Team Fortress 2: Dough, Ray-Guns, Me

Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I capped your POINT!

Well, that was quick. Only the other day, rockets were spotted in assorted Team Fortress 2 maps, and now Soldiers everywhere are tooled up with sci-fi weapons designed by the special-effects geniuses at WETA Workshop. (You may have seen their work in movies like Lord of the Rings, Avatar, King Kong, and about half the other blockbusters in recent years.) Read this comic to see their discovery, and visit the Mann Co. store to witness the might of Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators, and the inevitable hat that goes with them.

But, we hear you ask, what are Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators?

They’re guns, obviously. But there’s a little more to them than that. They’re actually real steampunk style prop guns that WETA makes as a side gig, which you can order here, and then have incredibly expensive pretend-wars with other people who have too much money.

The Team Fortress 2 versions – replicas of replicas of things that never existed – are rather more functional, as well as cheaper. In fact, they can be completely free. As with most TF2 gear, you only have to pay if you want a new toy now now now, and both of the new guns can be crafted pretty easily. They should also be available as drops, although since I only ever seem to get Sandviches and Nataschas from those, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

But never mind that! Let’s meet the Soldier’s snazzy new gear…

The Cow Mangler 5000 (£6.99)

Have you ever wondered...

A “Level 30 Focused Wave Projector”, or to use the official DARPA terminology, ‘zappy-zap-zap gun’. Doesn’t require ammo, and lets you loose off a charged shot that does mini-crits and disables buildings for four seconds. The downsides are that you wave goodbye to random critical hits (although the Kritzkrieg still works), and don’t do as much damage to buildings.

Make It Yourself: Reclaimed Metal, Black Box

The Righteous Bison (£4.99)

...whether everyone else on Earth was secretly psychic...

Another zappy-zap-zap gun, for your Secondary weapon slot. Again, no ammo, with projectiles that punch through targets and can’t be deflected, but are weak against buildings.

Make It Yourself: Reclaimed Metal, Battalion’s Backup

Lord Cockswain’s Pith Helmet (£7.99)

...but we all decided to keep it secret from you?

Yet another stupid bloody hat that nobody but you cares about and you shouldn’t waste your hard earned money on, but will, because OH GOD I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE HAT OBSESSION. Pith helmet? Pith off and- Wait. People paying for this worthless crap mean I get to play more games for free? A hat you should all buy immediately. Buy two!

Lord Cockswain’s Novelty Mutton Chops and Pipe (£3.49)

I'm just saying, is all...

Makes you look like you have giant white scales sticking out of your face, as if attacked by some kind of alien virus. It also gives you a new ‘smoking’ effect, because smoking is cool.

All of these can be bought individually, or you can grab the whole set for £20, otherwise known as ‘2/3 of another game’, otherwise known as ‘yet another oak-stake to the heart of the word ‘micro’ in ‘micro-transactions’. Is it worth taking the plunge though? I grabbed a Cow Mangler on RPS’ dime (and there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be typing again) and hit some servers.


It’s a fun weapon, finally introducing the much requested ‘guns with teats’ school of firearms, though at heart it’s just another rocket launcher with a funky visual effect. The projectile is quite slow and easy to dodge, and in practice the unlimited ammo side isn’t that useful. The best bit is definitely the charged attack, which doesn’t just do mini-crit attacks but has a big plasma-splashing blast radius that sets people on fire. Hit the middle of a crowd and all you’ll be hearing for a while is ‘ding-ding-ding-ding!’. The catch is that the charged shot fires as soon as it’s ready rather than letting you hold onto it, and fully drains your gun. A five second charge-up followed by another five seconds worth of reloading to get back up to full combat readiness (although you can fire during this) means you really, really have to get your timing right.

Overall, I’ll be sticking with it for a while, but I suspect I’ll be going back to my trusty Liberty Launcher once the novelty’s worn off. Game balance notwithstanding, it’d have been good to have a few more practical differences to the rocket launcher to make it feel more like a proper zappy-zap-zap gun, such as Pyro not being able to reflect shots back at the expense of some rocket jumping power. The charged shot makes it more than just an aesthetic switch though, and while I think £7 is a little much for any weapon short of a nuclear warhead that only I personally am allowed to use, it’s well worth trading in some old junk to have a play with.


  1. alice says:

    I only have the shotgun replacement currently but I love it. Something so satisfying about watching your laser beam hit the enemies and them dissolving upon death.

    • heretic says:

      Completely OT but in my RSS feeds there was a story about the Deus Ex live action trailer and I get a 404 when I try to find it… a lot of other websites are also reporting page missing D: what gives? (it s still on lazy gamer though and on their youtube).

