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Battle of the Bots: The clamor, commotion, and cogwheels of combat toys

Brian Karasek
Brian Karasek|February 28, 2008 8:00 PM
The mind of the Engineer is an engine: always running, always in need of service. For the quizzical tinker, puzzles and games are the lubrication of that engine, allowing the Engineer to relax the gears in his head while employing their ceaseless motion upon diversions, that the mind's mainspring might be fully wound and its cogs sheened with oil when again the Engineer returns to the bench. Also, we like playing with toys.

As is often the case, Engineering's innovations in the field of toymakery and diversionology set us ahead of our counterparts in less distinguished professional fields. Herein, we will discuss two of Engineering's least appreciated and most rarefied devices: the combat robots.

There are two models of robot made by the Engineer whose sole purpose is the eradication of others of their kind. The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot and the Steam Tonk Controller are both popular choices, for those able to produce them. The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot operates on its own internal Decisionometer, so the Engineer has no capacity to control it. The Steam Tonk, however, is a tribute to the mastery not only of the crafter, but the skill of the Tonkateer who operates it.

The first such toy likely to be encountered by the young Engineer is the Steam Tonk Controller. First introduced by the Darkmoon Faire's arrival in Azeroth, with models found among the young refugees of Terrokar, the Steam Tonk is a marvelous distraction for young and old, Engineer and laybeing alike. One can find Steam Tonk control stations at the Faire, the first week of each month, and enjoy a rousing battle with fellow patrons.

Once the Steam Tonks had been operated by the Engineers of Azeroth for some time, demands began coming. Silas Darkmoon, it was said, was withholding vital research from the Engineering community at large. The plans for the Steam Tonks must be made public! After some months of protestation and demands made by various representatives of the Mechanical Engineering Guild, Associated and the Goblin Experimental Engineering Korporation, not to mention some heated correspondence from members of Hoof and Horn, Silas Darkmoon relented at last. The Steam Tonks, which had only been available for operation at and during the Darkmoon Faire, were made available from ticket redemption at the Faire. With some training in Engineering, Engineers were granted the ability to make our own Steam Tonk, carry it with us, and test our skill against others we meet in the field. What's more, the device itself does not require Engineering to operate. Engineers in need of opponents can simply bring along a spare controller to sell or share.

Obtaining a Schematic for the Steam Tonk Controller is simply a matter of visiting the Faire with 40 tickets for Darkmoon redemption. Being an Engineer of 275 rating or higher, you'll be well able to provide twelve Thorium Widgets for turn in to Rinling. Twelve Widgets will earn you forty tickets, with which you can purchase the schematic. Less Faire-minded Engineers will be glad to know that the schematic can also be purchased from Gearcutter Cogspinner in Ironforge, or Sovik in Orgrimmar.

Producing the Steam Tonk Controller requires three Mithril Bars and a Gold Power Core. The device thereby produced will bind on use, and does not require Engineering to operate. It has 50 charges, each of which generates a Tonk for five minutes or until it is destroyed or dismissed. Activating the Tonk will cause Hunter and Warlock pets to be dismissed, as the Tonk's operation takes the Engineer's whole attention. Once the Tonk is activated, the operator will control it from the Tonk's point of view. Each Tonk has a cannon, a mortar, a minelayer, and a nitrous booster. The Tonk can only harm other Tonks, and relies on range and luck to do damage. Rather than targeting an enemy Tonk, you must point your cannon at them and hope they stand still. Mortars are ballistic fire, meaning you must calculate the arc of the shot and hope the enemy Tonk remains in the blast area. The mines, once laid, will take several seconds to arm themselves. After that, they are visible and will damage any Tonk in range, including the Tonk which laid them.

Steam Tonk Strategies:

Chief Engineer Geargrinder prefers to keep his near flawless win record, it is clear. We will move on.

Raving Bonkers: The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot
A more difficult schematic to obtain, the Crashin' Thrashin' Robot's plans are obtained from a variety of sources, any of whom might be carrying the plans when slain. As with many such problems, an additional application of killometry to a wider range of subjects will solve that problem. Once learned, the Crashin' Thrashin' Robot requires an Adamantite Frame, two Fel Iron Casings, a Gold Power Core, and two Handfuls of Fel Iron Bolts. The device thereby produced can be used to activate the robot itself, on a three minute cooldown.

The robot, once deployed, is entirely autonomous. It does not respond to commands nor will it follow its creator. The robot's sole killimifacation setting is other Crashin' Thrashin' Robots. If deployed out of range of any of its ilk, the Crashin' Thrashin' Robot will mill around aimlessly, legs clattering and engine humming, searching for another to destroy. If no other of its kind is found within three minutes, the Crashin' Thrashin' Robot will expire, collapsing in a heap of machinery as the model pilot is hurled from the contraption with a shriek.

However, if the Crashin' Thrashin' Robot does encounter another of its kind, they will go to war, hammer and tongs. Machine guns, explosives, all manner of hostile technology is brought to bear, one against the other and responding in kind, until one is destroyed. Many a coin has been wagered and lost against the might of the Geargrinder Megahurtz Definit-Kill CTR-9000, we here at R&D are under strictest orders to say. We are not under any orders preventing us from pointing out that many more coins have been wagered and lost betting on the might of the Geargrinder Megahurtz Definit-Kill CTR-9000, however.

Cleaning up Shop
Many's the time when a member of a group has to sit silently in thought for minutes at a time, after uttering the divine chant, "BIO." Many other times, a group might lose a vital member to the demands of the Wyf faction, with a concurrent delay while a replacement is found. In both cases, a little levity, or a little action to pass the time, can sometimes make the difference between your group wandering off and your group staying together to continue the Tonkatournament while waiting. If you make either of these devices, you'd do well to make a second one. Most laypeople on seeing one will want it. This concludes the lecture on combat toys.