Home Editorial Get Hats or Die Trying: The Definitive TF2 Trading Guide

It's only a matter of time. Look in your heart; you know it to be true.

You want hats. You crave them.

You stay awake at night, weighing the pros and cons of “hat trading” versus “having the minimum amount of sleep necessary to  function the next day.”

With every day comes a new disappointment. With every trade, another shattered dream. Isn’t there a better way?

After aquiring 1 copy of every hat in the game, including the extremely elusive Unusual Medic Mask, I can say with absolute certainty that yes, yes there is. I’ve discovered a fool-proof method for getting the best and most valuable hats as efficiently as possible. And I’m willing to let you in on a little secret:

All it takes is patience, timing, and the will to crush the soul of every person you meet.

I won’t lie; not everyone has what it takes to rise to the top in the dog-eat-dog world of the Team Fortress 2 Hatconomy®. But if you’re committed and have no moral qualms with “lying,” “theft” or “phishing,” you’ve got the potential to rule Hatopia® with an iron, non-Irish fist.*

Seducing the Target – Start Small, Aim High

The first thing you need to know about seducing women collecting hats is that right now, you don’t have what it takes. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this guide. You’d be waist-deep in a gyrating pit of half-naked women of every ethnicity Earbuds. You’re a loser, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.

Don't let beauty intimidate you. Remember: it's just an object. Take it.

Ask yourself, “Self, what is standing between me and getting laid trades?” The answer isn’t your looks, or the way you talk. It isn’t your bedroom performance KDR or your haircut. It’s your attitude. If you want a woman hat, you have to own her. And you have to own her the second you make eye contact.

Do an experiment. Don’t have any expectations, just do it. The next time you walk onto the scene into Trade_Bazaar_Alpha3, decide what you want. Which one you want. Don’t worry about “Can I get it?” This is the kind of question holding you back. Just walk right up to it and make it known that she’s yours. Don’t say anything. Just try to convey I own you.

To many readers, this sounds scary. This is their worst nightmare. And that’s part of why you’ve spent the last twelve Friday nights rubbing one out while playing fuckin’ video games. What you don’t understand is that every target wants to be fucked bought. By you. When you communicate that, you are giving her what she wants. And when you give her what she wants, you’ll get what you want: her hats.**

Controlling the Conversation

You see it all the time: A server full of idiots spamming “Looking for Sam & Max” or “WTT metal for crates” or “Is there anyone on my team who’s actually playing, or are we going to lose our fifth round in a row?” The first thing you need to do is to ignore all this blabber. You need to control the conversation.

There are two ways you can do this, one being the novice approach, the other being the advanced approach.

Novice approach: Bind keys you don’t use (O, P, PageDown, S) to promotional messages. Preferably, these keys will be in a tetrameter reminiscent of the greatest sonnets. When played out in sequence, your hypnotizing slant rhymes and pastoral imagery will elicit the respect (and therefore the willingness to trade) of the entire server. If someone interrupts any part of your sonnet, start again from the top. If an admin or moderator attempts to take action against you, devote the rest of your life to tracking down that individual and murdering him/her.

Advanced approach: Although I’ve named this the advanced approach, it’s significantly easier to perform than the Novice approach. It is only advanced insofar as it runs a nominal risk of a Steam ban if performed. But let’s focus on what’s important, not on hypotheticals. First, change your name to something like Valve Maintenance Representative–#4312. Then, simply cut and paste the following text into your Team Fortress 2 chat channel, and watch the trades come pouring in:

On [date] at [time], Valve will be performing scheduled maintenance on all crafting and Steam Cloud data servers. Due to this work, rollbacks on accounts with recently completed trades may occur. In order to stabilize your account, please open a trade channel with your Valve representative to confirm your backpack contents. Remember: Valve employees will never ask for your password. However, they may require other personally-identifying information in order to process your request.

Notice that we’re going out of our way to avoid appearing like a phishing scam. This gesture of good will facilitates your phishing activity later on. While knowing a player’s social security number won’t score you any hats in Team Fortress 2, such information trades for ten to fifteen cigarettes behind bars.

