Video Game / ARMA

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arma_3_cover_530.jpg

Czech game developer Bohemia Interactive Studios' Spiritual Successor to their successful and legendary Operation Flashpoint series. Unlike the original, these installments take place in Present Day and Next Sunday A.D. time frames, not the Cold War. The basic premise and game design philosophy of making a well-researched, true-to-life and unrelentingly realistic simulation of everyday military life is still there though. As is the practice of using various fairly funny (and Reference Overdosed) Ruritanias as the setting for the games' campaigns and missions.

The story behind the conception of ARMA was one of a painful birth: After finishing their work on Operation Flashpoint, the developer Bohemia Interactive Studio and publisher Codemasters had a major falling out and split ways. BIS took the rights to the Real Virtuality engine, Codemasters got the rights to the name. BIS has since released three sequels based on this engine, ARMA: Armed Assault (Combined Operations in North America), ARMA II, and ARMA III, while Codemasters developed its own "official" sequel, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. Essentially, the BIS sequels closely resemble the original, except they have much better graphics and improved gameplay, while Dragon Rising feels, well, different from the original Flashpoint, and a lot of old veterans seem to think that it suffers from New and Improved Syndrome.

     Games 
  • ARMA: Armed Assault / Combat Operations (2007): Spiritual Successor and de-facto sequel to Operation Flashpoint, developed by BIS (the original developers of Operation Flashpoint), using an updated engine called Real Virtuality 2 (RV2). ArmA: Cold War Assault takes place on the fictional island of Sahrani, divided between two nations: the Democratic Republic of Sahrani in the north, and an oil-rich (and US-backed) Kingdom of South Sahrani. The US forces have been training the South Sahrani military and are just starting to leave (in a trend of the series in which a predominantly US force prepares to leave a destabilized country only to get caught in the fighting; see ArmA III). You see where this is going. With most of the US military gone, the North invades the South and a few remaining US soldiers get caught in the middle of it, and they then aid the South in defeating the North.
    • Queen's Gambit: A modest expansion pack, containing a small new island and a new campaign.
  • Virtual Battlespace 2 (2007): Bohemia Interactive Simulations' Real Virtuality engine, and the Armed Assault game based on it, were so successful and lauded as so realistic that this warranted an update to the game engine (VBS2 used RV2), also sold to the same real military organizations as VBS; in 2012 VBS2 2.0 was released, based on the RV3 engine used by ARMA 2.
  • ARMA II (2009): The successor to Armed Assault, based on the Real Virtuality 3 engine. It takes place in South Zagoria, a province of a destabilizing Ruritania called Chernarus. The current, US-aligned government is desperately fighting a war against communist rebels called the ChDKZ. Of course, the USA intervenes to save the failing government forces and launches attacks on the ChDKZ. After a bombing in Moscow -which the rebels blame on a group of anti-ChDKZ guerrillas called the National Party- the Kremlin steps up and tells the US to leave. Not wanting to risk all out war, they do so, and the Russians, under the flag of the UN, deploy into the region, but in a reoccurring trope, the player's squad Razor Team is left behind in the confusion, and is now stuck trying to prove the Red Square bombing was actually a false flag op. by the rebels.
    • Operation Arrowhead (release date June 29, 2010): A standalone expansion pack set in a new country, with new locations and a new campaign; it can be installed into the ARMA 2 directory (or run with ARMA 2 through Steam) to allow for a "Combined Operations" install where both games' content are accessible through the OA client. It is set in Takistan, and the plot is a blatant expy of the The War on Terror. Basically, the dictator of Takistan is said to have nuclear weapons, so the US invades and occupies it.
    • British Armed Forces (release date August 29, 2010): DLC expansion pack and sequel to Operation Arrowhead, with British Armed Forces playable.
    • Private Military Company (release date November 30, 2010): DLC expansion pack and sequel to British Armed Forces, with a deeper storyline and a moral choice.
    • Army of the Czech Republic (release date August 1, 2012): A DLC expansion pack for a Combined Operations install (that is, both ARMA 2 and Operation Arrowhead must be installed) that adds Czech military small arms and vehicles, two new 'maps' ("terrains"), a new fifteen-mission single-player campaign, new premade scenarios and more Editor scenario templates.
  • VBS Worlds (2011): This iteration of the VBS engine was developed by BIS in partnership with Caspian Learning and is oriented towards civilian education: water purification unit maintenance, cultural sensitivity training, etc.
  • ARMA: Cold War Assault (2011): A free Remake (or refurbishing if you will) mega patch for the original Operation Flashpoint, released in celebration of the game's 10th anniversary by the developers. Because of the whole legal debacle with Codemasters, applying this patch to an installed copy of OFP will rename the game to ARMA : Cold War Assault. NOTE : Please don't confuse the original Operation Flashpoint with the ARMA series proper - it's only a predecessor and set in the same universe, but otherwise completely separate. The new title is there only because BIS can't release the patch under the original name of the game, since it's now owned by Codemasters. The synopsis is that there are some islands, one of which is run by the Soviets, one by the US, and the last is independent. Guba, the commander of the Russian forces, wants to remove Gorbachev from power, so he schemes to get the US and the USSR in a war. He uses his forces to invade the independent island, and defeat counterattacking US forces. You have to prevent a World War.
  • Take On Helicopters (2011): This RV3-powered game is about piloting helicopters, and takes place within the ARMA-verse ("Armaversum").
  • Take On Mars (2013): This game is about customizing and controlling a drone on Mars to do scientific missions and make a profit. Unlike all other publicly-released VBS & RV-engine games so far, Take On Mars is nonviolent and has no physical conflict against other living things.
  • ARMA III (2013): Announced for a summer 2012 release (subsequently pushed back to winter 2012 then to 2013, where it was finally released after a long Alpha and Beta) and using the Real Virtuality 4 (RV4) engine, this game extends the ARMA gameplay with underwater operations (scuba diving, etc.), and other features. It features Israeli military equipment (such as the Merkava tank), US Future Warrior equipment, and the military of a resurgent Iran. It takes place on the two Mediterranean islands of Altis and Stratis (based of real life Lemnos). There has just been a bloody civil war followed by, of course, NATO intervention. NATO trains and equips the Altis Armed Forces (AAF) but prepares to leave after the Altisian government starts getting backing by CSAT (a coalition of Eastern countries led by a resurgent Iran) and their mandate comes to an end. But as NATO starts leaving their bases on the island of Stratis, things go awry as the AAF suddenly attacks the NATO forces. It is then a desperate struggle to hold back the AAF and get in contact with the rest of NATO with only a small, battered force. It is later revealed that CSAT is helping to provoke the attacks.
    • Karts, Helicopters, Marksman and Jets. Small optional DLC additions with new assets to play and several plataform updates such as bipods and ejection systems. The developers made an emphasis in that Marksman ARE NOT snipers.
    • ARMA III: APEX (2016): The first major expansion for ARMA III. Set on the island of Tanoa, it features Pacific Expeditionary Forces for both NATO and CSAT (Representing the combined taskforce in NATO's case, and a Chinese deployment in CSAT's case), new vehicles and weapons, and a brand new faction named Syndikat. The plot is about an elite CTRG team that is deployed to Tanoa to help government forces fight off Syndikat, a rebel group formed from the remnants of a failed coup a decade prior. Things soon prove to be more complicated than first thought, as elements that were Left Hanging from the main campaign make a comeback.
    • Laws Of War: A smaller scale DLC developed in collaboration with the International Red Cross, revolving around Explosive Ordinance Disposal, humanitarian aid, and the more unpleasant sides of war and it's aftermath. The campaign involves an EOD technician doing clean-up in an abandoned village after the Eastwind campaign while being interviewed by a reporter about the village's history during the Altis civil war and the circumstances surrounding the death of a civilian from an unexploded landmine.
  • Arma Tactics (2013): A spinoff developed in the Unity 3D engine. It has nothing in common with the main ARMA series except for visuals and voice acting.

Please keep in mind that despite having started as a mod of the second installment of this series, the zombie survival game (that practically codified the genre) DayZ is a game on its own and as such, tropes exclusive to it go on its own page. On the same note, Operation Flashpoint is a separate work and it has its own page, tropes exclusive to it must go in the corresponding page.


