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Posts Tagged ‘steam’

New Steam Trading Rules–Mar 2 2016

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by Obey

TL;DR: Valve takes steps against the phishing and pirating industries; news at 11. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


Previously, I blogged in this space about changes Steam made to your trading options, which were made to combat virtual item piracy. Yesterday, Valve further restricted trading options as well as the marketability of newly-dropped items. Below are the changes in a was-versus-now format.


Trading items with a Steam Friend (and one/both of you are not using Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator)


  • 1 day hold for trades to Steam Friends you friended over a year ago
  • 3 day hold for Steam Friends friended more recently


  • 1 day hold for trades to Steam Friends you friended over a year ago
  • 15 day hold for Steam Friends friended more recently

Trading items with a Steam Friend (and both are using the Mobile Authenticator)

Was: no holds

Now: no holds


Steam says that 95% of traders now use the Mobile Authenticator to expedite their trades (before the December client update, very few users used it). So using the Mobile Authenticator is becoming the new legit standard for traders of valuable Steam virtual items.

Why a 15-day hold? Steam says that less frequent users “need more time” to learn and respond to their compromised accounts. (Been hacked? Contact Steam here.)

Note: Games that you buy (or receive from other users as a gift or trade) that you assign to your gift inventory still begin a 30-day cooldown period before you can trade/gift it on to someone else. If you want to buy a game for someone else to play immediately, gift it to that person at the moment of purchase.


Putting your items on the Steam Market (not using the Mobile Authenticator)

Was: no hold

Now: 15 day hold before the item is listed

Did you pull a nifty new cosmetic weapon that you want to Market? Well, if you’re not using the Mobile Authenticator, you have to wait fifteen days for the item to hit the Market.

“But wait–don’t you have to input the price beforehand? …and isn’t it likely for the demand to change before your item lists? …and for you to change the price, you’ll have to re-list the item, and then it’s held for another two weeks?” Probably.


Steam Ends Duplication Policy

Steam will no longer restore a player’s hacked account by creating duplicates of missing items. You can argue your own case as to why; I said my piece after the previous change.


Please note that the above changes begin on Wednesday, March 9th. Expect a Steam Client update sometime that day.

ICYMI: A previous Steam Client patch now prevents you from starting/receiving a chat (text) message in Steam from users who are not friended, currently playing in a server with you, or currently joining a group chatroom with you.

[N] Obey


(start of Valve blogpost)

Recently we walked through our thinking on account security and trading [], and introduced some new tools for users to protect their accounts. Now that we’ve had some time to gather data, we’ll be making a few more changes to account security, market transactions, and our account restoration process.

Below are the changes that will take place on March 9th. If you are already protected by the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator (or if you add the security feature to your account today), the first two points below will not impact you:

  • Trade hold duration will be increased to 15 days (for long-time Steam friends the duration will remain 1 day)
  • Listing on the Steam Community Market will have a hold of 15 days before an item can be sold
  • Steam Support will no longer restore items that have left accounts following a successful trade or market transaction (a process that previously created duplicates of original items)

To help understand these changes, we wanted to walk you through the results we’ve seen so far and our reasoning behind these next steps.

First, it’s worth revisiting our goals behind the two main ways customers interact with in-game economies on Steam: Trading and the Steam Community Market. Our primary goal for Trading is to allow customers to easily exchange items with their friends. Our goal for the Steam Community Market is to provide customers with a way to sell any unwanted goods to other players. Both systems work well for these purposes, but they can be a source of pain if the security of your account is ever compromised.


Account and Item Theft

In December we took steps to improve account security by adding more security features, including the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator and trade holds.

Since then, we’ve seen lots of users adopting the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator (two-factor authentication) for trade and market confirmations, and now roughly 95% of daily trades use the mobile authenticator, with trade volumes as high as ever. The authenticator is the best tool that users have to protect their accounts, and the fastest and most secure way to trade items.


Trade Holds

For users who have yet to transition to the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, trade holds provide a way to continue to exchange items. Items in a trade hold are held by Steam for a period of time before delivery. This allows users whose accounts have been compromised to quickly cancel any fraudulent trades to recover their items. Trade holds are effective, but unfortunately the current three-day hold fails to protect users who log in less frequently and who need more time to identify a problem. So we’ll be adjusting the system to accommodate the majority of customers by increasing trade holds to 15 days.

