Team Fortress 2 Engineer update liveblog

PC Gamer

Portable Sentry

At around 7pm UK time, Valve officially revealed the first stages of the engineer update for Team Fortress 2 . But it's a weird one, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crossed with Team Fortress 2. Hidden within the game are 100 golden wrenches, and to find them, you have to craft.

Update! The update's out, it's all over, and our liveblog has drawn to a close. Here are all the details, latest first.

If you craft any item, you have a random chance to reveal a wrench. Every wrench found is revealed on the Valve Wrench Log , and at 25 wrench intervals, a new engineer item is revealed. The update will be going live on Thursday. We've been updating this post with new information, as it appears. It's tremendously exciting, and you should get involved. If you've found a wrench, please let us know in the comments, so we can talk to you, and get your name on the site.

01:08: It's out! Gentleman, launch that sucker. It's just gonna take, let's see, an hour and a half to update. Wait, what.

Looks like the portable Sentry clues weren't just about Sentries: there's an achievement for lugging your "buildings" a certain distance. Rather than being an unlock, it's likely just a new ability for the Engy: pack up anything he's built and move that gear on up. Woot.

Update: full Team Fortress 2 Engineer Update patch notes confirm this.

And with that, we'll draw a line under this epic four-day liveblog. Thanks so much to everyone who read and commented - as you'll see if you leaf back over this, a lot of you guys tipped us off to some great clues. Enjoy the update, team.

0:56: As we suspected! More stuff is trickling out, including full achievement descriptions, and there's a gem in there.

"Honky Tonk Man: Smash an enemy player's head in with your guitar."

Aww yeah. Still no formal announcement of the Guitar melee weapon we've been postulating since the achievement icons came out, but that's as good as confirmation. Since the Gunslinger takes the pistol slot, the Engy can now have a Guitar and a Robot hand at the same time. Win.

0:46: Something's not quite right here. When the hundredth Golden Wrench was found, it was all supposed to be over. But we've still had no proper announcement of the movable Sentries, the promised extra melee-slot item hasn't materialised, the Achievements still don't have descriptions, and there's no... extra bit. You know, the Valve bit. The sudden apppearence of a Meet the Team video, or the addition of trading, or a deluge of Polycount stuff.

Also, the update. Shouldn't we have the actual update now?

Clearly, it's not over yet. There may be another full day of news to come tomorrow, or it may come along with today's blog post ( teamfortress.com hasn't updated yet). Don't let your F5 key take that holiday in the lake district just yet.

0:45: Uh...

0:36: ONE HUNDRED! The lever has been pulled, and the final details have gushed out. Another new Payload map, nice, but more importantly: that robot hand! It's called the Gunslinger, and it's actually a pistol slot item.

It gives the Engy 25 more health, lets him do a three-hit punch combo to crit enemies, and drop cheap, quick-building mini-Sentries instead of normal full size ones. They can't be repaired and only do half damage, but they have full health from the get go, so they're tough while building.

A very clear decision to enable a more mobile sub-class of Engineer, who roams, harasses and ambushes the enemy with surprise Sentry positions. Bravo, I say - that's how I lamely try to play the Engy anyway.

0:21: 85 minutes without a wrench. Starting to forget what they were like. Were they silver or something? Why were we even waiting for the hundredth? Was it some kind of game?

22:56: 99 wrenches! One wrench remains! Any friggin' minute!

22:10: ROBOT HAND. Still three wrenches before the big reveal, but a new secret page has emerged showing Radigan with, let's just say, A ROBOT HAND. The URL suggests it's called the Handyman, it's likely the other melee-slot weapon hinted at in the blog yesterday, and our guess is that its function is more about how it builds and upgrades than its melee capabilities. Here's the pic.

ROBOT HAND.

18.50: 96! Four remain! They've been averaging around one an hour, so the Engineer Update may well go live at around 23.00 BST. Hnng!

17.37: 94 wrenches gone! Six more! Gnnngngngng !

