The custom map ctf_2fort_2012_night is a dark, abandoned version of 2Fort. Some of the walls have caved in, dim construction lights replace the blacked out ones, and the intelligence rooms are flooded. Plus, a zombie pops up from one of the bases' floor and can kill players.
Abnormal Ammo: No matter how much it was fired, picking up any weapon dropped by a dead enemy will replenish half of all your own weapons' ammo, including picking up revolvers, shotguns, syringe guns, flamethrowers, rocket launchers, baseball bats, knives, broken building parts, and glass bottles, and jars of piss. The only weapon that does not provide ammunition when picked up is the Chargin' Targe.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer/Air-Vent Passageway: The former is found in the famous Capture The Flag map, 2Fort. Apparently, both bases need massive sewers despite not actually having any waste to out in said sewers.
The map Turbine has air vent passages so large they are practically treated as hallways.
Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Even if the building you're fighting over is a wood and chicken-wire shack, nothing you do can blow it up or burn it down.
Acme Products: Mann Co. and Spytech Industries, subsidiaries of the even larger TF Industries, which also owns RED and BLU and all of their subsidiaries.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The economy fluctuates absurdly rapidly. Just-released items are always three or four times as expensive as they will be in a week or two, and certain items that no longer drop are ever-increasing in price. Supply crate Keys, the standard unit for buying higher-priced items, have been going up in value rapidly as people who are stockpiling them attempt to make a quick bargain.
Added Alliterative Appeal: Blighted Beak, Builder's Blueprints, Barnblitz, Ye Olde Baker Boy, Bazaar Bargain, Badwater Basin, Backwards Ballcap, Black Box, Bonk Boy, Brass Beast, Boston Basher, Brown Bomber, Brain Bucket, Backburner, Blazing Bull, Buccaneer's Bicorne, Backbiter's Billycock, Buff Banner, Battalion's Backup, Brundle Bundle, Berliner's Bucket Helm, Bloke's Bucket Hat, Bushman's Boonie, Battle Bob, Boston Boom-Bringer, Baby Face's Blaster, Beggar's Bazooka, Burning Bongos, Battery Bandolier, Bolted Bushman, Bearded Bombardier, Boo Balloon, Heavy's Bottomless Bass, Medic's Blood Curdling Bellow... and that's just the letter B.
Many of the mission names (Quarry is an exception) for the Mann vs. Machine maps start with the same letter of their respective maps- Crash Course, Cave-In, CPU Slaughter, Ctrl+Alt+Destruction, Cataclysm, and Caliginous Caper for Coaltown; Doe's Drill, Doe's Doom, Day of Wreckening, Disk Demolition, Disk Deletion, Disintegration, and Desperation for Decoy; Mann-euevers, Mean Machines, Mann Hunt, Mech Mutilation, Machine Massacre, and Mannslaughter for Mannworks; and Benign Infiltration, Bone Shaker, and Broken Parts for Bigrock. The mission names for Mannhattan and Rottenburg don't follow the pattern exactly, but still are alliterative: Big Apple Barricade, Empire Escalation, and Metro Malice; and Village Vanguard, Hamlet Hostility, and Bavarian Botbash, respectively.
Adjustable Censorship: The vaguely realistic and unsettling giblets players turn into when introduced to explosive weaponry can be turned into balloon animals, cheeseburgers, et al via command-line option "-sillygibs". This does not remove the blood, however, nor decapitation kills.
Adult Fear: We learn of their worlds version of Santa, Old Nick an old Australian who kidnaps bad children and forces them to work in his munitions factory. Given the nature of this game, its considered humorous. Fast foreword one year after he was introduced. BLU Spy, Scout and Soldier are forced to work as shopping mall santas when Old nick shows up to steal the kids. These three spring into action to save the children of Tuefort, even if the only weapons they have available are an icicle, a roll of wrapping paper and some christmas ornaments.
Affably Evil: Almost every character in their Meet The Character video is charming and friendly. And psychotic, of course, but you can't have everything.
Affectionate Parody: Of its predecessor, Team Fortress Classic, and FPSs in general. The objective of the land war is seemingly completely pointless, the setting is gleefully demented, and each of the nine classes are Player Archetypes painted with a very broad brush and ten coats of crazy.
In the weeks leading up to the release of Meet the Medic, the doves from the video could be spotted perched and flying around the maps. They would later appear on the official blog and led to concept art for the video when clicked on.
Starting with randomly dropped items such as goldfish, banana peels, and damaged capacitors among others, there was another in the summer of 2012, this time focusing on the Pyromania Update. These had extracts from a Sherlock Holmes story called "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", a hint at the horrifying fate of the two feuding Mann Brothers.
The damaged capacitors and new bloodstains on the official website are part of a new ARG in August 2012. They led up to Mann Vs. Machine.
There were also the mysterious blue tanks that appeared in the backgrounds of 2Fort, Badwater Basin, Double Cross and Granary.
These turned out to be Carrier Tanks for the robots in Mann vs Machine.
A mysterious article on voodoo, Merasmus the Magician and a homeless Soldier, and the Spy's Head on the Team Fortress 2 website turning into a Zombie head lead to the 2012 Scream Fortress Update, with Merasmus as the boss, a new map, the Soldier getting kicked out of Merasmus's castle, and special items that made each class look like a zombie.
There was a mysterious Mann.Co catalogue released on April the 1st, 2013. The catalogue can be found by clicking on the full stop at the end of the Reddit blog post on the TF2 Official Site. It is uncertain whether the creators are joking or serious, but it seems to hint about new items, weapons, a new map (possibly for Medieval Mode.) and possibly some extra features for Mann vs Machine.
Ambiguously Jewish: Medic. He wasn't a Nazi, he's an intellectual, "Archimedes" sounds very much like Klesmer music, he pronounces "danke schon" the Yiddish way, and he dressed as the openly Jewish (and Zionist) Einstein for Halloween. Although it's debatable how much of Ashkenazi Jewish culture influenced Europe or vice versa.
Anachronism Stew: Some items are too futuristic for the game's setting, 1968, which may be justified by the Alternate History. Lampshaded with the Boston Boom-Bringer, a "Futuristic Sound Device" (a boombox):
TF2 Team: Most people only know LL Cool J as a rapper, actor, fashion designer, record producer, and author. Now, though, you can add "spooky-ass Nostradamus" to that list, because we've just released a misc slot item for the Scout called "The Boston Boom Bringer" that pretty much exactly matches the lyrics LL penned almost thirty years ago.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Some events give the player a cosmetic item or few, such as the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head, Full Head of Steam, and several Halloween costume sets.
Animation Bump: While the actual game doesn't look bad at all, the "Meet The Team" videos are all gorgeously animated and use separate, more detailed character models with very realistic facial expressions. The best part? A few console commands and the game replaces the standard character models with the high-quality ones and cranks the environmental details up to 13. It's virtually indistinguishable from said promotional videos.
And also, the animation keeps getting better with each new "Meet the Team" short. The earlier ones like Heavy, Soldier, and Demoman have less detailed animation and shading, while the later ones like Spy, Medic, and Pyro have outstanding animation and shading looking equivalent to a Pixar movie.
This retroactively happened with the Saxxy Awards to a degree. During the First Annual Saxxy Awards, the only official program for making submissions was the in-game Replay Function, which is a very primitive version of the Source Film Maker. You could make camera moves and have people act stuff out, but you were more or less stuck with what was shipped with the game unless you had the skills to go in and extract the replay files into another program (although at least one Saxxy winner showed that this was possible). For the average user, there was no way to make unique animations for any of the characters. Fast Forward to 2012 and the Second Annual Saxxy awards; the event coincided with the official release of the Source Film Maker, which gave people much more control over the animation and special effects on top of being able to import models from other games and mix and match existing model pieces (and much more). The end result is that all of the submissions that year were noticeably better than the one from a year before.
Announcer Chatter: The Administrator runs both sides. When a checkpoint is captured, she's more encouraging to the successful attackers and scornful to the failing defenders, and, if the round ends in a tie, dismisses both sides with a frustrated "You failed!".
Anti-Poop Socking : The current drop system has a cap on the amount of playtime in which drops can occur, about 10 to 11 hours a week. Playing beyond that cap does not grant the player additional items. Before this system was implemented, the old drop system was tied so closely with playtime that, statistically, the best way to guarantee that items would drop was to join an "idling" server and ignore the game for hours on end.
Arbitrary Minimum Range: Snipers have this problem. A scoped in headshot can kill any class, but being scoped in greatly limits your visual range making it easier for opponents to come at you from the sides or even (almost) straight ahead without being seen.
Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: One of the Sniper's weapons, alongside a host of various rifles, is a bow-and-arrow set called "The Huntsman". It can be very effectively. Also, the various melee weapons, such as the Spy's butterfly knife, the Pyro's "Axtinguisher" and the Demo's huge host of broken bottles and swords can all be very useful.
Armor-Piercing Attack: Sort of; in Mann vs Machine, Giant Robots are immune to the Spy's Back Stab due to their strong armor, thus requiring upgrades for the knife to inflict a certain percentage of damage upon the Giant Robots by back stabs.
Art-Style Dissonance: A group of mercenaries (most of whom probably have varying degrees of mental instability) are continually fighting a frankly pointless fight over a worthless piece of land thanks to rather ruthless (and somewhatevil) contractors... Yet Team Fortress 2 has cartoon-y graphics, complete with ridiculous animations (a building/upgrading Sentry, just for starters) and Ludicrous Gibs.
This was because during development, Valve was having trouble producing something that would give players a Willing Suspension of Disbelief, so they decided to make it look like a universe where ridiculous things are supposed to happen, such as how certain abilities (like rocket jumping) are possible, or why some seemingly arbitrary rules are in place (such as how, for some reason, you can't jump over a 3 foot high fence that leads out to sprawling fields), hence the reason why they chose a more "stylized" art direction: So that you won't ask these questions in the first place. This also fits in with Valve's dark, irreverent, and somewhat... silly sense of humor.
Artificial Brilliance: The AI driven bots are capable of Spy checking, single class rushes, and spawn camping (especially in Mann versus Machine mode); the Medics hide from the action until they think it's safe; and you might actually get tricked by an opposing Spy.
Artificial Stupidity: They do, however, have several pathfinding and decision making problems that prevent them from being a threat in small numbers. It's a work in progress.
Enemy Spy-bots on the defense suffer from a hilarious bout of stupidity during setup time; sometimes, a Spy or two will run up to the setup gates disguised as friendly players — sometimes even decloaking or disguising right in front of them — never minding the fact that it's impossible for your teammates to be out there already. This works about as well as you'd expect.note Many human players do this too, but usually only at the start of setup and they usually switch disguises and recloak before the gates open. Usually.
They aren't very good at Medieval Mode, though this may be attributed to the fact that they can't use unlocks. For example, bot Medics will often stand by players with their bonesaw, trying in vain to heal them as if they were using a medigun.
There's also the incredibly annoying bug where bot Medics (often seen on servers that use bots to fill up empty server spaces) don't switch weapons properly, leading to many unnecessary deaths as a burning player calls desperately for a Medic... only to have them show up and obliviously start shooting you with their syringe gun instead.
Heavily modded servers are especially prone to this, also featuring such other gems as Engineers trying to repair buildings with their shotguns, Scouts swinging their bats at enemies 20 feet away, Spies shooting sentries with their revolvers and promptly getting annihilated, etc.
Bots, during setup time offline, will taunt the player if s/he looks at them too long. This applies to both teams and may be exploited for humorous effect.
Their behavior has since improved, but BLU bots on Payload used to pile on/near the bomb cart, whereas RED bots would idle in spawn, unable to find the way out; RED bots similarly had many problems negotiating Attack/Defend style maps where the most direct path from the spawn to the front lines was interpreted to be repeatedly ramming themselves against the back wall.
This appears to be a combination of Unreliable Narrator and Alternate History - although how much of each and which parts correspond to which is left as an exercise for the reader.
Ascended Fanfic: It's an official Valve-made sequel to an official Valve-made sequel to a Quake mod.
Quite a few of the new weapons use models contributed by the community, along with a few of the theories regarding the Administrator being made official (along with a fan artist who drew her most popular image getting hired by Valve).
In the Scream Fortress 4 update, several randomized map effects were added, including no gravity, high jump, and extra speed, which were all fairly popular server mods. The boss also utilizes a form of the famous Prop-hunt mod.
Ascended Glitch: Along with the ancestry of the Rocket Jump, the Spy can also trace his lineage to a bug during the development of the original Team Fortress mod for Quake where players would occasionally see enemies with the wrong team color.
When King of the Hill was first released, when Overtime was reached, the Administrator would repeatedly announce "OVERTIME! OVERTIME! OVERTIME!" When the bug was finally fixed, Valve included a server variable to re-enable the bug.
Then there was the "Crazy Legs" bug with the Scout's double jump. When it was eventually fixed, Valve wrote an obituary about the supposed "Crazy Legs" Scout.
You can taunt using the wrong weapons by taunting and quickly hitting the quickswitch key or a respective weapon key (1, 2, or 3). This results in the Sniper's Jarate or Pyro's flamethrower breaking physics, Heavy eating his minigun, Engie spinning his wrench around his finger, and Soldier performing a 21 rocket salute. During the Polycount/Mann-Conomy Update, this was inadvertently fixed. Robin said they'd reimplement the bug when they got the chance, and have released a server toggle option for leaving it on or off on October 13, 2011.
The Spy Crab glitch, where crouching and looking straight upwards with the Spy's disguise kit out looks like a crab walk, was spared being "fixed" like Crazy Legs, and was instead enshrined as a random chance taunt replacement when taunting with the disguise kit out.
"If ya order now, I'll throw in a second beatin', absolutely free!"
The infamous "FYI I am a Spy" video led to the Medic achievement "FYI I am a Medic" for killing a disguised Spy that called for a medic, using a melee weapon. Earlier, it was for killing a Spy who you have just healed (there's another achievement for that now), and before that, it was five spies instead. Much later with the Spy update, the "FYI I am a Spy" achievement itself (for killing a Medic healing you, like in the video).
The Spy-Crab is the term given to crouching with the Spy's disguise kit out, looking straight up and walking around.
When the Spy update was released, Valve added an Easter Egg where 1 in 6 taunts with the disguise kit result in the Spy doing his impression of a crab.
One of the products advertised in the Spy's issue of "Dapper Rogue" is the "Crab-Walking Kit", saying that it will "change your skeleton", a reference to how the Spy's animation skeleton and logical hitbox are noticeably different from how he is rendered when crab-walking.
One of the common jokes about the inevitable Spy update was that Valve would release a few days worth of news, and then it would be revealed as the Spy update when he backstabs the previous class and takes the spotlight. Which is exactly what happened to the Sniper.
Not only is the Sniper is one of the most likely classes to get backstabbed, but this happened to him the day after the Razorback was revealed, which is a (single-use) shield that protects the Sniper from backstabs, due to him being fooled by one of the Spy's unlockable items, a cloak that creates a fake dead spy when attacked.
Valve referenced the "Gentlemen" meme in the last of the four "Meet the Medic" outtakes, with a mouthful of nails in place of cigarettes.
"Sitting Pyro" from the comic "True Meaning" became popular enough that the meme reappeared in "A Fate Worse Than Chess" and in-game as an unused animation.
Awesome, but Impractical: Every class has at least one taunt that will instantly kill anyone unfortunate enough be hit by it, such as the Pyro using a hadouken or the Scout sending someone flying clear across the map with a baseball bat. However, they pretty much require luck and/or a very inattentive/AFK opponent to actually pull off, and take several seconds to complete with an animation that leaves you completely stationary and vulnerable which cannot be cancelled.
Some of the weapons, too. The most glaring examples would be the Rift promotional weapons; the Sun-on-a-Stick, which deals extra damage to enemies on fire for a class that doesn't have any fire weapons, and the Sharpened Volcano Fragment, which sets people ablaze on hit for a class that does have other fire weapons.
Most melee weapons that don't have secondary or positive passive effects (or aren't used by the Spy or Demoman) usually fall under this as well. For example, the Mantreads allows you to Goomba Stomp an enemy and reduces knockback from enemies. The idea is that you will navigate yourself mid-air without interference from enemy guns. In practice, trying to hit a moving target with your body is much harder than it sounds.
Awesome yet Practical: Some kill taunts, however, can be worth the risk due to how they work. Heavy's Showdown taunt has a long range that spans about the length of 2fort's bridge, can shoot through tiny cracks, and fires off relatively quickly (and paired with the Holiday Punch, it's even more effective and humiliating). Sniper's Skewer and Medic's Spinal Tap also stun any opponents that are hit by the first motion of the taunt, making them sitting ducks for the actual kill motion (filling up Medic's ubercharge completely in the latter case).
The Heavy Weapons Guy in particular believes in "being credit to team", but the heart-warmingly sincere in-game "thank you" commands for getting teleported by the Engineer and healed by the Medic makes it clear the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are turning into Fire-Forged Friends.
