30 August 2010

That Golden Wrench

Undisputed gods of PC gaming, Valve, have been supporting Team Fortress 2 with updates for almost three years now. Players have received everything from new maps to new game modes and class weapons on a fairly regular basis keeping the game fresh for those who have been fragging since day one.

For each of the class specific updates Valve ran unique campaigns in the build up to their eventual releases linked in some way to the lore of Team Fortress 2. The Sniper update was interrupted mid-way through in a hilarious twist by the Spy update, playing on the pair’s rivalry in the game. Everyone who has played Sniper knows that frustration when you are zoomed in and about to pull off an incredible headshot but suddenly a Spy’s butterfly knife finds its way into your spinal cord! Whereas, in the ‘Soldier vs Demoman’ update, whichever class managed to rack up the most kills of the other in game over a few days was rewarded with a unique item. For the Engineer update Valve tried something completely different.

In the build up to the update’s release, players who crafted anything in the game had a small chance of being randomly awarded a Golden Wrench. The item was purely aesthetic and offered no actual improvement from the standard wrench bar some lines of exclusive kill dialogue. The TF2 community, including myself, played tirelessly in an attempt to collect as many items as possible to craft into others for the minute possibility of discovering an Au-coated wonder. However, before we knew it, the 100 Golden Wrench limit was reached and we were left disappointed.

One Golden Wrench owner decided that all of the negative attention he was receiving from owning one was simply not worth the small claim to fame. He decided he was going to destroy his wrench. Not only was he going to destroy it but he would arrange a fundraiser in support of the destruction for the Child’s Play charity; changing a disruptive in-game item into something worthwhile for others. The imminent destruction of what eventually included twelve other Golden Wrenches managed to raise over $30 000 for Child’s Play from nearly 2000 donators. A fantastic achievement for everyone involved in the process. Now if only more attention was paid to events like these by the mainstream press rather than more overblown controversy, our beloved hobby might be seen in a far greater light.

(Whilst donations for this event are no longer being accepted you can still find out more about the event at http://www.toptiertactics.com/golden-charity/).

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