08.54 : Whoa - a portable Sentry? Commenter joshg points out this set of Engineer Photos , showing a little photo diary of the Engy taking a fully built Level 2 Sentry, packing it back up in his toolbox, then redeploying it elsewhere. It's almost certain he's getting a movable Sentry.

It's probably significant that the Sentry he's moving is a level 2: this would need some kind of drawback, and being unable to upgrade to level 3 fits nicely. The middle photo, in which the Engy is moving the Sentry, shows him with his toolbox over his shoulder - not his normal way of carrying it. To me it suggests he probably moves more slowly, and can't use any weapons, while carrying his packed-up Sentry.

01.30 : A new wrench! On top of the normal one and the hundred golden ones, I mean. A nasty looking spiked wrench with a knuckle duster , designed by community member Watchmaker. Before you explode with rage at the final unlock being a slightly different fan-made wrench, the TF2 blog assures us : "This isn't the only melee slot item the Engineer's getting... just a bonus!"

That confirms the final unlock will be a melee slot weapon, suggesting no new buildable. Unless it's a guitar that summons Robot Abraham Lincoln when played. We can DREAM, okay.

A new secret page shows the Engy's grandfather, Radigan Conagher, posing bare-chested in denim cut-offs with the new wrench. And as commenter Nonomu has been saying all along, he really is looking more Australian with each new pic. Prolonged exposure to Australium?

01.06 : New map: Hightower ! From the red-team bomb just visible at the bottom of this image, it must be a Payload Race map like plr_pipeline . This pair of satellite dishes (one owned by the RED team, one owned by BLU) are the targets, and it seems you'll need to ride your bomb up and elevator to reach them. That's new. Will we need to stand on the platforms to keep the elevator moving upward? Our minds are already spinning with the idea of rocket-jumping atop the enemy's lifting platform in the dying moments of a round to save the game.

So, no new weapon or unlockable yet. That puts a burden on tomorrow to reveal something special. Don't fret: there's still loads of loose ends: Abraham Lincoln's significance, the robot, and possible hidden-meanings in secret links like this one (thanks, Crasp) that Valve hides in each update.

The TF2 team also said that we'll have a "community-made surprise" coming tomorrow. We're assuming this will be something from the Polycount pack (in addition to at least one more Engineer unlock)--an amazing community item creation contest that we're still waiting to hear who won.

00:13 : One more wrench to be found before it ticks over to 75. EXCITING. Prepare to hammer F5.

21:36 : Very slow day. We've up to 69 wrenches, which means we're a full six short of the next big reveal. They've been ticking upwards relatively slowly, too. Stupid wrenches. Can't take the anticipation any more.

11.07: Look at that spy! He's got a pistol with a silencer on it! Thanks to dsi1 in the comments for the tip - this is a blown-up image of the graphic for the achievement "Search Engine". Question: is a silenced pistol really a useful thing? I mean, who listens for gunshots in TF2?

10.08: Wrench 59 now belongs to Snugz . This is fairly chugging along, eh? Also, Toasty in the comments found this picture linked on the engineer's update page. It's just a photo of Grampa Engie holding the Wrangler and quaffing something. These are probably just concept art that Valve wanted to show off, and we can expect another after any remaining items - they're never in the initial update page, but when the next has been live for a while, try hitting Tab to cycle through the links and see if anything hidden shows up.

09.30 : The 58th Golden Wrench has been found by Drunken F00l, something of a celeb in the TF2 community for his excellent Backpack Examiner tool. It's the biggest and best resource for crafting and item information, so this is a little like the world's foremost expert in little balls with numbers on winning the lottery. At the time F00l won his, 19,541 crafts had been made without incident since the last Wrench was awarded. Inevitably the Steam forums are crying foul play, but it's more likely the man just does a lot of crafting.

23.34 : The 50th wrench has been awarded. A Brazilian was the lucky one. That means...new information!