The ARMA series features the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

     A - D 

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: although a lot of people were shocked and complained (naturally) about Arma 3 "futuristic" setting, most of it's equipment is actually in use already, or at the very least in prototype form. Even the Viper suits which seems straight out of sci-fi is based on a prototype
  • A.K.A.-47: In a rather hilarious example, the British Armed Forces in Operation Arrowhead get the Offroad vehicle, a Hand Over Offender. Totally not a Land Rover Defender. ARMA 3 takes this further by having as few proper names of anything as possible, although interestingly enough quite a few of those are officially described as being descendants or successors — or even a ripoff, in the case of the Zafirnote  — of the originals.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Practically a staple of the series. The AI is abysmal. Pathfinding is always an issue, and the AI often takes very... odd routes to waypoints. AI squadmates under your control rarely follow orders, stopping every 5 feet to pick their nose (or whatever they are doing). AT soldiers don't seem to have much awareness as to where you are, and will usually blow up a vehicle you are standing right next to and are trying to blow up with explosives. They also get immensely confused in tight spaces, which is something of a leftover from Operation Flashpoint. In truth, the AI has evolved little with each engine change.
    • ARMA II has problems with waypoint finding, and requires some tweaking for patrolling soldiers to acknowledge that their comrades are suddenly dying from your own sniper shots.
    • ArmA III is host to many of these issues, but it is far more noticeable in the Zeus game mode. What may have seemed like artificial brilliance as a soldier on the ground is now shattered and shown as the AI bugging out tremendously as you can now see them from overhead. Soldiers never follow Zeus' orders once they get locked into combat, and once they are locked in the only way to get them out is by having every enemy soldier die and having them sound the "all clear".
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost every important character in ARMA III can die especially if you go for Miller ending.
  • Attack Drone: Arma 3 offers many opportunities for violent robotic mayhem in fixed-wing, rotorcraft and landborne flavours.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: It's more than possible to defeat some vehicles using just small arms; for example, a helicopter can be forced into a crash landing by shooting out either of its rotors. It's still way harder than it sounds since it depends heavily on weapon calibernote  and amazing skillnote . Particularly with the case of helicopters since, while in flight there's little to no point of reference in the background to calculate their current distance or flight speed.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Boy, that 1,35M long .50BMG caliber loading rifle sure looks awesome, but i hope you feel comfy laying down, 'cause you ain't gonna be running around too much with 14KG worth of weapon weighting you down (and that's not counting the spare magazines, there's a reason why a soldier in The Squad has an ammo-bearer rolenote )
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Any player that actually stop to think for a second. Given that the game is a military simulator rather than a straight up shoot 'em up FPS, if the enemy is half competent and knows what they're doing, then they'll likely act in predictable patterns: Flightpaths and LZs, positions to hole up and/or fortify, troops disposition. And just standing and looking at them tells a lot: loadouts and vehicles used can tell where they're heading, their targets, what they're planning to do, etc. Running head first into the fray is usually a guaranteed bullet in the head, however, being patient, thinking and planning what you're going to do beyond running, shooting, repeat if necessary will actually multiply effectiveness to a surprising degree.
  • Beneath Notice: In a way. The protagonists of the apex campaign is running cyber warfare operations in the south china sea, and Nato is there in a politically motivated humanitarian mission. They're completely unaware of the Viper unit. CSAT elite forces specializing in toppling goverment and destabilizing nations. They used the Eastwind device to cause the tsunami and they were funding the terrorist Syndikat until they stole the device for ransom, which Viper and CTRG now fight to recover. Indeed, they're packing up and ready to leave by the time Nato finds out about their existence, their mission all but accomplished. Interestingly, it is explicitly stated that Viper doesn't give two shits about CTRG or Nato, or their operations in the area, and indeed, they only engage them when they stand in their way of recovering the eastwind device.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Where to begin, where to begin...
    • In ARMA II, the occupying Chedaki force speaks faux Russian, while the native Chernarussian inhabitants speak faux Czech, including names and voiceovers: A Chernarussian officer named Lt. TomᚠMarný ("Thomas Hopeless", or even more literally "that's hopeless" in Czech), a civilian named Pepa Zdepa ("Joe from-the-Depot"), etc. You may occasionally hear Chernarussian civilians say things like "Potím se jak vrata vod chlíva..." ("I'm sweating like a cowshed gate...").
    • Apart from that, most if not all of the names of Chernarussian towns and landmarks are of Russian origin. The castle hill "Zub" means literally "Tooth", the peninsula "Golova" is translated as "Head" (and both are just two of many anatomic names in Chernarus). Other names are the "Pobeda" Dam (the "Victory" Dam), and "Stary Sobor" and "Novy Sobor" ("Old Church" and "New Church"). The two major cities of Zagoria (which itself loosely translated means "Behind-The-Mountain(s)-ia"), Chernogorsk and Elektrozavodsk, can be loosely translated as "Black-Mountain-sk" and "Electric-Power-Plant-sk"note . Former of whom is a tribute to the country's name of Chernarus (lit. "Black Rus", which itself is a parody of the name of Belarus, aka "White Rus").
    • In ARMA 3, there is a tactical vest that reads "Greek police", while the OPFOR faction officer's revolver is a Chiappa Rhino under the name Zubr... which is Czech for bison... although also Arabic slang for a phallus.
    • Also, "arma" is both the Latin term for "weapon" and the in-universe codename for "armed assault".
  • Boring, but Practical: Marksman rifles in the third game. Normally in games, assault rifles are used in around 100 meters and "sniping" consist of shooting around twice that distance, not in Arma though. Snipers actually are supposed to engage in distance of kilometers and assault rifles, have effective ranges of 200 - 500 meters note  . Marksman rifles are made to close that gap between the two types of gun by being able to engage in up to 900 meters without losing too much effectiveness in Close Quarters. With hybrid sights (a scope with a collimator on top), a larger caliber and more stopping power, plus the ability to reliably engage long distance targets, make these kind of weapons an all around good choice, its only drawback being the magazine size, usually capping at 20 rounds, but it's not really significant to a skilled user.
  • Bottle Episode: The Laws Of War campaign takes place exclusively inthe town of Oreokastro and it's countryside, showing anachronicly through playable flashbacks the different time periods from the cheerful pre-war peace time, to it's mine infested ruined post war present.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: In the editor, the Chernarussian resistance (the "guerrillas" faction) have access to the T-34 tank, an iconic Soviet design from the Second World War. Certainly quite an antique to field in the early 21st century. note 
    • Interestingly, while most of the weapons and vehicles in 3 are based in existing designs, the AAF's assets is entirely based on equipment currently in use by different armies, however, by the time of the game's setting, they have become 2nd rate technology, which is normal for low cost armies to have.
  • The Bully: The Altis Armed Forces of Arma III in a nutshell. Their modus operandi is basically either A) attack the local population (guerrillas or not be damned) and then being bailed out by their NATO allies or B) Being bailed out of a sticky situation by NATO and then lashing out on the civilian population. See Obligatory War-Crime Scene for more.
  • Canon Welding: Shares the same Like Reality Unless Noted fictional universe with the original Operation Flashpoint series.
  • Civil War: The basic backstory behind most installments is that you're a foreign soldier helping restore peace and some semblance of order in war-torn countries. Subverted in III when the civil war is over by the time the time the game starts, but it starts again when NATO is forcefully kicked out of the country.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pretty much this from Tanny.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted to hell and back in the third game. There are no man made impenetrable structures nor materials, although it depends heavily on caliber and distance, and the cover does help in deviating the bullets and slowing them down, making them less lethal. A 5.56 will barely penetrate even thin metal sheet, and not really do much damage to the target behind it. A 9.3 caliber machine gun, on the other hand will make short work of most covers up to 400m, and in close range or point blank? you might as well flight or fight, cause you sure as hell can't hide from her.
  • Continuity Nod: A lot towards Operation Flashpoint, its various characters, events and locales - courtesy of both series taking place in the same mildly fictional Alternate Universe, complete with the Arma 3 main menu theme music being a remake of Operation Flashpoint's theme music.
  • Crew of One: Averted, you need both a driver and a gunner at the very least to properly operate armoured fighting vehicles of any kind, while the commander's movement controls are the same as the driver's, albeit corresponding to said verbal orders. Unfortunately they can become even more repetitive than the infamous Mad Libs Dialogue, so in missions with waypoints the unit orders menu does include "Next waypoint" in its movement submenu.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: A couple of weapons in the third game fall squarely into this, being very situational at best:
    • The SDAR 5.56x45 is a rifle that can fire specialized ammo in underwater firefights, but it useless on the surface, being lethal only if both fighters are underwater and in short range. It is alleviated somewhat by being able to use normal 5.56 magazines, becoming a regular (if weak) assault rifle, although it forces players to choose wich ammo type should they prioritize in taking with them, making it this trope.
