Team Fortress 2 is a long time classic since the game’s release back in 2007 for a lot of reasons that still hold up today. Such as the iconic characters, the game modes, but most importantly: the hats. Who knew being able to have a really cool wizard hat would make you like a game that much more. Because of these hats and the way they’re obtained (through specific loot crates), the range from the common and mundane all the way up to the extra sparkly particle effects ‘Unusual’ items. And if you’re a trader amongst TF2 on Steam, these ‘Unusual’ items can usually bring in roughly $90-$150 USD per item. And there are some who make a living or side hustle off of this fact. While the game doesn’t see much along the lines of playing community as much as it used to, the trading community of these really cool hats is still alive and well.
But everything changed when Valve made a small update to TF2. The update was supposed to be just a quick addition of new summer cosmetic items, and maybe a couple of general fixes as most patches tend to bring– but the darker and more horrifying glitch lied below. That horrifying glitch? The Unusual item drop rate for a crate became 100%.
It wasn’t long before many players realized what this meant. And for many Hat Traders (not the official title, but it’ll work), this became more apparent when the market began to crash. Many items that were being sold for roughly $100 USD are now being sold for roughly $4-$12 USD. TF2 saw both an increase of their player base from roughly around 60,000 players to about 90,000 players in the span on one day from this bug. And the increase of crate prices than previous. And with the up in crate prices, the Unusuals go down.
At the time of the initial crash, Valve wasn’t entirely sure what to do, as while this wasn’t necessarily bad on their end, it does defeat the purpose of an Unusual item, and it didn’t seem like a marketing scheme as they still get commission for each Hat Trader sale. They did however release a tweet on the official TF2 twitter stating that they were making all Unusual items non-tradable as they figure out the proper course of action:
Update on the Unusual situation: All Unusuals from the bugged crates have been marked as non-tradable for the time being. We are evaluating what steps to take with these items and will have another update for you after the weekend.
— Team Fortress 2 (@TeamFortress) July 26, 2019
After that, they started to go further into it. And on the unofficial official reddit TF2 community, user wickedplayer492 has stated that Valve has disabled the Steam Community inventories. This meant that players could still use said Unusual Items, but would not be able to see or list them in the community marketplace. The unboxing of new items has also been disabled so (hopefully) no more Unusual items can drop.
Currently Valve is looking into the issue to fix the drop rate glitch, but there’s no telling what will happen to the economy after this. With many a meme surfacing about the situation, most Hat Trader’s will have to wait and hope that things will return to normal.