Metagame wise, a group of players that manage to stick together for a few rounds without getting autobalanced has a very good chance of becoming a Band of Brothers, however temporary.
The Soldier can earn an achievement for using the Buff Banner on his Steam friends called "Banner of Brothers".
The Spy also gets an achievement for backstabbinghis Steam friends...
Banana Peel: Appears in mvm_mannhattan next to a set of grinders. Anyone who touches it, human or robot, is automatically flung right at the grinders and killed instantly.
Heavies are a force to be reckoned with, but a Medic will pretty much triple their effectiveness.
In the same fashion, a Pyro buddy will greatly help Engineers who need to be protected from Spies while working. Valve acknowledged the close relationship between them by giving the Pyro a melee unlockable that can destroy sappers on friendly Engies' equipment, as well as do extra damage to enemy buildings. Engies can also get a Pyro plushie in their pocket.
Because I'm Jonesy: Spies can be caught by the player whose name they've been assigned. The Halloween events have the Costume Contest achievement for a player who kills a spy disguised as the same class as said player. Even better, Spies get the "Identity Theft" achievement for killing the enemy they're disguised as.
Bigger on the Inside: Subtly done for Well, which has bases that are bigger on the inside, though not very much. There's no special trick of non-linear geometry going on (the engine didn't even support such a thing until Portal 2), they just hid part of the interior behind a skybox and projected the rest of the building's façade onto it.
Big Head Mode: Played straight and inverted separately; some of the random effects on the Halloween Ghost Fort map give all players big or small heads. Those effects do not change the players' head hitboxes.
And the unintentional Japanese one listed under Big "NO!" above.
Bizarrchitecture: Who builds two opposing forts in the same building? There's an All There in the Manual explanation in the backstory related here. Short explanation: RED and BLU were originally formed by two feuding brothers that were each willed the same land by their father. This practice is lampshaded in Valve's description of the map Double Cross: "Secret bases concealed behind the unassuming façades of a factory and a farm built next door to each other fool absolutely no one in the area, who sometimes gather around to 'watch all them mercenaries fight over that spy base'." This is actually one of the main reasons Valve went with the cartoony, no-plot style over the previous realistic military style. Take a look at the intelligence room on 2fort sometime. Notice anything? How about the extension cord that goes across the room and plugs into the other wall?
Blatant Lies: One of the random bot names is "Totally Not A Bot". Convincing.
As well as a Shout-Out to the popular use of sprays utilizing variations on "I Am Totally Not A Spy".
A patch note in December simply read "Updating some files, for no reason whatsoever." They actually removed Crate series 3, 4, and 5 from the Random Drop system, and added 6, 7, 8, and 9. Also, 6 is a FestiveWinter Crate.
The map Decoy is a poorly done attempt to make an abandoned mining town look like Mann co.'s headquarters, done by the Soldier, using nothing but white paint and bad spelling. Yet it fooled the robots.
In the Halloween 2012 event, some of the Soldier's lines to his wizard ex-roomate become this, combined with Bad Bad Acting for good measure. He pretends that Merlin is here to find a new best friend, that his favorite actor Burt Lancaster is here, that "Gundorf" and the dwarves are here ready to start an adventure, that he has this month's rent, that everyone's dead so he can stop hiding, and "I've got your body. It's not burned. Looks pretty good!"note this is a Blatant Lie because the very first thing Merasmus saw as a ghost was Soldier burning the body in question, and Soldier casually admitting to it.
Blood-Splattered Warrior: Due to the way the game handles blood and bullet hold sprites, they only appear on a player when they are shot by any projectile that isn't an explosive or fire-based, as well as melee attacks. It also has zero indication on actual health because a Medic could be healing that Heavy, meaning he could look like he's covered in his own blood, yet have well over his normal allotment of 300 HP.
This happens to enemies who get hit with the Pyro's Scorch Shot. At short range, it can knock people away from the Pyro, at long range, it can send people getting knocked off cliffs (if they're near them, that is.)
Any time the corpse ragdoll-izes, interesting things can happen to the player who died, depending on who's watching. Their own corpse will always look like it flies farther than it really does — for example, a headshot may send the victim flying across the room, but everyone else will see his ragdoll fall.
Bond One-Liner: Characters will say something after killing another player enough times to dominate them. It's especially a Bond One Liner with the Spy.
Bottomless Magazines: The Heavy, Pyro, and Sniper's primary weapons don't use detachable magazines due to the way their weapons are designed (in the Sniper's case, he manually reloads his sniper rifle with every shot, as seen in Meet the Sniper). This also means that a Heavy or Pyro standing next to a dispenser can fire practically forever. Also, the four ray guns have unlimited ammo, but must be reloaded by cranking them (so they don't have bottomless magazines so much as immortal batteries).
Bottomless Pits: Various maps (Lumberyard Arena, Nucleus, and Steel, for example) have pits that, while not necessarily bottomless, are nonetheless fatal to fall into. This is especially evident on Lumberyard, as you can survive much higher falls on other maps (such as Hightower), but since there is no way out of the Lumberyard canyon once you fall into it, it has a kill trigger at the bottom. Often, you will see a player fall of the edge, only to hug the wall and actually stop the fall just a few inches off the bottom, then die a few seconds later as they realize it's futile to hold on.
Lampshaded on the "Ghost Fort" map, which is a re-skin of Lakeside which changes the original's pit of water into a pit to Hell in the shape of a mouth. It really does go on forever, before killing you and shooting you back out, as some lines attest to.
Scout: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH- holy crap, this goes on forever.
Bound and Gagged: The Heavy gives the Engineer an enemy Spy wrapped in ribbons in this◊ holiday card.
Also worth noting that there are still several items that cannot be obtained via the store, so that some items can still be prestigiously rare.
And that items obtained through the standard means (random drops or crafting) before the opening of the store are marked as valuable by having the prefix "Vintage" permanently affixed to them.
Sadly, the "Australian Christmas" update played this straight for the first time in Valve's history, albeit very briefly; several new weapons were only available via the Festive Crates, which could only opened by buying a $2.49 Festive Key (and even then, you had only had a small chance of getting what you wanted). Thankfully, this only lasted about a week, but it left a bad taste in a lot of players' mouths (though some took it a bit harder than they should've).
The Australian Christmas 2011 update took this a step further, preventing players from obtaining the new weapons for four weeks. While they could technically have been random crafted or found through Random Drop, the chances of either happening are minuscule (given that there are 100+ potential other weapons that could drop instead), so the only option was to purchase them from the store (for as much as $10 per weapon).
One of the game's main currencies is Keys — they can only be purchased from the store, and people can and have made bulk key buys to trade for other rarer items.
Brick Joke: When the Jarate was first introduced as a mere April Fool's joke, part of its "advertisement" featured a soiled Spy with a word bubble reading, "I HAVE BEEN SHOWN WHO IS THE BOSS!". Months later, when the Jarate was actually implemented in the game along with context-based phrases said by the game's characters, the Spy can actually say this phrase when he is doused with it.
Basically, the entire Jarate thing itself, which made its first appearance in Meet the Sniper, then became a clever April Fool's joke, and then became a full-on weapon.
In the days leading up to the Über update, doves would occasionally fly out of gibbed Medics and Scouts. Why they came from Scouts seemed kinda weird until the Über update brought the punchline at the end of "Meet the Medic".
The initial reason given for why Medieval Mode exists was a Hand Wave of 'The Soldier angered a magician'. Come Halloween 2011, the magician shows up as his own character who was (indirectly) responsible for the Demoman losing his eye, was the Soldier's roommate, and is the boss of the Spectral Halloween Special event.
Bullet Sparks: Whenever a bullet hits anything made of metal, sparks will be emitted. Or fists—"THEY ARE MADE OF STEEL!"
Camera Perspective Switch: Taunting or losing a round puts the character in third-person for the duration of the taunt or Humiliation. There are also some servers that have a mod that allow people to play in third-person.
Carpet of Virility: The miscellaneous item Triad Trinket is a necklace and open shirt, equippable by the Scout, Heavy, Engineer, Sniper, and Spy. The Bear style adds chest hair to everyone but the Scout.
Saxton Hale and Radigan Conagher (after his transformation) also possess chest hair in the shape of Australia and Texas, respectively.
Cel Shading: Subtly, in conjunction with several other shading techniques that give the game its distinctive look.
Cerebus Syndrome: Subverted with the Mann Vs. Machine update. Redmond and Blutarch Mann, the very characters who established the universe's Status Quo, are Killed Off for Real, and the nine classes are fighting an army of killer robots hell-bent on world domination... robots that run on piles of money. The bases they're protecting were built with a special chute designed specially to receive enemy bombs for some reason, and Saxton Hale isn't helping them out personally just because he's fighting a yeti for at least the next nine hours.
