PC Gaming
    2013 – Feminist social-justice blog

    • dethtoll says:

      Your mother and I are very disappointed in you.

    • Chalky says:

      I get it, it’s funny in an ironic way because you’re posting this in response to the 14th consecutive article that has nothing to do with sexism, yeah?

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        you counted? lol

        • Chalky says:

          My RSS feed has the fantastic feature of being numbered already – although I appreciate your concern for the mental effort required to count all the way up to 14.

          • Grey Poupon says:

            14, isn’t that like 2 days? That’s not much, is it? I wish they’d have a separate section for all that epinion-stuff.

          • Premium User Badge

            DeVadder says:

            ’14, isn’t that like 2 days? That’s not much, is it? I wish they’d have a separate section for all that epinion-stuff.’
            So you have a problem with skipping an article you do not like every two days? Sounds easy enough to me.
            Tbh, i personally do even skip articles of games i do not care for like everything single player but you do not see me complaining.
            And before you tell me ‘But RPS was allways about Videogames’ i tell you: RPS was allways about opinions somehow related to videogames. And it still is. In fact, apart from trailers and announcements, EVERYTHING on RPS is opinions. And allways has been. And that includes meta stuff. Allways has been there.

          • Phendron says:

            Waaahhhh why won’t RPS write about the stuff I care about and nothing else

    • nekoneko says:

      No, no, no. You’re getting RPS mixed up with Kotaku.

    • cocoleche says:

      I like that part in Walden where Thoreau reads RPS. Man, those were the days. (Yeah I know it was released earlier ungg)

    • C0llic says:

      Oh, stop trolling. It’s so transparent I had to squint to read your post.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    This is what Valve spends their time on instead of making steam run decently or working on games?

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Valve spend their time doing everything ever, with two notable exceptions. One is rethinking the Steam client from the ground up instead of constant bloatification and the other, well, never mind about that one.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The only way to purchase Half-Life 3 will be via trading cards aquired through grinding many, many miserable hours of CS:GO.

        “We’re going to make you play it somehow, damnit!”

        • Phendron says:

          Achievement unlocked: get teabagged 6000 times

          Congratulations, Half Life 3 is yours!

    • Low Life says:

      Yes. Newell has been sweating his ass off coding this day and night, only stopping to merge his changes with Abrash’s.

    • Veeskers says:

      Yep, for me steam is still the most hilariously sluggish and unresponsive piece of (i hesitate to even call it) software I’ve encountered, bordering on being impossible to use, but look at these vital features they’re adding!
      It’s getting hard to believe that valve is interested in much more at this point than profitable social experiments and displaying their overt contempt for the rubes locked into their “service”.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      If you think Steam doesn’t run decently, you’ve not played it back in the olive green era where nothing worked and it sabotaged itself at every stage.

  6. ran93r says:

    On the surface it just looks like they are playing catch-up with the other gaming aggregator sites like raptr and playfire where points mean prizes.

    I’m quite intrigued by it all and I hope the list of games expands as at the moment I barely play TF2 or CS anymore.

  7. Lobotomist says:

    Ok..here is the new one :

    I kind of like it !
    (please dont kill me)

    I never seen point to achievements. But i like cards. (For example witcher sex cards, i really liked the idea).

    So if you can trade them. Use them. Even buy games with it. Isnt that way better than useless achievement system ?

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      “For example witcher sex cards, i really liked the idea” – O_O seriously? This was one of the dumbest ideas introduced in games during last 10 years.

      • lordcooper says:

        Really? I’d personally be pretty chuffed if I always got given a card after sex IRL.

        • Coming Second says:

          I’d have almost enough cards to play a round of texas hold em if that happened!

          Seriously though, those cards- and not to mention the panpipes- were so lame.

        • belgand says:

          That’s actually not a terrible idea. Get some boudoir photography done (or even better a nice painting like in the game), put your name and some contact information on the back and have them printed up as a business or post card size and hand them out either pre- or post-coitally. Certainly better than writing your phone number on a napkin.

          The timeless art of seduction.

          Or use them as a loyalty card system. I wonder what you get for a full ten stamps?

          I could also see them being used within the arcade/fighting game community. As opposed to the old days of putting up a quarter to claim the next game why not have a custom card? The winner takes the loser’s card. I had a similar idea a while back, but with small, cheap buttons that could then be used as trophies. I still think there’s some value in it.

          Probably without the sexy photos though.