    • CMaster says:

      Embargo shenanigans, probably.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Embardo shenanigans indeed. They released a twitter update to let everyone know the story will be back later.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I caught the video this morning, before it was pulled. Is awesome. You need to see it, when it appears. Spoiler: turns out augs are a bad idea. Who knew?

    • heretic says:

      yeah saw it on lazygamer’s youtube – pretty good vid, am excited about Deus Ex but hadn’t realised the whole drug dependence thinggy, the vid really put that into perspective.

      Still, without that I think augs are a great idea! :D

    • Avenger says:

      I think it’s because they haven’t managed to “hack their site” yet…

    • Zelius says:

      Here’s a link, in case you haven’t found it yet: link to

      I got goosebumps.

  2. TooNu says:

    All soldiers are noobs!

  3. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I don’t know what to think other than the pulp sci fi guns are wildly at odds with TF2’s finely-crafted aesthetic and that this is basically an advertisement for overpriced toy guns.

    Also, troll!

    • jon_hill987 says:

      TF2’s aesthetic hasn’t been finely-crafted since they gave the eastern block Heavy an American Football helmet.

      And it only got worse from then on.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I was about to reply with “It’s funny because there will be hordes of people screaming with righteous indignation about this in about 3 seconds” but jon_fitt was way ahead of me.

      I LoL’d Jams.

    • Nevard says:

      I’m baffled as to how anyone ever thought TF2 was a serious game with any kind of theme
      There are magical futuristic healing guns. We can’t make those in real life.
      There are turrets that take mere seconds to assemble, can tell people apart by the colour of their clothing and fire missiles and bullets at them.
      There are TELEPORTERS.

      How do laser guns not fit into this universe?

    • Pew pew LAZORS! says:

      You do realize he is talking about the art style.

    • Wulf says:

      You do realise he’s talking about the art-style too, right? I mean, if turrets that go up in seconds and teleporters aren’t visual aspects, then I must be from another reality where English makes more sense.

      Of course these new additions fit in with TF2.

    • Pew pew LAZORS! says:

      Please explain to me how a Victorian era inspired steam punk designs fit in to stylized late fifties early sixties America.

    • Tei says:

      The main theme of TF2 is humour. We have seen far west TF2 comics. And things that seems props from a Austin Powers movie. Everything fits, if is made with excellent humour and given a good excuse.

    • Stupoider says:

      Sure TF2 wasn’t “serious”, but it wasn’t so blatantly stupid that characters now slap eachother with fish and wear Kanye glasses. They’re mercenaries, right? Of course there’s comedic value in sentries and “magical” healing guns, but they also offer something intrinsic in terms of gameplay. Suddenly sticking in Verne-esque items and saying it fits the theme is just insanity. TF2 was funny, but never has it appeared to TRY to be funny- of course, that’s changed and the comedy lies in weapons and hats…

    • Lemming says:

      Aren’t people able to make TF2 vanilla servers if they choose, though? I’ve no idea really, i just assumed it was as malleable as CS:S was.

    • Stupoider says:

      @Lemming No, the highly lauded vanilla servers, the last bastion for all the naysayers and critics are just servers with no plugins.

    • Pew pew LAZORS! says:

      I completely agree about the humor, it was a big part of what made tf2 so wonderful, but now its just way too over the top and random, with hats even made after some memes (hi there team captain)

    • smartalco says:

      These fit the TF2 style just fine actually (I crafted them last night).
      They fit the style of what ‘futuristic’ looked like in the 50s. See: fallout.

    • Nevard says:

      To everyone who claims it does not fit with the style:
      link to
      Look at gravel pit! Point C is a GIANT RAY GUN.

    • Stupoider says:

      I’d argue that there -is- a difference between spy/doomsday technology and science fiction weaponry. It reminds me of when aliens spoiled Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (although there was a lot of stuff that also contributed to its failure).

  4. jconnop says:

    And then there were no engineers.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      Does seem overpowered.

      All you’re losing on the primary in random crits but since you can force minicrits that’s probably a one hit KO on everyone but Demoes, Soliders and Heavies. No one relies on random criticals but being able to force regular rocklets to be more powerful?

      And stunning an SG for four whole seconds? If you have one other guy with you that’s an eternity for any Engie

      And it addition it has infinite ammo? Rocket Luanchers are one of the few weapons where ammo becomes and issue

    • LionsPhil says:



    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Because Engineers are a mild annoyance at the best of times?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Teleporters can make or break a round.