Character Customization: You can customize your loadout, including a completely cosmetic hat and up to two miscellaneous items.
Characterization Marches On: The initial portrayal of RED and BLU as shadowy, all-powerful corporations appears to have been more or less dropped in favor of them being run by a pair of feuding brothers of questionable competence and sanity. Now RED and BLU are run by the same shadowy, all-powerful corporation.
Check Point: Control points on one-way Attack/Defend maps and check points on Payload maps.
Cherry Tapping: Using the Sniper's SMG or the Engineer or Scout's pistol on targets. Melee weapons do almost three to eight times the damage of these guns, depending on the melee weapon.
However, they're generally their best semi-mid/short range weapons, considering the Scout's weapons are close range based, and the Sniper's are long range based, making them actually reliable weapons when the Scattergun or the Sniper Rifle wouldn't be useful. About the Engie, it's good when you're going combat Engie without the Wrangler. But it's actually hard to kill with it.
Ambushing and killing small groups of enemies as the Medic is especially humiliating for them.
The Spy's knife in non-backstab situations has the worst DPS of any weapon, though usually when a Spy makes kills like this, the player has been circling around the enemy, trying to get a backstab.
The Scout gets the Holy Mackerel, which is a fish wrapped in newspaper, as an alternate melee weapon. It is rather humiliating for the opposing team to have people being beaten to death with a fish.
Or having the sticky bomb that could have killed that Medic disintegrate in mid-air the instant you die.
One-Hit Kill: Several, including a fully-charged sniper rifle headshot, a knife backstab, all attack taunts.
Respawning Enemies: The attacking team always respawns faster, at least on sane servers. On attack, particularly when the capture point is set within the defender's spawn area, a wave of defender respawning can torpedo a victory.
Tele-Frag: An Engineer's worst nightmare when trying to fix a teleporter. Enemy Spies can use the teleporter and telefrag the Engineer, who might be crouching over the exit. Of course, anyone who's experienced knows better than to stand on teleporter exits.
Timed Missions: Every official map except the Payload Race and Arena ones (and arguably King of the Hill, whose timers don't start until someone has captured the control point), especially the attack/defend-based ones, where RED's entire strategy is to stall until the timer runs out.
Turns Red: Medics can become invincible with an ÜberCharge, and will often use it only after taking a significant amount of damage. Also, Frontier Justice Engineers can do critical hits after their sentry is destroyed.
Cloud Cuckoolander: The Soldier acts like this a lot. His version of history includes the dubious fact that Noah was actually Sun Tzu, the animals were bought via fight money, and after they were on the boat, Sun Tzu beat them all up. ("And from that day forward, anytime a bunch of animals are together in one place, it's called a zoo! ...Unless it's a farm!") This was discovered during a Drill Sergeant Nasty speech to a collection of severed heads. He also joined the World War 2 effort - stopping in 1949 only after hearing that the war ended. Then again, a lot of the cast goes into this a little; the Heavy is under the impression that both his BFG (lovingly called Sasha) and sandvich are people, and talks to them a lot. The Soldier, however, does seem to have the weakest grasp on reality and also personifies this trope with his rapid changes in subjects. Further evidenced in the War Update, where the reason he is fighting the Demoman is because he managed to get fooled by an obviously faked message using the Demoman, in which he apparently reveals the Soldier's status as an actual civilian. Even after acknowledging that the voice sounds robotic, he still buys what is said.
Also from the War Update, the Soldier's new domination taunts are very telling of his state of mind. He has a number of taunts where he refers to the Sniper as "Bilbo Baggins" or some variant (the joke being that Sniper is Australian, and Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand). And then there's the Pyro; nobody has a clue what he (or she) is saying, but he wears a number of odd hats (including a propeller beanie and one of the Engineer's rubber gloves), wields weapons like a rake and a mailbox, and "Meet the Pyro" shows he views the mayhem he creates as him blowing bubbles in a cutesy Sugar Bowl full of diapered cherub versions of his enemies.
Colony Drop: The end of a round on Doomsday. The rocket soars into the heavens... then lands with a firey thud on the losing team's base.
Combat Medic: The Medic can be played like this, occasionally to the detriment of the team since he's mainly a support class. There are actually "battle medics" who only heal after they've killed everything they possibly can, disregarding the combat classes around them who do the killing far better. "Stop Having Fun" Guys are liable to call any Medic who so much as uses their weapons once "Battle Medic."
Knowing how the Pyro sees the world, he probably thinks it's something else.
Everybody receives compromising photos of themselves in the "Meet The Director" comic, including the Heavy, who has been photographed asleep in his bedroom.
Scout: That's your gun there? Heavy: Yes. Scout: In a tiny bed. Beside your bed. Heavy: Yes. Scout: That's pretty embarrassin'. Heavy: Yes. I must buy Sascha better bed.
Commonplace Rare: Hats. Some are rarer than others, but any hat is worth at least a week or two of dropped weapons. Hats include such things as wearable Blueprints (which the Engineer pulls out every time he builds something anyway), cheap plastic batting helmets, cheap plastic batting helmets with soda cans attached to them, and the ability to remove default hats.
The Heavy has the 'Gloves of Running Urgently' which allow him to run at normal speed, at the cost of taking minicrits if shot.
The Escape Plan makes the Soldiers faster the lower his health is.
Jack-of-All-Stats: The Soldier, with his somewhat above-average damage and health, somewhat below-average mobility, and his rather average effective range. His only real special ability is the Rocket Jump, which trades his health in for more speed, which the Demoman can do better, but with more self-damage.
Mighty Glacier: The Heavy. Ridiculously high damage output and health, limited by his snail-like speed.
Emphasized by the Brass Beast, a minigun which does more damage, but reduces Heavy's movement speed while firing to a painfully sluggish pace.
Glass Cannon: The Sniper and the Spy, being able to kill in one shot, but have the lowest HP value in the game (125, same as the Engineer and the Scout). Up close, the low-health Scout can kill in 2 hits, and now with the Sandman health penalty he's more breakable than ever.
The Equalizer, an unlockable melee weapon for the Soldier, hits harder he less health he has. Some players deliberately injure themselves before going out in order to play as Glass Cannons or even One Hit Point Wonders.
Crit-a-cola makes the Scout dole out and receive 25% extra damage.
Stone Wall: An Engineer's regular Sentry. A fully-upgraded sentry gun is a key factor in defense, and can kill any class that stays within range for more than a few seconds. However, in position, it can't move (for obvious reasons), and if an Engineer decides to move it around, it takes time to set up, the Engineer can be killed while carrying it, and is massively vulnerable during the set-up phase. In addition, a good Scout can bypass a turret completely. Taken further if the Engineer has a Wrangler, which turns the game into a sort of turret defense game.
Squishy Wizard: The Engineer again. He's basically a Scout without the mobility and double jump, but he can heal teammates, refill their ammunition, build teleporters, and create a powerful but immobile sentry gun.
The Medic also has less-than-effective weapons, but he is one of the most important classes thanks to his healing and ÜberCharge.
Lightning Bruiser: Expert Demoman players invoke this. Normally, he has below average speed, but skilled players can use the sticky launcher to rapidly move around the map. Combining this with his powerful pipe bombs and area controlling stickies makes him a force to be reckoned with. The Eyelander with full buffs quite literally turns him into this trope. The weakness they have to compensate is that they have no hit scan weapons.
And with Australian Christmas update, it's the Heavy with Steak and G.R.U., able to chase down any class except Scout.
And Pyros tend to be this when they're good and Leeroy Jenkins when they're bad.
Gunslinger engineers as well. Their extra hp, mini-sentry, and alternative shotguns give them high survivability and damage output for a 100%-speed class.
Scout becomes this as well in Mann Vs. Machine mode, thanks to receiving a health bonus after picking money. His weakness lies in his inability to destroy large groups of robots until late in the mission, and usually the health gets chewed up pretty quickly if nothing is dying around him.
The Computer Shall Taunt You: The bots tend to do this. This can be prevented by typing "tf_bot_taunt_victim_chance 0" in the console (now that it's no longer a cheat as of the Über Update).
Concealment Equals Cover: Buildings (map architecture) are very hardy. So are enemy Dispensers, since they are impervious to Sentry fire.
The Spy can pretend to be other classes, of both his team and of his enemies, forcing the enemy team to waste ammo on anybody and being paranoid about everybody. They can also use the Dead Ringer to drop a fake body when hit, making it hard to tell if you killed the Spy or he is invisible and about to backstab you.