If you’re exchanging items with a friend, and you’ve been friends for more than a year, don’t worry – the trade hold duration is still one day.


Market Holds

Trade holds have been successful, but until now they’ve been limited to trades. If the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator was not enabled on a user’s account, it was still possible for a hacker to quickly liquidate a user’s inventory through the Steam Community Market. To further protect users who haven’t enabled the authenticator, holds will now also apply when you list items on the Steam Community Market. Market listing (like trades) will still be instantaneous if you’re using the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator.


Item Duplication

Since the last account security update, we’ve made significant progress in protecting accounts. In addition to significantly increasing the size of Steam Support to improve response times, individual accounts protected by the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator on a separate device turned out to be even more effective than we’d hoped. For customers who have yet to add the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, trade holds have been helpful in keeping items secure, and we expect that the added duration and extension of holds to the Steam Community Market will further improve security.

Our work isn’t finished, but we’ve seen enough progress in account security to finally address an old problem: item duplication. Currently, if an account is compromised and items have been lost through a successful trade or market transaction, we would manually restore the items, creating duplicates of the original items in the process. That process of manual restoration and duplication has the negative side effect of changing an item’s scarcity – as more copies of the item are created, the value of every other similar item is reduced. In addition, it created a method by which users could be rewarded for faking account hijacks.

While we’ll continue to assist users with the recovery of their account if they encounter an issue, beginning March 9th we will no longer be manually restoring items that have left the account due to a successful trade or market transaction.



There’s a delicate balance between account security and the convenience of interacting with the market or trade. Any time we make changes, there’s the risk of significant disruption. We recognize that today’s changes will be inconvenient for users who have yet (or are unable) to use the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator. But if you’re a high volume trader (who our data shows is likely using the authenticator already), or a trader who likes to exchange items with friends, these changes won’t really affect you at all. We believe these steps are necessary to ensure that accounts are made more secure, that users are empowered to identify and solve problems, and that the economic systems enjoyed by millions of customers are not compromised by people with malicious intent.

Account security is an issue that affects everyone, and we hope this post has helped to explain our goals and reasoning as we move forward. Please continue to provide your feedback and account security ideas in the Steam forums and elsewhere on the web.

(end blogpost)

Monster Steam Summer Sale is Live thru June 22nd!

Posted on: June 11th, 2015 by Obey

Right on time–it’s the Steam Summer Sale!  Say goodbye to your money!

  1. What is a Steam Summer Sale? What’s the big deal?
  2. What’s new about this Monster Sale?

1. What is a Steam Summer Sale? What’s the big deal?

Steam is known for doing at least two giant sales a year (summer, and late December) where many titles are 50% off or more. Almost every popular title that is at least six months old participates, and you can commonly find short-duration flash sales for even better deals. Check the store page often to see what deals are still available, as they will rotate every 12 or 24 hours.

On top of that, Steam gamifies the sale by creating interactive events, such as sale-themed badges to craft (by collecting limited-edition cards during this time) and other wacky functions.


2. What’s new about this Monster Sale?


For the Monster Summer Sale, there is a browser game to play in, damaging enemies and trying to stay alive.  The browser game records the number of clicks, the bosses defeated, and more to unlock additional flash sales the next day. (These unlocked flash sales always start at 9 am PST/12 noon EST and will run for 48 hours.)


This is a clicker game in the vein of Cookie Clicker or the free-to-play AdVenture Capitalist–all you do is click buttons, which have short cooldown timers before you can click them again, and you can unlock more buttons, reduce the cooldown times on the buttons, and have buttons auto-click themselves.  Your Steam level and your Steam 2015 Summer Sale Badge level will grant you special abilities so that you can do more uhh, “damage” to the bosses. (Clicker games can also hog the performance of your computer’s hardware, so I wouldn’t advise playing on a battery-fed device.)

There are multiple waves or screens of enemies; use the buttons on the above-right to change them. If the sounds and/or music are annoying, toggle them on/off with the buttons on the bottom left.

As always, you are encouraged to play your new games, which will provide you with Steam Trading Cards.  Completing and turning in sets of cards increases your Steam Rank as well as your Summer Sale Badge rank (if done during the sale, which runs thru June 22nd). Of course, you can turn unused items into gems, buy more cards with gems, buy and sell cards in the Steam Market, and so on.  See this post for more information; note that there are no Steam Auctions at this time.