      It’s just that they’re not that much fun. The sentry gun is the Engineer’s primary entertainment generating device, and it’s ability to defend itself hasn’t kept pace with the ever-increasing number of ways to counter, cripple, or destroy it.

      (They could at least let the wrangler shield make the raygun projectile rebound. Bonus points if it works like an airblast, switching the projectile’s team.)

    • Chizu says:

      I am an Engineer :'(
      I’d just like some new primary/secondary weapons to come the engineers way, it doesn’t have to be building updates, just some new shotgun or pistol alternatives would be great, less worry about game balance with those than new buildings :(

    • Bobby Oxygen says:

      I’m certainly done playing Engie until this gets nerfed. Soldiers can now kill you and disable your sentry with one shot. I’m surprised noone at Valve raised an eyebrow or two when the stats for the Cow Mangler were discussed, it’s by far the best weapon in the game.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      “Because Engineers are a mild annoyance at the best of times?”

      In most public servers which is what most people play SGs are decisive for the defending team. The number of maps and control points where they cause blockages and stalemates is numerous indeed.

    • tyrsius says:

      No competent demoman should be stalemated by a sentry. Ever.

  5. mueti says:

    Poor TF2.

    • i liek turtals says:

      I thought I was the only one who thinks like this.. Laser beams & TF2. Can someone show me the connection between those two?

  6. Moni says:

    Yay! New weapon that doesn’t look exactly the same as any other weapon and has a distinctive and easily recognisable effect!

  7. airtekh says:

    Some interesting stuff there.

    I shall add them to my list of things-to-craft (or hopefully receive as a random drop).

  8. Anthile says:

    I really wonder how that was greenlighted. “You know who needs more stuff? The class that already got the most stuff in the last update!”
    Pyro and Engineer get screwed over… again.

    • zeroskill says:

      yeah I dont understand that either. Soldier already has the most items, most primary weapons and most hats in the game, and yet he gets more.
      The only thing that makes sense to me is that the Soldier class is very popular among, well, lets just say “new players”. Therefor it is possible that Soldier get the most items to keep said “new players” interested.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      At this point I’d rather they just admit the Pyro is a joke class and remove it from the game entirely, rather than wasting more of everyone’s time.

    • bonjovi says:

      I think since TF2 went free to play there are plenty of new people playing it, and most of us start in TF2 as soldier. So statistically there is probably a lot more soldiers than anything else. Maybe valve is trying to show love to new arrivals?

    • Zelius says:

      God, all this talk about neglected classes reminds me way too much of WoW.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Pyro is fine if you actually know what the secondary attack on the flamethrowers does & you can aim in someone’s general direction with the shotgun/flare gun. A decent Pyro is ridiculous against Soldiers & Demo’s.

      If there’s a true ‘joke’ class it’s Engineer. They exist just to give me extra points when I kill them & destroy their stuff.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Indeed, the airblast returned the Pyro to its rightful (and thoroughly annoying) position of arch sower of chaos. If they were such a joke class there wouldn’t be so many of the blighters bouncing me around the map. *shakes fist*

    • 8-bit says:

      got to say the pyro may not get as much love from valve but I don’t see why it is seen as a joke class or similar, I would actually stop playing if there were no more pyro. the most fun I have had with the game is when I manage to sneak up on a group of the enemy, then watch them get shot to death in the cross fire as they run around in panic. fun times.

    • zeroskill says:

      Oh great, now I want Valve to make a Dr Grordbort game. THANKS ALOT!

    • JB says:

      Having had a look at the site, me too. Could be an interesting one.

  9. BooleanBob says:

    Say what you like about the new guns, the three-panel visual gag with Soldier’s doll substitutes veteran buddies is glorious.

  10. obvioustroll says:

    Looks like razors stuck in his face, it’s freaking me out :-(

  11. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    They should also be available as drops, although since I only ever seem to get Sandviches and Nataschas from those, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

    The Drop God seems to have been rather kind of late, I came into possession of the complete Medic and Demoman packs with a pleasing rapidity. Of course, fifty Force-a-Natures also dropped at the same time but then they’ll serve as METAL FOR THE HAT GOD.

    Pertinent question: Is it possible to Cow Mangle-jump?

  12. Squeeby says:

    I know TF2 is a cartoony game and all, but these new weapons really don’t fit the style.

  13. Teddy Leach says:

    I like this Richard bloke.

  14. Olivaw says:


    Are you saying that they gave another class a weapon that can set people on fire?

    Well fuck, Valve, why not just take the Pyro out of the game, you hate him so much! Jesus Christ.

    • rocketman71 says:


    • LionsPhil says:

      At least they’re still the only class that can airblast invulnerable medics, right?


