Looking to expand your Steam library without emptying your wallet? This comprehensive guide will teach you pro tips and legitimate techniques to unlock free downloadable content (DLC) for your favorite Steam games.
With the right tricks, you can save a ton of cash on DLC while avoiding risky piracy. I‘ll explain where to find free DLC packs, how to get discounts, use trading cards, and more. You‘ll have the ultimate inside info to access new content and enhance your gaming without spending a dime. Sound good? Then let‘s dive in!
An Overview of Scoring Free DLC
The best ways to get free DLC for your Steam games are:
- Claiming DLC that developers offer for free
- Using Steam coupons, discounts, and sales for cheaper DLC
- Activating DLC codes from bundles, loot boxes, and gifts
- Utilizing Steam trading cards and marketplaces
- Joining DLC giveaways through Steam communities
I‘ll explain each of these in detail. With the right patience and persistence, you can amass a treasure trove of content to take your Steam library to the next level for zero cash.
Check Steam for Free DLC Packs
The most direct way to get DLC at no cost is when developers make packs available for free. Many generous studios will release bonus content to reward players and keep them engaged.
For example, The Witcher 3 from CD Projekt Red has 16 free DLC packs spanning new quests, gear, and customization options. Free DLC is a great way for developers to thank fans and build goodwill.
Here‘s a step-by-step guide to grabbing free DLC on Steam:
- Open your Steam library and go to the store page for a game you own.
- Scroll down until you see the DLC section.
- Look for any DLC marked as "Free" or with a $0.00 price.
- Click the green "Play Game" or "Download" button to claim that DLC.
- The DLC will be added to your account library automatically!
Repeat this process for all your games to build up an arsenal of free extras. I check back every few months for new freebies.
Some other games known for excellent free DLC include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dying Light, and Fallout 4. Bethesda games, in particular, get abundant bonuses.
Free DLC is often timed as short promotions too. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements. And wishlist any paid DLC you want to be notified of future discounts.
Leverage Steam Sales and Coupons
Paid DLC sees massive discounts during Steam‘s famous seasonal sales events and other promotions. By grabbing DLC on sale, you can sometimes get huge expansions for just a few bucks.
Here are some pro tips for maximizing savings:
Use Your Steam Wishlist – Wishlist any DLC you‘d like to buy later. You‘ll get an email alert when it goes on sale.
Check the Front Page – Steam‘s home page features current deals. Look for coupons that give specific discounts on DLC packs.
Buy DLC Bundles – Developers often sell "complete editions" or season passes with all DLC bundled for a lower price.
Be Patient – The biggest Steam sales are the Summer (June-July) and Winter (December) sales. Wait to buy at these events.
Sell Trading Cards – Craft badges from trading cards to get Steam Wallet funds to spend during sales.
Here are some examples of great deals I‘ve scored over the years by waiting for Steam sales and utilizing coupons:
- Skyrim Dragonborn DLC – Original price $19.99, paid $5.99 (70% off)
- The Witcher 3 Expansion Pass – Original price $24.99, paid $7.49 (70% off)
- Civilization VI Rise & Fall DLC – Original price $29.99, paid $11.99 (60% off with coupon)
Patience and persistence pay off! With the right sale-hunting skills, your Steam wallet will go much further.
Activate Free DLC Codes
Many physical copies of games come bundled with DLC codes you can redeem to activate that content for free. There are a few ways to obtain these codes:
- Buy used games with unredeemed codes included
- Get gifted DLC codes from friends or family
- Find codes in loot boxes or collectible bundles
- Enter giveaways for game codes on forums
To activate a DLC code on Steam:
- Click the "Games" menu and choose "Activate a Product on Steam"
- Enter your DLC code and click "Next" to complete activation
- The DLC will now be available in your Steam library!
For example, a used copy of Borderlands 3 may come with a code for the Guns, Love, and Tentacles DLC. Rather than paying $14.99 separately, you unlock it for free.
Code hookups like this are a sweet way to round out your DLC library without spending more money.
Utilize Steam Trading and Marketplaces
The Steam marketplace allows you to sell virtual items like trading cards and in-game loot to earn Steam Wallet funds. You can then use this balance to purchase DLC at no real-world cost.
Here are some tips:
- Craft badges from trading cards to get rare foils, profile XP, and Steam Wallet credits.
- Farm in-game items and loot like TF2 hats or CS:GO weapon skins.
- Use third-party sites like skinport.com to sell your items for maximum value.
- Build up your Steam Wallet over time, then splurge on DLC at the next big sale.
I like to build up a balance of $20-30 before going on a DLC shopping spree. This saves me from spending any actual cash.
If you invest some time into trading and selling, you can self-fund your DLC habit indefinitely!
Join DLC Giveaways
The Steam community forums for each game are filled with generous players hosting DLC giveaways. These are often leftover codes or duplicates they want to gift rather than let go to waste.
To find DLC giveaways:
- Go to the game‘s forum and browse the giveaway section
- Sort giveaways by newest first to see the latest
- Follow the instructions from the original poster to enter
- Winning a giveaway scores you that DLC free!
For example, the Borderlands 2 forums have players giving away packs like the Psycho and Mechromancer character DLC all the time.
Just be sure to read the full giveaway terms so you can enter properly and securely. With a little luck, you can expand your library through the kindness of fellow players.
Avoid Risky Pirated DLC Unlockers
I want to briefly caution against using pirated "DLC unlocker" tools found on shady sites. These promise to unlock paid DLC for free by hacking in-game content.
Not only are these illegal, but using pirated DLC can get your entire Steam account permanently banned. Developer Techland warns:
"Using cracked DLCs violates Techland’s and Steam‘s Terms of Service. Anyone who uses unlockers/crackers stands a risk of having their account permanently suspended."
Stick to legitimate channels like giveaways, trading, and sales. Don‘t risk account bans over sketchy software.
Wrap Up: Expand Your Library for Free
And there you have it – the inside scoop on scoring amazing DLC without draining your funds. With the tips in this guide, you can tap into:
- Free developer DLC packs
- Huge discounts during Steam sales
- Activation codes from used games and gifts
- Profits from trading card badges and in-game items
- Community giveaways from fellow players
In total, I‘ve unlocked over $400 worth of content through these methods. That‘s hundreds of hours of extra gameplay for zero real-world money.
Now you‘re equipped with expert-level knowledge to build up an enviable Steam DLC library on the cheap. Happy free gaming!