Eight to delete rare weapons to end controversy, benefit charity

3 Aug

Enemies bludgeoned with a golden wrench turn to gold in Team Fortress 2.

[Update: Valve has officially endorsed the event on its website:
The TF2 team knew that the Golden Wrench event would be controversial — an experiment in the distribution of an ultra-rare item. We never imagined that it would empower a small group of players to benefit a much vaster group of children in need. We are constantly shocked and impressed by the creativity of the Team Fortress 2 community, but today we are humbled.”
Read an updated version of this article at Bitmob.]

A recipient of a rare and controversial Team Fortress 2 weapon will delete the item along with seven other recipients in an attempt to rid themselves of the weapon’s stigma while raising over $5,000 for charity.

One hundred Team Fortress 2 players received golden wrenches last month, and while the weapons only differ from the default wrench cosmetically by turning defeated enemies into golden statues event organizer WiNG said the golden wrenches have created controversy within the community.

“The Wrenches have been controversial for many reasons, but primarily because there were only 100 distributed and Valve told a few white lies about how they were ‘randomly’ distributed,” WiNG said. “A hacker later proved it wasn’t completely random.”

WiNG said he realized how controversial the golden wrenches were when a recipient’s account was hacked and the weapon deleted. “When I saw how much drama this decision caused, I realized I could draw a lot of publicity by purposefully doing the same,” he said.

Rather than just re-crate the drama by deleting his golden wrench, WiNG said he wanted to use the attention to do some good.

“I thought if I was going to get a lot of attention, why not use it to help benefit a good cause?,” WiNG said. “And I also figured that everyone was so angry about the whole situation, it would be good to vent some of that emotion into something positive.”

WiNG said he didn’t know what response to expect when he announced the event.

“I had never run a fundraiser before, let alone an online one, so I didn’t know what to expect,” WiNG said. “I thought it could be $200 or $30,000, but really wasn’t expecting much.”

He said the initial reaction was very negative but the donations quickly added up.

“In the original Steam Forum Thread where I announced my decision, the first several pages of replies were full of very negative, angry responses,” WiNG said. “I thought it was doomed, but then before I knew it, the charity had raised $500, then $1,000, then $3,000! So, in that regard it’s been astounding.”

WiNG said it has been difficult to get in touch with other golden wrench owners to invite them to delete their wrenches for the cause.

“So far, I have contacted about 20 or 25 of the golden wrench owners,” WiNG said. “It has been very hard to contact them, because they get a lot of harassment and attention from strangers. Even beyond that, most live in other countries and play at odd hours, or don’t speak English or French, or don’t even really play Team Fortress 2.”

While most have been sympathetic to WiNG’s cause (seven have joined him so far), he said several refused because they enjoy owning the rare weapon. Others, however, have reacted negatively to the proposition.

“The rest basically told me to go f*** myself,” WiNG said. “Two of them even had me banned from their servers. Overall I’d say it went pretty well, considering!”

Valve hasn’t commented on the golden wrench controversy or his charity event other than a representative wishing WiNG good luck in an e-mail response. He said he understands why the developer won’t comment on the negativity surrounding the wrenches but wishes they would help publicize his charity event.

“I can understand that it is offensive or annoying to see so much backlash over their labor of love,” WiNG said. “I think if Valve publicly supported, or even just mentioned, this fundraiser, it would really help drive donations for Child’s Play!”

People can help support the cause even if they can’t or don’t want to donate money. “I’d like to just ask anyone out there, even if they can’t donate, to help by spreading the word to friends, to Valve, and to the gaming news media.”

WiNG said over 200 people have already donated to the cause. All proceeds will be going to the Child Play’s charity, an organization that helps hospitals purchase toys and video games for children staying at their facilities.

WiNG will be the first to delete his golden wrench on August 31. The top 20 contributors will be invited to join WiNG in the game to celebrate his deleting the first wrench.


3 Responses to “Eight to delete rare weapons to end controversy, benefit charity”

  1. WiNG August 3, 2010 at 7:31 AM #

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  2. Chas Guidry August 3, 2010 at 10:21 AM #

    It’s my pleasure. Thanks for helping out. I hope the project goes well.


  1. Golden Charity on Actual Television?! (and more) « Top Tier Tactics - August 3, 2010

    […] I'd like to thank Boldstate for taking the time to interview me about this fundraiser. You can read the full interview here. Share this […]

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