TF2 Engineer Update Brings Golden Wrench Drama

Valve’s Team Fortress 2 is in the middle of their Engineer Update, their 9th class update since the game was released back in 2007 and as part of the update they have been giving out 100 golden wrenches supposedly given at random when people craft other items.

Those of you who spent the weekend Tokyo drift-racing your way to a rap battle—or whatever it is people do when they go outside on the weekend—probably feel pretty good about yourselves right now. At the end of the day, though, what do you have to show for it? Vague memories of changing lanes. Twenty-five of the people who wisely chose to stay home and craft items, on the other hand, now have shiny new ultra-rare golden wrenches that they can keep. For a weekend? No. For a lifetime. Eat it, drift-racers. Eat all of it.

Luckily for you wrenchless unfortunates, there’s still time to get one. A further 75 golden wrenches can be found through crafting all this week*. We’ll also be teasing Engie’s new weapons (the first of which, the revenge-critting Frontier Justice,, is currently on display)—with all of this culminating in the long-awaited Engineer Update this Thursday!**

*Note that we’ve disabled the Smelt Reclaimed Metal & Smelt Refined Metal recipes. They’ll work again once the Engineer Update goes live.

**Also note, wrenches can be found up until the 100th wrench has gone out. There is no per-day limit on the number of wrenches found, and distribution has been designed to be fair to all timezones. Every 25th wrench found will result in the release of more information on the Engineer Update.


Email from Robin Walker about Golden Wrenches

Email from Robin Walker about Golden Wrenches

Turns out however that this wasn’t true. The wrenches were all set to drop at specific times and a Valve insider apparently leaked a list of those times to select individuals (without permission apparently).

So anybody had a chance to get a wrench if they happened to craft at those specific times, but all crafting outside of those times was pointless. This has left a lot of people very unhappy, as can be witnessed in the endless posting over at the official TF2 forums (e.g., with 100’s of pages and thousands of posts in this one thread alone the signal to noise ratio is outstandingly low, you’ve been warned).

Enter Drunken Fool, the head of the SourceOp servers and community who created and also the man who made the idling program which resulted in many TF2 players losing items “illegally” (according to Valve) gained using the idling program, being labeled “cheaters” and losing out on special Halos, in game hats given to players who didn’t use the idling program in a spectacular “kick them while they’re down” move by Valve that ended up splitting the TF2 community greatly between halo-owning non-idlers and non-halo idlers in the the event that has come to be known as the “halocaust” by overly dramatic people on the official forums.

Drunken fool and several other members of the SourceOp community ended up with golden wrenches which resulted in all sorts of rumors about special treatment by Valve, some program “hacking” to get him a wrench, him being some super genius who figured out the drop times (this one partially propagated by the man himself who admits to the whole thing being a story to “cover his ass”) and other even more fanciful things (some variation of pretty much all of these can be found in the official TF2 forum thread linked above).

As it turns out, he received the list of all the drop times from someone at Valve, who has apparently not yet been found out, and used it to time his own crafting to get a wrench and then run at least one countdown on one of his servers where others got wrenches.

Video of drunken fool counting down on one of his servers and a player named Derek (now VAC banned) crafting a wrench with the leaked times.

Valve apparently discovered the leak and removed the wrenches of all of those (or at least all of those they caught) who used it and VAC banned their TF2 accounts. 6 people so far have had their wrenches deleted and been VAC banned, as can be seen on the list of players who have gotten golden wrenches at

This of course has led to a whole new bunch of drama over the whole thing, with many people thinking he got what he deserved, others sticking up for him and (ridiculously) asserting he either shouldn’t have gotten banned because it was a Valve employee who leaked the information (a Valve employee who Drunken Fool apparently refuses to rat out and a ban for using information that he knew was illicit) or that a ban is too harsh and everything in between.

The situation has led to a host of other issues as well, including:

  1. Valve blatantly lied about how the wrenches were issued (1. not random 2. there was obviously a limit as to how many could be gotten in a day since the times were all predetermined, 3. information about the update was set to be released at predetermined times, since it was supposedly tied to the wrench numbers, etc.).
    From the above-linked official TF2 blog post about the wrenches (as well as the Email from Robin Walker posted above).