Let’s just hope these games aren’t hiding a bitcoin manufacturing system… I’m kidding.  I hope.  But the point is, Steam users can unlock additional sales, which are hinted on the sale’s splash page.


[N] Obey

P.S.  Obligatory “Praise Gaben” link.

News You Can Use, Round 2: 6/4/2015

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by Obey

Don’t forget: The Steam Summer Sale is coming soon! See the previous blogpost for more info.

  1. The first Steam Machines are now available for preorder.
  2. TF2 patched, launching the “Maps Workshop Beta”.

1. Steam Machines (and Steam Controllers!)

Steam Machines are PCs designed and built to run using Steam OS, a free operating system made by Valve that would function in place of another OS like Windows or Linux.  These PCs are intended at attach to your digital TV and/or a standard computer monitor; it is essentially a console to run all things Steam (games, music, streaming services, and other software).  Here are previews from C-Net and GameSpot. Pre-order direct from Valve here.

Of course, you can build your own and install the Linux-based Steam OS yourself; Valve assumes that some users will do exactly that. PC Gamer put out two builds over a year ago here.  (Convenient timing on that new GeForce GTX 980, and the relatively low $649 price tag, eh?)

Steam Controller

What is fascinating the tech bloggers though, is the Steam Controller (MSRP US$50). The main buttons (pads?) are essentially a trackpad-like touch surface, but designed for use with your thumbs; the left one being oriented more for cardinal directions, but the right one essentially replacing a mouse, but with your thumb tip.  From there, the controller grows into an Xbox-like set of corner buttons and smaller, colored buttons around the pads. There are more features, so watch the official trailer and let it show them off: Polygon blogged about it, as did NBC News.

Keep in mind that Steam OS is a Linux-based OS, so it can only play Steam games that can be played on Linux systems–and the Steam Library should continue to grow in that regard, assuming the OS is popular. Which I think is a pretty safe bet, given how many people hate Microsoft and/or Apple and their OSes. Also because Steam and the Steam OS is free.


2. TF2 Patch… and “Maps Workshop”

If you like designing maps for TF2, or are looking for some new places to gib fools, TF2 now offers a Beta Workshop where anyone can upload, download, and critique maps. While some of us crusty veterans have no need of new places to fight, the game stays alive by attracting new blood and bringing players back with new features. Click on the official blogpost to learn more.

There also was a minor patch, mostly to apply the Workshop functionality to the game.


June 2, 2015: TF2 patch notes

  • Announcing the Maps Workshop Beta!
    • Check out the blog post for more information
    • Added bsp_repack command to repack a BSP file with optimal compression
    • Maps uploaded to the workshop are automatically compressed
    • Added tf_workshop_refresh command to recheck tracked workshop maps and refresh subscriptions
    • Added tf_workshop_map_sync command to immediately install a map from the workshop by ID
    • Added sv_allow_point_servercommand to disable point_servercommand entities. Defaults to “official” Valve maps only. Can also be set to “disallow” and “always”

Undocumented changes

June 4, 2015: TF2 patch notes

[N] Obey

What Are Limited User Accounts?

Posted on: April 18th, 2015 by Obey

Steam has made some changes to the client software in an attempt to reduce the number of phisher/hacker accounts. Rest assured that the following doesn’t apply to you if you have ever spent at least US$5 lifetime at the Steam Store.

UPDATE 5/31/15:  Valve explains their reasons for having limited users to PC Gamer.

A limited user is any Steam account that has not yet spent at least US$5.00 at the Steam Store; such a user is similar to a universal free-to-play account. Limited User accounts have had many of the functions of the Steam client removed–mostly to prevent phishers and hackers from creating throwaway Steam accounts. Among the features that are now disabled for Limited User accounts include:

  • Sending friend invites
  • Voting or posting on anything in Steam Workshop, Greenlight, or Reviews for a game/software
  • Opening text chat windows with another user or groups
  • Gaining Steam Profile Levels and Steam Trading Cards
  • Participating in the Steam Market

The above restrictions are lifted if the user buys a game(s) of at least $5 value in the Steam Store for yourself or as a gift, buys at least $5 worth of Steam Wallet funds, or adds a prepurchased Steam card to the account.

