Go Team! Part 6: The Engineer

By Alec Meer on September 26th, 2007 at 11:47 am.

Listen buddy, this is my home. You shouldn’t be in here. Have [CLANG] a [CLANG] little [CLANG] respect [CLANG].

I’m an Engineer. That means I’m not interested in you. I’m interested only in my work. If it so happens that my work is near something that’s important to you, that’s just dandy. Just don’t expect me to go where you ask, and definitely don’t think I’ll come join you on your damn-fool crazy errand to the other side of the tracks. Me, I’m setting up shop right here.

There’s two ways to play the Engineer (well, three, but if you’re running around in the enemy base with your feeble shotgun out, you ain’t doing it right). Semi-offensively, and defensively. The former involves setting up a front line, dodging the slings and arrows of outrageous fortressmen to set up teleporters and turrets that help keep your team pushing forwards.


Given the choice, I play defensively. At least I hope that’s how it looks. Actually, I’m playing selfishly. In the 2Forts map, you’ll most likely find me in my team’s basement, beaverishly setting up my own tech-farm. This does, I’ll grudgingly admit, depend on my team keeping the enemy at bay long enough for me to do my thing. If they don’t, I’ll be dead and my work in ruins within seconds.

First thing to go up is a dispenser, which I’m sure my team would much prefer was somewhere near the entrance to our base, doling out health to living-on-borrowed-time Scouts pegging it in with the enemy briefcase. It’s not for them. It’s for me. It saves me from having to leave my little haven in the basement. It makes me entirely self-sufficient, an ever-fruitful farm of metal, ammo and health. It’s the foundation of my home-to-be.

Soon, it’s spat out enough metal to erect a turret, shoved into the top left corner of the room, its cone of fire covering both entry ways. A few trips to the dispenser and back enable me to upgrade the turret to its mighty, rocket-laden maximum. I’m danged proud of that turret, and danged sad should it fall.

Finally, I build teleporters. Again, I’m sure the team would love for this magic portal to slingshot ‘em straight into enemy HQ. Good for them. I’ve got other plans. This small collection of machinery is my home, and I intend to protect it. Teleporter exit goes up nearby, and the entrance right outside my team’s spawn point. This way, should I die, I can get back to my steel babies (and, coincidentally, to the team’s briefcase) as quickly as possible. I can get to fixing what needs fixing, and patiently rebuilding what’s been scrapped by those callous Blu bastards.*

My house is finished. Now all I have to do is wait here, and soak up the ticking, whirring ambience I’ve created. If someone tries to break into my house, my rocket-spewing guard dog should take care of them – I just need to be sure to go fix the damage. Of course, there’s also a danger of my dog turning sick, the first symptom of which is blue sparks. I need to cure it before it perishes, and ideally interweave my fix with some wild swiping at the air with my wrench to unmask the lurking invisible badman who infected my pet with this illness. Engineers hate Spies. Spies destroy our hard work with just the callous flick of a switch. Can’t they see how beautiful my perfect, self-perpetuating home is?

And so I stay here, in the basement, watching, waiting, fixing. I’m really not, you must understand, here to defend my team’s intelligence briefcase. It just so happens to be in my neighbourhood, and I’ll grudgingly incorporate it into my self-obsessed world of these three or four structures. Keeping them standing is why I exist.

Who is an Engineer best paired with? Why, another Engineer. The best protection for a turret is another turret; cover every angle of the room and you’ll both be dug in like Alabama ticks. Engineers are models of silent, solo industriousness, but they know watching each other’s back is in their own – or at least their home’s – interest. And if a big fat Heavy wants to come and gorge himself on the Dispenser’s snacks in exchange for keeping a few pests at bay, then hey, he’s very welcome. Don’t mind me, and I won’t mind you.

There’s a reason there are so many (too many, if I’m honest) Engineers on most TF2 public servers. While a Pyro or a Sniper suffers a certain enforced loneliness, Engineer is the class most designed for doing your own thing by choice. You follow only your own orders, can knuckle down to your own plans without necessarily being able to aim a gun. It’s the most helpful way to be selfish in the game.

