Day Two of Team Fortress 2’s Mann vs Machine update has finally been released, revealing a number of shocking new elements to the horde mode that was outlined yesterday in Day One.
We learned that Gray Mann (Blutarch and Redmond’s brother, who was kidnapped by an eagle as a baby) has created an army of mechanical mercenaries sent out to destroy all things Mann Co. You, along with five friends, are tasked with the mission of preventing these robots from planting a giant bomb in one of Mann Co’s many strongholds. Although the robotic mercenaries all look like their human counterparts, many of them are limited to just one weapon. Hit the break to see Day One’s robotic reveals, and Day Two’s upgrade station stats.
The mechanical warriors are broken down in this way:
- Steel Gauntlet: a Fists of Steel Heavy that is “damage resistant”.
- Bowman: a Huntsman Sniper.
- Demoknight: exactly what it sounds like– a Chargin’ Targe+Eyelander Demoman.
- Minor League Scout: also what it sounds like– a Sandman Scout.
- Quick Fix Medic: geez, these aren’t very creative names… Anyway, this Medic can’t über.
- Heavyweight Champ: Killing Gloves of Boxing Heavy that “attacks in large groups”
- Über Medic: simply “übers like a maniac”
- Sydney Sniper: the only difference is he shoots “Jarate-coated darts”
There’s also a breakdown of the bomb that the mechs are carrying to the stronghold. It seems like any class can be carrying the bomb (there is a picture of a Demoknight carrying one), but it’s imperative to take them down quickly. The longer they hold onto it, the more upgrades they get—each of which stack. The first stage is a defensive buff shared with all nearby robots; the second is health regeneration; and the third is full crits all the time.
There are also giant versions of the robot classes called Giants. This update has only outlined three of these Giants, but allows readers to speculate that there’s probably more (if not one for each class):
- Rapid Fire Soldier: “The machine gun of rocket launchers.” Looking at the picture, it just looks like the stock Rocket Launcher, though.
- Deflector Heavy: “Can shoot down projectiles such as rockets and grenades.” He’s carrying a Minigun though. Why don’t we get one of those special Miniguns?—we do (read on).
- Super Scout: Still a Sandman (or stock Bat) Scout, but he “moves lightning fast,” so you’re advised to not let him pick up the bomb.
Finally are the Sentry Busters, which look like (and essentially are) naval mines with legs. It’s described as a “bomb on legs” that will “will detect any sentry that’s dealing sustained damage to the Robot Horde, then initiate its deviously complicated protocol: run at the offending sentry and explode.” It will, however, give quick Engineers several seconds to pack their stuff up and move out of range before finally detonating itself.
At the end of Day One is a picture of vehicle tracks with a note saying, “??? We don’t know what this thing is, but it’s big as hell, looks unstoppable, and it probably runs on human blood.”
Day Two revealed Upgrade Stations. Apparently, when you kill robots, they explode into “a shower of money.” In between waves of the undead—I mean robots—you can head to an Upgrade Station and exchange that money for weapon, item, and ability upgrades. You also get a Mann Co.-brand canteen after your first mission, which you can equip in your action slot and fill with three single-use charges of the same power-up (of which there are at least five). These power-ups include:
- Übercharge: giving you five seconds of personal invincibility.
- Critical Hit Boost: giving you full crits for five seconds.
- Ammo/Clip Refill: instant ammo/clip refill.
- Return to Base: takes you back to your spawn room and gives you a temporary speed boost.
- Buildings Upgrade: for the Engineer in a hurry.
There are also tactical upgrades for each class, which you should check out at the Mercs page. Some highlights include an upgraded Buff Banner that buffs the whole team; boosted overheals and übercharge duration; all Scouts get extra-large cash collection radius, health boosts from cash, and instant respawns; upgraded minigun to shoot down projectiles; upgraded Engineers can build a second, disposable sentry gun; upgrades to the Sniper can give explosive headshots; an upgraded sapper can disable groups of regular robots and slow Giants, and upgraded knife can penetrate armor. Clicking on the Grenade Launcher on the Merc’s page will also take you here, where you can see the UI for the upgrade scheme.
Mann Vs Machine is, so far, less an upgrade to Team Fortress 2 as much as it is an expansion—an alternative play experience. It’s like the Wrath of the Lich King of TF2—it’s not about Red vs Blu. It’s about Red and Blu vs Gray. (Just like it was Horde and Alliance vs the Lich King, in case you missed where I was going with that.) Horde mode isn’t anything new in the FPS genre, it’s basically what zombie games are all about (like Valve’s own Left 4 Dead). But it is something new for Team Fortress 2. It introduces an immersive story and roleplaying element that wasn’t present before. I say “immersive story” because there was a story in TF2 if you cared to follow it in the assorted comics on the Team Fortress 2 website, but it was never truly present in the game (unless, again, you went looking for it through no clip and very fancy detective work).
What will Day Three of Mann vs Machine hold? Check back tomorrow night for an update. Until then, we need a dispenser here. And don’t forget to check out our brand new Team Fortress 2 server which should be announced soon on site and at our Steam Group. And don’t forget to watch the Mann vs. Machine trailer—you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want more hats.