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I was looking at some achievement items in TF2, and I found that for a hat, you have to 'level up' your character. What does that mean?

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    Could you say the name of the achievement that said that? Or the name of the item? – aytimothy Nov 10 '14 at 7:41
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I think you may have meant "Achievement Milestones".

Team Fortress 2 does not have character levels. You could either be confusing between a Steam Profile Level, Strange Item Levels or Achievement Milestones.

Achievement Milestones

Achievement milestones are achievements that you get when you have completed a certain number of achievements in a achievement set (series of achievements for ie. a certain class or event).

As you complete an achievement milestone for a class, you are granted an achievement item at each milestone, or as a reward for completing certain achievements (list below, see wiki for more info)

As for hats:
See https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Achievement_items#Hats

There are several hats you can earn through achievements:

  1. Ghostly Gibus - Earn the Ghastly Gibus Grab achievement.
  2. Mildly Disturbing Halloween Mask - Earn the Candy Coroner achievement.
  3. Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head - Earn the Sleepy Holl0WND achievement.
  4. Frontline Field Recorder - Earn the Local Cinema Star achievement.
  5. MONOCULUS! - Earn the Optical Defusion achievement.
  6. Full Head of Steam - Complete 7 achievements in the Foundry Pack. (To trigger the Foundry Milestone achievement)
  7. Gentle Munitionne of Leisue - Complete 7 achievements in the Doomsday pack. (To trigger the Doomsday Milestone achievement)
  8. Skull Island Topper - Earn the A Lovely Vacation Spot achievement.

Steam Profile Level

Not related to Team Fortress 2 in any way

A steam level is your Steam profile level, which can be increased by:

  • Buying more games
  • Crafting Badges
  • Participating in events

Strange Items

These things you can level up based on the number of kills or times used successfully.

You can level up items with a strange quality (orange name) by killing/using successfully (ie. With Mad Milk, it's the # of enemies soaked using that item). As you reach milestones, its prefix will change from Strange to others, depending on the rank number (and its threshold).

See https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Strange#Ranks for more information.

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  • This answer does not seem 'correct', or at least there is a lot of unneeded/unrequested/noisy information. The question mentions a hat from an achievement and only about 1/3 of your answer is about hats! Maybe wait until the question is edited/corrected with specifics before just providing a shotgun blast of information in a hope to answer the question. – Colin D Nov 12 '14 at 21:59
  • @ColinD You're assuming the question will be updated, which I doubt will actually happen. – Powerlord Nov 12 '14 at 22:16
  • @Powerlord it is never updated, it will likely get closed (I see 2 closevotes already). Making answers on it meaningless anyway. – Colin D Nov 12 '14 at 22:17
  • @ColinD After thinking about it, I think I figured out which hats they were referring to. – Powerlord Nov 12 '14 at 22:24
  • I had no idea what the question was asking about.. The OP didn't reply and thus because TF2 doesn't have an XP system, I just stated anything that was level-related (apart from item levels) or hat-related. And I think gaming.stackexchange.com/a/191492/75275 (scroll down/up) seems to know what the OP is referring to. – aytimothy Nov 12 '14 at 22:52
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The only hats in TF2 that require you to level a character are the Flamingo Kid and Triclops hats.

However, the leveling in question has to be done in the game Super Monday Night Combat, not Team Fortress 2.

Specifically, Flamingo Kid requires you to reach Level 5 in SMNC, while Triclops requires you to reach level 20 in SMNC.

Incidentally, the level is account-wide in SMNC and can be gotten with any combination of characters. You're awarded experience after every match, although winning a match awards you more XP than losing a match.

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    Don't forget to include these are non-TF2 achievement items, just like the Spiral Sallet (Reach the first Clockworks Terminal in Spiral Knights). – aytimothy Nov 12 '14 at 22:57
  • I totally forgot that Strange hats were a thing when I wrote this. These hats will have their prefixes change as you get kills until you eventually have a "Hale's Own" hat. However, this is purely cosmetic, just like Strange weapons are. – Powerlord May 2 '16 at 20:33
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Or you could be talking about weapon levels; for example, the Eyelander is a level 5 sword, and the Mantreads are level 10 boots. Levels are purely cosmetic and for "bling", like unusual hats.You do not need to "level up" or anything to equip these weapons.

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