    • The ASP-1 Kir is a sniper rifle made specifically for heavy armor penetration in total silence by using a big and heavy bullet fired at subsonic velocity. So while it is completely silent in the truest sense of the word, it also means that the effective range is reduced 500 meters at best, and the zero calibration(the distance in wich the bullet will hit the center of the scope) must be extremely precise. The bullet, being heavier, will only travel a very short distance after the zero distance, and traveling slowly means that to reach the zero it must travel in a very high arc. In other words being five meters short or long of the target means the bullet will miss it completely.note 
    • Some gamemodes, and mods like the wasteland or the epochmod tends to turn many if not most loadouts into this, especially if you take a lone wolf approach. To elaborate, unless you camp and scavenge your enemies constantly (a gamble, at best), you will be roaming both countryside and cities in order to survive. The problem is that a loadout for urban warfare such as submachine guns and assault rifles is mostly useless when engaging in the long range countryside, and the long range sniper rifles with low rate of fire are a death sentence in CQB. The safest bet is being part of a group or using a marksman rifle with hybrid sights. A very Jack-of-All-Stats loadout if used properly.
  • Developer Appeal: One of the factions included in Operation Arrowhead is the Czech 601st Special Forces Group, and the third/final of the ARMA II DLCs is named "Army of the Czech Republic". Ironically though, it's noticeably the least polished and low-effort of the three.
    • The developer behind the Zeus DLC also is known to be a fanboy of the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter — which made it into Arma 3 despite its real-world cancellation, renamed the AH-99 Blackfoot.
  • Decoy Protagonist:
    • In the beginning ARMA II player controls an unnamed Chernarussian soldier. It is actually revealed to be a dream of Cooper, the actual protagonist.
    • In the prologue missions of Arma 3 (which act as a tutorial for the most part) and some showcases you will play as several named characters with a specific role (marksman, machinegunner, scout) and rank. Most of these same characters return as supporting characters or cameos in the main campaign in which you play only as Corporal Kerry, although since your interactions with NPCs is very limited in the main campaign, it's hard to notice.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun:
    • Perfected even more since the time of OFP. ARMA II makes it impossible to shoot while running, as your character will start a jogging animation after moving for a second with their arms being occupied - to shoot while moving, you must either aim down your weapon sights (limiting your character to walking speed like many shooter games) or hold the walk button so that your character can "hipfire"; even then, there's considerable weapon/crosshair bobbing, so you don't get a stable point of aim unless the character is stationary.
    • Tweaked in ARMA 3, where you can't sprint/run with a raised gun but you can do a "combat pace" jog with your weapon raised... not much faster than the walk and the most fatigue-building short of sprint, but the closest ever in the series to other shooters' "hipfire" movement speed.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • An odd example would be ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead (itself a standalone expansion) having British Armed Forces and Private Military Company; OA already has the character types and weapons used in the DLC, but they have low-quality textures and sound quality, so BAF and PMC are not just additional campaigns (one each) but also higher-quality textures and sounds for their characters/weapons that' are already in OA (the exception is the XM8, which seems to be the standard weapon system of the PMC faction, but was already in the game as far back as ARMA II).
    • BI adopted a different approach in the third installment to avoid breaking the player base: basically every DLC is an update with many features (such as advanced flight model for Helicopters DLC or bipods for the Marksmen) and they Premium content is available only if the purchase is made, but you can share the same servers with players who DO have it. the fanbase is divided in it's response
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The Altis Armed Forces are not amused that Nato has them use CSAT targets in their firing drills. Adams claims it's all they have on hands, it's Sgt. Adams we're talking about here. Keep in mind that, at the time, CSAT and Nato are basically in a bidding war to secure an alliance with the AAF at this point.

     E - O 
  • Easy Logistics:
    • Averted in the Arma 3 campaign both in gameplay and plot. In the first act, the player is the survivor of a small decommissioned task force, while in the second, he's a full member of the local guerrillas. Not only half the missions in both acts consist of securing supplies such as weapons and fuel (as well as moving camps to avoid detection) but the armory is limited: there are only standard rifles and small calibers, small and weak optics and almost no AT or AA capabilities, no thermal binoculars, etc. Forcing you to scavenge weapons, attachments and ammo in raids and side missions. The third act is a little less so, but it's clear, in the briefings and debriefings, that the invasion is taking a heavy toll on the damaged western economy which limits the heavier elements available and command's willingness to expose them to combat, not to mention that the arrival of those elements to the theater of operations must wait until the landing zone is secured.
    • On the vehicle side of things, these need to be refueled, rearmed and repaired as necessary and none of those can be done without personnel and facilities (fuel trucks and stations, ammo trucks and boxes, engineers with toolkits and repair trucks). Also no Hyperspace Arsenal. Meaning you'll be backtracking to base often.
  • Earthquake Machine: In Arma 3's "the device" is implied to be one, and the Apex expansion confirms it, though it is never seen used as a weapon onscreen. It is eventually revealed that it is what caused the tsunami humanitarian crisis in Tanoa.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Averted in III.
    • In the first chapter, Miller and his team openly admit to be Special Forces and performing clandestine operations in the country (as in, they're there illegally). While this is no secret to the survivors of the original Task Force, who are just low rank grunts, the Brits also make it clear that they're not telling them their real mission objectives, nor what exactly are they doing there, wich makes the rest of the troops uneasy on their presence and the shady dealings with the local guerrillas, even though they have no choice but to work with them.
    • In the second chapter when the task force is no more, and only Kerry remains alive, it is revealed that not only they have worked with the resistance before (as in when NATO and the AAF were allies) but that they're more in numbers and have been active longer than previously thought, their true motives still not established (the locals think they're there to help and Miller doesn't confirm nor deny this but it is implied from the start that it is not the case). Even then Kerry is not allowed to join them and is just subtly dumped with the guerrillas, still being kept in the dark. It culminates in the third and last chapter when Kerry finds out that NATO doesn't have any British special forces team operating in the area, and doesn't even have any Captain Miller on record. So Kerry is accused of having deserted, and Miller and his team are not recognized as friendlies. All in all, the black ops come looking pretty badly here, with Miller in particular having sociopathically sent the entire task force survivors to their deaths, and sacrificing the resistance high command to cover his tracks.
    • Played straighter in Apex, where you play as a member of a NATO special forces team tasked with assisting the local government in ending the threat of the Syndikat. The DLC also introduces the "Vipers", a CSAT special forces group with high-tech gear sporting a decidedly ninja-esque look.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Not counting the bootcamp prequel minicampaign, the AAF first appearance sets the tone for what you can expect from them: Massive incompetence (they forgot to bring a map on patrol, and now they are lost in the countryside), needless brutality (five unarmed civilians gunned down solely on suspicions of being guerrillas), and a bad habit of calling for foreign help when trouble arises (despite being in supposed enemy territory and with a man bleeding to death, they haven't even secured the perimeter nor call for medevac, but simply called the american instructor to come and pick them up).
    • For contrast, the British special forces make a subtle yet impressive entrance. Arriving to the rendezvous point you see an armored patrol (armored vehicle with a mounted grenade launcher plus five or six men) disable and AAF corpses everywhere. Realizing that the Brits must be near, your teammates warns them that they're coming and to hold fire. Cue massive Oh, Crap! when you're welcomed (not on the radio) and five heavily armed soldiers emerge from hiding right next to you.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism:
    • In some cases, even higher than in Operation Flashpoint (which is saying something). Of course, several mods exist to tweak these values. Most notably is the need for zeroing your aim even with Small arms and not just sniper rifles (I.E. Pistols have a zero of 50 meters, which means that if the target is beyond that, you'll have to compensate for bullet drop, with a pistol).
  • Faction Calculus: Similar to its predecessor, the games typically feature 3 factions in the gameplay, usually with different gear at their disposal. Although it is somewhat lessened due to the fact that the games use real factions and vehicles (even ArmA III Despite its futuristic setting, as most of the vehicles and weapons are just rebrandings or updates of existing ones)
    • In ArmA II it went like this:
      • The US forces are Powerhouse, Russia and the CDF qualify as Balanced, and the ChDKZ are subversive. For Operation Arrowhead, US is again powerhouse, the Takistani military is Balanced, and the Insurgents are subversive.
