Quad Damage: Critical hits, which deal three times as much damage as a normal attack and have no damage falloff, making them deadly at any range. The Phlogistinator provides 10 seconds of crits once the Pyro deals enough damage, the Kritzkrieg allows the Medic to buff someone else with crits once their Uber meter fills, and the winning team gets permanent crits during the end of rounds to slaughter the losing team.
Scout: Yeah I dare ya, ragequit! C'mon, make us both happy!
The Pyro has the "BarbeQueQ" achievement for making someone ragequit.
Quitting during humiliation or after becoming dominated is announced by some servers as "RAGE QUIT!"
As of October 17, 2012, repeatedly quitting from official servers under certain circumstances Which are: Leaving an official Mann Up server, leaving without completing or losing a single wave, and if the server is full when the player leaves. All three criteria must be met for the game to consider a disconnect an abandonment. See this for more details. will cause the matchmaking system to place the user under "low priority," meaning longer matchmaking times.
Leaving a Competitive match will lock the player out from participating in future matches for a while. This escalates if the player continues to do this. The penalty previously existed in Casual, but was quickly cut after constant complaints from the community, though Casual still convinces the player to stay if they don't need to go by saying that once you leave, you can't come back on purpose.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Team Fortress mercs are this, especially in the comics. Turns out the Administrator had at least three other teams that were considered more competent: Team Echelon, Team Citadel and Team Vanguard, but all were hunted down and killed by the Classic Team.
Railing Kill: Where map design meets Knock Back and Ragdoll Physics, you can see this on any map where railings are incorporated, such as the turbine point in Hydro, the bases in Badlands, and the top floor balcony in the final rooms in Fastlane. Sometimes, railing-killed ragdolls can get... peculiar.
Railroad Tracks of Doom: The trains in Well, Freight, District, Snowplow, and Frontier. The final stages of Cactus Canyon and Banana Bay involve pushing the bomb into the path of a full-sized train and waiting for it to run the bomb over.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Since set bonuses have since been changed to have purely cosmetic effects, even a non-joke loadout can be pretty much anything that a class can wear, and can be painted any color manageable. Some Scout players even go out of their way to paint their items the most garish color imaginable (usually lime green or bubblegum pink) as a way to be more distracting (given the more muted colors of most maps, these colors stand out like a sore thumb) and for bragging rights ("I'm so good, I can have [insert color here] gear and nobody can touch me!"). War Paint and weapon skins add another dimension to this by letting your weapon also be a garish color.
Raising the Steaks: Some of the undead pet cosmetics, such as Demoman's Polly Putrid or the Soldier's Lieutenant Bites the Dust.
Random Drop: The current method of gaining unlockable weaponry, hats, and crates. Hats, in particular, appear very rarely, and with the wide variety of them, it's highly unlikely you'll get what you want.
Randomized Damage Attack: The game has this applied to most weapons by default (10% more or less), with the exception of Critical Hits, which always do the same amount of damage, and mediguns, which heal at a fixed rate. This can be turned off by typing "tf_damage_disablespread 1" into the Developer's Console (only applied to your own server). This was switched off in the Gun Mettle Update.
Shotguns also experience this trope with their pellets traveling in a random spread when fired. This adds some variance when trying to get good damage with it, as your next shot is just as likely to have half its pellets miss the target's hitbox as it is for all of them to connect. Competitive games have this random spread disabled.
Rare Guns: Every character's weapons are supposed to look like custom jobs.
Rated M for Manly: The Saxton Hale comics parody the "Man's Life" magazine from the forties.
Ray Gun: The Pomson 6000, the Phlogistinator, the Cow Mangler, and the Righteous Bison.
Real Is Brown: Originally, in the development cycle, Valve intended to go with modern realism but trying to make the gameplay equally realistic was proving difficult, so they went with the stylized cartoon look. With the Mann-Conomy update, you can buy paint of various colors.
Reality Ensues: The moment Grey fires the Team, the entire New Mexican police force immediately start hunting them down (starting with Scout and Spy), because they're sociopathic murderers who have been terrorizing them for years, and now don't have Mann Co to protect them.
Subverted when it turns out that Mann Co.'s dubious health and safety protocols (and toxic water supply) already turned the town of Teufort insane. They're accusing the mercs for crazy stuff that they did themselves, which the mercs don't remember doing at all.
In Bidwell's Big Plan, Saxton Hale is in free-fall and attempts to glide to safety by grabbing onto an eagle. Instead, the eagle starts falling as well since it can't support Saxton's weight.
Grey learns the hard way that if you hire mercenaries, you shouldn't wave around something more valuable than what you're paying them, especially if you're a frail old man who has no protection should they decide to turn on you.
Recoil Boost: Rocket Launchers, the Detonator, the Force-A-Nature, grenades, stickybombs, Sentry Gun rockets, and pumpkin bombs can aid in a jump, though all of them except the Force-A-Nature will damage the player.
Recoiled Across the Room: The Force-A-Nature has the power to launch the Scout across the room if fired. This can be used to quickly escape engagements, or, if fired directly down, to perform a triple jump (as the scout can regularly perform Double Jump's).
Recurring Riff: Several of the songs on the title screen, which are taken from the "Meet the Team" trailers, use the bass line from the game's original theme, which itself is the sound cue for dominations and revenges. It's changed up quite a bit, ranging from obvious (as in "Intruder Alert," where it's played clearly on brass) to difficult enough to spot that you only realize it's there later (as with "More Gun," where it's played during the minor key portion of the song, but very slowly and in 3/4 time, giving it a totally different feel from the other versions).
Red Eyes, Take Warning: ÜberCharged team members whose eyes are visible will have glowing red (or blue) eyes and be invulnerable until the charge wears off. To quote the Heavy: "Is good time to RUN, cowards!"
Also MONOCULUS! from the 2011 Halloween update, when he's pissed off.
RED Oni BLU Oni: The names and primary colors of the teams. RED is a demolition company, BLU is a construction company.
The Spy can equip an Oni mask, which is, appropriately enough, red or blue depending on which team he's on.
Strangely enough, the general roles are reversed. On Attack/Defense maps, RED is the defender, and is more likely to dig in and build machines to defend them, while BLU are the attackers, more likely to bomb everything in sight to advance.
Red Shirt: Ironically, the BLU Team, at least in the "Meet The Team" videos. If they reversed the colors, a lot of color-based tropes would be doubly funny.
The Pyro is wearing a fireproof suit. Without this, the Pyro would not be able to run forward and fire at the same time without getting damaged.