And why not? This is my home, buddy. I have a right to defend it.

*Given the choice, I’ll always go red team, for reasons not entirely clear to me. This possibly makes me some kind of very specific racist.

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24 Comments »

  1. Kieron Gillen says:

    I quite like to think of the Engineer as passive-aggressive.

    KG

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Oh – and my favourite thing in 2forts at the moment is the inevitable race between the Scout and the Engineer of who can actually reach the information room and get ready first. A good Scout will win every time, forcing Engineer to be a bit cleverer.

    KG

  3. Stick says:

    I love the engineer, but there’s usually – yes – plenty of them around, which means I’ll opt for something else. (Pyrooo!) Also, it seems, I dunno… too easy? I’ve spent entire defensive rounds on Dustbowl crouched between a turret and a dispenser, perma-swinging the wrench. Scoring ridiculous amounts of points and feeling just a bit *dirty*.

  4. Gulag says:

    As time goes on the number of Engineers on a team is going to be a hot topic of debate during a round. Too many can really cripple a teams ability to push on in a capture map, as it’s one more player who’s sitting at the back, waiting, not fighting. The game is geared to reward offensive teams, so long-term, turtling behind those turrets is going to hurt you and your team. What’s the optimal number? When do you abandon your lavish nest and rush forward to nail the game? Only time will tell.

    But yes, he’s an extremely satisfying class to play when the Scouts are falling and you’ve got your turret in a sweet spot.

  5. josh g. says:

    I love the Engineer, and my play time shows it. That said, there’s one time that no one, I repeat NO ONE should spawn as Engineer – sudden death. Nothing is worse than watching engineers turtle for two minutes just for the sudden death counter to tick down to “YOU’RE ALL LOSERS”.

    If you’re going to go semi-offensive, and build a dispenser somewhere useful on the front lines in sudden death, then okay, I’ll forgive you.

  6. Andrew says:

    I think Engineer is my favourite class. At least on certain maps, in certain situations. If it’s a defensive map, it’ll take a lot to part me from my turret. If it’s an offensive one, I hate playing Engineer as I’m usually pretty much useless.

  7. Richard says:

    “If you’re going to go semi-offensive, and build a dispenser somewhere useful on the front lines in sudden death, then okay, I’ll forgive you.”

    Don’t forget drawing the enemies into a fully rocket-turret protected trap. Which is extremely fun, since they’re too busy chasing you to spot the turret.

  8. Tom says:

    Yeah, the selfishness arose a lot in QWTF: people building turrets in the basement of 2fort5 (and on the ramp) and just whoring kills. Which are, of course, totally irrelevant in TF.

    Semi-offensive is a useful way to play Engineer, but hard, and also not hugely popular. Similarly, semi-offensive snipers are really, really useful, but more often than not, people just spawn onto the sniper balcony. It turns most levels into two separate games – a game of sniper tennis between the two nests, and the rest of the team actually playing the game-proper.

    They will learn, one day.

  9. Dan (WR) says:

    Has anyone been using the teleporters in any interesting ways? I’m still feeling my way around with them, but they seem a bit hampered by the recharge time.

    I find playing a semi-offensive engineer to be quite challenging, but I always feel like I owe it to the team to try and build a forward dispenser. Seeing a big ammo-less HWG waddling around with only a shotgun is almost as sad as seeing a puppy with no legs.

  10. Stick says:

    I’ve used teleports for basic “quick reinforcement”, i.e, spawn to front lines / enemy water entrance. I suppose it’s not possible to teleport with the 2fort intelligence? Because that might make for some hilarious stunts.

  11. Yargh says:

    I’ve seen an enemy engineer get left alone enough to setup his complete kit at the top of the back stairs in 2Forts, he was a right pain to winkle out of there too. Luckily his team weren’t using his teleporter enough to cause us serious trouble

  12. Crispy says:

    Tip for the engineer: If you hit your buildings while they’re constructing they will build faster! ;)

    That’s especially useful for getting up dispensers and teleporters quickly.