    • In ArmA III it is a bit muddier, as the three main factions (NATO, AAF, and CSAT) all have equal vehicle equivalents, but roughly speaking NATO is more of a Balanced Cannons (because of their better artillery), CSAT is Balanced Powerhouse (Arguably better helicopter gunships and AFVs), AAF is Balanced, and FIA is Subversive, although as stated this is a very loose interpretation and for the most part the factions are on equal footing compared to ArmA II.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: The first mission in the Apex Campaign works as a sort of Cold Open to introduce the players to the new expansion gameplay and map (the mission description reads "the sun rises over the Horizon Islands") and to it's credit, it works pretty well, MOSTLY. After taking down an isolated outpost you must trek a few hundred meters to the next objective through the countryside of the beautiful map, and the sun rises over the beautiful landscape while the new version of the main theme slowly swells up creating a beautiful and breathtaking organic scene, all in-game with no need of cutscenes or interrupting the player experience. EXCEPT! you're still in a warzone, deep in enemy territory with patrols and isolated tangos scattered all over the damn island, so chances are you'll be distracted focusing on sneaking through, or worse, you'll be so taken in by the moment than you may screw up and be spotted, cutting the moment short with a hail of gunfire heading your way or just plainly dropping dead with a bullet between the eyes.
  • Fair Weather Friend:: It's obvious near the end, that Csat is not in Altis out of the goodness of their hearts. At first they bail out the AAF a couple of times. but when Nato invades in force, they simply let the AAF take the brunt of the attack while they quietly defend and retreat to a northern seemingly empty region. Turns out they're developing an experimental new weapon in that region and the AAF as been essentially a meatshield to buy them time while they develop it and cover their tracks
  • A Father to His Men: Brian Frost from the British Armed Forces and Private Military Company DLC expansions says that the troops he was commanding were like sons to him.
    • Averted with Miller in the third game.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. Players can even use a TrackIR device that essentially adds a head based motion-based control option for free look.
  • Foreshadowing: Perceptive players may notice several discrepancies in the first act of the campaign that may be weird but are quickly overshadow by events of greater/more immediate importance (survival being the main concern of the player at the time) but at the end of the campaign make perfect sense in hindsight. The first mission however, contains several clues (very subtle ones, to the point that it may require a second playthrough to notice) that something major is going down behind the scenes, such as the AAF attacking minutes after an unknown NATO force lands on an already decommissioned base, or that tremors start just after CSAT presence is spotted on the island.
  • Fragile Speedster: Invoked by CSAT in the third game: Their infantryman is very lightly armored without even a faction specific bulletproof vest, just a helmet and some built-in bullet resistance in their uniforms. This means trading less durability for much more stamina and, therefore, mobility.
    • In one of the few constant present in almost all games and gamemodes, chosing loadouts is usually up to every player who must balance between protection, firepower or mobility, with the defining factor being (ideally) his role in the team and his objectives in the mission.
  • Friendly Sniper: Lt. James in the third game, Miller's right hand man is quite friendly with you and the Task Force survivors, and uses his signature Mk14 ERB, a Marksman rifle. Although he uses combat optics rather than a sniper scope, he still fulfills the role. Unless you see Miller as the bad guy, wich means he's The Dragon
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In 2035 CSAT is a coalition of governments comprised of China, Russia, and several smaller countries form northern and lower Asia led by Iran which, as of 2017 is not exactly a powerhouse in terms of economy or military development. Lampshaded in-game with a soldier in a random conversation rhetorically asking how the hell did that happen.
  • Future Copter: Arma 3 is full of those, with the UH-80 Ghost Hawk and AH-99 Blackfoot looking the most futuristic, Subverted because all them are based on real-life prototypes. The only exception played straight with Apex exapansion's CSAT Pacific futuristic VTOL aircraft Y-32 Xi'an, looking something straight out of a Military Science-Fiction setting.
  • Game Master: Introduced with the Zeus free DLC for Arma 3, multiplayer missions created with Zeus support (by placing a module in the Editor) can have a player in the role of "Zeus", either alongside or separately from other players; in the latter mode s/he can't exit the interface but isn't represented in the game worldnote  and is therefore invulnerable.
  • Game Mod: Has a very dedicated worldwide modding community that can already rival that of the original Operation Flashpoint, and some mods are even direct descendants of Operation Flashpoint versions. Arma 3 takes this to the logical extreme: the CUP project is a group that worked (and still does), to port the entirety of the Arma series content (weapons, vehicles, gear, and maps) to Arma 3. That is, the entirety of the game sans campaigns, for players and modders to use. And almost any country with a certain amount of players is likely making or already has made a mod with it's own army as a playable faction.
    • The by-far most famous and possibly most influential of all though is the Zombie Apocalypse mod called DayZ... it's about as realistic as a zombie-infested, fictional Eastern European country can get, single-handedly caused a spike in ArmA II sales, and its modder (a contractor who did mo-cap/MP mission design for Arma 3) was hired and made project lead of a standalone game version of the mod. Ironically, he initially kept his involvement in the project under wraps from his Bohemia Interactive co-workers, feeling that the subject matter was embarrassingly unlike what the company was known for.
    • The Arma III community has notably produced Battle royale, King of the Hill (a team based deathmatch with weapon purchasing, unlock and exp system) and Exile Mod (a multiplayer mod with crafting, survival and base building, zombies depending on the server)
  • Glass Cannon: the CSAT infantryman in III has little armor (no bulletproof vest, just pouches,and a heavy armor helmet) wich means more stamina and speed, however they carry heavier LM Gs and 3 rounds grenade launchers, their vehicles also follow the same pattern of faster but with ligher armor than their NATO counterparts.
  • Gun Porn: Thanks to various addons, the games can include everything from Gauss Rifles, G11s, and Pulse Rifles. The basic list of the firearms already present in the vanilla version of the game is also pretty extensive; a lot of the Arma 2 list consisted of variants with attachments though (i.e. M16A4, M16A4 ACOG, M16A4 M203), while the weapons list in Arma 3 is smaller due to its mostly modular attachment systemnote .
    • Although with mods, the list expands considerably. The CUP (Community Upgrade Project) for starters, has upgraded the entire arsenal (vehicles and gear included) of the previous Arma games to Arma 3, with the modular attachment system perfectly functional, to official items quality levels. That alone triples the amount of content, and its just one mod.note 
    • Note that this can actually be a bad thing: weapons look and act realistically and some times its hard to say at first glance without a detailed examination and/or practice, the weapon's role (Some heavy machineguns can actually be smaller than some assault rifles), strengths and weaknesses, leading to using them incorrectly, in impractical situations or just inefficiently.
  • He Knows Too Much: It's implied in one of the endings that Stavrou's death by friendly fire was engineered on purpouse due to this trope.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The CSAT faction in Arma 3 is seriously obsessed with hexagons: its logo is a hexagon made of smaller hexagons, and its vehicles even adopt a hexagonal camo pattern, which overall contrasts the plainer colour schemes of NATO gear.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted with a vengeance in Arma II and 3. Darkness means just that: pitch-black darkness. If your character has neither NV capable equipment (NVG, rangefinder/designator, NV capable scopes) nor an attached flashlight, and you're far from any artificial light sources at night (meaning: practically every location outside a city/settlement or military camp, particularly about 80% of Takistan and Stratis), you will not be able to see anything, period.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Played straight in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead. Averted completely in the third game, although the degree of effectiveness varies between weapons and size of bullets.
  • Hollywood Skydiving: Averted, mostly. The parachute can be opened at any altitude, but it will need a certain amount of time to deploy fully, and to slow down enough to land safely. They can be steered, and pitched forward tough if sped up too much the landing can still be fatal. The only artistic license is the use of parachutes in helicopters, which usually fly too low to deploy them and rely on shock absorbing technology.
  • How We Got Here: The Apex campaign starts In Media Res with the raider teams in the first mission attempting to secure... something without knowing if they succeeded or not. The next few missions fall under this trope.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. As in OFP, you can only carry as much equipment, weaponry and ammo as your webbing or backpack allowsnote . Too big or heavy weapons take up a far bigger slotnote  than a combination of several smaller ones and they also slow you down a little if you're running.
  • I Call It "Vera": Dixon's aforementioned "Matilda".