The Scout can double jump. This doesn't sound impressive, but a good Scout is a nightmare to deal with, being able to change direction while in the air and be impossible to hit, or even see.
An increasingly common tactic with the Engineer is to put his mini-sentries in random places that make no sense outside of how unexpected they are, and then put up a new one in a different location as soon as the old one is destroyed.
Controllable Helplessness: During Humiliation, one team is almost completely defenseless and slowed down, fleeing from the other team, who are faster and crit-boosted. During a Stalemate, both teams are reduced to running around looking embarrassed or cowering.
Cooldown: Some weapons have a cooldown period after use before they can be activated again.
Cool Train: Lil' Chew Chew, the Payload in Frontier.
The Polycount update introduced item sets that gave bonuses if all items were equipped, with the first batch including a hat in each set. Future sets didn't include bonuses, as this was widely seen as Bribing Your Way to Victory by the fanbase.
As of July 10, 2013, these set bonuses have been swapped out in favor of non-gameplay effecting ones, rendering all hats purely cosmetic again.
Achievements, though they also guarantee you some of the randomly dropping extra weapons when you get enough of them.
Covert Group With Mundane Front: RED and BLU are supposedly demolitions and building companies respectively, but it's just a front. Even some of the townsfolk near the maps the mercenaries fight at know they're fighting over a spy base.
Coup de Grâce/Cool and Unusual Punishment: When one team wins a round, the game pulls players on the losing team into third person to play a character who now runs about with their arms in the air and either poses disappointedly or cowers shamefully while the winning team hunts them down with increased speed and unlimited Critical Hits.
On the other hand, the Pyro gets a killer Come at Me Bro pimp stance.
But then again, what does he see in his crazy world?
Crippling Overspecialization: Going in hand with the Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors nature of the game, every class is overspecialized to a degree. This mostly shows up as their personal combat ability, or their ability to do damage at certain ranges. Sometimes, creative use of weapons will overcome this. Ultimately the extent to which any class is crippled by their specialization is, though, also a function of the player, the weapon loadout, and the combat situation — but content updates have introduced new equipment to help mitigate these problems in some classes. However, several weapons fall prey to this, so players may end up cursing their loadout choices. A few examples:
The Pyro's Axtinguisher and Flare Gun are practically useless against other Pyros or when forced to fight underwater. In general, Pyros suffer in any area with water nearby, as the enemy can jump in there to douse the flames.
The Razorback for the Sniper has exactly one purpose: preventing an easy backstab. But with it, the Sniper will only have his melee weapon to defend himself against anyone else.
Even more frustrating is that it was introduced at roughly the same time as the Ambassador, which gives the Spy the ability to Headshot. While it doesn't pack as much punch as a Sniper's Rifle, it will still kill most enemies with two shots. All it needs is the tiny crosshair centered on the victim's head. Given that most Snipers would be camping in a spot most other classes won't visit anyways and their eyes are always in the scope, the shot isn't hard.
The Demoknight (officially known as the "Close-Combat Kit") loadout, which gives up the sticky-launcher for a shield with charge attack and complements it with the more risky melee weapons. Deadly in melee, but not as mobile and weak at long range.
The Thousand and One Demoknight variant of this kit forgoes ranged weapons entirely, replacing the grenade launcher with a pair of wee booties that gives you better control of your charge, at the expense of having no ranged weapons whatsoever, and gives you a sword that doubles the regeneration on the Charge Meter while also converting all ammo boxes into health. The last one also makes it so that you are unable to refill ammo even if you had a gun. The upside is, with a good knowledge of the map, a DemoKnight with this kit can get around twice as fast as a Scout, and one-shot anything short of a Heavy with a well timed Shield Bash + critical sword swing.
The Heavy equipped with a Tomislav can easily set up ambushes and cut other classes down, and makes a solid combo with the Gloves of Running Urgently. However, if he runs into any other Heavies equipped with other miniguns, their higher damage output is generally enough to ruin him if the Tomislav Heavy doesn't get the first shot off.
... and on the other hand, a Heavy equipped with the Brass Beast will almost never get the first shot off. In fact, he'll probably be dead by the time his gun is ready to shoot at all if he tries to use it on the move.
There's also the Medic's alternate Medi Guns (the Quick-Fix and Kritzkrieg), both of which grant a fairly solid alternate charge (increased healing, and guaranteed critical hits) to the standard ÜberCharge, and the former of which heals faster, but aren't nearly as good at clearing out sentry nests.
Most classes have at least one option to trade in their secondary weapon for an item with specific purposes. Many of these classes use their secondary weapon to complement their primary or when they run out of ammo. (For example, a Pyro uses his shotgun to finish off a fleeing burning enemy. Doing the same with a flare gun is a lot less reliable).
Less reliable, yet more effective: shots with the flare gun on lit targets deal full crits. It's also the only real way a Pyro has to deal with foes at a great distance. In the right hands, it's much more effective than a shotgun.
A better example here might be the Soldier's buff items, such as the Buff Banner. These get charged up when you deal damage and have one of several effects for your nearby teammates, such as extra crits or health regeneration. However, the Soldier has to give up his Shotgun to use it, meaning he's vulnerable to anyone who can close inside effective rocket-launcher range.
The Bombnomicon Misc item intentionally invoke this, by blowing you up for dying for any reason, even falling too far.
Critical Hit: Tied directly into game balance, with some weapons' advantages and disadvantages relying on an ability to land a guaranteed crit, or the inability to land random crits. "Crockets" (Critical rockets) get hate especially since they can literally gib several people with a single projectile. There are also mini-crits, which deal 35% more damage for a weapon. More details on the Critical Hit page.
Critical Hit Class: The Sniper might count, since to do any real damage, you must be zoomed in and charged up. You don't NEED a "crit" to kill others, but if you're trying to use your sniper rifle without the scope, you'll do almost zero damage. The spy relies on being undetected and killing enemies with a single backstab. Alternatively, some pyros use the flare gun and axtinguisher, which deal critical hits on enemies who have been set on fire, such as by a flamethrower.
I am going to claw my way down your throat and tear out your very soul! I am going to strangle you with your own frilly training bra! Son, you are writing checks your butt will find uncashable! Are you hearing me? Your backside will be escorted from the bank! You will find this humiliating! My foot will transform into a foot with your ass wrapped around it.
Cutscene Power to the Max: In-game, all the classes are more or less balanced, and even the most skilled players will die pretty quickly without team support. In the "Meet the Team" shorts, each class is shown utterly dominating the entire BLU team with ease. For example, in the "Meet the Sniper" video, the RED Sniper kills the BLU Spy with his knife. In the "Meet the Spy" video, the RED Spy kills the BLU Sniper with his knife.
Cyanide Pill: Typing "kill" or "explode" into the console (or binding this command to a button) will kill you. This is actually useful in the event you get stuck somewhere. Or for taunting the enemy, especially if said enemy is using the Half-Zatoichi. No full heal for you!
Friendly fire is off by default. This is for the better because the most effective way to Spy-check is by shooting suspicious "teammates", and enabling it has a tendency to cause glitches anyway.
Soldier and Demoman projectiles hurt/fling the shooter and enemies but not allies. This also applies in a unique way to the Engineer: his sentry rockets and bullets damage him, though other Engineers on the same team are safe. Spies can exploit this, although it's risky.
Damage Over Time: The hallmark ability of the Pyro class is the ability to set opponents on fire with their flamethrower. Some melee weapons can inflict a "bleeding" status that also causes damage over time.
Damage-Sponge Boss: The tanks in Mann Vs. Machine mode are as slow as a Giant Heavy, with no attacks to back them up... but they can take a lot of punishment.
The "Super Giant Heavy" Captain Punch has more health than a tank (60,000) plus 40% damage resistance to all ranged attacks AND 250 health per second regeneration. He can also only punch (though those punches are almost always a One-Hit Kill).
Darker and Edgier: The Mann vs. Machine trailer is completely dead serious, especially when compared to the lightheartedness of the rest of the game.
Dark Lord on Life Support: The teams' owners, Blutarch and Redmond Mann, are (or rather were) among the closest things to evil overlords in this universe. Both of them are on life support/extender machines to try and outlast each other. Since the machines are about 100 years old, they don't run perfectly, and thus the brothers die every now and then.
Gray Mann, the heretofore unknown third brother, has a better working life extender machine embedded into his spine.
Dartboard of Hate: In the comic "Death of a Sales-Bot", Gray Mann is shown to use a copy of Hat-Wearing Man magazine with Saxton Hale on the front as a dartboard.