The Sniper (in the comic advertising Jarate) specifically says "Those Saxton Hale Jarate pills tripled the size of my kidneys, and thanks to my Saxton Hale Pain Tonic, I can barely even feel my organs shutting down! He thought of everything!" Otherwise, a normal human body won't produce so much urine so quickly.
Respawn Point: Barring Arena mode, killed players later respawn in the locker rooms.
Redmond and Blutarch, CEOs for RED and BLU, respectively. In an attempt to try to outlive the other brother, both have a machine built for them to prevent them from dying, with obvious results. It does not grant immortality in the normal sense, but it does resurrect them immediately after dying.
In a related vein, respawning in-game appears to be part of canon and not just a gameplay mechanic, given that some classes comment on it, and it is mentioned in the comics.
Sniper: How many times have you died? I'm actually getting impressed. Sniper: Kill ya again soon, mate. Heavy: I am coming for you, again! Scout: I will never... stop... killing you.
The very existence of Domination and the Vita-Saw suggest that respawn is canonical.
Lampshaded with the "Meet the Medic" video, where several dozen identical (minus the hats) Soldiers are seen, implying they're probably re-cloned every time they die.
In Expiration Date the team's reaction to being told that they'll die in three days, due to the Engineer's teleporters apparently causing cancer is mostly indifferent and only a little stunned at first, suggesting that they're already used to dying repeatedly.
Comic #6, The Naked and The Dead, manages to justify respawn: The Medic is a Soul Jar for the other eight mercs. He uses their souls to maintain control of himself after he sold his to the devil, with the side effect of making them immortal in this way. However, by the end of the comic, the Medic has given one of their souls to the devil to cheat his own death, and it shows that both whoever's soul he gave and himself are not resurrectively immortal for eternity.
Regenerating Health: This is one of the Medic's innate abilities, but it only heals 3 HP per second, increasing up to 6 HP per second after ten seconds without being attacked. Considering how high priority the Medic is and how often teams field only one, this is far from a bad thing.
The Blutsauger (an alternate Medic syringe gun) lowers the Medic's innate regeneration by 2 points, to 1 HP per second (or to a maximum of 4 HP per second while not under attack), but grants you additional health from shooting an enemy (3 HP per hit, which at an attack interval of 0.1 second can net you 30 HP/second if all 10 syringes are hits).
The Amputator melee slot unlock passively increases the Medic's innate regeneration by 3 points at the cost of dealing 20% less damage, giving him 6 to 9 hp per second recovery (or 4 to 7 if you're using the Blutsauger as well)
Snipers with the "Cozy Camper" also regenerate a little health, but effectively gaining only 1 HP per second. The item also increases all incoming damage by a small percentage though. This was upgraded to up to 4 HP per second in the Tough Break update.
In Mann vs Machine, all classes can purchase an upgrade to regenerate up to 10 HP per second. This stacks with other sources of regeneration, such as the Medic's passive health gain.
The "Mann Co. Emporium" allows players to buy in-game items with real money that can also be found for free by playing enough. Many of these are hats.
Additionally, cross-promotional items become being wanted for rarity's sake, but not for actual gameplay value.
Rewarding Inactivity: The game (currently) has no way of telling if the player is actually, well, playing. One can join an "idling" server or play offline, then minimize the game and do whatever else he wants while still enjoying the same chance to get drops every week as an active player.
As of the April 10, 2010 update, the use of idling has been reduced by the introduction of a weekly item drop cap. Amount of drops is no longer directly related to hours spent in the game. The system has a cap on the amount of playtime in which drops can occur. This cap has been estimated to be 10 hours each week. Playing beyond the cap will not yield additional items.
A third update around September 2013 also made it so that if an item drops but no response to the notification comes, the game effectively "halts" your hours and no further items will drop until you respond. This effectively means you have to be actively playing to get more than 1 item.
Rhymes on a Dime: Territorial Control, Ornament Armament, Cold War Luchador, Fruit Shoot, and Brundle Bundle.
"Risk"-Style Map: Territorial Control, definitely, but maps like Granary also could count.
Robot War: The Mann Vs. Machine update is this. It's six people versus an entire robot army with the intent of blowing Mann Co. buildings to bits! Granted, it's only a worldwide war in the sense that said Mann Co. facilities are spread sparsely around the world, but still...
Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Moment-to-moment battles are very fast, with most classes having the potential to kill almost all of the other classes in two shots. Servers with an "all crit" mod turn this Up to Eleven as everyone is prone to getting instantly killed from any distance.
Taken even further with the Mann Vs. Machine mode, which allows players to upgrade their weapons and characters using money collected from the robots.
Rule of Fun: The realization of the insane premise that presupposed the game's fundamental elements caused a shift from the original concept of a serious military-styled action game toward the game's exaggerated and unrealistic theme and presentation.
Run, Don't Walk: The characters cannot walk unless they're crouching or using certain weapons.
The Runt at the End: Backstory wise, it's the Scout (he's the youngest of eight boys), and he used this as motivation to train his running speed. Gameplay wise, it's usually the Engineer (always last to the front lines because he's too busy upgrading his builds).
Sprays do backfire on occasion, since eventually when the opposing team sees the spray, they may start whaling wildly, as if they know there's a Spy hidden.
Even this can be exploited by putting sprays positively everywhere and let your team take care of the enemies that are hunting for non-existent Spies.
There also have been attempts at creating distraction sprays showing a sentry or player. Since it's possible to make sprays that change based on proximity, this can be fairly effective in the right place.
Spies sometimes put down sprays of friendly players and move them around from time to time while staying completely cloaked, which distracts their enemies into not watching their backs.
Also works for some decal-customization-capable melee weapons, for example the Conscientious Objector. A demoman wielding a customized one and a Chargin' Targe or Splendid Screen and Ali Baba's Wee Booties (and maybe any weird hat as well for good measure), can confuse certain noobs long enough for one to execute a charge-kill. At point blank if the noob is really new to the game, natch.
Clever Heavies can use their Sandviches as Schmuck Bait. Simply throw the Sandvich somewhere where an enemy is likely to notice it, wait for the schmuck to take the bait, then pump 'em full of minigun lead. Works especially well with the Tomislav. And God help the little schmuck if a Pyro or another Heavy are in on the act.
Another way to use the Sandvich as bait is to, ironically, not have it at all. Many players expect Heavies to be equipped with Sandviches as their secondary, so they're inclined to chase down a Heavy that flees around a corner due to being wounded or out of minigun ammo, expecting them to be trying to heal. A tricky Heavy will feign this when out of minigun ammo (or just at all), ducking around a corner. The opponent chases the Heavy, rounds the corner... and finds himself staring down the barrel of a Shotgun. Has a surprisingly high rate of success.
