Whether it’s a CS:GO gun skin, set of Second Life clothes, Hearthstone card back, PUBG bandana, or Team Fortress 2 hat, what fancy in-game cosmetic have you acquired? Armor effects in Path of Exile go for a fair bit, but then someone once paid $38,000 for a pink war dog courier in Dota 2, which puts everything else in perspective.
What’s the most valuable cosmetic item you own?
Alan Dexter: It turns out my Steam account has nothing of value in it at all. This isn’t too surprising, as I tend not to give a fig about what my characters look like. I’m certainly not about to drop real cash on such things—although I’ve recently started playing Red Dead Online, and for once I want my cowboy to look the part, so maybe that will change. Other than that, the cosmetic I like the most (although it has no financial value) is Lifeline’s ‘From the Ashes’ skin in Apex Legends, which has a real demonic vibe to it.
Andy Kelly: I sold every frivolous cosmetic item in my Steam inventory tagged as marketable a few years ago, so the only things of any ‘value’ in there now are a couple of Team Fortress 2 crates that are worth so little they don’t even sell when I put them on the marketplace. I think they’ll be there forever, haunting my account.
Fraser Brown: I don’t have any cosmetics of any value in my Steam inventory, but I did earn this ‘Perky Pug’ in World of Warcraft a very long time ago that I still cherish over most of my fancier pets. He’s just a good dog. So he’s got sentimental value, even if he’s worth £0.
Evan Lahti: On Valve’s open marketplace, CS:GO item prices can fluctuate wildly over time. For example, as a result of this article prompt I’ve discovered that sometime in 2019 players decided that a Team Dignitas EMS One Katowice 2014 sticker should be worth $200-600. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
CS:GO’s special tournament items are random drops that players receive by watching in-game or on Twitch, and they’re among the rarest items because they’re tagged to specific competitions, moments in time that won’t come again. I can’t figure out why the Dignitas sticker in particular has spiked, but other items from the Katowice 2014 tournament are listed at more than $1700.
Emma Matthews: My Steam inventory isn’t worth much now but I used to own two CS:GO knives. I had a Phase 2 Flip Knife Doppler (Factory New) and a Karambit Lore (Field-Tested) which are worth over $750 together on the current Steam market. I ended up selling both along with some other weapon skins to buy a Valve Index.
Phil Savage: I don’t play Dota 2, but I did used to follow The International, so when I got Legion Commander’s Inscribed Blades of Voth Domosh arcana from a Compendium drop one year, I immediately sold it on the Steam Marketplace for £22. In terms of cosmetics I didn’t immediately hawk, it’s probably Bifrost—one of Guild Wars 2’s legendary weapons.
Legendaries imbue your character with custom visual effects—weapon trails, footprints, etc—and require either an absurd amount of time and resources or a lot of in-game gold. Technically, though, you can use GW2’s currency exchange to turn real-money gems into gold, meaning you can spend your way to a legendary. Biftost, which is on the market for around 2,190 gold right now, would set you back a cool £70. Me, though? I just paid for it through many, many hours of my only life on this world. Bargain.
Rich Stanton: This is Brutus, my AK-47 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The AK is probably the most iconic weapon in the game, and you’ll be using it frequently. Brutus has been color case-hardened through the application of wood charcoal at high temperatures, features StatTrak technology showing I’ve killed around 1600 people with it, and is worth around £150.
Oddly enough I’ve never put a great deal of money into the Counter-Strike economy, I’ve just been playing it for a long time. I think I bought Brutus for around £15, a USP for a fiver, and I’m not sure about the others. I feel a bit odd about to be honest, because I like the game so much and there’s definitely something special about my loadout being so personalised (I’ve got loads of other custom guns, but they’re not worth much). But it also definitely feels like a bit of a waste to have £200+ worth of gun skins sitting around.
Andy Chalk: Years ago I bought the Knights of the Nine expansion for The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, which included the great-granddaddy of them all: Horse armor! I figure I could probably get 20 bucks for that on eBay. That’s it for me—according to the Steam Item Value Sorter I don’t own any conventional cosmetics, which makes sense because I think the whole idea is kind of silly.
Jody Macgregor: I bought Team Fortress 2’s Infernal Orchestrina after seeing the Meet the Pyro video and wanting to check out the Pyrovision mode it, and a handful of other items like the Pyrovision Goggles, enable on certain maps. That musical backpack cost $2.49 and afterwards I never spent real money on cosmetics again. Not because I’m some kind of Real Cool Dude who is above people who like to own shiny things, but because deep down I am an absolute tightwad.
Pifanjr: According to the Steam Tools item value sorter, my most valuable item is a Europa Universalis III card worth 10 cents.
I don’t spend money on micro-transactions, especially not purely cosmetic ones. However, if we accept that time = money, then the Hearthstone card back I just got for completing the Tombs of Terror on Heroic difficulty is probably the most valuable purely cosmetic item I own.
Zloth: I’ve got a foil card from X Rebirth that’s worth a whole 75 cents!! Look out Ted DiBiase!
badman: The T-shirt that came with the boxed version of Terminator 2 Judgement Day, some 30 years ago. I think I was about 12 years old at the time. The shirt was adult size, but I didn’t mind. It lasted for about 10 years, then it was completely useless. Loved that item.