Dead Character Walking: If your character's corpse is still there after you respawn, which tends to happen on instant respawn servers, it can produce weird effects. If your character talks, so does their corpse. C'mere, cupcake...
Inverted by anything that produces a "statue" from the corpse after a kill (The Saxxy, Golden Wrench, Freedom Staff, or Spy-cicle), where the statue will not only talk, but also sometimes be subjected to ragdoll physics. A patch sort of solved the problem, but they are still subjected to very, very minor physics when they collapse over.
Death by Falling Over: Hitting someone with a weapon that has knockback can push the enemy into an environmental hazard. The Scout and Demoman get an achievement for doing this, while the Medic has one for preventing a death by falling too far.
Death from Above: Having the higher ground affords a tactical advantage to pretty much all of the classes, but the Soldier in particular earns an achievement called "Death From Above" by killing enough enemies in that fashion.
Death Is Not Permanent: After dying in non-Arena maps, you wait until a running timer respawns you and your teammates into your base.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Some servers use plug-ins which eliminate this timer entirely. It plays hell with balance on most maps, and sometimes even prevents a player from knowing who killed him (especially if the killing shot was a long-range one). Naturally, said plugin has a Broken Base, especially since some control point maps have the balance backwards, i.e. it takes longer for a winning team to respawn, to give the losing team a chance to recapture the lost control point.
Deflector Shields: The Medic can bathe both himself and a teammate in a glowing, indestructible shell for up to 8 seconds.
The Scout can drink a Bonk drink for a similar effect, but can't fire his weapons while it lasts.
The Engineer's Wrangler, in addition to letting him control his Sentry gun, projects one of these around it.
Pomson 6000 description: Being an innovative hand-held irradiating utensil capable of producing rapid pulses of high-amplitude radiation in sufficient quantity as to immolate, maim and otherwise incapacitate the Irish.
Demonic Possession: The Demoman has an affinity for haunted items. First, there was the Eyelander (and its later re-skin, the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Headtaker), a haunted claymore that had a thirst for decapitated heads. Then, come the 2011 Halloween Update, it was revealed that the reason he lost his eye as a child was due to a book called the Bombinomicon, whose spirit possessed his left eye before being expelled by Merasmus the Magician. It later became the boss of Eyeaduct.
There are hats called the "Vintage Merryweather" and the "Vintage Tyrolean". Therefore it is possible to have a "Vintage Vintage Merryweather" or "Vintage Vintage Tyrolean". Michael Cole would be proud.
The same happens with the "Haunted Hat". You can have a "Haunted Haunted Hat".
There's also the Professor Speks, which layer over the Medic's and Snipers' glasses.
The item type of the Medic- and Spy-only Dr. Whoa (a bow tie and dress shirt combo) was "Wearable Shirt" before a patch in February 2012 changed it to just "Shirt".
The "Scream Fortress Very Scary Halloween Special" implies that the update is a Halloween special of a Halloween special to emphasize just how scary the update is.
The description for the Rainblower weapon reads "Your friends (enemies) will squeal with delight (be consumed with fire) when you cover them with sparkling rainbows (all consuming fire)."
In Mann vs Machine, the Deflector Heavy can destroy incoming projectiles by shooting them. Likewise, an upgrade for the Heavy's primary weapons allows him to do the same.
Huntsman arrows can also destroy projectiles upon colliding with them.
Development Hell: The last four Meet The Team videos (Sniper, Spy, Medic and Pyro). The other five classes had been released relatively early on, but then it took 2 years to finish both Sniper and Spy, another 2 just to do Medic's, and another year for Pyro.
Didn't Think This Through: The Manniversary update made it so that items in the store could be traded and crafted. This change was zapped after less than a single day when people flooded the stores to buy dozens of the really cheap hats to craft together in the hopes of getting the rare and prestigious hats. Now store-bought items can only be traded.
Which led to a second instance of this trope, where people in the trading market would often scam others by selling a supposedly craftable hat at full price only for the buyer to find out it wasn't craftable... after the trade was over and the seller left. Valve also fixed this in short order.
Difficult but Awesome: See the cast page for specific class-flavored awesome, but here's one just about any class can do: circle-strafing a sentry faster than it can turn around and meleeing it to death. Works best with Pyros and Scouts, especially since those two classes often have difficulty taking out sentries.
Ditzy Genius: Prolonged exposure to Australium has this effect on people. Radigan Conagher, after working with Australium for years, became intelligent enough to make a fully functional prosthetic limb, and dumb enough to saw his hand off to be able to use it. Australia, the main source of this metal, is the most advanced country in the entire world, yet they elect their king by kangaroo boxing.
Doing It for the Art: The amount of detail put into the games' artwork is amazing, down to things you might not even notice, like how every class has a unique set of teeth. Most notable are Sniper's pointy canines and Scout's buck teeth.
Do Not Drop Your Weapon: You cannot drop your weapon unless you die, with the exception of being able to drop a Sandvich with the Heavy.
And anything you THROW at enemies. (Jarate, Mad Milk)
Do Not Run with a Gun: The Heavy while spinning his barrels and the Sniper while zoomed in or with a readied arrow.
Doomsday Device: At least two in the form of the Ray Gun on Gravelpit and the... whatever it is on Nucleus. Also, the big-ass missiles on Granary, Goldrush, etc.
To a lesser extent, the eponymous Payload in, uh, Payload mode.
Double Agent: Spies can disguise as spies of the opposite side. As of the Spy/Sniper update, Spies disguised as enemy spies get a random disguise to complete the illusion. You might see enemy spies disguised as friendly spies disguised as enemy spies. You can also disguise as your own team. And then there's the Dead Ringer's corpse generation.
With some luck, you can disguise as enemy spy disguised as yourself.
Do Well, But Not Perfect: Many achievements require you to accomplish them in one life or one round, which resets at the end of the round even if your team won, making it occasionally just as hard to get these achievements with a great team as with a bad one. The possibility of stalemates adds another obstacle in these cases.
The Dreaded: The Pyro in Meet the Pyro. Even his teammates fear him.
Eagleland: The aesthetic design of the game, which according to Valve is inspired by artists such as J. C. Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell, recalls the Type One variation of America. The setting of the game itself is considerably less innocuous however, and the American characters themselves occupy various positions along the spectrum. The Engineer leans closer to Type One, while the Scout and especially the Soldier behave like Type Two.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Some players don't even remember Territory Control as a game mode, or its map, tc_hydro. Modes added later like Payload and King of the Hill are considered more iconic of the game.
The mode is still alive and well on the Xbox version of the game, but at the same time it hasn't been updated to any degree.
The earliest major updates, like The Gold Rush Update, and The Heavy Update, were rather lacking when it came to new items, usually containing only about 2 or 3 items. Compare this to the later updates, some of which have 50 to 100 ITEMS!
Easter Egg: On the official wiki, putting in the Konami Code will result in a little skit where a BLU Spy saps the Wiki's logo, while a (very possibly) RED Engineer complains about it and sorts it out, even saying "Spy's sappin' my wiki!"
Elaborate Equals Effective: The Engineer's Sentry Gun and Dispenser are the most obvious, and all of the pick-upable and craftable weapons are more decorative than usual.
Elite Mooks: Two flavors in Mann Vs. Machine mode: Normal-sized robots who nonetheless wield a different weapon than their standard counterpart (such as Demobots equipped with the Chargin' Targe and Eyelander, or Heavybots with the Fists of Steel), and Giant Robots.
Emote Command: Some voice commands have the player say something and accompany it with a gesture.
Players on both teams are expected to unite when fighting the Horseless Headless Horsemann, MONOCULUS!, or Merasmus during the Halloween event.
The story of Mann vs. Machine is that RED and BLU have teamed together to fight the robots, but in-game all of the human players are RED. That could be because the sentries distinguish friend from foe by shirt color; the BL Us had to don red outfits to not be shot to pieces by sentries.
Enemy Scan: Spies and Medics with a Solemn Vow can see the names and health of enemies.
Entitled Bastard: Being a multiplayer game, there's lots of this. Playing as a Medic means dealing with these people, since there are a lot of people who will always blame you for being killed (even if a Sniper or Spy killed you in one hit; meaning there was nothing you could have done), even if you're on the other side of the map. They may often run right into a place guarded by a couple Pyros and Demomen waiting for a Leeroy Jenkins. And don't expect any actual thanks from them outside of the avatar saying something like "Thank you doctor". And likewise, expect Medics to often yell at you for them to help them when they're going right into danger.
Epic Fail: Upon losing in Arena without killing a single opponent, the Administrator berates your team:
"Humiliating defeat!" "Next time, try killing one of them." "You didn't kill any of them!"