The Pyro's Armageddon taunt may count too, particularly right after the Pyromania update when it and the Rainblower were first introduced and everyone was wearing Pyrovision goggles. In Pyroland, the Pyro is surrounded by sparkly rainbows and the Balloonicorn, which tempted even some enemy players to join in on the fun or go for an easy kill only to be burned alive. Those without the Goggles are instead adequately warned with ominous-sounding music coming from the taunt.
Another excellent Schmuck Bait-based tactic is to have a Sniper stand somewhere obvious, and a Pyro hiding nearby, and then to light up the incoming stream of Spies.
Some Engineers intentionally leave non-functioning Teleporter Entrances or Exits near their nest to alert them to enemy positions. Many enemy players can't resist attacking a defenseless building.
Similarly, some players intentionally refrain from attacking a functional Teleporter Exit and instead taunt-kill the enemies coming out of it.
Scenery Gorn: This is what happens to most RED bases in the aftermath of Payload, when the bomb cart creates a massive explosion to ruin the days of anyone who has to work there. Helltower also has an odd tendency to turn into an utter wreck as the battle commences. But the ultimate example has to be 2Fort Invasion.
Scissors Cuts Rock: Under normal circumstances, certain classes are considered to counter others. Traditional wisdom holds that Heavy counters Pyro, Scout counters Sniper, and Spy counters Engineer, for example. That said, the tables can always turn if circumstances give one class an unusual advantage or if one player has a significant skill advantage over the other. An unrevved Heavy who encounters a Pyro in close quarters is basically dead, a good enough Sniper can one-shot a Scout at a moment's notice, and a bad Spy is basically just free metal for a competent Engineer.
Score Screen: After each round, there's a list of the top three most valued players, and the player with the longest killstreak that round. After the map timer runs out and the server is about to switch to another map, the screen will show the scoreboard, which displays player information, server name, team scores, etc. Information about each player is shown, including Steam ID, team affiliation, points, and class. This scoreboard can also be accessed by pressing Tab on the PC while playing in a round, though it won't show much information about the enemy team, of course.
Scoring Points: Points are used to determine who the most valuable players in a particular round are and otherwise don't do anything unless the server settings are such that it determines the winning side based on points under certain circumstances. Other servers have a separate ranking system that's just there for the bragging rights.
Scout-Out: The Saxtonettes. Originally (in-universe) the comic was called Boy's Adventure with Saxton Hale, but the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency complained that it taught boys moral turpitude, arson, vandalism, hippie assault, tax fraud, the Heimlich Maneuver, et cetera. Mann Co. changed the name to Girl's Adventure With Saxton Hale, as it was commonly thought (in-universe) that girls couldn't do anything, so any lessons taught to them would be harmless.
Screams Like a Little Girl: Getting scared by either Zepheniah Mann's ghost or the Horseless Headless Horsemann results in a very unmanly scream. Also, one of Scout's voice clips for the Halloween 2012 update has him shrieking like a girl and yelling, "I'm so scared!"
Also, Scout at the end of "Meet the Sandvich", and Sniper at the end of "Meet the Pyro".
Seadog Peg Leg: The Demoman's "Swashbuckler's Swag" outfit includes a peg leg. It's a reskin of Ali Baba's Wee Booties, which bizarrely means having a pegleg increases the Demoman's mobility while charging and health.
Secondary Fire: Every class has at least one weapon with this function (barring the Spy, whose secondary fire is always used for whatever cloaking watch he has equipped). Certain classes also have common secondary fire functions for most, if not all, of their weapons: the Medic uses his for deploying his medigun's Übercharge, the Sniper's is for zooming in on his rifle, the Demoman can either charge (if equipped with a shield) or detonate his stickies, the Pyro can airblast with any primary other than the Phlogistinator, and the Heavy can spin up his minigun.
See the Invisible: A cloaked enemy Spy can be revealed by bumping into him, igniting him, covering him in Jarate or Mad Milk, or hitting him with a weapon that inflicts bleed damage.
Parodied during the 2013 Scream Fortress update, during which the each Mann brother is literally trying to send the other to hell.
Redmond: "I'll see you in hell, brother!" Blutarch: "Only one of us is going to hell, Redmond!" Redmond: "Then I suppose I won't see you in hell, brother!" Blutarch: "I'm afraid I'll be the one not seeing you!" Redmond: "We shall see." Blutarch: "I won't!"
A tongue-in-cheek write-up about making the Meet the Sandvich short is pretty much several paragraphs and some pictures showing the TF2 Writing Staff are lazy, shameless plagiarists obessessed with Predator so the actual short's "writing" was done by the voice actors improvising, that of course the TF2 Writing Staff wrote about themselves.
Self-Plagiarism: The Gun Mettle update is this with regards to Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Let's see, repainted weapons with varying degrees of weapon rarity and exterior damage, first-person inspect animations for said repainted weapons, StatTrak kill counters featured on the weapons themselves and viewable in real timeNote While CS:GO did do StatTrak weapons first, those were based off of the Strange weapons that TF2 did before, a buyable pass that allows players to complete challenges for the weapons, and being able to pick up the weapons of defeated players.
Sequel Escalation: The original game (as Team Fortress Classic) had nine basic models with one voice, weapons mostly shared with Half-Life and Quake, and a text-heavy interface. TF2 gave each class its own silhouette, voice, nationality, personality, game mechanic, personal HUD elements, and weapons (only two stock weapons are shared between multiple classes - Soldier, Pyro, Heavy and Engineer all have a Shotgun, and the Scout and Engineer share the Pistol) fitting into an all-encompassing art style.
Serrated Blade of Pain: The Medic's standard melee weapon is a bonesaw, and another, the Amputator, has serrated edges as well. In addition, one of the Sniper's alternative weapons is a rusty serrated knife which does less damage than his kukri but causes bleeding.
Set Bonus: The Polycount contest item sets. The cause of much uproar in the fanbase was how the gameplay bonus depended on the ultra-rare hats (before it was possible to craft them). The gameplay-affecting set bonuses have since been distributed among the weapons of the set as of July 10, 2013, and the set now just bestows an additional cosmetic feature.
Sexposition: Different mechanism, same broad idea in the comic "A Fate Worse Than Chess". Saxton Hale explains something he dubbed "Explosition" where you have to make the exposition more interesting. He proceeds to make a video where he describes the current situation to the Mercenaries while wrestling with a Yeti.