    **Also note, wrenches can be found up until the 100th wrench has gone out. There is no per-day limit on the number of wrenches found, and distribution has been designed to be fair to all timezones. Every 25th wrench found will result in the release of more information on the Engineer Update.

  2. Other players (like the above mentioned Derek) got banned for using the information from Drunken Fool without knowing it was something illicit and just thinking it was someone puzzling out the times.

    Whereas I can feel sorry for people in this type of situation and feel the blame lies with those who gave them times without disclosing where they themselves got the times from, I can see why Valve just banned everyone, since Valve has no reliable way of determining who actually knew the times were leaked and are lying to save their asses and who just thought someone was smart enough to predict the times based on some sort of pattern. So everyone should probably take this as precedent, be careful who and what you believe because you may be held to account for acting on information presented to you under false pretenses.

  3. VAC bans can be handed out manually and for reasons other than those specified in the public explanations. Valve has tended to maintain that VAC is fully automated and refuses to act on hacking reports and such, but apparently can and does use the system to ban players when convenient for them (although it can easily be argued that the players in question actually got off easy as Valve has been known to ban entire steam accounts in the past where the players lose access to all of the games on the account and not just to online play of a VAC banned account).
    From the Official VAC explanation:

    While server admins may choose to ban specific players, server admins cannot VAC ban players. The VAC system is automatedcontacting Steam Support to report cheaters is not necessary, nor will Steam Support act on any information provided.

    The VAC system reliably detects cheats using their cheat signatures. Any third-party modification to a game designed to give one player an advantage over another is classified as a cheat or hack and will trigger a VAC ban. This includes modifications to a game’s core executable files and dynamic link libraries.

  4. 23:59… gngbng: did Drunken_F00l recieve a human-given vac ban
    00:00… @Drunken_F00l: gngbng: Yes and not the first

IRC chatlog from the SourceOp IRC with Drunken Fool’s response to the entire situation and information corroborating the above.

