Valve has put out an official statement regarding ‘Crate Depression 2019,’ the Team Fortress 2 bug that guaranteed Unusual items and was poised to tank Team Fortress 2’s long-running and extremely valuable item economy.
A bug that appeared in Team Fortress 2 July 25 changed the odds of some of the game’s older crates. All of a sudden, these were granting an Unusual item every time someone opened one, rather than at the 1% drop rate at which Unusuals are meant to appear.
As you might imagine, this had profound and nearly instant impacts on the game’s item marketplace, where crates and that hats found within them are traded and purchased for real money. The price of rare hats crashed, while unopened crates skyrocketed in value.
In a statement Friday, Valve said it has been considering the problem over the past week and rolled out what it believes is a solution. The goal, it said, was “minimizing the impact on the TF2 community as a whole, while preserving the experience of customers who had simply opened a crate, made a trade, or purchased from the market on the 25th, unaware that a bug produced their item.”
Valve had already taken the step of locking down all Unusual items obtained from bugged crates, and that happened within 24 hours of the problem first appearing. But by that time, word had spread like wildfire. Team Fortress 2’s player count spiked, with thousands of players flooding into the game to earn crates. Some players were able to earn a lot of Unusual hats.
“We’ve decided that if you currently own one of these Unusual hats, the first one added to your account will be made tradable,” Valve said in the update. “Any other Unusual you have received due to the bug will remain permanently trade-locked. If you decide that you would rather not have these trade-locked hats on your account, you may instead elect a full refund on any number of them.”
Valve said players getting a single Unusual hat to trade is more in line with the normal 1% Unusual drop rate.
Should players opt for a refund, Valve says that will cover “the full price paid for any hats, crates or keys bought on the Steam Community Market or Mann Co. store.”
Those will become available in the coming week, Valve says, and at that time item tradability and restoration will come back online as well.