      • belgand says:

        They weren’t a bad idea, they just weren’t handled in the best way. It fit the tone of the character and was reasonably classy if you approached it as a memento rather than a collectible. The problem was giving them out for various random strangers and making it into a sort of “collect them all!” concept. It should have been more restricted and based around encounters that made more sense in terms of the plot or other events. If you were instead only given a few throughout the course of the game, generally from major characters and in response to your relationship and decisions it hopefully wouldn’t have come across as quite so crass.

        There’s also the problem that by playing an existing, straight male character there wasn’t much chance for variety. I could see having a game where they were offered for both genders to go over a bit better.

        In fact, Shadow Hearts: Covenant kind of did both where you hunt down beefcake trading cards which are explicitly collectibles that can be traded in for a tailor to make dresses for your magic doll. If only said tailor wasn’t a completely offensive gay caricature.

        • Lobotomist says:

          Well I have seen them as kind of memento. But you are right , it could have been much more if it included other characters and other interactions aside from sex.

          As for having relationships with same sex. Maybe in some other game , but Witcher is based on existing character whose sexuality is unmistakable in books.

      • Tukuturi says:

        The Witcher cards may have been trashy, but the whole Witcher IP is trashy. It’s pseudo-pulp rooted in masculine power fantasies and noble savage stereotypes. It’s also pretty entertaining when taken for what it is. I liked the cards better than the dice and the brawling.

    • davorschwarz says:

      apparently somehow you have mised out on all the women’s rights related posts. Next you’ll tell me you bought deep silvers shallow doll on ebay (deep – shallow see what i did then :)

      • Lobotomist says:

        I liked how you got cards with beautiful art from doing special side quests in the game.
        I found it a novel idea. Not because the art was erotic , but because it was good. And enriched the game experience.

        And no. I dont subscribe to puritan movement that wants to destroy all and any visual of human body.
        What is next, burning renaissance paintings ?

        As for deep silver doll. I dont like it personally. And I hate all kind of slasher/torture/blood bs.
        But its game about slaughtering zombie bikini hordes. And thats OK? But the bust is somehow wrong related to that ? Explain

      • Premium User Badge

        DeVadder says:

        I must have missed the post about how sex in videogames is wrong.
        Not every erotic presentation has to be objectification, you know.
        I believe sex in the witcher was mostly consensual sex between adults. And i doubt anyone opposes that.
        In fact i believe that the witcher portrayed women comparably okayish. Most did wear reasonable clothing instead of chainmail bikinis.

      • Tukuturi says:

        There was plenty of sexism in the Wticher, but it was mostly to be found in the presentation of the Geralt-Triss-Shani triangle, not in the cards.

    • Gnarf says:

      “So if you can trade them. Use them. Even buy games with it. Isnt that way better than useless achievement system ?”

      Sounds maybe worse?

      I’d expect more boring achievements (“do X Y times” and so on) if they can be justified with “and get tradeable thing that you can trade for thing” instead of just “and get thing that proves you did thing”.

      Achievements tend to be quite bad. But tend to be better than “useful” things (see unlocks and things in whatever F2P).

  8. brat-sampson says:

    Good thing this will be super-easy to ignore completely.

    • Screamer says:

      This!

    • nekoneko says:

      Even ignoring it completely, you’re eventually going to get cards. Put them up for sale on the market for a buck or whatever and eventually you might be able to get a game or two for free just for playing games you already have.

  9. LionsPhil says:

    So profile pages are now going to be as much of a clusterfuck as the game “community” pages (which serve only to get in the way of clicking through to the Store page)? Whoop-de-do.

    It’s hard to call much of Steam’s UI good design, but it’s also hard to assume change is going to be for the better given their recent efforts.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      On that topic: Is it just me, or has the Steam community site become ridiculously slow these days?

      I wouldn’t mind so much having to visit the game hub on the way to the store if it weren’t way faster to pull up the store and type it in than to actually load the community page.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I think the most annoying one is that the activity feed is just blank, or loads data truncated, or loads data mysteriously from weeks in the past, four times out of five now.

        It would have been screenshots failing to upload but that’s now down to “frequent” rather than the “I’ve been trying twenty times in a row with pauses inbetween and it’s still not worked” it previously held.

    • Mctittles says:

      Taking a peek at the source of the community page it’s no wonder. There’s like 30 or more javascript includes that appear to be copy/pasted files from all over the internet as well as multiple css includes; a mixture of in-line css and javascript and multiple URLS to download all the stuff from. Working in this code would be an absolute nightmare for any experienced programmer.