23:14… @Drunken_F00l: my statement is:
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: also I’m not that stressed out about it
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: if Valve wants to be ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ yet again
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: then let them
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: whatever.
23:14… Dark-Dragon: Drunken_F00l: tell us, did you do anything wrong? i mean like more than analyzing the drop times?
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: there was a leak
23:14… @Drunken_F00l: the drop times were leaked
23:15… RabidZombie: I guess by a Valve employee
23:15… @Drunken_F00l: yes
23:15… @Drunken_F00l: valve apparently thinks the leak is my problem
23:15… Nwks: wow, so much for “random chance”
23:15… @Drunken_F00l: yes
23:15… @Drunken_F00l: the random chance is all BS
23:15… @Drunken_F00l: the times were predetermined
23:16… jorgenson: hey DF if you had kept the times to yourself… you prob would not be banned
23:16… @Drunken_F00l: jorgenson: I wasn’t the source, I had no control over that
23:16… Dragonshadow: Drunken_F00l: so they haven’t said anything to you yet?
23:17… @Drunken_F00l: Dragonshadow: I called Robin. We talked about it.
23:18… Cyborgmatt: @Drunken_F00l: Dragonshadow: I called Robin. We talked about it.
23:18… Cyborgmatt: does that mean you agreed to the ban?
23:18… Cyborgmatt: or was it unexpected
23:18… @Drunken_F00l: I called him after I saw the ban
23:18… @Drunken_F00l: he wanted to talk earlier but I said I couldn’t because I was busy at work
23:20… SonicXVe: are you involved in the other two people getting banned?
23:20… @Drunken_F00l: SonicXVe: no
23:21… Subaru: Drunken_F00l, did your api key get removed too, or is the website just being slow
23:21… @Drunken_F00l: Subaru: I don’t know anything about that. My guess is it’s being slow.
23:23… Kigabit: Drunken F00l, I assume they changed all the predetermined times after they found out they were leaked?
23:23… @Drunken_F00l: Kigabit: Yes, absolutely.
23:23… DSpawn: DF, so was it actually true that you got it by chance, or did you know almost for certain you where going to get it
23:23… @Drunken_F00l: DSpawn: I knew for certain when it dropped
23:23… Kigabit: Did you have to craft on the exact second it was supposed to drop?
23:24… @Drunken_F00l: Kigabit: The craft had to reach the crafting server at the exact second. First craft after the time was reached got the wrench.
23:24… ohyes: Did you actually know the exact times, DF?
23:24… @Drunken_F00l: yes
23:25… @Drunken_F00l: all of them
23:25… BatterieS: do you know the next time?
23:25… @Drunken_F00l: the times were changed
23:25… baronbeetle: so the times were down to the second, not minute?
23:25… @Drunken_F00l: baronbeetle: Yes
23:25… cvarley: Drunken_F00l, how many wrenches did you have? Just the one?
23:25… @Drunken_F00l: cvarley: You can only get one.
23:26… ohyes: So, DF, did you tell voidy and thomas?
23:26… @Drunken_F00l: ohyes: I don’t know about these people. If they had the times, I don’t know how.
23:27… DSpawn: are you the only person who knew the times or could someone else have found them, perhaps using the new/old api? or a different method?
23:27… @Drunken_F00l: DSpawn: Others had them.
23:30… unkz: Drunken_F00l: what about tf2items? you shut it down?
23:30… @Drunken_F00l: unkz: no
23:30… EwOkLuVeR69: f00l you should’ve crafted moer than once around taht time to not make it so obvious
23:31… @Drunken_F00l: EwOkLuVeR69: yes
23:31… Dist: Drunken_F00l if the ban wont be lifted, will you create a new steam account and buy a new copy of tf2?
23:31… @Drunken_F00l: Dist: I already have multiple accounts but I will miss my 6dig
23:31… DSpawn: DF – do you even care you dont have a wrench?
23:31… @Drunken_F00l: DSpawn: no
23:31… FannyPack: here’s my question DF and I won’t ask another one cause I know you’re busy answering other questions. But do you suppose you’d be ousted if the whole forum didn’t rage about it?
23:32… @Drunken_F00l: FannyPack: I have no way of knowing. The whole forum raging was inevitable anyways.
23:32… FireSlash: Drunken_F00l, is tf2items down due to load? Or did something happen there too?
23:32… @Drunken_F00l: FireSlash: Heavy load
23:32… Dark-Dragon: Drunken_F00l: you were piling up items for quite some time, did you know about how this event would work earlier?
23:33… @Drunken_F00l: Dark-Dragon: no i was saving metal for new hats
23:33… Totakeke7: Why’d you do it, DF?
23:33… @Drunken_F00l: Totakeke7: I wanted a wrench :3
23:33… netshroud: Drunken_F00l: is the VAC ban related to golden wrench frop, or not?
23:34… @Drunken_F00l: netshroud: The vac ban was because I had a script to craft as fast as possible before they removed the smelt metal blueprint and also because I used leaked times to get a wrench.
23:35… ohyes: lied, obviously.
23:35… @Drunken_F00l: ohyes: Yes, the TF2 team lied to you about how the wrench drop works
23:35… Sturmcock: DF, stop avoiding the question. How were the times leaked?
23:36… @Drunken_F00l: Sturmcock: By a person. Not anything in the binaries
23:36… Silv3r: Did someone from valve contact etc.
23:37… @Drunken_F00l: Silv3r: Robin emailed me and gave him his home phone number wanting to explain what was going to happen before it happened. I was too busy at work to call immediately.
23:37… Cyborgmatt: Drunken_F00l, was the drop time leak done on purpose or accidental?
23:37… @Drunken_F00l: Cyborgmatt: Not accidently
23:38… hobomania: Drunken_F00l, did you enjoy the GW whilst it lasted?
23:38… @Drunken_F00l: hobomania: I didn’t even use it
23:40… Silv3r: You said you knew times?
23:40… Silv3r: But yesterday you said it was all random…
23:41… @Drunken_F00l: Silv3r: I was covering my ♥♥♥. It didn’t help.
23:42… RabidZombie: LunarPrince: He didn’t use logic. He used insider information then a script.
23:43… @Drunken_F00l: RabidZombie: The script was first actually. It was only for uncrafting/recrafting metal. It’s part of the reason for the ban.