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted - unless you get shot point-blank in the head. You can die very easily, in just a few shots, but you usually only get injured in certain parts of your body, which affects your overall combat abilities. Getting shot in the legs makes you unable to walk.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Invoked in the first game, where army soldiers express embarrassment at having to be rescued by USMC air power.
    • In the Apex campaign, CTRG is not really fond of Nato, it's assets or it's personnel. US and British army regulars on the other hand, have no idea who the hell these CTRG guys are
  • In-Universe Marketing: Several good examples (i.e. AAN News Online), but the viral marketing of the first ARMA game via a fictional blog of an in-game character takes the cake... There's also a hefty dose of Continuity Nod towards Operation Flashpoint in all these Viral Marketing materials (to nearly Continuity Porn levels).
  • Joke Character:
    • There is a T-34 tank available in ARMA IIs Armory and Editor (in the case of the Editor, as it's an armored vehicle of the NAPA faction).
    • This accounts also for the WWI era Sopwith Camel biplane included in ArmAnote , which is quickly gunned down even by handguns and mainly serves for fun dogfights in multiplayer; ditto for the DC-3, a classic airliner.
    • With plenty of mods installed, you can quickly turn various WWII and Vietnam-era factions into this. Have fun pitting Nazis with KAR-98s and nothing more than the uniforms on their backs against US Special Forces with SCAR-Hs, XM8s and body armor.
    • In-universe (and out) the AAF is widely seen as laughably incompetent and poorly armed.
      • Lethal Joke Character: the FIA has even worse equipment and weapons, yet consistently comes out on top of them, with clever planning and the population backing them up.
  • Just Plane Wrong: There are some glaring issues with ARMA 3's larger UAV. For starters, there's already an MQ-4 UAV (ARMA 3's is the MQ-4A) and they don't share much similarity. Second, it looks like it was made using riveted sheets of metal, when practically all UAVs are made with composite materials. Lastly, the engine cowl has a label that reads "DANGER: JET INLET", yet the UAV is a prop plane.
  • King Incognito: Kerry first meeting with the guerrillas is being the chauffeur for a small team of resistance fighters and being bossed around by a laid back dude full of tattoos, scruffy beard, a ponytail and a condescending attitude. That's commander Stavrou to you, leader of North Altis FIA cell, member of the FIA High Command and all around cool guy.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Brian Frost (protagonist of ARMA II: British Armed Forces and Private Military Company) becomes this, fully succumbing to cynicism by the time of PMC, and in Take On Helicopters he's implied to have participated in the cover-up with Mark Reynolds by assassinating UN inspectors, and moved on to become a head of operations for the ION PMC.
  • La Résistance:
    • ARMA II uses guerrillas as both enemies (the "Chedaks" faction of Chernarus) and potential allies (the troops of the "National Party", aka NAPA). You spend most of the campaign fighting irregular troops, unlike previous installments, where you mostly fought organized soldiers.
    • In ARMA 3, there's the FIA, a CIA/SIS-backed resistance group on Altis fighting the Iranian presence. in a subversion, in the prologue they are resisting the player, although the more you learn of your current allies, the more sympathetic they look, by mid game you're a full member.
  • The Load: Without the support of either CSAT or NATO, The AAF is pretty useless for anything else than brutalizing the local population. The poorly armed resistance constantly has the upper hand on them until NATO bails them out, and even the task force handful of survivors has little problems kicking them out of Stratis until CSAT bails them out of that one too
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Armed Assault's and ARMA II's radio voiceovers of the individual soldiers kind of inherited this quality from Operation Flashpoint. Naturally, the somewhat unnatural sounding style of the voiceovers is caused by the daunting task of having to record each possible combination of a voiceover line separately (it would take ages and require thousands of voice files). There are some community-made mods in the works for replacing the original voice files with better dubbed ones, and ARMA 3 has done a little to smooth it out, though it's still there to a point.
  • Meaningful Name: In the first campaign mission of ArmA II, you and your squad are ordered to mark an enemy communication centre in the remote coastal town of Pusta for aerial bombardment. In the process, you will find that the rebels who occupied the town, massacred most of the townsfolk, and ditched them in mass graves on the outskirts. Now, for everyone who speaks Russian, the town's name foreshadows this unfortunate turn of events - as Pusta means "Empty" in Russian.
  • MacGuffin: The third Arma 3 campaign episode WIN has "the Device".
  • Mêlée à Trois: The scenario editor in all games (including Operation Flashpoint) makes it possible to deliberately invoke this - there are two sides that are always hostile, BLUFOR and OPFOR, and a third called "Indepedents" (Sometimes refered to GREENFOR or INDFOR) which can be set to be allied with either the BLUFOR, OPFOR, neither, or neutral. All games in the series have at least one faction for each of the three sides.
    • ARMA: Armed Assault has the US forces as BLUFOR, the Sahrani Liberation Army as OPFOR and the Royal Army Corps of Sahrani as the Indepedent faction. It should be noted that in the story mode the US Forces and the RACS are allied trough the entire campaign.
    • ARMA 2 has the US Marine Corps and the local Ruritania's army, the Chernarus Defense Forces as BLUFOR fighting against the communist insurgents of the CHDKZ (And later the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) as OPFOR, the indepedents are represented by the National Party, a small nationalistic guerilla fighting against both CHDKZ and the Government forces.
    • ARMA 3 again has NATO as the BLUFOR faction, CSAT as OPFOR faction and the Altis Armed Forces as the Indepedent force. In the Prologue and very beggining of the game, both AAF and NATO are allied but after CSAT invades the island they convince the AAF leave their alliance with NATO in exchange of military and economical support. If the "Loyalty" ending is chosen CSAT evacuates and leaves the AAF behind, resulting in their surrender, however if the "Miller" ending is chosen the CTRG steals the device which leads to CSAT become desperate and attack both NATO and the AAF in retaliation.
    • Interesting enough, the FIA guerilla group can be placed as any of the sides, BLUFOR, OPFOR or Indepedent. This is probably so they can be used both as a friendly resistance faction or an Enemy insurgent group
  • Mildly Military: Gameplay aside (where you can go as bunny ears as the server and game mods allow it) the story mode of Arma 3 is one of the few justified and believable examples. Early in the campaign, the Task Force stationed at Stratis are mostly what remains of a larger contingent deployed on a political maneuver, lazily doing grunt work at a snail pace to dismantle everything, pack up and go home. Discipline is lax, work is slow, the troops joke and mock each other, the superior officers (within earshot, who then snark right back), and specially their AAF allies. Then shit hits the fan, the task force is betrayed and after the survivors regroup,they proceed to almost take back the island in a single day, with no supplies network, no backup, no mechanized or aerial support and zero contact with the outside world.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Although the series takes place in a somewhat Alternate Universe version of our own, so ongoing events like the War on Terror are quite different there even at the same time.
    • The third game goes full blown 20 Minutes into the Future, into an alternate timeline where Russia, China and Iran, have formed CSAT, a coalition similar to the old Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, which not only rivals NATO, the European Union and the US, both military and economically, but it has actually forced them to a new pseudo cold war in wich the West is all but stated being unable to win if it goes hot.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • You'll have to do your best imitating Real Life military tactics to win the game, and no one ever says their jobs are easy. ARMA 3 takes it up a notch with its tutorialsnote  oftentimes being insane one-man commando missions, such as the Night showcase... where you're tasked with single-handedly causing as much havoc (specifically "going loud") and building destruction as possible all by your lonesome self without nightvision goggles.
    • Picking up enough Urban Warfare experience in the third game will make you realize that is not so much your shooting but your movements patterns and habits that will help you get through. A skill that is not taught anywhere in the game. So you better have somewhere to learn how to check corners, cover angles, which windows you should be careful of and so on, otherwise you're gonna be seeing that "You died" screen pretty often.
    • The same applies to combat away from towns. NPC enemies will likely see you coming if you're not prone, and will send a storm of lead your way when they do. Even if you hide, they will continue to light up your last known position until even the cockroaches are dead, and will still keep an eagle-eyed watch in that direction afterwards. If you don't want to die, get behind some topography and get the hell elsewhere and make sure they don't see you doing it. From there, you can either flank them or run away. Keep in mind that just because they're focused on where they last saw you doesn't mean they never look anywhere else. If they have the high ground and you don't have a creek bed or other terrain feature to crawl into, consider yourself screwed.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery":
    • All the rocket/recoilless weapons for some reason (they were realistic in Operation Flashpoint).