  10. maximiZe says:

    Steam friends have always been limited (maximum is 300 iirc), which, while certainly arbitrary, has nothing to do with the fancy new update.

    And while I can see why many would ignore all of these features without second thought, how again is this potentially problematic?

  11. Legion23 says:

    Hmm I would really like to see Valve to add more obvious features first. For example even Facebook has more privacy options than Steam Friends, it´s basically hide everything or show everything at the moment: I don´t want to know how many hours of my life I burnt at some games nor do I want others to know.

    • In Zod We Trust says:

      Heartily agree with the privacy concerns. Allow us to show what we want (especially hours wasted on embarrassing games).

      But since Valve seems to have people working on these social hubs and things one piece of value I can see is in forums/hubs making it easy to see if a commentor has the hours/cheevos to back up their comments might be handy. Easier to believe praise/criticism from a player who has rolled the game rather than someone who has played it for 30 minutes and then rushed to the internet to register their discontent.

      Assuming that any of that is easy to determine at a glance, of course.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Cardinal says:

    On the release of DOTA2 Valve acknowledged that growing and *moderating* the community would be a challenge.
    This might help fractionally, if the card drop algorithm rewards experienced players with “Half-A” and noobs with “Half-B”.
    This would foster a period of enlightened communication and shared stewardship of resources not seen since the end of World War II.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    X-box gamers are pissing their pants of jealousy.

  14. Kollega says:

    So, who else thinks that Valve have switched from being benevolent overlords of PC gaming to being petty tyrants constantly both embarking on wild goose chases themselves and sending other people onto them? Come on, let’s see some hands.

    • maximiZe says:

      Neither.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      I’m not sure what’s tyrannical about this. But yeah, Valve is being very disappointing lately. The company seems to have lost all sense of direction, and when they do actually come out with something, it’s usually inane (where “inane” more often than not means “something I’m not interested in at all could we have some more single-player games instead those were rather nice thank you”).

      • Kollega says:

        I just used “petty tyrant” because Google Translate suggested it as an equivalent idiom to Russian word “samodur”, which basically means “petty, self-indulgent ruler who does what he pleases instead of what’s needed”. So blame Google Translate, or my unwillingness to come up with a better translation :P

        And you could say that it’s tyrannical because they think it should be mandatory for all Steam users, or something along these lines.

  15. Snids says:

    THIS??!
    BUT NO EPISODE 3?!!!???………

    *rolls over and dies*

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      At this point I think they’re just trolling us.

      Or else it’s a cunning strategy to make sure we never, ever forget about Half-Life.

    • SgtDante says:

      Wait, this is a TCG, 3 letters, and it’s something that must have been worked in the shadows for some time with very little being said about it just like HL3. Also Cards…? Cards start with a C, the 3rd letter of the alphabet, also steam is digital downloads, so they don’t give you a CD for your games, no CD… Cards – C/D = Ars, 3 letters, but what does it mean?

      I dunno about you guys, but this all point to conspiracy.

  16. davorschwarz says:

    unless they let us gamble with those cards i see no point – now i just need transferable stickers and story books to stick them in and i might as well consider a lobotomy so i can enjoy all that childish crap that i used to while i was in kindergarten.

  17. Crainey says:

    I’ve never been interested in achievements or other silly things, I just want to play my game. As long as this system doesn’t degrade my gaming experience, they can do as they like.

  18. frightlever says:

    The shark… they jumped it….

  19. hjd_uk says:

    “Only only winning move is not to play” or somesuch soundbite,

    I’m just not bothered about my profile XP and so i wont do any of the meta-games, simple.

  20. AngoraFish says:

    I love the idea, but the idea of being forced to trade because the max cards you can get is 50% of the total per game counts me out.

    I expect that this is another attempt to push Steam wallet and monetize a steam cut of micro-transactions.

    Soon Steam will have all the world’s money.

  21. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This seems a bit like.. well.. rather unnecessary. I suspect it’s going to make Steam more clumsy and bloated.

  22. SkittleDiddler says:

    Outside of offering some kind of bizarre junkie fix to those Valve freaks who can manage to invest 60-80 hours a week in their favorite hat/cosmetics/gun-grind simulators, I just don’t see the point of this.

    How ’bout fixing your sluggish, buggy-ass client instead of wasting time on stupid glitter projects, Valve?

  23. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    As long as it’s unobtrusive, I don’t really mind. Certainly I’m not keen on the idea of trading cards and the real killer is the inability to complete a set by yourself (yeah, I know, trading cards, for trading).