23:43… Dark-Dragon: Drunken_F00l: give us robis number, come on you want to do it, dont you?
23:43… @Drunken_F00l: Dark-Dragon: That wouldn’t be right
23:51… VoyagerI: They seriously banned you for speedcrafting?
23:51… @Drunken_F00l: VoyagerI: And for knowing the times
23:51… Eddie: Drunken_F00l got VAC-banned, his own fault.
23:51… @Drunken_F00l: Eddie: 100% agree
23:51… Userfz: Drunken_F00l… did the valve offered you to join them?
23:52… @Drunken_F00l: Userfz: No
23:52… ninja: hey fool, have you actually managed to talk to robin yet?
23:52… @Drunken_F00l: ninja: Yes, on the phone and on email
23:52… Silv3r: How speedcraft work anyway? Like what did you uncraft then? :/ Wouldn’t you run out of items. Didn’t they disable uncrafting metal?
23:52… @Drunken_F00l: Silv3r: I had a script to craft metals before they disabled it.
23:53… Nwks: Drunken_F00l: Is it possible to get the listing of the old times? Or will you post them somewhere? I’m just curious about the “timezone fairness”.
23:53… @Drunken_F00l: Nwks: I am contemplating posting them
23:54… O_HAI_THER: Drunken_F00l: You should post the old times. Frankly, they deserve it for being lazy on the wrench dropping system.
23:54… @Drunken_F00l: O_HAI_THER: How about a video of me getting down to one of the times and then somebody in the server getting it.
23:54… @Drunken_F00l: counting down* that is
23:54… MaxOfS2D: Drunken_F00l: does the Valve staff know who’s the leaker, and are they gonna fire him?
23:55… @Drunken_F00l: MaxOfS2D: They don’t know and I have no intention of telling them who the leak is.
23:55… Destro: So is TF2items being shut down?
23:55… @Drunken_F00l: Destro: No, I answered this before.
23:55… EvilShadow777: Drunken_F00l, are the rumors true that you and Robin were dating at the park yesterday?
23:56… @Drunken_F00l: EvilShadow777: Who told you this
23:56… @Drunken_F00l: the times have changed but 74 was supposed to drop at Wed, 07 Jul 2010 21:58:37 GMT
23:58… Destro: So if you knew about the leak f00l then why didnt you warn Robin first?
23:58… @Drunken_F00l: Destro: I should have
23:58… HerpDerp: Just one question Drunken_F00l, all times were predetermined, so were all the people who guessed the times privvy to the leak? or had people actually reverse engineered the prng?
23:59… @Drunken_F00l: HerpDerp: There were some lucky people who guessed the right time once or twice but I have no idea who else had the official times.
23:59… @Drunken_F00l: 75 was supposed to be dropped 01h:56m:57s (7017 seconds) after 74
23:59… @Drunken_F00l: but like i said
23:59… @Drunken_F00l: they changed the times
23:59… qazqazqaz: Drunken_F00l, did you buy this leak?
23:59… @Drunken_F00l: qazqazqaz: No
00:00… Day changed to Thursday, July 8th 2010.
23:59… gngbng: did Drunken_F00l recieve a human-given vac ban
00:00… @Drunken_F00l: gngbng: Yes and not the first
00:00… obiwanek: Drunken_F00l: is there any chance that you can be unbanned?
00:00… @Drunken_F00l: obiwanek: Doubt it. Robin didn’t even want to unban if I told him who the leak was.
00:01… VoyagerI: How mad was Robin?
00:01… @Drunken_F00l: VoyagerI: He sounded dissapointed and angry but his tone was calm.
00:02… @Drunken_F00l: I don’t know who chrisFPS is or why people are calling him my friend
00:03… exi: Drunken_F00l: What will happen to
00:03… @Drunken_F00l: exi: I’ve said a million times is staying up
00:03… Zmathue: Drunken_F00l: how did they found out about the leaked times? did it have anything to do with the thread where you agreed with Ranma’s time?
00:03… @Drunken_F00l: Zmathue: Robin checked the audit logs and saw I had crafted 7 times near one of the drop times (even though some of those were after a drop, but whatever)
00:04… @Drunken_F00l: whoever was updating this post
00:04… obiwanek: Drunken_F00l: make a official post somewhere and defend urself
00:04… @Drunken_F00l:…postcount=1900
00:04… @Drunken_F00l: can you keep updating it
00:06… Beef-: Drunken_F00l: Why do you want ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ items that serve only an aesthetic purpose when you know valve are ♥♥♥♥♥♥s and take items seriously?
00:06… @Drunken_F00l: Beef-: Their shine is intoxicating
00:09… jake^: Drunken_f00l: why couldnt you use your powers for good not evil
00:09… @Drunken_F00l: jake^: Evil would have been selling drop times to premium subscribers.
00:15… ♥♥♥♥: Drunken_F00l: Do you regret ever bothering with the golden wrench?
00:16… @Drunken_F00l: ♥♥♥♥: Yes
00:15… AeshAlan: Drunken_F00l: How much money did you guys make selling the times?
00:16… @Drunken_F00l: AeshAlan: Nobody sold anything
00:16… booo95: Drunken_F00l: Do you expect for your VAC to keep after you and Robin talk about stuff?
00:17… @Drunken_F00l: booo95: We already talked. The vac ban stays.
00:17… Cyborgmatt: Drunken_F00l, what are the chances that other people saw the leaked list
00:18… @Drunken_F00l: high
00:18… Thndr: Drunken_F00l, Do you think your submissions to the community, along with the support you will get, will eventually lead to an VAC UnBan?
00:18… @Drunken_F00l: Thndr: No way of knowing. It’s possible I guess but unlikely.
00:18… lukas_: Drunken_F00l: Did you give Robin your phone number or did he give you his phone number? Robin is suspiciously chatty with his userbase.
00:19… @Drunken_F00l: lukas_: He gave me his
00:22… BassB: @Drunken_F00l are there any other GW owners who might be facing a ban?
00:22… @Drunken_F00l: BassB: I know of at least 2 or 3 other bans
00:22… Dist: Drunken_F00l if you did not have the list of times, would you have just randomly crafted?
00:23… @Drunken_F00l: Dist: Yes
00:24… obiwanek: Drunken_F00l: are you jarateed off?
00:24… @Drunken_F00l: obiwanek: No. A little dissapointed though.
00:29… @Drunken_F00l: to whoever started the rumor with the false quote of me posting robin’s phone number could you please mature a little. I am not going to post robin’s number or anything stupid.