The Wrangler

Part mini-radar dish, part pistol, part Atari joystick, the Wrangler is the next Engineer item to be revealed. The Wrangler seems to allow for manual control of sentry turrets--it isn't capable of directly dealing damage to other players. This is definitely Valve's solution to the Engineer's tendency to passively babysit his equipment, whacking it with the wrench to administer repairs.

Sentries being controlled remotely by the Wrangler don't automatically target enemies. They gain a shield that absorbs 66% of all incoming damage and have double the rate of fire. That sounds extremely powerful. The downside is that sentries are temporarily non-operable after an Engineer switches from the Wrangler for another weapon - such as the Wrench, to repair it.

Will we control our sentries from a separate first-person perspective, or just point the Wrangler where we want them to shoot? Probably the latter. It's an important question, though, since that requires both the Engy and the Sentry to be in his enemy's line of fire to attack.

There's a map, too. And achievements.

Upward is the name of the new map. It's a traditional payload map, and an original Valve creation--not one adopted from the community. There's definitely some emphasis on verticality. Not sure if it's a multi-stage map like Gold Rush or a single instance like Badwater Basin.

What can we glean from the achievements list , then?

There are two achievements that feature a guitar, "Honky Tonk Man" and "Six-String Stinger." The latter shows a polaroid image of the Engineer--probably a reference to taunting an enemy after you've killed them with a new animation--Valve usually adds a new taunt animation or two with each class update. The question is, will this be something he whips out for a taunt animation, or is it an actual weapon? It wouldn't be the first time Valve have given us a guitar to hit people with. But it'd be even more fun if strumming the thing forced all nearby enemies to jig mirthlessly.

Valve also mentioned, a few moments after the Wrangler was revealed, that they're temporarily increasing the item drop limit for this week. Play more, get more items, craft more, and you'll have a better crack at one of the 50 remaining golden wrenches.

Our expectation is that the next reveal (there's two more increments on the " Wrench dial ") will be a new buildable item. Some imaginative forum posters speculated that the roll-out of AI bots in TF2 months ago was the groundwork for the Engineer getting his own AI-controlled mechanical minion to deploy in the field. Concept art of this robot hasn't hurt the rumor.

19.02 : Well, it's been five hours since our last update and not a single new wrench has dropped. We're sulking. Americans! Thank you for waking up. If you could take a moment to craft some Team Fortress 2 items, your contribution would be greatly appreciated.

14.39: The 45th wrench just dropped for Anadur in Germany. The next piece of info from Valve is five wrenches away.

12.47: We're now up to 43 wrenches. Expect a new item announcement in the next couple of hours.

10.02 : We're up to 36 golden wrenches found, which works out to be about one an hour since launch. At this rate, we'll see the next item revealed in 15 hours - 1 am tomorrow morning. This is not acceptable. You need to craft. Craft for all your worth.

04:03: Right, that's enough of that. Here's the map from the update page, along with a picture of the Engie with his dad (from TFC, natch). Good night, and here's hoping we wake up to walking sentries.

03.51: That sure answered my question. Wrenches 29 and 30 have just dropped for Bryen and The Rugged Man , respectively. That took them, what, 25 minutes to unlock another two wrenches?

03.24: 28th wrench goes to Tony "GreenDrank" [SUBJECT NAME HERE] . It's clear at this point that wrenches are going to be dropping around the clock and in every country. It's almost like a race - can we get all the info unlocked by Thursday?

03.14: Great spot by HojoTheGreat in the comments - there's a third name here, obscured. This is a log of who Radigan Conagher built a Life Extender Machine for. Whoever this mystery guy is, he's also immortal, and also very old and frail. It's... it's just got to be Abe Lincoln. Anyone else have any better ideas? Or some coffee?

03.03: Why crafting? It could have been a random wrench drop with every crit, or something. I mean, there's the obvious reason - now that they've disabled cyclical crafting, you can't farm this over and over again to get your wrench. But there's another reason. Valve want you to get rid of all your excess crap. They want you to be sitting thinking, "Do I really need this Flare Gun? Should I craft it into metal, and maybe get a wrench?"

