I see in a lot of posts talk about Team Fortress 2 and hats, what is that about?

What is so special about hats in that game?

  • 3
    Hats (and the 3 hats moved to the Misc slot) are the game's only rare items. Need I say more?
    – user2974
    Aug 18, 2010 at 19:44
  • 32
    It's the best war themed hat simulator around! Aug 26, 2011 at 16:51
  • 1
    Buying certain games on Steam gets you a special edition hat for that game. They suck in the TF2 player base hat addicts with a promise of a new hat fix when they buy some game they'll never play for more than an hour
    – Chris S
    Oct 28, 2011 at 9:28
  • 2
    I can't believe that this hasn't been mentioned in the year and a half this question has been here: Hats are the game's "rare" drops... and some are rarer than others.
    – user2974
    Dec 26, 2011 at 21:17
  • you're the most fancy soldier in the hood when you get the rare hats
    – BlueWizard
    Apr 13, 2015 at 18:55

4 Answers 4


The TF2 Forum community has had a thing for hats ever since the Spy / Sniper update when they (and the random drop system) were implemented.

They like to complain about hats, cheer about how awesome their hat is, or worry that too many people are complaining or cheering about hats.

Of course, it may have all petered out, but Valve decided to add more hats. The classless update only added fuel to the fire with such quotes (from the Blog Update news itself) as: http://www.teamfortress.com/classless/day01.php or,

Throughout history, men have worn hats as a way of showing how much better they are than other men. “I buy hats,” a behatted man seems to say. “I am better than you.”

It appeared to reach its height when the Valve blog (not an update post, mind) itself seemed to indicate that hats were the most important things to the developers.


Suffice it to say that Team Fortress 2 is no longer a first person shooter with RPG elements. It is 100% a hat simulator.

  • 12
    This is stated also in the mac update page: teamfortress.com/macupdate/earbuds: TF2 is America's #1 war-themed hat simulator
    – Drake
    Jul 23, 2010 at 19:38
  • 1
    That blog post is hilarious!
    – juan
    Jul 23, 2010 at 19:50
  • 1
    You mean "It is 100% a hat simulator... and we love it!" :D
    – JavadocMD
    Jul 23, 2010 at 19:52

This comic more or less explains it:


Hats are the main unlockable customizations available for your character during loadout. Hats do not affect your character's stats in any way and are purely cosmetic. Some hats are rarer than others and are highly sought after.

Valve awards some bonus hats to people who pre-order their games. For instance, "Bill's hat" was awarded to anyone who pre-ordered Left 4 Dead 2.

  • In addition, hats that you earn via the crafting system result from either destroying other hats you own, or using literally weeks worth of weapon components to fashion a single hat.
    – TheQ
    Jul 23, 2010 at 19:32
  • 23
    And you will never craft a hat you want. I have yet to receive a single hat from the random drop system, though I recently accrued enough metal to craft a hat manually. I received the Engineer's hatless hat. My first hat was -1 hats. Jul 23, 2010 at 19:35
  • 6
    @Raven. I upvoted out of feeling bad for you. That stinks big time.
    – Corv1nus
    Jul 23, 2010 at 21:04
  • @Raven I feel your pain. I've been playing consistently since release and only 2 weeks ago got my FIRST random hat. Coincidentally, I got another one 1 week later, so maybe other people with crap luck will get some hat love soon too.
    – TheQ
    Jul 30, 2010 at 14:48
  • Likely the most important thing about hats is that they're a prestige symbol with zero in-game relevance. It's a way for the rich and time-blessed to show off, without actually imbalancing the game. Mar 21, 2012 at 19:34

One final thing to note about the Hats of TF2 and the reason they are so popular.

It makes Valve and Players alike rich.

You see, Valve originally created these hats as rare drops as non-monetized findables. With the help of Paypal, people discovered that they could make a lot of money 'legitimately' selling their hats to others. This in turn prompted Valve to fight this 'legitmacy' by implementing the Mann Co. Store and Steam Credits, so that those wishing to pay real-world money for fake-world hats could pay Valve directly.

Then they introduced crates that could only be opened with special keys, bought at the Mann Co. Store, that contain special hats with Unusual properties that can not be bought at the Mann Co. Store, along with a number of other rare hats and items not purchaseable at the Mann Co. Store, making these items ripe for 'legitimate' trade.

Finally, Valve started to let people design hats for the game itself, and contribute them to the Steam Work Shop, so that they could also make some non-quoted legitimate money off of this hat business.

So, not only are they the only vanity item in the game, propegated as being important to your class, AND the main focus of the entire game...

But some people also make real money off of those hats.

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