The Shadow Knows: Inverted; the shadow of a Spy will show his disguise's weapon rather than his own.
Although it does not involve fighting bullets with bullets, the Pyro's flamethrower's alternate fire shoots out a gust of air that can deflect a projectile, bouncing it right back where it came from. Critical projectiles and arrows destroy other projectiles. Flares can destroy enemy flares.
In Mann Vs. Machine, Heavies can purchase an upgrade for their minigun that lets them destroy enemy projectiles mid-flight. Robot Deflector Heavies do the same thing against the projectiles coming from your own team.
Snipers tend to go for enemy Snipers first, even if there are other ways of taking out said Sniper, as an uninterrupted Sniper can pick everyone else off at their leisure.
The firepower and perfect aim of a Sentry is so good at area denial that enemies often attempt to destroy Sentries on sight, even if it means burning up an Ubercharge. Crafty Engineers can exploit this mentality by using a stray Sentry as a decoy to distract enemies from the rest of their team.
Shoot the Medic First: Origin of trope namer. Medics are immensely powerful in that the presence of one makes everyone in his immediate vicinity much tougher to kill, but they themselves have a low health pool and are unable to defend themselves and heal someone at the same time.
Taken to new extremes in the Mann vs. Machine mode on the later waves where Super Heavies (who already have a stupidly high amount of health) can have up to five Medics following them, each of which is healing and/or charging uber several times as fast a normal Medic. Needless to say, taking them out first is essential.
Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Almost every attack deals less damage at long range, excluding the Sniper's primary weapons (which are intended to be used at long range) and anything that's dealing critical damage. Firing explosives right at your feet is a viable tactic to dealing with fast Scouts in close range; due to the game's Rocket Jumping mechanics, damage is reduced for you, but not for your enemy.
Short-Range Shotgun: The various shotguns in the game do heavy damage up close, but are practically useless against targets at a distance. This isn't because of the pellet spread, which is actually pretty reasonable, but because of the aforementioned damage falloff that makes EVERY firearm (sans the Sniper Rifle) useless at long range. However, the Shotgun as a secondary weapon works better than the primary at long range:
Soldier's Rockets, while still dealing a good damage at range, are slower projectiles that are easier to dodge.
Pyro's Flamethrower is a close range weapon that is easily outranged by any non-melee weapon.
Heavy's Minigun has too wide of a spread to be useful at long range.
Shows Damage: Blood decals appear on players who are shot or bludgeoned, and their expressions become increasingly worried as they take damage. Buildings will smoke, then ignite the more they are damaged.
Sigil Spam: The Team Fortress Logo tends to appear quite often. To list a few: it's the timer for capture points and intelligence resets, it appears as the default image for the Conscientious Objector and the Flair!, there's an unusual effect called Circling TF Logo, instructional videos and blackboards use the logo to represent objectives, and all of the rank medals for Casual use the logo as a base. Hell, koth_nucleus (with the bridges out) and arena_watchtower both resemble the TF logo when viewed from above.
Silliness Switch: tf_birthday (for bleeding balloons and exploding into presents), or -sillygibs (for normal blood, but exploding into cheeseburgers, balloon puppies, clocks, boots, gears, unicycles...).
It is worth mentioning that -sillygibs is, in fact, the standard "violence-reduced" setting for German playerswhich cannot be changed, a mode which also includes altering blood so that it looks yellow and eliminating all bloodsplatter on characters' clothes, walls and floors. And that despite the fact that in Germany the game is rated 18+ (for adults only), not 16+ as in most other countries. Even some of the Meet the Team videos (Meet the Soldier for example) have been altered this way in the German dubbed version. Given that the voice acting in the German dub is horrible, most German players usually run their game with audio setting set to English.
In Pyroland, some maps have been turned to what the Pyro sees in Meet the Pyro, switching from the standard muted colors of normal TF2, to one that heavily favors pastel pink, blue, and green, befitting a Sugar Bowl. Weapon projectiles trail bubbles, explosions are replaced by confetti, fire becomes rainbows, players bleed balloons, and the pitch of everyone's voice is raised. When players take damage and die, they laugh.
Silly Reason for War: All of the game modes. You're not given any motivation other than "kill the guy colored differently from you before they kill you and/or achieve your side's objectives before they can achieve theirs".
We also have the Soldier-Demoman war over an unlockable pair of boots, with the accompanying comic giving the story reason that the Administrator feared the friendship between RED's Demoman and BLU's Soldier would lead them to talk about their job and make them realize that the fake war was run by the same person (Helen, the Administrator) staying in power by playing both sides against each other. Thus the Soldier and Demoman were bribed with new weapons and lied to to destroy their friendship. Prior to the Mann versus Machine storyline, fraternization between members of the RED and BLU teams was forbidden by their contracts.
The Sniper's Razorback protects him from a single instant-kill backstab, at which point he has to go back to the resupply room to get a new one. A patch later made it also regenerate after 30 seconds.
The Spy's Spy-cicle melts to protect him from being set on fire while also providing him from further fire damage for a short duration afterward, with the tradeoff of leaving him without a knife afterward. Hitting a resupply locker or waiting around for a bit allows the Spy-cicle to regenerate, and collecting ammo boxes will speed up the refreeze. However, in Medieval Mode, the Spy-cicle refreezes instantly to prevent the Spy from being left without a weapon.
Sinister Whistling: In the conclusion of the "Meet The Pyro" trailer, the Pyro can be heard whistling a Dark Reprise of "Do You Believe In Magic" by the Lovin' Spoonful as he departs the battlefield, leaving the bodies of the entire BLU team in his wake.
Situational Damage Attack: The Medic's Crusader's Crossbow does damage based on distance; the further the distance, the more damage done.
Soft Glass: The Demoman's bottle can break on a hit with a target, though whether it's broken or not makes no difference to damage output. The Sniper's Jarate and the Scout's Mad Milk always break on contact with something but never do any damage.
Solo Class: Some of the classes can do their job on their own (for example an Engineer can set up a sentry nest and a Sniper can find a good vantage point, while a Spy can infiltrate on their own). Of course the game is deliberately designed so that having a teammate back them up always helps (e.g. a Pyro to guard an Engineer or Sniper from a Spy, or a group of offensive classes to rush the enemy when the Spy begins sapping their sentries).
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Every stock primary weapon and most secondary weapons have a unique sound effect. For example, the stock Minigun sounds pretty distinguishable when revved up. The Brass Beast, which is slower than the Minigun in most aspects, makes noises similar to the Minigun but noticeably lower.