They want you to get rid of all your unlocks, because they're going to introduce item trading. That's my theory. If they introduced it a week ago, everyone would already have everything they want - I'd have got Craig's excess highlander, I could have given my brother Bill's hat - we all have so much junk lying around that there'd be way more supply than demand.

When item trading is released, all items will be a little rarer. Personally, I crafted my Kritzkrieg - it's been gathering dust, and I wanted the wrench, you know? But what about when an uber just won't do? What if I miss my Kritz? Well, Evan has one - but it'll cost me my beloved Homewrecker.

Trading is coming in this update. You heard it here first. Maybe.

02.35: This is funny. This diagram is an electron diagram for Australium, as worked out by the Engie's Grandfather. It's identical to the electron diagram for gold, but for one vital detail: instead of protons and neutrons, there are some kangaroos boxing. Gold's symbol on the periodic table of elements is "Au", from the latin "Aurum" (high five Mr Mills, high school chemistry teacher!), which could almost mean Australium. The Australian national newspaper, "Have Some News, Mate", also ran a headline nervously denying that there's any gold in Australia.

So Australium is just gold, then. Magic gold. Magic science gold.

02.27 : The 27th wrench was found. The lucky winner goes by Grantz . Man, I could have crafted so many things by now. I mean, slept.

02.12 : Still no idea why it's called "Hunted in the Jungle" though - something to do with the crocodile themed community pack for the Sniper , maybe? We already know Valve are adding new community items , but they did half-joke about declaring them all winners. It's not like Valve have to ask for permission to update TF2 with about fifty new weapons.

02.03: Just dug this out. Someone called, er, Captain Obvious has unravelled the 'Kicasso' thing over at the steam forums . I'd stick the picture up here, but, well. It's got a Picasso in it, and the Law Bot 9000 is doing that scary countdown thing like from Robocob. The jist is, it's based on a painting from his Blue period - that's why it's on Blutarch's estate.

Valve. They do art history jokes.

01.47: There's something missing here. There are one or two clues alluding to another figure that hasn't been revealed yet. He's obviously covered by sand (or gravel) in the Mann family portrait linked in the will, as shown above. There's also a dog, which is probably just a nod to the Guard Dog update .

Who is this mystery guy? He's wearing all black. He might be Lincoln, or John Booth - he's been left something substantial or important in Zepheniah's will.

This could boil down to a new game mode - VIP returning, perhaps? Escort Abe Lincoln? Or maybe Abe is the tenth class. There are three pencils in the cup there by the bottom, maybe that corresponds to... actually wait, that's a bit mental. Back to the steam forums with me.

01.10: The 26th wrench has been found - this is the lucky person, whose name probably isn't Mr Kratos . It really isn't taking that long for these to unlock, then, although at an hour and a half between unlocks there'll be wrenches remaining by the time the Engineer Update goes live on Thursday.

00.54: New map! Valve, as a way of thanking the Apocalypse Gaming ladies and gents for hosting the Battle of Both Worlds tournament, sent them this screenshot of the Engie standing around in a brand new map.

00.51: Tim spoke to Gumby , the seventh guy to get a golden wrench. Here's how it happened:

"I was crafting. I smelted three scrap metals, making a reclaimed metal, and it gave me the wrench along with the metal."

In other news, I crafted three things and didn't get squat. Yay science!

00.35: This fetching photo of the engie's grandfather was hidden in a link on the update page , and it definitely wasn't there a half hour ago:

Sprechen sie sexy?

Of note: the word "NEVER" corresponds to the word "WORK" on the main page, and it seems to be a picture of the Repair Node . I doubt we'll be seeing this then. He's also holding the new shottie.

00.04: The TF2 blog just updated. Lots of new information here:

  • 75 golden wrenches remain. Randomly find them while crafting. Keep them for life.
  • There is no per-day limit on wrench drops . This bit means that I never get to sleep again.
  • Two cyclical recipes - Smelt Reclaimed Metal & Smelt Refined Metal, which can be crafted back and forth forever - have been temporarily disabled. I wonder why?
  • Every 25th wrench found will release information for the engineer update. New maps, new weapons, etc.
  • The update will go live this Thursday.