Limited User accounts can still play free-to-play games on Steam, promotional trial games like Free Weekends, receive and play gift games from another person, trade games and/or in-game items, and activate promotional CD keys (like from hardware companies or a Humble Bundle). However, none of these actions will earn full user access; at least $5 of funds and/or content must be purchased from Steam (or a Steam card from a third-party, and then applied) to remove the Limited User restrictions. Again, receiving a game(s) or in-game items as gifts will not remove the restrictions.


[N] Obey

A Word About Trading: 12/19/2014

Posted on: December 20th, 2014 by Obey

Two things here:

  1. Some recent changes on Steam about trading
    • If you do a lot of Steam trading, you really need to read this post.
  2. Some minor TF2 patches
    • Naughty and Nice 2014 crates started dropping for TF2 players since December 15th. They cannot yet be opened.


[In a serious tone of voice] Some recent changes have occurred regarding items and games gifted on Steam. There are new delays that have been added before certain items can be gifted, because of a myriad of reasons; the main two reasons are dishonest hackers/phishers/botters, and to prevent users from taking advantage of volatile global currencies (such as the recent fall of the Russian ruble, or the riskier currencies of Southeast Asia).


1. Any item(s) that you purchase from the Mann Co. Store or from the Steam Community Market cannot be traded for 7 days.

This has been recently increased from the old three-day limit. So if you’re wondering why you can’t trade something after three days, this is why.  So if you’re buying something so that you can turn around and gift it to a friend, you have to wait a full week in order to do so.

2. Any gift copy of a game that you receive from another person cannot be gifted for 30 days.

For example, Kit buys a gift copy of “Castle Crashers”, immediately sending it to me.  When I receive it, I must choose whether to add it to my game library, or to add a gift copy to my Steam inventory.  If I do the former, the game is permanently added to my Steam account (regardless if it is installed on any computer), and can never be removed or transferred (but it can be hidden from view in the Steam interface).  If I do the latter, I cannot trade that copy of “Castle Crashers” to someone else until thirty days have elapsed.

I am not sure the rationale for this, but one of many possible reasons is to discourage players from buying lots of copies of a game while on sale, then selling them at a profit when the sale ends. Then again, taxes also come into play (see below).

3. Steam Guard must be activated on your account for 15 days before you can trade anything on Steam.

This is primarily to prevent phishers and hackers from making a Steam account to immediately use it for nefarious uses. This rule has been in force for several years already.

4. When you change your Steam password, you cannot trade any items for 5 days afterward.

This is a security measure intended to discourage hackers from quickly stealing control of someone’s account to take all of the valuable items.

Changing your Steam password is a good thing to do on a regular basis, and Steam does not want to discourage you from doing so.  However, if someone manages to steal your password, the first thing a thief or hacker will try to do is to change the password.  This measure does not prevent you from losing access to your account.  It does give you a chance to notice that you cannot login, and thus notify Steam so that they can begin to investigate.

If you know that you are going to be away from Steam for a length of time, consider changing your password before you are away.  Save the new password somewhere, like writing a note for yourself on your phone or send an email to yourself, since you may forget the new password before you come back to Steam.

5. If you do a lot of trading on Steam, you may be required to declare them on your taxes!

(The following deals predominantly with US users of Steam, but other countries’ regulations may differ, so refer to this Community Market FAQ as a starting point.)

5a. If you exceed 200 sales transactions (where you are the seller) on the Steam Community Market in a calendar year, you may be unable to complete any further sales transactions until you complete a 1099 Tax Form.

Surprise! The IRS requires Steam to report gross sales and provide tax forms of users that both: 1) Exceed 200 annual sales in a year, and 2) Exceed US$20,000 in those sales. Therefore Steam may provide you with a 1099 Tax Form, and possibly suspend further sales pending completion of the documentation, so that they can comply with US law even if you never reach the latter minimum of $20k of sales.

Do not assume that these transactions are automatically taxable, even if Steam contacts you regarding this tax form.  However, it is your responsibility to determine any tax liabilities, so you should consult your tax advisor.

Right.  Well, let’s get on with the dinky patch notes….

Patch Notes: 12/15/14

  • Fixed a client crash related to ragdolls
  • Updated Mann Co. Store prices for foreign currencies to current USD equivalents
  • Updated rd_asteroid
    • Began interior art-pass process
    • Reduced respawn times for both teams by 1 second

Undocumented Changes


Patch Notes: 12/17/14

Undocumented Changes

Added End of the Line Community Update Medal.


[N] Obey