Every team member has their own, easily-distinguishable voice acting. Similarly, Sentries make audible "-beep" noises often, so a player can tell in advance if there is a Sentry around the corner. The number of beeps also correspond to the level of the sentry - for example, a Level 3 Sentry will make three quick beeps in succession.
When hitting a friendly building with the Wrench, healing/upgrading/speeding up construction will create a distinct "-tang" noise. If your wrench hit has no effect (full health, full upgrades, full ammo, no metal in reserve) the hit instead makes a higher-pitched "-tink" noise.
You can set custom hitsounds to play in the options menu, as well as set the pitch to change based on how much damage your attack dealt. You can also set a different hitsound for landing the killing blow.
Soundtrack Dissonance: The soundtrack in the Pyro's mind as he is bringing about fiery apocalypse? "Do You Believe In Magic?"
Spinventory: While choosing an item on the loadout screen, you can spin the character model to see how he looks.
The '60s: Takes place during the late sixties - there's a heavy 60s espionage/industrial motif.
Spies Are Lecherous: The Spy is perhaps the biggest ladies' man of all the mercs, who's introduced in his official Meet the Team short to have bedded the Scout's mom and later shown in "Expiration Date" teaching him how to talk to women, Hilarity Ensues.
Spiteful Will: The setting exists as a result of Zepheniah Mann giving each of his dunderheaded sons half of the land he owned. Not a sentence goes by in his will without him throwing curses at his brain-defective sons.
Splash Damage: Rockets, grenades, and stickybombs. This attribute when used well can strike threats around corners, juggle people, or simply annihilate a group of enemies.
Spot the Imposter: A gameplay usage. A team who has difficulty identifying a Spy among them is going to find their buildings sapped and their critical players backstabbed.
Sprint Meter: There are various meters, depending on weapons in one's loadout.
Sprint Shoes: A few items can increase the speed of a class:
As a Soldier's health decreases, if he's holding the Escape Plan, his speed increases. At 1-40 HP, he can almost keep up with a Scout.
A Pyro with the Powerjack active gets a 20% speed boost.
The Heavy gets the Gloves of Running Urgently, which give a speed boost when wielded at the cost of a maximum health drain while they're active. He also gets a speed boost for 15 seconds after eating a Buffalo Steak Sandvich, at the cost of being restricted to melee.
As of the Gun Mettle update, the Eviction Notice gives a speed boost when he hits an enemy.
The Demoman's Chargin' Targe or Splendid Screen allows him to charge forward for a few seconds, which can be used as either a mobility boost or an attack buff (or both). Having heads on an Eyelander, Horseless Headless Horsemann's Headtaker or Nessie's Nine-Iron increases his running speed, but not his charge.
Equipping Ali Baba's Wee Booties or the Bootlegger along with any shield also raises his base movement speed, making them a literal example of this trope.
The Medic can run at Scout speed as he heals a Scout with any medigun. With the Overdose equipped, his speed also increases to 10% faster than his usual speed if he has 40% or higher ÜberCharge.
A Scout using the Baby Face's Blaster, though having an minor initial speed debuff, can gather boost to move twice his maximum speed.note The scout is slowed to 120% of normal speed, and full boost brings him up to 173% normal speed. Normal scout speed is 133%.
The Soldier's Concheror, in addition to granting Life Drain, gives a small speed boost to all allies in range. The Disciplinary Action grants a temporary speed boost to both him and the ally he whips.
Fire (Pyro's Flamethrowers, Flare Gun, Detonator, Manmelter, Sharpened Volcano Fragment, and the flames from Heavy's Huo Long Heater): causes about 60 damage over 10 seconds, 20 for the Degreaser. Reveals cloaked and disguised Spies. Can be extinguished in a variety of ways.
Bleeding (Sniper's Tribalman's Shiv, Scout's Boston Basher, Three-Rune Blade, Wrap Assassin's alt-fire and Flying Guillotine, Engineer's Southern Hospitality): Similar to being on fire, but only lasts for a short amount of time. Small health packs, Dispensers and Mediguns heal the victim, but will not stop the bleeding. Reveals disguised and cloaked Spies.
Full stun (The Scout's Sandman at long range and the first moments of some Taunt Kills): rendered immobile.
Partial stun (Sandman at closer ranges): halves the victim's speed and puts them in third-person Humiliation stance, and prevents them from attacking (with the exception of taunts), crouching, and jumping.
Scared (Ghost/Headless Horsemann on Halloween maps): same as partial stun, with different special effects. The game counts this as a stun towards achievements.
Attack disabled (The Sniper's Razorback temporarily disables the Spy from attacking, cloaking, or switching weapons when stabbed, and the whole losing team loses their weapons during Humiliation).
Covered in Jarate (Sniper, with Jarate or Sydney Sleeper): Incoming damage to the victim is registered as mini-crits (that is to say, multiplied by 1.35). Reveals cloaked and disguised Spies. Can also extinguish teammates. Can be removed by going underwater or being healed for some time.
Covered in Milk (Scout's Mad Milk): If you're covered, every enemy who shoots you counts as having 60% Life Drain. Can be removed by going underwater or being healed for some time. Reveals disguised and cloaked Spies.
Covered in Gasoline (Pyro's Gas Passer): The next hit that the victim receives removes the debuff and causes them to ignite. An upgrade from MvM can cause enemies to detonate as well.
Marked for Death (Scout's Fan O'War, or if he hits a robot with upgraded Sandman ball, using Gloves of Running Urgently (and 3 seconds after unequip it), hauling building picked up by Rescue Ranger's alt-fire): The victim is marked with a floating skull and crossbones and all damage taken from the enemy register as mini-crits. Goes away after around fifteen seconds or by death. The mark can be concealed by cloaking or disguising as the Spy.
The BLU Soldier and RED Demoman are Fire-Forged Friends, and in-game portrayals don't care about specific classes on specific teams, so the RED Soldier and the BLU Demoman have the same relationship, breakup, and conflicted feelings. Neither of them seem particularly buddy-buddy with their own team's Demoman and Soldier, however.
Similarly, the RED Spy is the father of both the BLU Scout (from Meet the Spy) and the RED Scout (in The Naked and the Dead); the BLU Spy is not depicted as this for either one of them.
Stat-O-Vision: Players can see their allies' health, the health of allied buildings, and the ÜberCharge meter of allied Medics. Medics always see the health of their patients, and ÜberCharge level if the teammate's a Medic. Spies can also see the names and health of enemy players and buildings. A Medic with the Solemn Vow equipped can also see enemies' names and health.
