Stream's Trading Card game is chucking along just fine in its beta state. Participants get virtual trading cards when they play games supporting the feature on Steam. These cards can be sold on the community market or combined to badges provided that you have a full set.
A badge gets you 100 experience points, a random profile background and emoticon, and a chance that you receive a discount coupon for games or DLC.
What may be more important to that to some is that you also increase the 250 friends limit by 5 with every level you make. If you are particular popular on Steam, this may be your chance to add even more friends to your account.
Card drops are limited for each account. You get a limited amount of card drops for the game purchase, and then extra drops for every $9 that you pay in the game.
Unless you happen to have spend a fortune in Team Fortress 2's online store you may notice that you can't really get enough cards to craft even one badge. This leaves trade as an option or purchasing cards from the Steam community market.
I'd like to provide you with an effective low-cost way of raising your Steam level to 10. Note that it involves paying money for cards. You can alternatively try and trade in-game items, TF2 hats or weapons for example, for trading cards.
The first thing that I recommend that you do is complete the Pillar of Community and Community Ambassador tasks to get to level 3. You need to complete 22 out of 26 tasks to achieve this with the majority easily achievable. This includes for instance playing a game, adding a friend, recommending a game or adding a game to your wishlist.
Now that you have increased your level by 2 it is time to make at least one game purchase if you have not done so already as it gets you another 100 XP right away. If you have purchased a game already skip this step as you already got the level.
You do get 50 XP for every year of Steam membership as well which can raise your overall level significantly.
Now that you have done all that, it is time to trade or buy to raise your level even more.
The easiest way to get there currently by paying money is to buy Team Fortress 2 game cards as they are a lot cheaper than other cards. You pay about 0.30€ for every card and since you need 9, end up paying about 3€ for every 100XP.
To open the community market select Community > Market from the top menu.
Once you reach level 10 you get to configure profile showcases on your profile. It is a cosmetic change that is probably only important if many Steam users are visiting your profile.
The coupons may help you as you can trade them against other coupons that you may be interested in.
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