Trading and Etiquette

Of course, while the preceding sections are intended to get you in a trade window, that’s not going to help much if you don’t know the unspoken rules of Hatconomics®. Trading is a delicate song and dance: while the winners get to have their way with the prom queen, the losers are left with nary a Camera Beard. You need to know what to say, what not to say, and when to go for the kill.

Here are some of the most important rules to remember when trading in TF2:

    • Never greet your trading partner. Dignifying him/her in any way is a sign of weakness. Instead, begin every transaction by saying, “offer”
    • Your partner is now bound by law to make you an offer for your items. While you haven’t shown that person your items yet, don’t let this small detail get in the way of accepting offers
    • No matter what another person offers you, always respond by either saying, “meh” or by flashing the same hat in and out of the trade window while saying “lol noob”
    • If someone asks you to make an offer, or asks to see your hats, simply close the trading window. Never show your hats until you know for a fact that you can rob the other person blind
    • Only trade your hats for hats that are higher on the Official TF2 Hat Trading Tier List. Always follow up your trades by telling your partner how much of a sucker he/she is for trading you a B+ tier hat for a B- tier hat
    • If someone offers you a non-vintage item, always say “lol, non vint” before demanding an additional hat to compensate for this insult
      • If your trading partner tries to inform you that the Sober Stuntman is post-update and could never be Vintage, close the trade window

Pope Benedict was into Vintage before it was cool.

  • If you don’t see anything you want, ask the other person to re-order their hats alphabetically. Explain that you are a high-functioning autistic, and that you can better evaluate his/her collection in this order. After the other player painstakingly obliges you, close the trade window
  • Some people say that a hat is only worth what others think it’s worth. This isn’t true. Your hats are each worth 2 hats. All other players’ hats are worth 1/2 a hat
  • Never type in complete sentences. The longer it takes the other person to understand you, the more worried they will become that they’ve already lost a considerable portion of their life to this deal. This panic can cause them to become desperate. Exploit this situation
  • When selling bad hats, always point out that they’re Vintage, and that they will eventually be rare and desirable. You may be able to corner the valuable hipster demographic from the get-go
  • Never agree to a deal before demanding the other player throw in an extra hat, 4 crates, or a paint can. If they refuse, close the trade window
  • When in doubt, close the trade window

The Next Big Thing

Your ultimate goal is to have more. More hats. More wealth. More social superiority over your peers. In order to accomplish this, you can’t just look for good trades, you have to look for the next big thing.

What is the next big thing? Keys.

Now that Keys are tradeable, they are becoming the de facto Stone of Jordan in Team Fortress 2. Why? It’s simple: they’re one of the few tradeable items that is anchored to a real-world currency: Steam Dollars.

Of course, there are only two ways to get keys. First, you could use the tips I’ve listed above to trick suckers into trading them to you. Or, you could use the phishing scam from earlier in the guide to obtain credit card information, which can easily be leveraged into keys, hats, and plane tickets. But of course, don’t just use the stolen credit card data; that leaves a paper trail. It’s important you sell these data to unsavory businessmen in your town for cash, erasing your name from the equation, and leaving you all the richer. Everyone wins!***


* Hatconomy and Hatopia are registered trademarks of TopTierTactics.com. For information on licensing the use of these terms, please submit usage requests and current net worth estimates to WiNGSPANTT.
** TopTierTactics.com denies all allegations regarding the misappropriation of Chapter 1 from the book Seducing the Target – Start Small, Aim High. All similar content, including verbatim transcriptions, are purely accidental and certainly do not merit pursuing compensatory damages.
*** In the event you are caught, offer the arresting officer a bribe. If he/she refuses, close the trade window.

14 replies to this post
  1. The last footnote doubled the amount of fantastic in this article. With just two sentences. And there was a WHOOOLE lot of fantastic here.

    Congratulations on cracking Hat Fortress 2’s economy!

  2. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you just can do with a few p.c. to force the message house a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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