Status Buff: Like the status effects, these also stack.
Overheal: Medics can heal teammates to 150% of their starting health. The Heavy's Dalokohs Bar increases the eater's HP by 50.
When a Medic activates an ÜberCharge with a Kritzkreg.
When the intelligence is captured in a CTF map.
Granted in Arena mode to the player that scores the first kill.
The Scout's Crit-A-Cola grants him mini-crits against all enemies and provides a speed boost. It also causes any attacks against him to mini-crit, so it's a rather risky buff.
The Heavy's Buffalo Steak Sandvich (Bread not included) does the same thing and makes him run faster, with the added risk-factor of only being able to use melee weapons and taking slightly more damage. So, it can turn the Mighty Glacier into somewhat of a Fragile Speedster / Glass Cannon, especially with the Warrior's Spirit (that increase your strength by 30% BEFORE the mini-crits).
The Scout can also achieve guaranteed mini-crits if the Hype meter on the Soda Popper is fully filled, but in return it can't mini-crit otherwise.
Similarly, upon filling the Mmmph meter of the Pyro's Phlogistinator, a small taunt can activate the buff until the meter runs dry, and it also can't score mini-crits otherwise.
The Soldier can cause allies within range to have mini-crits for a short while with his unlockable Buff Banner.
Escaping the Underworld on Eyeaduct grants the player critical hits, as well as a speed boost, 200% overheal, and invulnerability.
Mann Vs. Machine, if you use a Canteen with Crit Boost loaded.
Finally, being on the winning team during Humiliation grants the player critical hits until the period ends.
Invulnerable: the standard Medigun's ÜberCharge, Übercharge canteens in Mann vs. Machine, and escape from the Underworld.
Damage resistance: when the Soldier has the Battalion's Backup active, nearby allies take reduced damage from attacks and suffer no extra damage from crits or mini-crits.
The Quick-Fix gives a 300% to health regen and as an added bonus, prevents all movement debuffs and knockback.
A Soldier's activated Concheror grants every ally in range, including the Soldier himself, a 35% Life Drain on all their weapons.
Whipping teammates with the Disciplinary Action boosts both their and the user's speed for four seconds.
The Heavy's buffalo steak gives him a speed boost in addition to the minicrits and melee-only restriction mentioned above.
The Concheror, in addition to life drain, grants the Soldier and all nearby allies a speed boost for its duration.
Killing an enemy with the Big Earner, or triggering the Dead Ringer, gives the Spy a temporary speed boost.
Stealth Expert: The Spy in particular, but any class can be played in a sneaky fashion (yes, even the Heavy Weapons Guy).
Stealth is suprisingly useful for Scouts, as attacking an enemy from the back is rather effective, while attacking them from the front will probably get you turned into Swiss-cheese.
Stealth Pun: The briefcase in CTF probably contains very bureaucratic documents. Of course it has a paper trail.
The Sniper lives in a camper van.
Within the van itself, the Sniper has an apricot-scented air freshener. "Apricot" is slang for the cerebellum, which controls functions like breathing and heartbeat, and thus considered an ideal sniper target. Overlaps with Genius Bonus.
The Sniper Rifle from the "Deus Ex" Promotion is called "The Machina."
The Pyro can wield the Postal Pummeler, a mailbox that has flames painted on it.note "hotmail"
In the Mac Update trailer, the Sniper looks at two objects through his scope. First, a window. Second, an apple.
The use of Tom Jones in the comics got some chuckles, as one of his signature songs ("It's Not Unusual") is quite popular among fans who open a lot of crates.note It easily describes a majority of unlucky pulls.
During Halloween events, small health packs are replaced by candy bars with the logo simply being the word "Health."note It's a health bar
Stop Poking Me!: Looking at bots during Setup Time for a few seconds will make them taunt at you.
Strange Secret Entrance: Various flank routes are difficult to access normally, and are intended to be exclusively used for one team. That doesn't stop a player from the other team from accessing it via explosive jump.
Stuff Blowing Up: Soldier rockets, Demoman grenades, Engineer buildings, Payloads, the player characters...
Stylistic Suck: Why the accents and foreign grammar are sometimes incorrect—the game was modeled on American World War-era propaganda posters, or the view Americans have of other countries in the 60s.
Sudden Death: If a round ends with neither side winning, servers have the option to go to Sudden Death, where all health packs are removed from the map and respawn is disabled. Teams can win either by accomplishing the objective or eliminating the other team.
Suddenly Obvious Fakery: The spies appear with a literal Paper-Thin Disguise consisting of a mask of whoever they're disguised as to their own team. The other team just sees the character model of their disguise, but see the spy normally if they force them to lose their disguise or kill them (which leaves the mask on the dead spy).
Super Not-Drowning Skills: Since drowning is resolved in the game mechanics as taking persistent damage until the player dies or goes up for air, one can invoke this by being in the range of a friendly Medic or Dispenser. Since few people expect underwater sentries, Engineers can use this to their advantage.
Supervillain Lair: Word of God states that the RED and BLU bases were designed with this idea in mind: a seemingly innocuous facade on the surface to hide the true sinister purpose of these buildings. This is even lampshaded in the description of the map Double Cross.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: During the WAR! update, it's revealed that American Monkeynaut Poopy Joe was given the Eyelander, Buff Banner, and Equalizer before his journey into space. Mann Co. claims they were nowhere near the launch site of Poopy Joe's aircraft and had nothing to do with the explosion that occurred moments later, and those three items were obtained in entirely innocent circumstances. Also, the company's seemingly rushed sale of a high-precision rocket launcher was not in any way connected with Poopy Joe's tragic death.
Swiss Cheese Security: Many of the capture-the-flag maps are basically military outposts disguised as something innocuous. Minus the multitude of mercenaries, they have the worst security measures ever. Besides having all the doors left wide open and the intelligence just sitting in an empty room, there are lit-up signs pointing towards the intelligence.
Sword and Sorcerer: (Insert Class Here) + Medic, Heavies being designed as the priority Medic-buddy, though individual Medic players will have different preferences, depending on the their and their teammates' loadouts. For example, Kritz Medics tend to favor Demomen and Soldiers, while Uber Medics can also perform well with Pyros too.
Incoming Pyro? Deploy a Sentry. Sentries giving you trouble? Get a Spy to sap them. Spy sappin' your stuff? Use Pyros to weed them out. There's even an achievement for backstabbing somebody who then switches to Pyro before they respawn.