  13. born2expire says:

    as a scout (and demoman on D) i hate engineer, there is far to many of them :(

  14. Aquarion says:

    Generally, more than two of any of the “selfish” classes – Spy, Engineer, Sniper – is going to start annoying the other team. And too many medics is also annoying, but when you have sudden death with six medics – three trained on the heavy, another on each medic – it can be insane. In a winning type way.

  15. kaenneth says:

    The one thing I wish an engineer could do, is ‘allocate’ buildings, like being able to build two lesser turrets instead of one big big one. But the game is probably better kept simple.

  16. Jesse says:

    For the semi-offensive tactic, I find that setting up shop next to the ever-spawning bottle-of-aid and box-of-crap positions is pretty effective. You can build the dispenser, grab the box, build the turret. I guess my roommate was the one who advised this so I shouldn’t take credit.

  17. Tim says:

    Offensive engineering can be totally great. Nobody expects you to charge out of cover and shotgung-ho it, and there have been numerous occasions where the sheer element of surprise at a charging Engineer has been enough to let me score 2-3 kills in succession. Then you simply retreat to your dispenser and replenish. You can offensively Engineer in other ways, too: when your team is pushing the enemy back into their spawns, build Dispensers to heal the Medics right up at the front lines. Team up with other Engineers to put up a fully upgraded turret in 15 seconds flat to keep their heads ducking, and teleporters to keep the offensive relentless and brutal. There’s so much more to being an Engineer than just turtling.

    Teleporters: those are great. On 2Fort, get them in the enemy tunnels so your lads can get in quicker. If you’re turtling down in the intel room (along with putting a Sentry on the desk where the intel is, so that any cloaked spies who try to sap it will uncloak as soon as they hit the intel and get mowed down, top tip!) put down a teleport entrance inside the intel room, and an exit outside in the hallway. This serves two purposes: if anyone manages to get the intel, you can use the TP exit to get ahead of their flee-path and mow them down as they run, and any incoming spies will be totally unable to resist sapping your TP exit as they come in. This means the instant you see your TP exit go down, you know somebody’s coming, and if they look like your team, you know they’re a spy. Or, you can look at the icon to see who destroyed it, see the incoming Heavy, and get ready to run behind him (or if he has a Medic, run away).

    And on every other map, especially the CP ones, an Engineer that can work his way behind enemy lines and drop a TP exit is a godsend.

    Also, on 2Fort, build turrets in the water, looking up at your base. Nobody suspects they are there and they’re really hard to see, so they mow down anyone attempting to enter your base. It’s awesome.

    I am fairly loving the Engineer.

  18. Garth says:

    I think you meant ‘colourist,’ and as a staunch Blu supporter, I call you out. Colour Wars!

  19. Ecnassianer says:

    Given the choice, I always go blue. I’m your counter-racist. :)

  20. Bad Karma says:

    Teleporters are nice, what the rest of the team needs to remember is that they’re much more useful to the slower classes. If I build a teleporter to get people quickly to the front lines, I’m intending it ONLY for use by the HWG, and *maybe* Soldiers. In fact, I should get a custom spray for that… a big “HWG ONLY!!!” and a red arrow pointing down towards my teleporter entrance.

  21. Link2125 says:

    Usually, I’ll set up shop either in the enemy’s sewer (2fort) or cram me, my dispenser, and my sentry in the corner of the tiny room at the top of the spiral stairs (also 2fort). The former allows me to be an additional help to my team in two ways. 1) My teleporter gives Heavies, Pyros, and Spies quick access to a less often guarded area of the map, and 2) My dispenser allows Demomen easy ammo for the Sticky launcher, allowing them to booby trap the enemy sewer even further. Also, it gives Intel runners a quick fix when their low on health. It also allows me to make a quick dash for the Intel, then return to wait for a more able player to pick it up. The other placement provides good protection to the intel without having to build to far away from the spawn, letting my teleporter be more useful to the team. True, the other stairs are left unprotected, but my teamates can attend to that.