    • Averted for unguided rockets in Arma 3.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted somewhat in Arma 3, where you get to play a CSAT gunship pilot in a couple of Showcases. And sort of a retroactive example with the bootcamp update: The guerrillas that take you in as a member in the second act of the campaign are the same you were aiding the the local government (your former allies) to hunt until they betrayed your taskforce, forcing you to join guerrilla ranks in order to survive.
  • No-Gear Level: the first level of the second act is waking up ashore as the sole survivor of the task force with zero gear in an unknown location. to make matters worse, there is CSAT-AFF full scale counter offensive on the nearby city (patrol boats, Tanks,APCs, Planes, Helicopters, Infantry, fortified outpost, etc.) and you have to cross it to reach some friendlies across the mountains. Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most memorable part of the game.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A particular brutal example on the final level of the third game. To elaborate: during the campaign you end up assisting a British SIS taskforce while taking part in a resistance movement with local guerrillas. After rejoining NATO you are instructed to not to get anywhere near any members of the taskforce if you ever see or hear of them, and disregard any communication you get. Right before NATO's final attack on the enemy HQ a wounded SIS soldier (whom you befriended) calls you to meet him in a location in the middle of nowhere. You can choose: Do you leave him to die and follow the orders? The attack succeeds, enemy forces surrender, Altis is free, war is over, yaaay. Roll credits. Do you go help him against the orders? You find him dying in the aftermath of a botched SIS assault on a secret compound, he asks you to fight your way through remaining enemy troops and retrieve and deliver what is implied to be an Earthquake Machine to the rest of the taskforce. That's not the bad part. After delivering the device, the captain proceeds to extract the weapon, but promises you answers if you wait there for his return. Night falls and you are informed that they can't (or won't) come back, meaning you are left stranded in the countryside, forcing you to find your way to the bulk of the army you just deserted earlier. It gets worse: not only was the main attack a failure, but now, besides NATO scrambling to regroup and evacuate the island, the two enemy armies that used to be allies are fighting each others as well as NATO which means you're gonna have to make your way singlehandedly through the free for all clusterfuck of a warzone that the country has become, in order to find a way of the island. Have fun!
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: While OFP featured exceptional voice acting (Mad Libs Dialog notwithstanding) for the American characters by American or at least American-sounding VAs (Russians...not so much), the ARMA series features very few American voices. Several men in the player's unit in ARMA I, as well as the playable tank commander in Operation Arrowhead are quite obviously British, and the Marine intelligence officer in ARMA II is definitely an Australian who gave up trying to sound otherwise. In ARMA III, Kerry himself occasionally exhibits some bizarre pronunciation. Rather jarring, given the attention to detail everywhere else.
    • Averted in PMC by Tanny, whose Scottish accent is so impenetrable that everything he says has to be subtitled for players outside the UK.
    • Played straight again in the third. With the voice acting being really bad in general, neither the greeks nor the british actors sound like either accent at all. Only the iranians CSAT heard one in an Enemy Chatter, sounds vaguely middle eastern.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: The AAF really don't seem to have any other hobby than this:
    • Their very first scene is a patrol requesting help (even having to be found, since they don't even brought a map with them), and finding that they killed 4 men and injured another that is currently dying (and has been doing so for a while, but no Med Evac has been requested). The patrol claims they're guerrilas and were attacked by them. The thing is, the poor bastards are not even armed and while a nearby resistance cache is hidden nearby, the patrol had no idea it was there, meaning that they probably just killed them for looking at them funny.
    • Later, Conway sees more AAF beating and preparing to shoot a dozen more Altis civilians with nary a thought given to evidence or due process,. When he attempts to intervene, he is rebuffed by the AAF top commander in person, who is there calling the shots and visibly enjoying the whole thing.
    • The "firing from vehicles" Showcase shows NATO clearing a populated town from guerrilas and rescuing two kidnapped pilots. Once the town is cleared and the pilots are rescued and only the civilian population remains. Then the AAF razes the town with an artillery attack, just because
  • One Bullet Clips:
    • Averted, after reloading, magazines with bullets left are put back in the player's inventory and can be reloaded again later at any time (the character however will always prioritize full mags when reloading, as long as there are available). note .
    • The realism-enhancing ACE II mod makes this worse, in a way - besides the fire mode selection, it removes the ammo counter from the GUI. The Reload action will inform you how heavy the magazine "feels" and that's all the info you get about the amount of ammo left. On the plus side, some versions of it (such as ACE 3 for the third game) also allow you to redistribute bullets between half-used magazines to refill them.
  • Orphaned Series: The first ARMA game (a.k.a. Armed Assault) eventually became this when BIS decided not to create any more official content for it and moved on to produce a more polished and improved sequel. Many fans and reviewers felt that this was fairly justified, since the game was still too much like the original OFP, despite implementing several new features and technical improvementsnote . The fact that some of the new stuff was often pretty buggy to begin with and not always well thought out (particularly the implementation of actual tall grass for stealth and the oft overcompetent enemy AI) all added to the game prematurely fading in popularity and not gaining as big a modder base as OFP or ARMA II. The sequel was also launched less than two years after AA, so most of the fanbase made the hop to ARMA II fairly quickly. On the other hand, given how buggy ARMA II was on release (and still is to some extent), the problems are not completely endemic to Armed Assault.

     P - Z 
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The Democratic Republic of Sahrani (DRS) in ARMA: Armed Assault. The DRS also has elements of a stereotypical Banana Republic. In ARMA II, Chernarus used to be this, and some of the in-game factions would like if it stayed that way.
    • The Altis Goverment is more lowkey about its supposedly democratic nature, but no less bloodthisrty.
  • Private Military Contractors: The subject of the Private Military Company DLC. The ION PMC makes a cameo in III in one of the epilogues as a security detail.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dixon in ARMA II: Private Military Company. He even suggests shooting at US Army soldiers to expedite some processes.
  • Qurac: Takistan in ARMA II : Operation Arrowhead.
  • Red Scare: ARMA: Armed Assault has you fighting the Commie-ish Democratic Republic of Sahrani, which is invading its southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Sahrani. ARMA II pits you against Commie rebels in Chernarus and even brought back the Russians, though of the modern day non-Communist flavour.
  • Real-Time Strategy: Not only is there at least one Arma 2 mod that allows this, but the Zeus DLC for Arma 3 was confirmed to support "Zeus vs. Zeus", and the basic Zeus system already involves a Resources bar that can regenerate at different rates if at all, and objects (characters, vehicles, modules, etc.) costing a certain amount of Resources to place.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • It's purely a coincidence that the conflict in Takistan seen in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead has any resemblance to the First Gulf War for how it started, the Second Gulf War for what happened to the country, or to Afghanistan for how the local people behave. The dictator of Takistan is also totally not Saddam Hussein.
    • And of course, Altis and Stratis from Arma 3 are - despite being former British Greek colonies that just had a bloody civil strive and have to be supervised by British and American peacekeepers and are invaded by a Near Eastern power - are in no way related to Cyprus or North Cyprus.note 
  • Rouge Angles of Satin:
    • The description for any M16A4 with an attached M203 in Arma 2 reads "Assault rifle with grenade luncher".
    • There is also the description of the M60E4 in Arma 2, which lists it as a "Medium machie gun"
    • There's also multiple typos in some of the scripting commands and config parameters under the hood, such as Arma 2 having at one point "[IncomingMisslieDetectionSystem]".
  • Ruritania:
    • The Kingdom of Sahrani Island from the first ARMA game played this trope fairly straight, being a stereotypical Mediterranean-esque monarchy. It's adversary is the aforementioned People's Republic of Tyranny in the northern half of the island, which broke away from the kingdom a few years ago. If you succeed in beating the main campaign, you can defeat the Democratic Republic of Sahrani and help restore the original united kingdom.
      • Corazól is a city located in the border between the North and South, between the city there's a walled demilitarized zone diving the city in two, filled with ruined buildings. The situation is similar to the UN buffer zone in Cyprus which divides the island between the Cyprus and North Cyprus.