    I like this, though, What is the point of my Steam Level?
    The Steam Level is a quick way for users to see how much someone has invested in their Steam account, and how valuable that user is to the rest of the Steam Community.

    Buying hundreds of games over 8 years doesn’t show what you’ve invested in your Steam account, but bullshit social metagaming does. Makes sense.
    edit: I just saw that the Years of Service badge can increase your level so there.
    And they’ll have rare foil trading cards. The insanity.

  24. shrewdlogarithm says:

    I used to work for a massive multinational company who provided IT and business consultancy services to allsorts of large companies and govt organisations – I bumped into someone who still does work there last week and he asked what I did.

    I said that, amongst other things, I developed mobile and web-based games and his eyes lit up

    “The biggest thing in our work right now is gamification – we’re looking at taking what you guys are doing and using that across the whole spectrum of stuff”

    It’s talk like that which stopped me working there in the first place and now I’ve agreed to giving them a presentation on the topic – well, they did offer a ridiculous amount of money and free food ;)

    • Mctittles says:

      Gamification: The new company management buzzword, soon to be left by the wayside for the next great company management buzzword. In the end the only magic bullet you are getting is an endless loop of retraining.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      The steady march of ‘gamification for everything’ is very disturbing. I can only hope that the general public are capable of seeing it for what it is, rather than be sucked into it.

      But I doubt it.

      People on their own are capable of intelligent thought, but people en-masse are just the dumbest collection of creatures on earth.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        But the thing with gamification is that even if you see right through it, it can still work its magic perfectly well. Our brains just seem to be wired that way. It’s disturbingly easy to exploit, but then again, the gambling industry has known that for millennia.

      • Zap Brannigan says:

        I think the people in the Flare Path Foxer and pretty much any ARG would disagree with you. Though they are usually in the minority.

    • MOKKA says:

      You know there was a time where ‘Gamification’ was just called ‘conditioning’.

      • shrewdlogarithm says:

        Achievement Get: Arrested for Shopping Trolley Rage

        Achievement Get: Managed to call a mobile network call centre and not swear at them

        Achievement Get: Managed ot get more from the Govt in grants than you paid in tax *coughs* Amazon *coughs*

  25. MOKKA says:

    I know you shouldn’t be posting things when all you get to say is something like ‘meh!’.

    But seriously: ugh…

    Am I glad that I already learned that time on this earth is too short to waste it on something like that, but my thoughts and condolences towards all who did not.

  26. RProxyOnly says:

    Valve/Steam is completely off my radar til they release HL3 (or even ep 3). I’m sick of the wait and angry that they think they can consistently ignore our questions for clarity of their promises.

    No more valve/Steam ever, til then.

  27. LuNatic says:

    This all part of their ARG for their next game; “Shark Jumper: Source”.

  28. MuscleHorse says:

    I’m somewhat confused by one aspect of this – some people are talking like the cards are going to be actual physical objects. Is this the case? I suppose with certain games I’m quite keen on that’ll be quite cool, in a sort of hide them away when women-folk are about kind of way.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      They are digital card. Valve/Steam wouldn’t waste the resources on physical ones seeing as the whole point of the cards is to get you to use their site more.

  29. The Snee says:

    Reading the descriptions on the trading card page made me want to scream how I didn’t care and wanted nothing to do with it.

    I’ve never really suffered from burning apathy before.

  30. flaming_sock says:

    “but remember when the point of gaming was, well, the games?”

    Too bad RPS doesnt listen to itself.

  31. Jimmy says:

    mY l1sT of THinG3 i waNT fR0m STEAM

    1. Let me sell my pre-owned games already, even at a discount. The EU ruling favours it, so hopefully they will push it. There are old games I just don’t want on my account anymore. No time for distractions.
    2. Instead of achievements, put cap message options. “You have been playing this game for over 60 minutes when the weather is nice. Why don’t you go out for a run or go play tennis [or whatever]“.
    3. Allow users to opt out of all trading crap stuff. Some us never liked Dungeons and Dragons or any type of collectibles (except transformer cards in the 80s…).

    • HadToLogin says:

      Well, read Steam TOS before talking about “owning games”. If you’d read it, you’ll learn you own nothing, GabeN is just so nice he takes some money and borrow you for some time few licences that he’ll want back one day.
      And since you own nothing, you can’t sell anything.
      All praise Valve.

    • RockyM93 says:

      Dungeons and Dragons isn’t collectible though?

  32. rocketman71 says:

    No wonder we’re never going to play Episode 3 / Half-Life 3, when they keep spending their time in hats and idiocies like this.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Exactly, They are wasting to much time pissing around with irrelevancies.

