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Valve published a FAQ page to describe the differences between free and premium accounts.

It is written that free account has Limited blueprints, but what does it mean? Which are the items that a free account cannot craft using recipes?

And also, free account can drop only Standard items, but what are the Rare and Cosmetic items that they can't drop?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm pretty sure cosmetic refers to Hats and Misc items.

To my knowledge items are only referred to as rare on the new crafting screen (Screenshot). At first it looks like they describe the same as cosmetic, but I think they mean the 5 set hats which are not only cosmetic, but actually have an influence on gameplay.

Following by that, I would assume free accounts miss the blueprints for headgear.

There's also the special category in the crafting screen (Screenshot) which currently contains blueprints which require special ingredients that could only be acquired during the Halloween event.

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By that definition of "cosmetic items" missing, shouldn't for example the Ol' Snaggletooth be included? Without it, you won't be able to have the No-Headshot modifier, which isn't just cosmetic, it's gamechanging – private_meta Jun 30 '11 at 16:21

I'm not a free player myself, so I'll mark this answer CW.

  • It appears non-premium players do not receive hat or crate drops.
  • It appears non-premium players cannot craft hats, or other cosmetic items.
  • Cosmetic hats would be hats and tools. (?)
  • Rare items would be strange weapons and unusual hats.
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