Additionally, the Administrator is most displeased if you manage to total party wipe against the robots in Mann vs. Machine:
"Do not all die at once!"
Escalating War: The Sniper and the Spy engaged in this during their combined update—neither wanted to share the spotlight. Later: the Soldier/Demoman war.
To say nothing or Redmond and Blutarch's 150 year stalemate. It started with 18 thugs hired out-of-pocket waving revolvers at each other in the desert; now it still only has 18 thugs, but it spans the globe, the mercs wield state-of-the-art weaponry, their paychecks run in the 7 digit figures, and the battlefields take place on the testing grounds for doomsday weaponry or in high-tech spy bases.
Escape from the Crazy Place/Escape Sequence: Post-round Humiliation consists of the losing team, slowed down, trying to avoid getting killed with no defense except their taunt kills, if any. The winning team gets added running speed and 100% criticals.
Escort Mission: Essentially what Payload and Payload Race are; you've got to push the Bomb Cart to the end of the track. The defending team has to stop it from happening and are given extra time to set up, like in Attack/Defend Maps. The cart acts as a dispenser for whoever's pushing it, refilling health and ammo, and there's no way to destroy it (it can be moved backwards after some time, though). In Payload Race, both teams play both roles; you have to stop the enemy Cart while moving your own along, effectively splitting your forces until the Carts inevitably meet somewhere on the track. It's managed to avoid the usual negative backlash of escort missions, probably because the thing being escorted can't be "killed" and actually heals you while you escort it.
Doesn't hurt that it can't run off the track and you always have some idea of where it is at any given time.
Although, there are rare moments where it can run off the track, but they all seem to be related to server mods having unintended side effects rather than anything in the vanilla game.
If you volunteer to "Coach" new players, when one needs help you'll be invited to their game to give them advice. While you do this, you're in spectator mode, but the player you are coaching is highlighted in a aura that indicates his health. You can point them to targets to attack, places to defend, and places to go.
Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: The Demoman's theme, Drunken Pipe Bomb, uses the bagpipes. Also, the end of Meet The Demoman has the TF2 ending riff played on bagpipes.
In DeGroot Keep, bagpipes also play in the background whenever the castle door opens; that is when points A and B are captured, and when the castle is successfully defended.
The music is the Day of Defeat (a Half-Life mod) anthem used when a round is won by the British team.
Evil Laugh: Kill enough people and your character will begin to snigger, chuckle, guffaw and snort hysterically in some truly hilarious ways. But perhaps the best example is what the Administrator sometimes does if the Payload nears the Final Terminus.
The Heavy's is the most common laugh heard, obtained if you slay enough people while keeping your minigun sped up.
The Engineer has an evil laugh as a taunt if he's holding his melee weapon, though now all classes can have one with the addition of the Schadenfreude taunt.
Evil Only Has to Win Once: In Mann vs. Machine mode, only one bot has to make it past the defenders with the bomb for the entire team to lose.
Excuse Plot: Two corporations erect fortresses 10 yards from each other (and sometimes in the same building) and then send waves of men to kill each other to steal a briefcase out of the opposing fort's basement. Alternately, one corporation sends waves of men from an encampment to kill more waves of men sent by another corporation and capture their fortress and related choke points. This has been expanded upon, mostly for humor. Weapons-monger and insane billionaire Zepheniah Mann goes to the US from Europe to harvest precious gravel, but dies — leaving his twin identical younger sons Blutarch and Redmond to fight each other for all eternity. Meanwhile, he leaves his insane weapons factory to the ridiculously manly Australian Hale family. Hilarity Ensues.
The "RED and BLU secretly own every government on earth" bit above, while still canon, seems to have been quietly discarded in light of all that.
Eye Scream: MONOCULUS! You have this giant eyeball that shoots explosive eyes that act like critical rockets, see, and you have to attack it, before it kills you. The backstory introduced in the comic explains how Red Demoman lost his eye. MONOCULUS! is his eye!
It doesn't help that from the front, MONOCULUS! looks like the average giant eyeball monster, but from the back...
If undisguised, the Spy on a losing team can be seen face palming if he is still alive during Humiliation.
The Sniper does the hat version in his "Meet the Sniper" video when he's trying to talk to his father on the phone.
In "A Smissmas Story", the Soldier and Spy are the Scout's legal counsel during a trial after the three of them blew up a Mall Santa training facility. When the Soldier confirms the Scout's ridiculous testimony, the Spy facepalms and rests his head against the desk.
Failure Is the Only Option: For Poopy Joe. In Doomsday, a team wins when they deliver a case of fake Australium to Poopy Joe's rocket for launch, but the rocket's engine's always fail and the aircraft will crash onto the enemy base.
Faking the Dead: The Spy's "Dead Ringer" causes him to automatically cloak and drop a fake corpse (complete with fake kill message, fake domination message, and real achievements being handed out under the right circumstances) whenever he has it out and has a full cloak bar.
Fictional Holiday: Australian Christmas/Smissmas. Every December the 17th, children in Australia make weapons and hats for Old Nick, a crotchety old man who lives at the South Pole. After receiving all of his gifts, Old Nick realizes he received many duplicates of gifts, so he sells them off for incredibly low prices.
Final Death: Sudden Death, where you go from unlimited respawns to no respawns. Also Arena mode, which never has respawning anyway.
Also by the scout with his new misc. item, the Digit Divulger.
Finger Poke of Doom: The Kill Taunts available to the updated classes. They take several seconds to execute (with only a small timeframe being lethal in a rather specific fashion). They are also the only way to damage opponents during Humiliation or Stalemate.
Firing One-Handed: The Spy's Revolver. The Engineer also holds his pistol one-handed, but the Scout (who wields an identical pistol, albeit with less ammo in reserve) uses two.
First-Person Ghost: Especially evident in replays, as changing the camera to third person view just shows a ghostly floating gun.
First Person Snapshooter: You can take screenshots and replays at the press of a button. There are a few achievements released during the Replay Update that requires fiddling with the replay and getting a number of views on YouTube.
Foiler Footage: When hats were first announced, people revealed what each class's hat was planned to be by reading the game's string asset files (files which contain every phrase and term used in the game, so that different files can be used for different languages). Valve responded by filling the files with false positives in the future, such as strings for TF2's planned MMORPG functionality and a boomerang for the Sniper (instead of the Jarate that was actually revealed).
Not only do the localization files include MMO strings, the game's event system (as exposed to server mode) lists "raid_spawn_mob" and "raid_spawn_squad" events.
Foreshadowing: Shortly before the official lead-in to the War Update, a minor bugfix update introduced sounds that would only be heard by Soldiers and Demomen. The next day, a comic (featuring an Administrator similar in appearance to the woman in this image) was posted revealing that the Demoman and the Soldier had become friends. The day after that, the next update was announced, with kills between Soldiers and Demomen determining who would receive the last weapon.
Prior to the Über update, Scouts and Medics would have doves flying out of their corpses when they died. This made no sense to anyone until "Meet the Medic" came out.
The Halloween update before Mann vs. Machine mode was unveiled, the Soldier dressed as a robot ( revealed as the same Paper-Thin Disguise he used to infiltrate Grey's holdings and warned about how robots were going to take their jobs.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: While recovering from a rocket jumping accident that took both his legs, he perfected Lincoln's plans for stairs, freeing people from the tyranny of the second floor.
Freemium: Team Fortress 2 became free to play in summer 2011. Players with free accounts get to store up to 50 items in their backpack, receive items rather than being able to trade or gift, have limited crafting blueprints, and can't get rare or cosmetic items. Otherwise, they can get all of the regular weapons, and all game modes and maps are available to both free and premium accounts. The only requirement to get a premium account is to buy any item from the in-game store. The only difference between a premium account gained from buying the game itself as opposed to something from the in-game store is a Proof of Purchase hat.
Friendly Fireproof: It's impossible to harm a teammate with a player's own weapons in normal gameplay, though some weapons can hurt the user (explosives, sentry guns). The easiest way to spot an enemy Spy is to just shoot everyone once or twice.
The alternative is so much worse that the command to activate friendly fire was actually removed in an update shortly before the game was released and not reintroduced for several months.
From Nobody to Nightmare: The Pyro. When the game was first released, he was easily one of most useless classes in the game. Several updates over several years later, he's now one of the most dangerous classes of all.
Since then, he's been dummied down a little, but in the right hands, a Pyro can still be incredibly dangerous.
Played with in Meet the Pyro. Pyro is still The Spook (a nobody), but he's now also The Dreaded (a nightmare), even to his own team.
