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.