A Demo can take out sentries very easily by attacking from behind cover. Sentries are excellent defense against squishy Scouts. Scouts excel when fighting a Demo, who lack reliable close range ability.
Spy is good against Sniper, as a Spy can sneak up on a scoped Sniper easily before disposing of him. Snipers are good against Heavies, who are slow targets for a headshot and cannot attack from far away. Heavies are good against Pyro, as Heavies out-damage Pyros at all ranges and can eat Sandviches to heal afterburn. And Pyros are good against Spies, as mentioned before.
Two of the Soldier's Domination lines towards the Sniper has him mocking the Australian censorship of Left 4 Dead 2.
The Soldier: Aw, am I too violent for ya, cupcake?
The Soldier: Your country did not prepare you for the level of violence you will meet on MY battlefield!
In a Saxton Hale comic after the Mann-Co update, Saxton's butler comes in concerning their customers, to which he responds, "What are those sniveling babies crying about now?" a take that towards the complaints about the Mann-Co store.
If the Heavy wears the Grand Duchess set, he will sometimes shout "Friendship isstupidmagic!". Though it's perhaps more of an affectionate ribbing, as Gabe Newell is apparently a dedicated fan of the show.
In Meet the Sniper, there's a billboard that reads, "FOAD: Camping fun all year 'round!" "Campers" is a term for gamers that wait in one area for a kill, and "FOAD" stands for "Fuck Off And Die".
Taking You with Me: One of the Soldier's taunts has him suicide bombing himself with a grenade. An achievement requires using this taunt to kill another player.
A few Soldier and Demoman players partake in this when something suddenly pops in from around corners.
Pretty much the whole point of Targe+Caber. Need to demolish that large group of enemies that just steamrolled your team? Charge in, Caber them all, buy your team time.
The most favored Pyro playstyle is to rush into a group of people and set them all on fire. Even if the Pyro dies, the afterburn can do enough damage to kill (earning the Pyro an achievement) or at least severely cripple the enemy.
Talking Weapon: The Eyelander and its reskins whisper "Heads!" regularly and when making a kill.
As of Ring of Fired, it turns out The Eyelander is capable of saying complete sentences and holding conversations. It also, strangely, likes churros.
Tap on the Head: Getting hit with a baseball from the Scout's Sandman will temporarily stun an enemy, rendering them unable to defend themselves and slowing their movement speed. The effect increases the further away the enemy is, up to the point where the victim is completely immobilized for about 7 seconds.
Teleporters and Transporters: The Engineer's teleporter pair. Too bad it only transports one way, unless you buy the Two Way Teleporters upgrade in Mann vs. Machine.
Telescoping Robot: All the buildings automatically unpack themselves from a relatively small toolbox, but the sentry gun is this especially. The cylindrical drum that sits behind the barrel of the gun in its level 1 form has triple duty as ammunition housing, storing the rocket salvo for its level 3 form, and still has room for an internal power supply.
Between when Valve implemented the "Delete" button for unlockable items and the new method for unlocking items, there was no way to get unlockable items back after deletion.
The website describing the "Classless Update" had a hidden page that awarded a medal to the first 11,111 players who found it (the medal itself is just a Cosmetic Award for the Soldier). Players who missed that secret will never be able to get the award, so it is truly lost forever.
The Soldier/Demoman update featured the Soldier and Demoman fighting each other for one week. At the end of it, the Soldier class won the fight and received boots that dampen their own splash damage, which the Demoman will never receive. Valve has since gotten into the habit of offering something for a limited time for doing something that usually has nothing to do with the game itself (such as preordering Left 4 Dead 2, and later havingLeft 4 Dead 2 by a certain date).
The Golden Wrench, which led up to the Engineer Update, was only obtainable by a rare chance when crafting. Only 100 in total were given, not including the six drops.
All the items from the Japan Charity Bundle cannot be crafted or traded. Since April 6, 2011, they are never available again.
Notice how long the list of "All Class" hats is? Notice how cheap the crafting cost is compared to class-specific hats? That's because of that entire list of items, only a few are actually craftable. Namely, all of the ones you can craft under normal circumstances (i.e: not event or promotion related) can literally be counted on one hand (there are 5 craftable ones as of this entry, as opposed to the 30 in total, 33 if you count the prize versions of the three Tower pile of Hats.). The rest are all promotion or event related, and are quite possibly lost forever. This has been altered greatly, with the introduction of giving items in Genuine quality for taking part in promotional material, and releasing basic (yellow-name) versions of the item into the drop and crafting system about a week later.
Actively enforced as of January 10, 2013. Certain hats are now being "retired" meaning the item server will no longer give them to you from random drops and crafting, and there are plans to retire more hats as time goes on.
Certain items have received the "Limited Quantity" marker, which refers to items that cannot be obtained any more through random drop, crafting, store purchases, or promotions. This includes the Golden Wrench, bread weapons, Festive weapons, many of the aforementioned items, any cosmetic items from the Limited Late Summer Pack, and several promotional items. Here's the list.
That Poor Cat: The 2010 Halloween Update included noisemakers you can set off that play Halloween-themed sounds to the entire map. One of them is "Black Cat". In theory, it's supposed to be creepy. In practice, considering all the offscreen gunshots and explosions that occur during any given round, it devolves into this trope very quickly.
Averted in normal gameplay. The AI player bots in offline practice modes (and sometimes also in some servers) are based on the Left 4 Dead bots and cannot see or do anything a human player couldn't. An update even went so far as to give each bot a "virtual mousepad" (complete with delays for re-centering their "virtual mouse" on it) in order to give them imperfect aim and avoid lock-ons.
The game mode Mann vs. Machine, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. Most robots can carry objectives while invulnerable, can see through detonated-Sentry-Buster smoke clouds, and know where an attack is waiting in order to evade it. It's a good thing, then, that they will always be fooled by Spies, even when disguised players bump into them or sap them. The game also compensates for some of the cheating aspects: standard Sniper-bots have an easy-to-spot blue laser that shows their current aim and gives away their position, and Spy-bots occasionally let out a low, creepy chuckle, alerting observant players to their proximity; in addition, Sniper-bots do not get critical hits on headshots, or at all. On top of that, most robots only have a single weapon, and several are melee-restricted. Contrary to popular belief, most non-melee robots do have to reload their weapons, and will reload the entire clip before resuming fire; however, they will never run out of ammo.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: A successful backstab deals twice the victim's current health. Furthermore, since the backstab is a Critical Hit, this number is further multiplied by three, resulting in six times the victim's health.