    • Nevard says:

      I don’t think another class making itself completely useless for ten seconds in order to set people on fire for five is really something to be that upset about as a pyro

    • Sabin says:

      I for one enjoy playing pyro and fully endorse this update.

      I salute my new fire capable brother in arms. I have an axetinguisher eagerly waiting to wreak all sorts of chaos against a group of enemies hit by one of these things. I can’t wait to get on and play tonight.

  15. Zwebbie says:

    Call me craaaaaazy, but I think pulp sci-fi guns don’t fit that badly in TF2’s pulp sci-fi world (the accompanying hat and misc item obviously do) even if they’re overwrought. I’ve always thought that TF2 could play on outrageous weaponry just a tad more, since that angle seems to be explored only in the environment and in cloaking watches. For once I’m almost pleasantly surprised at the thematic quality of a TF2 update!

    jon_hill987: I’d argue that many people are overemphasising the ethnic stereotypes; The soldier wields a Soviet rocket launcher and the Heavy an American minigun, but it was all rendered in the same style of the overarching global conspiracy theme. So to speak, in the original game, the classes were mercenaries equipped by their factions, only in subsequent patches, they bought their stuff in tourist gift shops.

  16. Optimaximal says:

    Richard Cobbett wins today’s RPS Post Title Award for Most Punniest of Titles Ever Seen in a Collection of Titles with Puns In Them!

  17. Stick says:

    “Game balance notwithstanding”

    Heh. Let’s face it, they’ve given up.

    And isn’t the real question here, why on earth is Valve talking to WETA? Are there creative shenanigans afoot? I mean, obviously there should be. Speculatron engage! Etcetera.

  18. Coins says:

    Would like this, looks lovely. Wait. Seven dollars for a gun? I’ll have some crack, please.

  19. Doug says:

    The new weapons have a 80% reduced damage against buildings. Yesterday me and another Soldier couldn’t destroy a teleport that the engineer was probably repairing it at the base. The new set is TERRIBLE against engineers with minisentries. Don’t worry, engineers, the new set are actually worse than the default weapons against you.

    Also, nothing gives the new RL crits, not even kritzkrieg, buff banner nor humiliation.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Really? I didn’t get a chance to try it, but the Shop specifically says that it can crit when buffed by the other weapons. Might just be a bug.

    • Doug says:

      I’ve personally tested the buff banner and humiliation, and a friend said he tested kritzkrieg. Nothing worked.
      But it can be a bug.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Raygun soldier disables sentrygun for four years.
      Any other teammate merrily batters it to death. Or simply runs past if it’s guarding the intelligence or something.

      It’s almost as good as a ranged sapper. It’s ridiculous.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I play engie and have found it to be ridiculously easy to lose your SG’s to a soldier now. Usually before you could repair through a rocket attack till your teammates handle him, but now he just disables it, runs up and kills you, then your gun without pause. Worse then spy spamming sappers.

  20. westyfield says:

    Why on Earth would you want a weapon that takes up almost one-quarter of the screen? I thought developers learned that lesson with the BF2142 pre-order gun. Best hope you’re not getting attacked from below on the right!

    • GHudston says:

      Hold a rocket launcher next to your face and then tell me how good your peripheral vision is.

    • westyfield says:

      Gosh, yes, I forgot that this game in which a soldier finds a crashed rocket full of disintegrator ray guns is 100% realistic.

      What I meant was that this weapon seems to take up much more of the screen than any other, which must put the user at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to situational awareness.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Have you tried the Direct Hit? The first rocket launcher variant? It takes up about the same amount of the screen.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Turn viewmodels off if it’s that annoying.

    • westyfield says:

      Hmm, I have tried the Direct Hit but I never noticed it taking up a lot of space. Maybe I’m just over-reacting to a single screenshot and becoming a Slightly Peeved Internet Man.

  21. Lobotomist says:

    Yep, i feel pretty bad when playing soldier. But they are often needed on the team.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Why would you feel bad about it? Soldier can be a pretty skilled class to play; there are people out there who will juggle you helplessly from blast to blast, while rocketjumping onto your control point themselves.

      Demospam, however…

    • Anthile says:

      The only class you have to feel bad about playing is the Heavy with Tomislav and Sandvich. This combination borders on griefing.

  22. Avenger says:

    I don’t understand this.

    I was really expecting something different. Valve has been pulling this ARG stuff on every little thing, I am beginning to suspect there is a “Do some ARG” written on every project checklist in the office of the marketing lead.

    To be fair, it wasn’t very insightful of me to expect something about pyro, or engineer or half-life for that matter.

