There was a method of preloading the content, then authorizing it with a key that was given out on the internet, and then disconnecting your modem when it was only half done authorizing, then the game would work. Obviously this method connected your steam account with the warez cdkey. This doesnt bother anyone of the versions that used the steam emulator or just removed steam.
I had heard that there were versions that didn't require steam out there. It would make sense that these people weren't affected, since it was no longer able to change their content remotely via steam.
What I didn't realize was that there were 20,000 people that not only pirated HL2, but used Valve's own bandwidth to download the game! Wow.
This comment was edited on Nov 23, 16:09.