Get Trading Cards on Steam Without Actually Running the Game

Trading cards on Steam plays into our passion for collecting while also trading and making money on the platform’s marketplace. Many gamers idle their eligible Steam games.

How to Finally Get Rid of Games From Your Steam Account

To collect them. Some people leave a game open on their computer and wait for time to pass, while others are more organised. These apps idle your games without opening them. It’s how many people make money from games. With IdleMaster and ArchiSteamFarm, you can earn Steam trade cards without opening (or installing) a game. But first, let’s address the main problem with these programmes. Will I be Banned? Many wonders if utilising IdleMaster or ArchiSteamFarm will result in a Steam ban.

We contacted Valve many times for clarification but received no response. So, what does the Steam community and its Subscriber Agreement say? According to users on the Steam forums, Idle Master, ArchiSteamFarm, and Reddit, you can’t be banned for using this programme. Are accounts stolen or banned for using Steam Idle Master?

While the Steam Subscriber Agreement prohibits employing software that automates Market transactions, idle games have no such restrictions. There is a specific regulation that states: “You may not change or automate any Subscription Marketplace procedure using Cheats, bots, modifications, or hacks.” So you can’t automate trading card listing, sale, or purchase. Although not explicitly forbidden, idling can be automated to acquire trading cards. Valve scarcely recognises the software’s existence.

In terms of the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC) bans, users have not reported such a ban arising from using idling software. Although Steam will sometimes kick you from the game session, this does not prevent you from accessing it in future. Avoid using an idling tool while playing a VAC-enabled game. What Say the Designers? ArchiSteamFarm (ASF) makers promise no VAC restriction.

Idle Master predicts no ban. Still, avoid using it when playing a VAC-based game. ASF’s Github page states that “[a VAC ban is] not possible because ASF (unlike Idle Master or SAM) does not interfere in any way with Steam client nor its processes. It’s physically impossible to get a VAC ban for using ASF, even during playing on secured servers while ASF is running — this is because ASF doesn’t even require Steam Client being installed at all to work properly.” “ASF is the only farming programme that can currently guarantee VAC-free,” it adds.

ASF only knows of one Steam ban. However, this was due to the user creating thousands of bots with the program rather than using it for its intended purpose (idling games for a single person’s account).

However, you should be aware that since idling programs are unauthorised third-party software, Steam can change its Subscriber Agreement at any point to ban them explicitly. Some call Steam’s idle software policy “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Because of the ambiguity over the issue, there’s always an element of risk when using these programs. However, if you decide that you want to go ahead with using idling software, here’s all you need to know. What You Need to Get Started Before starting with either program, you need an eligible Steam account.

Starting a new Steam account from scratch while only buying the cheapest games possible will not work. Nor will free-to-play idling games you haven’t spent money on. There are two barriers to the Steam trading card. Therefore, buying a few 35 cent games and expecting to farm trading cards won’t work. You could always add $5 to your Steam Wallet, which will remove the limitation from your account. But since you need to spend the $5 on that specific account, you can’t use games gifted to you as a workaround.

The secondary consideration is which games are eligible. Most games will not drop trading cards unless the refund period is over or you have over two hours of playtime. The free-to-play game only loses cards after you’ve spent $9 in microtransactions for the title. With a complete Steam account and eligible sets, you’re ready to start. Remember only to use programs that other users can vouch for. You don’t want to fall for any Steam scams or malicious software.

Option 1: Idle Master

Out of the two options, Idle Master is more user-friendly for novices. Its setup is minimal, while its user interface is easy to understand. The setup program consists of directly downloading it from the Idle Master website, extracting the folder on your computer, and running two applications. You don’t have to install anything. The applications in question are IdleMaster.exe and steam-idle.exe, both of which you should run as an administrator.

The Idle Master application opens the program’s interface, while steam-idle.exe is a background process. In the Idle Master’s window, you will need to provide your Steam login details. To connect to your account correctly, you will also need to keep Steam open when you use Idle Master. The simple UI includes a few details — confirming Steam is available, whether Idle Master is connected to your account, and checking if idling is underway.

If everything is ready to go, the UI will load the details of the game it is idling. It shows how many card drops are remaining, how many games you are currently idling, and how many are left to idle. The program also performs a check every 15 minutes to update its progress. If these details do not update, you have likely forgotten to run steam-idle.exe.In the program settings, you can choose whether to idle games simultaneously or individually, or a mixture of both depending on playtime.

If you are idling multiple games, the preview is slightly different. You won’t see the games’ thumbnails but rather a list of titles and hours on record. You can idle up to 30 games simultaneously. This is useful for reaching the two-hour mark, after which trading card drops start. After this, you may want to choose individual idling to increase the likelihood of drops. If everything is functioning properly, your Steam client will eventually start showing new inventory items. The Idle Master progress bar fills with green, while the number of card drops remaining will change.

