Saturday, March 31, 2012


Selling can be extremely irritating.  You generally operate on very small profit margins.  There's no shame in only making a scrap per item.  I've found that one of the most profitable ways to sell low- tier items is to go into public servers, and say something like "Hey, anybody want a festive rocket launcher?  1 refined and 1 reclaimed". 

I bought that rocket launcher for one refined.  The one reclaimed was pure profit.  It was only worth one refined, but the beautiful thing about public servers is that nobody has any idea at all how to trade.  You can sell items for whatever price you want if you're a good enough salesman.  Sometimes, though, you may need some outside stimulus to sell an item.

Tip #2:  Have a friend glorify your product.

I spent about two days trying to sell that festive rocket launcher with no luck.  Then I was playing with my friend, casually chatting about it as usual, chatting my message above.  Then out of the blue, my friend publicly chats:  "Dude why are you selling that for so low?  You could easily get double that.  I'd buy it if I didn't already have one".  I immediately got a trade request.  It sold.

Try to sell your products for more than their worth, and most importantly, more than you bought them for.  If told about the spreadsheet value, save face by pretending not to know about the spreadsheet.  It may take time, but some 10 year old who's daddy just bought him the game and gave him some steam wallet cash will be more than willing to pay double spreadsheet price for your Teddy Roosebelt.  Don't think of it as taking advantage of people's ignorance.  Shame on them for not researching the product before buying and selling.

Chat to all players that you "Have an extra Armored Authority (Soldier Helmet), selling it for 1 refined 2 reclaimed, 2 scrap".  That's my current offer.  If I sell it, which I will, I'll make a .55 profit.  It's a nice hat, my soldier wears one, but I bought it for what it was worth.  When selling hats, make them sound awesome, and sell them for a lot.  And if you're selling an uncraftable hat, don't tell people that it reduces the value.  That will just bring down your profits.

Lastly, be observant.  If you see a player using a Southern Hospitality, and remember that you have one on hand, offer it to him for "the low price of 2 reclaimed and 2 scrap" (it's worth 2 reclaimed).  People not familiar with trading think that strange weapons are extremely rare.  Capitalize on this.  If you see a heavy walking around with a Gibus, offer to sell him your Magnificent Mongolian for 1 refined, 2 reclaimed (1 rec profit).  Slowly but surely, you can make tremendous profits.

So, what's next?

You've invested in the trading business by buying a ton of keys.  You've found a trading server, and have traded those keys for metal, trying your hardest to sell them for their highest.  So now you have an inventory full of metal and no idea what to do. 

Well first, you have to get some product.  Go to trade servers, see what's being sold.  If you see strange weapons and hats going for under what they're worth [side note-  for an idea of an item's worth, consult the spreadsheet:], then buy them.  Stock up on strange weapons, festive weapons, and hats.  I'd stick to the lower end items for now, nothing over three refined unless you're sure you can resell it. 

Once you've got a decent supply of strange weapons, and a few cool hats, begin buying all craftable hats.  And I mean every single one.  Start by offering one refined, but don't go higher than 1.33 refined.  Now that you have an inventory full of items, it's time to start selling.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Starting Out

To start out, I bought $50 worth of keys.  Keys are available through the Mann Co. Store for $2.50 each.  This is not the most economical way to purchase them, however.  Keys can be bought from resellers for around $1.50 each.  This is what I did. 

Once I had my keys, I traded them in a trading server for metal.  I got a decent amount of refined, and a 2010 Spine Chilling Skull hat, worth 8-10 keys, for 9 keys.  This was a huge mistake.

The hat was worth what I paid, there's no question.  The problem was, it's rare, and there's next to no market for it.  It sat in my inventory for weeks.  Finally, I traded it for a Bill's hat (8-10 keys) that was painted Operator's Overalls.  This hat is the most commonly traded hat, and it is significantly more liquid than the Spine Chilling Skull.

This didn't get me anywhere, however.  In every trade server I went to, I was told that my paint was ugly, and worthless.  The best they would offer was 8 keys.  I'm still holding out for 9, but I've yet to find a buyer.

Tip #1:  If offered a non-liquid item, only accept it at under its spreadsheet value.

For example, let's say you're selling something for 12 keys.  Somebody offers you a Bill's hat (worth 8-10 keys) and 2 keys for it.  Tell them that since you are looking to move towards a more liquid inventory, you can only accept the Bill's hat as 7 keys, and they need to throw an extra 3 keys into their offer.  You'll make bigger profits faster using this method.  If they don't accept, who cares?  Somebody will come along and offer the metal or keys you were originally asking for.

Common Terms

For those extremely new to Team Fortress 2, I'll define some common terms:
  • Metal:  Metal is essentially the currency of Team Fortress.  Weapons and hats can be "smelted" to form metal, which can be traded for items in the game's trading system, or crafted to make new items
  • Refined, reclaimed, and scrap:  Scrap metal is the lowest common denominator.  It is the least expensive metal.  Craft three together, and it makes a reclaimed metal.  Craft three of those together, it makes a refined metal.  Refined metal is the basic currency standard.  When citing a price, one will cite it in terms of a refined metal.  For example:  a key goes for 2.33- 2.55 refined.  That is 2 refined 1 reclaimed, or 2 refined 1 reclaimed 2 scrap
  • Strange:  Strange weapons are more valuable, and track the number of kills they make.  They can only be found through trading or opening a Mann Co. Supply Crate
  • Mann Co. Supply Crate:  These items are randomly found in-game.  When opened with a key, they have a chance of yielding a weapon, a hat, or an "exceedingly rare item"
  • Exceedingly rare item:  Every crate has a 1% chance of yielding one of these.  An exceedingly rare item is an unusual hat
  • Unusual Hat:  These hats are very rare, and therefore very expensive; One hat sold for $2500!  The prices fluctuate constantly, and selling them is a tricky business to participate in


Hello, Everyone!

This blog will be about the video game Team Fortress 2, and more specifically, how to make a profit by trading items in this game.  Stop by for advice, howto's, and to watch my progress as I climb the trading ladder.  I started with a small amount of capital, and am attempting to work my way up to trading items worth hundreds of dollars.