    I haven’t really paid for any items for TF2, but I’ve heard they are getting weirder each update. If I understood it correctly, we now have some totally-out-of-place looking weapons which are actually ads for overpriced replicas of things that don’t exist?

    And we are paying for it?

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      You may be happy to pay for them. I’ll wait for random drops (or trade friends who have duplicates from random drops).

  23. Magnetude says:

    I was wondering that yesterday, just after thinking something insalubrious at work.

    But you know that already, of course.

  24. GenBanks says:

    I personally don’t think it’s any weirder for people to buy a hat in a game than it is to buy jewelry irl. Neither is of intrinsic usefulness, it’s merely to make you feel good about yourself.

    • Wilson says:

      I guess the difference is that with real life stuff you generally get a physical object, and also with jewelry etc. it will be associated with your actual self rather than a game avatar. I agree the concept is basically the same, but I can see why people who like buying jewelry might not want to buy game hats.

    • Magnetude says:

      Jewellery can be resold, plus people will be impressed by your wealth and more likely to let you mate with them. Men and women.

    • bonjovi says:

      Interesting point. However jewellery in RL can server other functions as well.

  25. Unaco says:

    Greedy, money grubbing swine!

  26. Magnetude says:

    Reply whoops.

  27. Darkflight says:

    Worth noting that you can get a promo code for the items (and the pin (afaik) that you also get for buying all of them) from the Weta Booth if you’re attending the San Diego Comic Con can ask a friend who is going like I will be doing once they wake up. :P

  28. Randdalf says:

    Compared to the price of the weapons in the store, they’re actually relatively cheap to craft compared to others.

    Cow Mangler 5000 = Black Box + Reclaimed
    Righteous Bison = Batallion’s Backup + Reclaimed

  29. nayon says:

    ” I grabbed a Cow Mangler on RPS’ dime and hit some servers.”

    And in the game.

  30. Driveshaft says:

    I love The Righteous Bison; it functions like a shotgun at close range and can slice through crowds of enemies at a distance. Perhaps a tad overpowered in that sense.

    As for The Cow Mangler 5000; I can’t help but think it should have little to no blast radius and some hefty throw-back.

  31. DarkByke says:

    People play this game seriously? ( to win )
    I just run around entertaining myself shooting stuff.

    • evilbobthebob says:

      There is a reasonably sized competitive league scene for TF2. It is in fact the best place to experience almost entirely pure TF2 because either the more ridiculous unlockables are banned or deemed inferior to the vanilla weapons. Exceptions include the ubersaw and equalizer which are pure upgrades.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I’ve found on a lot of arena map servers you’ll find a much tighter knit community who will pressure/coach in that direction as well.

    • LionsPhil says:

      …and the Amputator, presumably.

  32. Sui42 says:

    Soon it’s going to get to the point where playing the un-updated Xbox 360 / PS3 versions of TF2 will genuinely be a purer, less cluttered / more fun experience…

    I do miss the good ol’ days when the game = 9 different classes, each with their own special weapon.

    • Nevard says:

      I think the classes are more “special” and unique now than ever
      They used to all have shared pistols and shotguns, now there are unique alternates to everything

  33. Robin_G says:

    Five shots, minicrit flame-rocket-sapper on demand and ridiculous particle effects and all I have to give up is full damage against buildings? Why would I ever use anything else? All the other rocket launchers had to have three rockets or no splash damage to get their effects balanced out.

  34. shoptroll says:

    Looks like someone at Valve/WETA is a fan of the Church of the Sub-Genius.

    Guns look awesome too.

  35. squareking says:


    Just doing my duty.

  36. Pew pew LAZORS! says:

    I know Valve gave up on the carefully crafted TF2 art style a long time ago, but steampunk, really?

  37. Pijama says:

    The main damn problem with it is the 8 soldiers spamming this crap around bringing everybody in the server to a crashing halt due to the bloody fire effect.

  38. sinister agent says:

    I’m not so much bothered about the aesthetic as about there being yet another bloody weapon in the game. It gets on my nerves seeing five types of minigun each with four special conditionals attached, so I can only imagine how frustrating it is for new player who’s still trying to figure out the basics.

    Going free to play has thankfully meant there are lots of the ordinary weapons about, but I’m not looking forward to the time when everyone has a weapon that does mini crits and turns you into a pillar of salt unless it’s a thursday or your target’s name is Brian or someone on your team has a headache.

  39. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    My god there were so many of these on the server I played on 12 or so hours ago. It seems that people are perfectly willing to shell out their cash for these annoying weapons.