Drunken Fool on the above quote:

That link is accurate. Those are all quotes of things I said in the SourceOP IRC channel.

And an unsourced (take it with a grain of salt) quote about the situation that was posted to the SourceOp and Steam Forums:

6:43 PM – XXXXX: Getting lots of chatlogs
6:43 PM – XXXXX: Robin emailed DF his phone number to talk about it
6:43 PM – XXXXX: DF used a script to craft at the exact time of a drop
6:43 PM – XXXXX: He had the info due to a leak
6:43 PM – XXXXX: That’s all I know
6:44 PM – XXXX XXX: heheheh
6:44 PM – XXXX XXX: using external programs again DF?
6:45 PM – XXXXX: He used a program that “uncrafted” metal before it could ping the steam cloud server. Thus creating infinate metal.
6:45 PM – XXXX XXX: wow
6:46 PM – XXXX XXX: are you on irc or somthing?
6:46 PM – XXXXX: No, THEY are on irc
6:46 PM – XXXX XXX: AH
6:47 PM – XXXXX: Pretty much the only way it can be described
6:55 PM – XXXXX: [18:53] Drunken_F00l: Is it possible to get the listing of the old times? Or will you post them somewhere? I’m just curious about the “timezone fairness”.
[18:53] Nwks: I am contemplating posting them
6:55 PM – XXXXX: Shit just got real
6:56 PM – XXXX XXX: oh man dont show me that….. if i do somehow get it, i dont want to be put under possibly being vac bannec
7:03 PM – XXXX XXX: the next one should be out in 30 min to an hour
7:04 PM – XXXXX: ugh, great
7:04 PM – XXXX XXX: valve has been predictible on the 25,50 one
7:04 PM – XXXX XXX: i knew it was timed to begin with
7:11 PM – XXXX XXX: hmm anything new?
7:13 PM – XXXXX: Just that Robin is pissed, F00l offered to rat out the leaker, and that he was caught crafted 7 times during the very minute of one of the drops
7:13 PM – XXXX XXX: hmm
7:13 PM – XXXX XXX: how is robin there too?
7:13 PM – XXXX XXX: or is fool just saying what he is saying
7:14 PM – XXXXX: Robin talked to him on the phone
7:14 PM – XXXXX: Yes
7:14 PM – XXXX XXX: ah
7:15 PM – XXXX XXX: but dang robin talked to him in person tahts just as funny
7:15 PM – XXXX XXX: or well over phone, but still

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