Advantages and DisadvantagesIdle Master (IM) is the go-to choice for people who want a simple setup and familiar user interface. Its accessible settings and clear communication mean that the program is easy for novices to get acquainted with. However, out of the two programs, IM has more bugs. The need to run the idling process alongside the program comes with its issues.  

Windows will often prompt you to allow steam-idle.exe to run when Idle Master switches between games, despite already permitting the same session. This means that you could wake up after leaving your PC idling overnight, only to find that IM stopped working two hours in after switching games (due to the idling process needing approval again). Creating an allowlist, so the process doesn’t regularly require UAC approval might fix this problem for you. Furthermore, if there are issues with your Steam account’s eligibility, you have to figure the problem out independently. Idle Master will not diagnose the problem for you.

Developer shackles also ended support for Idle Master instead of making it open source. Thus, there will no longer be updates, bug fixes, or other support for the program from the developer. It is still available to use. Though. Despite this, many users choose Idle Master because it is easier to set up.

Option 2: ArchiSteamFarm

ArchiSteamFarm (ASF) is a more advanced, customisable Steam idler. It requires more attention and effort to set up, and its UI isn’t beginner-friendly. However, what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in functionality.

ASF is a powerful and efficient tool that will earn you trading cards in no time. It is also open-source, making it free to download and alter SetupLike IM; this tool doesn’t require installation. Instead, there are more steps to follow to get the program working.

First, you need to download the correct version of ASF for your PC. The download is available on the ArchiSteamFarm GitHub page. Once downloaded, extract the files to a folder on your PC. While there are various files and folders, you only need to focus on ArchiSteamFarm.exe and the config folder. For ease of access, you can also create a desktop shortcut for the ASF application. In the config folder, you need to download and copy a specific file into it. You can generate this file quickly through ASF’s web-based configurator.

Visit the link, select the Bot tab, and fill in the necessary details. These details include a name for your file (e.g. “FarmTool”), your Steam username, and your Steam password. You also need to click the Enabled switch. Experienced users can view advanced options below the toggles. Once you have done this, click download to grab your JSON config file. Then paste this file into your ASF config folder. Now you can start up the ASF application — double-click the ArchiSteamFarm.exe item in the folder you extracted.

The application takes the form of a simple console window, very similar to the Windows Command Prompt. You then need to insert the Steamguard key sent to your email — or the Steam Authenticator code if you have two-factor authentication enabled. Once you confirm this, a new set of text will load. This includes details on whether ASF successfully connected to Steam. You’ll know everything is in order once the text loads details on games ASF is idling. These details include the total number of games left to idle, as well as available trading cards. From here on out, simply let the application do its work. Trading cards will soon start popping up in your inventory.

Advantages and Disadvantages of ArchiSteamFarmArchi

SteamFarm is more difficult to set up than Idle Master. However, its difficulty seems somewhat overstated. As the ASF setup guide states, “[t]here is a steep learning curve involved here. ASF is not just some toy program with a friendly GUI, one-click installer and fancy window; it’s a very sophisticated and complex Steam tool that can do almost anything, as long as you care enough to learn how to configure and use it.”ASF is significantly more advanced than Idle Master since you can alter the program’s processes in many ways. But when it comes to running it to idle your Steam games, it’s pretty easy.

The below five-minute video tutorial will get you acquainted with the setup process quickly if you prefer visual instructions. This slightly longer time investment gives you a much more efficient and detailed idling program. The console identifies any errors, including Steam account limits. It also gives you an estimate of the time needed to earn all your trading cards.

Meanwhile, the fact that the program runs alone and doesn’t require supplementary processes means that far fewer interruptions occurred in our software testing. In terms of security, it’s always a risk to share account details with any third-party software. However, since your details are in the config file instead of the app itself, you have an extra element of privacy with ASF. The web configurator also does not store your details, according to the ASF wiki:“[It] is 100% client-based, which means that the details you’re inputting are not being sent anywhere, but processed locally only. This guarantees security and reliability, as it can even work offline if you downloaded all files and ran index.html in your favourite browser,” the developer says. Will You Use Steam Idlers for Trading Cards? The world of Steam idling software isn’t nearly as murky as it seems once you understand precisely what the programs do.

If you are a player who keeps your games open to earn trading cards, you’ll probably find these programs a welcome alternative. They allow multiple games to idle without the need to install them or open them on your PC. This saves precious RAM and keeps CPU usage low. However, the ambiguous stance Valve has towards these programs still leaves an element of risk. Some people prefer not to take their chances. Do you or would you consider using Steam idlers to earn trading cards? And if so, why? Let us know in the comments below!

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