    • Chernarus from ARMA II. It's a stand-in for any generic small, impoverished Eastern European Slavic post-Soviet state, with a mixture of Real Life influences: the spoken language is Czech (also reflected in NPC names), while the neo-communist insurgents speak Russian, faintly hinting at ethnic, not merely political, tensions. Curiously though, the written language (seen on various signs in the game world as well as reflected in place names) is exclusively Russian. Meanwhile, the name is an obvious play on Belarus (translating to 'Black Rus' as opposed to Belarus being 'White Rus') and the landscape as well as the look of particularly rural settlements is reminiscent of western Ukraine, Moldova or the northern Balkans. All of this makes Chernarus the closest geographical (and cultural, bar German influence) equivalent to the actual Trope Namer out of all Armaverse countries so far.
    • Takistan from Arma II: Operation Arrowhead is an obvious Qurac, mostly based on Iraq and some elements of Afghanistan.
    • The Republic of Altis and Startis in III is an interesting example. The maps are based on real life greek islands 'Lemnos' and 'Agios Efstratios' (Altough the game makes clear it's NOT the islands with a different name in the future but an entire separate location), the general theme of the islands is very similar to the countries of Malta and Cyprus - indepedent mediterranean island republic - with the history begin mostly similar to Cyprus than Malta, both Altis and Cyprus were colonized by various nations, such as the pheonicians, greeks and arabs, both nations are mostly famous for their tourist attractions, both nations became indepedent recently from the british, both suffered at the hands of a bloody civil war (Altough Cyprus' case was mostly ethnic), both became overseen by foreign peacekeepers and were invaded by a Near Eastern power. The AAF is also very similar to the Armed forces of Malta and the Cypriot National Guard.
  • Scenery Porn: God yes. While earlier entries of the series weren't the prettiest on the graphics side of business (on account of the maps being so damn big), they were always massive, richly detailed and thoughtfully designed, that presented a large variety of enviroments and situations. Things got progresively better, bigger and prettier when the advent of more powerful hardware meant that the size of the map was no longer an obstacle for textures and details. Perfectly exemplified in the aptly named Arma III Apex expansion, which featured Tanoa (called "the crown jewel of the Arma series" in the achievements). A massive map consisting of a chain of tropical south pacific island surrounding a mainland which on release was widely hailed as the best in the series.
    • In June 22nd, Malden 2035 was released for free, a remake of one of the original game's islands (the titular Malden). not only it looks amazing, but it was also praised for being an excellent design for infrantry and light armor fighting .
    • It should be noted that the Community Upgrade Project (CUP for short) ported all of the maps from the series (that is Arma I and II, plus all of Operation Flashpoint and its expansions) to be playable in the third game, with top quality. This add on is a must have for almost all forms of online play, and practically makes every type of terrain on earth playable (mountains, jungles, deserts, oceans, underwater, etc.).
  • Scenery Gorn: Taken to its logical conclusion. A prolonged fight in an urban center (especially if heavy assets are involved) is inevitably gonna end up looking ugly (not helped by the fact that the mediterranean is really pretty, see above). Congratulations! After several hours of bloody fighting, you've taken that beautifully pristine mediterranean shoreside town. Enjoy your citywide pile of rubble and ruined houses, littered with the bodies of your fallen comrades and slain enemies, illuminated only by the fiery wreckages of destroyed vehicles.
  • Schizo Tech: The scenario editor makes it possible to deliberately invoke this - the editor has a set range of years it can be set to (between 1990 and 2015 in 2, 1980 to 2020 in Operation Arrowhead, and then 1982 to 2050 in III), but setting a scenario as early as possible doesn't make it any less possible to use weapons or vehicles that didn't exist at that point in time. Mods can also allow you to pit World War II T-34's against modern (and future!) military equipment, like the T-100 Varsuk (based off of T-95s and the "Black Eagle" concept tank).
    • In-Universe, this is somewhat the case with the FIA and Sindykat, who noticeably use older, simpler and cheaper weapons in general. This is perfectly justified given it's a resistance group and a criminal/terrorist organization.
  • Semper Fi: The default ARMA II campaign stars a Force Reconnaissance team, and therefore the USMC are the default "BLUFOR" for the game - hence Marine Corps weapons, Marine Corps vehicles and so on.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: As noted in Mildly Military, the game starts fairly lighthearted, with several jokes, banter and, overall, things are ok and relaxed. Sgt. Adams in particular seems like a very nice guy to have as a NCO and keeps makling light of the situacion. Once shit hits the fan, all humour goes to hell and adams is one of the first ones to die onscreen.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: Like its predecessor, ARMA avert this to hell and back: firing withouth lining up the sights means you're spraying and praying. That being said, sights, scopes and collimators are more common than not, so you dont have to rely solely on the iron sights. Operation Arrowhead introduced the ability to sight along backup sights on some scopes, and III allows you to switch optics on the fly.
  • Simulation Game: It's a bad idea to approach this game series as just another shooter. But rather as what Minecraft is to LEGOs, or the Skyrim version of FPS. As the official video guides of the third game puts it: "if you can do it in Real Life military, you can probably do it in Arma". Just the vanilla games allow you to create and experience almost any kind of combat situation, in land, sea and air, as an infantryman, vehicle pilot, etc. All in a way that most approaches the real life function of whatever it is your playing as. Meaning that imitating real life, is usually the most likely way to succeed.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: Dear god... Long story short, there's a shitload of it. The good news is that there are so many factors in it that you can always do something to mitigate it: change stances, rest your weapon against something, deploy a bipod if you have one, move slowly, equip lighter weapons, use less attachements, and a million other little trade secrets.
  • Sniping Mission: Averted in the campaign. There are no missions exclusively for sniping and if you do need an ocassional long distance target taken out, you have a marksman in your squad, precisely for that task. You can browse the workshop however to find hundreds player made sniping scenarios and mission that range from amazing to mediocre. Also, there are several shooting range competitions with many weapons, among them, sniper rifles.
  • So Much for Stealth: Averted to hell and back in the first and second act. Stealth and subterfuge is often a gerrilla's best friend, and while being compromised doesn't fails the mission, the best option is simply to engage and dissapear again. To paraphrase the Official Guide: if the enemy knows where you are, he will simply bring stronger and stronger forces to the fight until he wins by overwhelming the guerrilla.
  • Spanner in the Works: At the begining of the third game peace talks are underway to ensure lasting peace between the AAF and the FIA, so that NATO can finally end the intervention. Then an AAF patrol guns down unarmed civilians and the FIA retaliates by ambushing a convoy. Then the AAF proceeds to their standard Kick the Dog procedure by shooting supposed FIA soldiers in the capital city and detaining half the population for interrogation, basically telling NATO to shove the peace treaty up their asses.
    • It's unclear how much of it was intentional or not, since everything regarding Miller's activities in the early game is really fishy. But on the third act you can hear soldiers complaining how the destroyed radar station is slowing the invasion down and screwed up their intel. Thing is, Miller ordered that facility be destroyed on the excuse of denying it to the enemy. But we never see the enemy hampered by it's loss, so his motives to do so, remain suspect at best.
  • Sprint Meter: Arma III adds one. Its maximum size is dependent on how much the infantryman is carrying, with heavier loads resulting in a smaller bar than lighter loads. Different actions deplete the bar at different rates: sprinting and climbing up steep hills will deplete it quickly, walking at a jog will deplete it slowly, and standing or sitting still will restore it quickly. The primary consideration is that depleting your stamina will leave you winded, gasping for breath and that in turn will wreck attempts at fine aiming until you can get your breathing back under control.
  • The Stoic: In Arma 2, all characters in-game show no emotions (no eyebrow movement) at all, entering deep into the Uncanny Valley when they are supposed to be smiling, laughing, crying, etc.
  • Surveillance Drone: In Arma 2: Combined Operations there are three drones available, four with the addition of Private Military Company. This is extended in Arma 3 with automated turrets, the unarmed quadrotor UAV, a UGV called the Stomper and the fixed-wing Greyhawk UAV, both of which have both armed and unarmed versions.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • You can swim pretty well, but swimming for too long will cause any weapons carried on your back to slip off and disappear.
    • ARMA III even adds underwater combat (rebreather and a dedicated underwater weapon required).
  • Take That!:
    Ivan Ruce: It seems pretty obvious to me that no one wants to see a Flashpoint Rising in the Green Sea Region.
    • The mission editing reference wiki uses the killing of SpongeBob SquarePants for examples.
