Valve are in the process of adding gamerscore-like community ratings to Steam. Overnight, users have begun to notice personal meta-levels listed next to their account name as part of newly-rejigged profile layouts.
The update, which was the subject of a staggered rollout across a number of different territories last night, allows Steam users to gain XP to increase their overall level. XP is tied to the existing Badge system, which awards players for completing ‘Steam community tasks’ rather than in-game achievements.
The introductory ‘Pillar of the Community’ badge, for instance, requires the completion of 14 tasks, all designed to ease players into Steam’s community features. They include: ‘Set an avatar on your community profile’, ‘Link your Steam and Facebook accounts’, and ‘Play a game’.
Badges are viewable in a sidebar on the new Profile page, and it’s likely you already have a few of your own. My account lists one badge for ‘Years of Service’ (450 XP), another for participating in a voting event during the Steam Summer Sale 2012 (100 XP), and a Holiday Sale badge for ‘Completed tasks’.
The UK version of the client doesn’t seem to display overall level just yet, but international users on Reddit have already posted screenshots:
Valve tend to use Badges to direct players towards features likely to be overlooked by the majority, like Steam Workshop. In a live chat with Valve last week, indie developers complained that only a fraction of Steam's community were voting up games on its Greenlight service. Perhaps levelling up could be the carrot to drive more users over to the indie groundswell approval system?