23.40: When a wrench is found, all servers are notified. Here's a screenshot that we cheekily nabbed from Neogaf :

I really wish they'd kicked this off last Friday. This would have made the weekend pretty eventful - although I'd have been stuck blogging instead of consuming nutritious bioforms in a warm, dark place.

23.03: ?Here are the details, in case you can't read it:

  • 50% Smaller magazine. That's three shots.
  • No random critical hits.
  • You get "Revenge Crits" now. That's two crits for every kill your sentry made, and one crit for every assist.
  • When your sentry is destroyed through enemy action or "self-destruct" (which might not mean what you think it means), you get bonus crits.

It's also worth noting that once we hit 25 wrenches unlocked, this shotgun appeared on the page, and this light lit up:

Presumably that lever gets pulled when the update goes live, after all the lights have lit up. How engineery .

22.57: The new shotgun was just announced.

22.51: This is why we have a Craig. He asked Robin walker about the wrenches, and Robin speaketh:

PCG: How are the wrenches going to be distributed? Will there be a chance to grab a wrench after the 100 are out there?

Robin Walker: There's a random chance of finding one every time you craft. There are only 100 of them (75 to go now).

There you have it. Get crafting people!

22.43: Hold on, is this a teleporter that removes disguises? I thought it was more Lincoln nonsense, but there's a definite impression of the moustache moving onto someone else, or something. There's also a mention of "virulent poisons" in that Mann Co. circular there.

22.22: It strikes me that some of this is just silly. There are an unhealthy volume of Lincoln references - a diagram of him standing on a teleporter, a revolving floor-chair, a wanted poster for his murderer, and there's even a Lincoln gun hat . Or a Lincoln hat gun, even. More important is the wrench, I think - I'd love to know how to craft the golden wrench. Here's the story so far for the wrenches according to the TF2 wiki :

"On the night of July 4th, 2010, sixteen accounted for players received the Golden Wrench after a drop was triggered by Robin. The following is the process of events according to Nineaxis, TF2 Wiki moderator and contributor.

According to him, he queried Robin Walker about whether or not the wrench was a preorder reward for another game, which it is not. Robin then invited him to play, promising more answers. After playing, Robin told him the code had a bug. A while later, Robin invited him to a server, supposedly having fixed the bug mentioned before, and proceeded to trigger the drops, mentioning that they do not drop randomly after Nineaxis asked.

Shortly after, Robin left and halted any further drops, to presumably fix a bug that affected the wrenches which had been dropped. On July 5th, 2010, it was revealed that there is a possible limit of 100 wrenches to be dropped over the next few days. According to the page, it can be presumed that it is only found when crafting something."

[Here's a permanent link to that version of the wiki page]

Robin being all mysterious then.  It's probably some unknown blueprint, and it could be that there are only 100 to be found - it'd make sense if only a hundred players could have them, being that the wrenches were largely cosmetic when Tom got it working .

A newspaper about Australia!

21.57: This is an android drawn in the style of the Vitruvian Man . No idea how to craft the wrench yet, but I'm friend-spamming the 24 people who do know like the shameless tart I was raised to be.

A sentry with wheels!

21.47: This here sentry has wheels on it. Is the engie getting a moving sentry, or are Valve just cruel jokesters? Probably both.

21.33 : Right, here we go. We've got two pages. The first is the single TF2 Engineer update page here , which seems to be a group of cartoons and newspaper clippings. The second is a live counter, the wrenchlog - it's showing that 24 players have got the wrenches. We're going to assume, for now, that each of those players has crafted a golden wrench. We'd love to talk to those players asap. If you're one of them, or know one of them, get in touch via the comments below.

[Assorted sources: Steam forums , Reddit , Polycount , TF2.com , TF2 wiki , being too tired ]

[Variously updated by Evan , Jaz , Tom , and Tim ]

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