Heavy used to be an easy and sometimes predictable target without a Medic, but with the introduction of the Sandvich to completely heal himself, the KGB to give him chains of crits, and the Tomislav to quietly ambush people, he became a force to be reckoned with.
Funny Background Event: Double Cross boasts the same alert panel as the one seen in Meet the Spy, and parts of it light up when the Intel is taken. Thunder Mountain also has a couple of interesting Easter Eggs:
Behind the glass of the BLU Spawn in the first stage is a reproduction of the Training Stage, and several BLUs are standing in front of it doing random idle animations (including the Thriller dance).
The RED Spawn in the second stage is overlooking a swimming pool, and REDs can be seen swimming and otherwise chilling out.
The team names (Reliable Excavation Demolition and Builders League United), in the vein of classic 60's fictional espionage organizations. In-universe, the team names are backronyms, as RED and BLU are named after brothers Redmond and Blutarch, respectively.
The Killing Gloves of Boxing, used by the Soviet Russian Heavy Weapons Guy.
And the community-made joke weapon, the Tricycle of Astoundingly Nimble Knees.
And the Gloves of Running Urgently, beta tested but never added to the official game until Sept. 30, 2010.
In Medieval mode, the parser turns "afk" (away from keyboard) into "away, fighting kobolds", "away, fruity knights", "aft, frisking knickers", or "abaft, flailing knouts".
Custom content (mostly Models and Avatars) can be submitted to this site, and if Valve likes it enough, it'll be implemented IN-GAME.
There's also a game mod that chooses your class and weapons after you die... And the weapons are from other classes, Hilarity Ensues as The Scout uses the Pyro's flamethrower on a Medic with a Soldier's bazooka, among other things. This type of mod is called "Randomizer".
There are also mods that change the rules around a bit, like Sudden Death only with melee weapons (which is now implemented into the game) or restricting how many of each class can play on the same team at once (typically to prevent Sniper Wars or turtling with Engineers)
Class Restriction is also put into place to prevent spamming of any one class. On Medieval mode, this is critical as most medieval maps devolve into "which team has the most Demomen".
Then there are games set to "Highlander mode", in which there can only be 18 players, one of each class for each team. The remaining can only be spectators, or the server will be set to allow only 18 players.
Another mod that is gaining in popularity is "hardcore mode", in which crits are completely disabled. This usually means no one hit kills and that a game round would last significantly longer.
Also present are mods that disable the respawn delay completely or reverses it, so that the losing team spawn faster. And yes, games on these servers usually ends in a stalemate.
Tons of character model replacements, including various attempts at nude mods, Gender Swap mods, anime mods and more...
Balloon Race, which is basically a variant/hybrid of Payload and Capture Point in which the two teams must attempt to stall the opposing team while getting their blimp around the course, setting off capture points in the progress. The game automatically ends if one team has captured more points at the end of the last point, or if the map has an equal amount of points and the capture count is tied, the team that makes it back to the starting point wins.
As of September 2011, not only is the circus of TF2 Freaks already made into variants of the mod, There are variations of the mod for almost every single fictional character under the sun, ranging from the "Mane 6" My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters to Charmander and The Joker. Even non-fictional personas like Valve CEO Gabe Newell and celebrity Marilyn Manson were not spared. The website for servers hosting the most advanced version of this mod can be found here.
Zombie Fortress, which basically only allows RED players to be a scout, heavy or spy, and only allows said team to use Melee. However, they're allowed instant respawn. BLU, on the other hand, are allowed the remaining 6 class with no weapon restrictions. BLU members that are killed are respawned as RED Zombies. It's about as fun as it sounds.
Death Run is a variant of VS Saxton Hale in that the chosen player (as Saxton Hale or one of the Freaks) must set off meme-inspired traps placed along the game course and eliminate all the remaining players before any one of them reaches the finish line. However it hasn't caught on as well as the original VSH has.
Parkour Fortress is a mod made by MechaTheSlag which is heavily inspired by Mirror's Edge, even borrowing the game's general art style. Everyone is limited to using The Scout (for obviousreasons) and utilize various parkour moves like wall runs, vaults and zip lines to get from A to B in the quickest time possible. After the players reach the finish, they'll spawn back at the beginning to repeat the journey. Naturally, players are encouraged to beat their time, as well as the top 5 quickest times. There's also a map where instead of being a standard time trial, you work with your teams to retrieve a pair of intelligence (which can be picked up by both teams) and bring them together to win. You can pick up one of three weapons (the standard pistol, the powerful single shot Winger, the Machina which can be fired without scoping) scattered around the map to help fend of enemies pursuing the intel or kill one who is carrying it. Alternately, you can bash their heads in.
Another lesser known mod is the TF2Ware mod, which in summary, turns the game into a very violent version of WarioWare.
The Class vs Class mod, where each team has to play as one class or the same class. The former can sometimes lead to very unfair matches, such as Engineers vs Scouts or Pyros vs Medics or Heavies vs Snipers.
One more popular mod as of late is the jump mod. In this mod, players are confined to only using Demoman or Soldier, and are required to sticky-bomb jump or rocket jump respectively to clear the course. It is definitely a Nintendo Hard mod for those who don't rocket jump or sticky-bomb jump much.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The set-up for Mann Vs. Machine mode is that the RED and BLU mercenaries team up to fight Gray's robots. In actual gameplay, for the sake of identification, the players are all RED and the robots use BLU in their visual effects and in the killfeed.
This is understandable because the Sentries would kill the BL Us, so they simply put on RED uniforms. The robots are BLU as this is from the RED team's point of view. As they've been fighting BLU for so long, they would see the enemies as...blue.
According to canon, the map Doomsday takes place before the Soldier earned his Equalizer and the Demoman his Eyelander (in fact, those weapons are inside the rocket you're trying to launch). In-game, there are (thankfully) no restrictions on these items whatsoever.
Gender-Blender Name: The Soldier's legal name is Jane Doe. Whether this is his real birth name or an alias carried over from a Noodle Incident is left as an exercise for the reader.
Giant Eye Of Doom: During the 2011 Halloween Update, the MONOCULUS! appeared in a new version of the Viaduct map. He's extremely powerful (like the Horsemann), and hovers and teleports around the map while shooting critical eye-rockets. If players manage to defeat him, they'll score an achievement and a free mask based on it. If they go the extra mile, they can also receive a cursed book, the Bombinomicon, to wear.
The Engineer has goggles, which do nothing gameplay-related.
Most cosmetic items have no effect on gameplay except distinguish different players. Along with those, there are hats or miscellaneous items that actually are goggles, two of which that lampshade this trope: the Medic has a pair of mad scientist goggles that sit on his head, and their description consists of just one word: "NOTHING"; and the Soldier has a World War II helmet with a description that reads, "After complaints that obstructed vision was affecting his performance, Soldier slapped some goggles on a helmet and charged back into the fray. His performance did not improve, but on the upside, everyone has stopped expecting anything from him."
Goomba Stomp: The Soldier's Mantreads allow players to take the fall damage that they would normally take, triple it, and apply it to the guy you land on; the higher you fall, the more damage you deal, often enough to one-shot most classes in the game. Of course, managing to actually land on someone is a feat in and of itself, especially while rocket jumping.
Some servers have a mod that enables Goomba stomps for everybody, being an instant-kill no matter how you land on someone.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Despite the game's M rating, the characters generally swear less than you'd expect them to in keeping with the game's "retro" theme, although they all tend to get less-than-professional in their domination lines.
Grand Theft Me: While not literal, Your Eternal Reward specifically takes away a Spy's normal disguise kit, but whenever he backstabs an enemy, he immediately takes on that enemy's class and name as a disguise. As the enemy is silently killed and the body disappears almost immediately, unobservant foes won't notice that their friend is now playing for the other team. That said, you can still use voice-chat to announce that a spy had stolen your identity to your team and hope that they can hear you.
Guide Dang It: There is no manual. You learn to play by watching others play (the game is coded to show you other players of your class on your team when you die), or by reading the Wiki.
As of the Mac Update, TF2 now comes with a basic training mode. It includes a simple shooting gallery to teach players how to use and switch between weapons, and a help-guide-filled battle with AI bots to bring newbies up to speed on the core gameplay elements. Currently, training is provided for Soldiers, Demomen, Engineers, and Spies.
They also added a Coach mode, where you get paired with someone and they help you out, enforcing the "other players as guides" aspect further. To prevent abuse, players upgrading to premium can give their preferred mentor a Nice Hat.
Guns Are Worthless: Valve has buffed melee weapons so they have a much higher chance of crits, so players would actually use them rather than guns all the time.