    • The decidedly incompetent and constantly dog kicking depiction of Altis Armed Forces in the campaign may have something to do with the creative director and environmental lead spent four months in Greek jail on account of alleged espionage.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • Subverted fromOperation Arrowhead onwards: vehicles don't have a health bar but rather every component of the vehicle has a status indicator that shows the damage of that specific part, the amount of them depending on the vehicle in question (cars have hull, wheel and engine, tanks have right track, left track, turret, sensors, etc.) This means that despite the armor (that can shrug off a lot of damage and protect the crew), tanks are not an invincible gamebreaker, an AT soldier can disable it's turret or knock off the main gun, while AT mines can blow up the tracks immobilizing it in an inconvinient location or away from the battlefield.
    • Taken to the literal extreme in the campaign, with Kerry being a member of the 1rst armored division, amusingly at one point he ask where the hell are the tanks that should be supporting them.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In III, the general feeling among the Americans towards the AAF seems to be "Why the hell are we helping these assholes?". Before shit hits the fan NATO is supposedly on a peace-keeping force, yet the AAF seems intent on doing its best to brutalize the local population, just because they can. Sargeant Adams and Conway, especially, make no attempt to hide their contempt for their incompetence and constant bravado.
    • The Bootcamp mini-campaign reveals that Adams had been hating on the AAF for about a year by Drawdown, and not without good reason, either. See The Bully and Obligatory War-Crime Scene.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: NATO really doesn't like the AAF as allies given their brutality, incompetence and overly inflated ego, and CSAT is only backing them up to develop their new weapon safely. Once it is completed, they don't even doubt for a second in abandoning the island and leaving their "allies" to deal with NATO. Predictably without the support of either, they surrender instantly.
  • Tempting Fate: The first Arma 3 campaign mission "Drawdown" begins with the NATO NPCs that Cpl. Kerry encounters sounding rather derogatory about the prowess of the indigenous military, the Altian Armed Forces, with multiple references to them as "Greenbacks" and Sgt. Adams being particularly negative even when they're within possible earshot. Problem is, the AAF aren't going to wait for NATO to leave and are all too happy to push 'em out... and very early into the second mission Adams trips a land mine — quite possibly planted by the AAF — forcing Kerry to hike it to the rendezvous point solo after Adams' death.
  • The Verse:
    • The devs have recently started referring to the setting by the (somewhat more Czech-sounding) term "ARMAversum" as well as "the Armaverse". Given the continuity, OFP's setting belongs under the umbrella term as well. An overview of the setting's timeline is available here.
    • The devs confirmed that their helicopter sim Take On Helicopters takes place in the Armaverse as well, with one of the characters having been a combat pilot around the time of Operation Arrowhead, while Vrana Corp and ION makes cameo appearances; notably, Take On Helicopters implies by Brian Frost's return that his killing of Dixon, ambushing the UN investigators and participating in the cover up is the canonical ending of Private Military Company.
  • Universal Ammunition:
    • Averted. You can only use magazines for two different weapons if they are of the same design family and use the exact same ammo and have the same magazine note .
    • The MX rifle family plays this straight however as all of its variants use the same 6.5 STANAG magazines, and while the SW (light machinegun) configuration uses 100 round magazines, it can also equip standard 30 rounds mags if you want/need to (though the others can't take the SW's hundred-round mags for some reason). Also, every single 5.56mm assault rifle uses the same magazines.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • Averted. Enemy Exchange Program is in full force and you can borrow any enemy equipment if you're out of your own or running low on it. Just be careful if you're playing multiplayer, as making the same sound as enemy weapons can lead to friendly fire or at least wasting time sorting things out.
    • While enemy uniforms are unusable (it is a war crime, after all) there are no restrictions (nor penalties) to using the enemy's weapons, gear and vehicles. It is actually encouraged during the second act of the campaign where CSAT weapons use a larger caliber, and raiding enemy depots, outpost and positions are the best way to secure high end gear such as thermal optics, vests, silencers, long range scopes, marksman rifles, etc.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: When Armed Assault came out, one of the much-touted new features was the ability to use tall grass for stealthy incursions into enemy territory. Sadly, this only started properly working once the game got properly patched - until then, players had severe problems with aiming at enemies while lying in the grass and the enemy soldiers had Improbable Aiming Skills thanks to an annoying bug. Guess how that ended for most players while they were trying to be sneaky?
    • It is more viable in the third game, within reason. Silencers will not make a gun completely silent, but while an unsilenced weapon can be heard kilometers away, a stealthy approach and a silenced attack can keep firefights contained within a certain radius, and more importantly, it will keep the enemy ignorant of a lot of details that can aid him in the defense (number of attackers, distance, capabilities, potential targets). While a Metal Gear Solid or Hitman-like no-killing approach is impractical or outright impossible (depending on gamemode, mods, and mission type), real life stealth is not only possible, but actually recommended, where possible, to maximize success and keep casualties to a minimum.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Civilians frequently appear in the missions, and hurting them usually does not affect the mission. Also, in any mission with the Simple First Aid module, you can repeatedly shoot your allies with no ill effects.
    Sykes: Cease fire goddamnit!
  • Villain of Another Story:
    • In Take On Helicopters it's implied that the "coverup" ending of PMC was canonical, as Brian Frost has become head of operations for ION, so after a supply flight by Larkin Aviation on behalf of ION's parent corporation goes sour, the Larkin brothers pick up Frost and give him "a shaky ride" until he talks.
    • For a debatable value of villain, but Captain Miller's story arc is mostly separated from the main campaign and you only get glimpses of his activities and loyalties. He later proves to be a loyal member of NATO, but his mission was top priority and everything else, up to and including subordinates and allied lives (yours included) is completely secondary at best. He is directly responsible for the death of several of the survivors of the original NATO peacekeeping corps, entirely guilty for the death of the resistance high command and most of its members, and left you to die on several occasions, not even bothering to answer your questions on why you risked your life and disobeyed orders to help him.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Tanny in Arma II: Private Military Company. The protagonist explicitly refers to bars in Glasgow when speaking of Tanny.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: It was added to Arma 3, as part of the Bootcamp Update, in order to help newbies learn about various parts of gameplay such as material penetration. It comes in three flavors, an actual tutorial, with objectives, instructions and explanations on the how and why of everything. A Virtual Arsenal that allows you to see and test every possible loadout combination and vehicle available (with detailed information on weapons and gear specifications) and a virtual space editor which allows you the same level editor on the other maps, only in the empty space of the virtual world.
  • War Is Hell:
    • OFP gives you a rifle, uniform and boots, a helmet and not much else. ARMA II put you in the role of a member of an elite USMC Force Recon squad, liberally adorned with fancy looking high-tech gear (although not to the extent of Modern Warfare 2). And in ARMA III you're a career soldier fighting alongside british special forcers and local freedom fighters. Still it is anything but glamorous, not heartwarming nor awesome. When you die, unloved, unmourned, far away from home, there is no tears, nor music, and your team doesn't even stop to look at you, the world goes on, the mission goes on and your body is left there on the ground to rot with a single message:
    [PLAYERNAME]: K.I.A.
    • Between the Obviously Evil AAF, a half-butchered/half displaced local population and the countryside almost completely abandoned save for the scattered resistance camps and AAF patrols, thing don't look pretty for anyone in ARMA III.
    • The new DLC Laws Of War, deals specifically with this. The campaign shows very clearly that in war, no matter how good your intentions, how professional your forces are, or how righteous your cause is, innocent people will suffer and die. And winning a war doesn't fix the problems the war itself creates, there are years of cleaning up remnants that can still hurt a lot of people.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Subverted. The new altis goverment is specifically trying to avoid this, focusing on healing and rebuilding from the moment the AAF surrenders. it's stated however it will takea long time to prosper.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: A couple of missions, where you reach your objective only to find that the game moved the goalposts. Particularly, Bingo Fuel, in which you were simply meant to go retrieve a cistern truck, and by the end, Kerry had sneaked through an armored division, looted a vehicle depot, raided a base, ambushed an armored convoy and assassinated the enemy highest ranking officer in quick sucession before he actually finds the fucking thing.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: the FIA guerrillas see themselves like this, and truth be told, the sentiment seems acknowledged by NATO, despite being considered hostile. Indeed, while Nato is there to secure a foothold against CSAT and ensure a lasting peace treaty, the biggest obstacle to get everyone in the negotiating table seems to be the AAF themselves (your supposed allies, see Spanner in the Works)
    Sgt. Adams: (looking at unarmed civilians gunned down by a the AAF) The FIA won't react kindly to this.

"ENEMY MAN. AND, MEN. TO OUR RIGHT! FROST, TARGET THAT! END OF PAGE."
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Videogame/ArmA