      I’m not too sure what their “strategy” is but at this point they are hemorrhaging player goodwill. I honestly think that at this juncture Gabe has his head firmly implanted up his arse, he’s completely lost touch with the wants of the customers who grew his brand. Iit’s a great pity that a company, that had as much player goodwill as they did, thinks that this is an acceptable way to treat their customer.

      Anyway, I’ll just continue to ignore Valve/Steam til they get their finger out.

      • frightlever says:

        Whoever is working on this wasn’t going to be working on HL3 anyway.

        Would you WANT these guys working on HL3?

        • HadToLogin says:

          I’m sure they would work on HL3. Valve is all about money this days, and seeing how people are throwing money at them with all those hats in TF2, maps in CSGO and skins in DOTA2, I’m sure there’s going to be “buy favourite voice for Freeman” in HL3.

          • Raye says:

            the employees at Valve/Steam aren’t interchangeable, is what he meant. The ones who work on Steam/website related stuff aren’t the same people who work on the games, so them doing this is not *taking away* from their game development. The people who put together the trading cards would likely not have the first clue how to put together a game like Half Life 3, because they’re web developers, not game designers.

  33. Plasmamate says:

    Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges !

  34. realitysconcierge says:

    I want trading cards of all the RPS journalists!

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Come trade with me in the forums. I’ve got about 15 spare Walkers and Rossignols. I have an ultra rare original Gillen too, and a slightly tattered but otherwise presentable Q. Smith. For whatever reason I’ve never found a Meer, so I’ll swap you a Walker for one?

  35. Richeh says:

    Somebody get the glue gun. The TF2 is leaking out of TF2.

    I love the idea, but limiting real, actual features like friend count is a bad idea. Tacking on a little game to Steam is a great idea, but it’s ultimately a utility. One that I and many other people appreciate very much for its usability. This is exactly the sort of bloat that could kill Steam, or at least wound it badly enough for a plucky competitor to snatch the lead.

  36. Mustard Wrap says:

    Before, the achievement systems were a quiet, ignorable feature. Now its going to morph into a giant e-peen platform. But then, some people are into that kind of thing.

  37. Xiyng says:

    I don’t mind. That said, most of Steam’s features are largely useless because the client is so heavy and the UI so cluttered. There’s no structure to it, which is made worse by the fact that browsing anything feels so sluggish. It sure looks nice but as soons as you actually have to use it, there’s not much nice there.

    • Ajsman says:

      I actually prefer using Community features trough my web browser. When I’m using them trough Steam I sometimes feel like I’m still on a 56k modem.

      This is the only major issue I have with Steam right now and I really hope one day Valve decides to rewrite the whole Steam application and make it faster and more responsive.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I’ve been using Steam for 4 years now and I have have never done anything with it, besides using it to buy games, play games, keep games updated, and (occasionally) click on something in Greenlight. This is not going to change because of this, and as long as I can still do the first three things without problems, Valve can do pretty much what they want with the software as far as I’m concerned.

  39. pupsikaso says:

    Trading cards, on Steam? Really? The same steam that rejected Armaggedon Empires because the game was “not a good fit” on their platform?

  40. Ajsman says:

    So because of this I got 50% OFF on Duke Nukem 3D coupon?

  41. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    The most important question, “what’s the bloody point?” is sadly missing from the FAQ.

    The whole thing can be quite happily ignored, of course, but it seems like these are the kind of features to be found in your typical awful facebook game.

  42. pandiculator says:

    Yo, dog, I heard you like games, so we put a game in your game so you can game while you game!

  43. Strangerator says:

    Achievement Unlocked: Gaming the Gamers

  44. Noise says:

    This is stupid. STUPID. THE WHOLE WORLD HAS GONE INSANE

  45. xaphoo says:

    Valve has entered the “Fat Elvis” stage of its lifecycle.

  46. groowagon says:

    oooh yes. Steam is almost complete now.

    one more thing i would like, though: i wanna buy the achievements. when i buy a game, i could just buy all the achievemnts too, and i would never have to actually play the game. that would be cool.

    oh, and those pre-order bonuses are cool too, but i think it would be better to sell every level/map/whatever of the game separately. i mean think about it: $60/map, 10 maps planned = miltomillionbillion dollarmoneygreens!

  47. Hahaha says:

    amusing that it shows what the industry thinks it’s customers want and it’s the opposite to what RPS and the old commenters want to push it as lol