Fully charged headshot: 450 damage, 518 with the Machina (only ranged weapon that can one-shot a Heavy with full Overheal). Backstab: Anywhere from 750 (Scouts, Snipers, Engineers, other Spies) to 2700 health (overhealed Heavy). Truly, there is no kill like overkill.
Taken to truly absurd levels in the TF2x10 mods. Every weapon has its stats multiplied by ten. Both positive and negative stats. A normal melee swing does a whopping 650 damage. A backstab does an absolutely terrifying 27,000 health.
One of the Sniper unlocks is Jarate, a jar of pee he can use to throw at enemies. It also extinguishes teammates that are on fire from an enemy Pyro. In reference to this, the Steam forums word-filter "piss" into "jarate".
A few days before and during the Über Update, the website was updated to have Medic's pigeons perched on the logo banner, with pigeon poop splattered all over it.
On the server The Snack Shack, they have a map called "Poodoo", which is Hoodoo with one major difference: Everything is made of poop. The ground is poop, the water is diarrhea, and you are pushing a cart of poop. Also, it's very common to hear people playing The Great Mighty Poo song through their mics when you are on this map.
One of Merasmus's lines is "POOP! POOP IN YOUR PUMPKIN PANTS!!!"
Too Dumb to Live: Bots, or players controlled by the computer, when the player is playing as a Spy (especially on the Easy or Normal difficulties). It's most notable on servers where very few players are on or in the game's Training mode. As long as the player is disguised the Bots won't question even the most simple concepts such as "Why is that player unusually close to me," "Why is that player coming from the wrong direction," and "Why did one of my teammates come out of that enemy spawn?" Most of them won't even call "Spy" unless the player happens to run into them, and even if the team does become aware to a Spy's presence the Bots won't do more than increase the numbers of Pyros on their team. ... Which makes the team incredibly weak if the Spy is skilled enough to get the majority of them to switch over to Pyro, considering how Pyros fit into the Tactical RockPaperScissors.
Trail Of Breadcrumbs: Exiting a teleporter makes the player leave a glowing team-colored trail for a while, so the enemy may find out the location of the teleporter. A player holding the intelligence has a shorter team-colored glow in the air, while the briefcase leaves a paper trail.
Spy-checking via attacking one's teammates is a good tactic to practice, since everyone on the same side is Friendly Fireproof.
A somewhat literal example: the Pyro is especially good for this. Not only will the spy light on fire, making him stand out to begin with, but he'll burn in his team's color.note A pocket Pyro is good for keeping an Engie's building clear. All he has to do is run circles around the dispenser and burn everything in sight: People, buildings, empty spaces, people, dark corners, people...
The Engineer's Southern Hospitality wrench will make enemies bleed for a few seconds. If you hit a disguised enemy spy with one of these, it will be obvious right away.
The 2010 Halloween event spawned the Horseless Headless Horsemann, a raid boss.
The 2011 Halloween event gave players MONOCULUS!, which put a whole new spin on the Horsemann's basic premise.
The 2012 Halloween event gave players Merasmus, another much more difficult and complex twist on the Horsemann's premise.
The Australian Christmas event in 2010 introduced Medieval Mode.
There are also custom game modes that put a spin on "kill everything not on your team".
The Mann vs. Machine update has both teams joining up to fight waves of robots.
The 2014 Halloween update introduced bumper cars. After the normal round is over, players have to drive bumper cars to complete minigames like soccer/football or collecting ducks. Unlike the previous entries, this one is completely different than the normal gameplay.
Universal Ammunition: Boxes of it are scattered around the map, and are dropped by players on death. Destroyed buildings and sappers can also provide ammunition.
Previously, the weapons players drop on death were used to provide ammo - Minigun ammo could be restored using candy canes and jars of piss.
"When things aren't just Dangerous, they're Danger-esque, block out UV rays with Homestar's killer shades. Remember, when walking away from an explosion, it's totally uncool to turn around to look at the carnage."
Australium weapons, which are given out very, very rarely. Sufficiently difficult Tours of Duty have a low chance to give any Australium reskin as a reward, but the crown jewels of rare weapons are the Golden Frying Pan, which has an even lower chance to drop from a Tour of Duty, the Saxxy, which is obtained from contributing to a winning submission for the annual animation contest — of which five animation teams can win — and the Golden Wrench, of which a total of only 101 have ever existed, and at least 22 of those have been destroyed.
Speaking of which, Australium itself, a metal that turns anyone who is in contact with it into a mustachioed, muscle-bound body builder (even females), and was responsible for Australia's current global dominance. It's also exceedingly rare outside of Australia, as all the Australium in America could neatly fit in a small briefcase and the Australians themselves are secretive about the material to keep themselves the most advanced nation on the planet.
Unorthodox Reload: Every class has at least one unusual reload animation. See that page for details.
On Control Point maps, the side that controls more points gets more of the map to use as an extension of their base, as well as quicker respawn times, while the enemy team is herded into a confined area and respawns slower. The developers do not like stalemates.
Control points at the end of the map — the last a team needs to capture to win the round — also take a very short time to capture, so that a team that is rapidly losing ground on their last point will find it very difficult to stage a reversal.
Capturing the intelligence in CTF maps rewards the capturing team with guaranteed crits for several seconds, to encourage them to make another push for the intelligence.
Even the Critical Hit chance formula shows signs of this. Critical rates gradually increase (to a cap) as the player does more damage in a life. Well-performing players will enjoy slight to significant increases in critical chance, depending on the weapon being used, and can continue on a killing streak.
In Mann vs. Machine, a team that makes sure to collect all the cash not only gets more money to spend, but a bonus if they got it all. This means more upgrades to make the later waves easier. Teams that forget to get the cash are stuck with stock weapons that will rarely be sufficient to carry the team more than two waves in, making the mission unwinnable if enough of a gap is formed.
Also in this game mode, because every person counts, most groups would be hesitant to start a wave if they don't even have a full team of 6. However, as the team spends more time waiting for a good 6th member to join, existing members can get impatient and leave, making it even harder to complete the team and leading to longer waiting times. At worst, a whole team will fall apart when everyone ends up leaving.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Used to be played straight, now it's zig zagged. At first you could only collect the enemy weapons for ammo no matter what weapons they were, but the Gun Mettle update made it so that players drop ammo boxes on death, and their weapon can be picked up by anybody of the same class and used until death, while different classes cannot interact with them anymore.
Unwanted Assistance: When you're a Medic, it's a bad idea to heal friendly Spies. You'll blow his cover like that.
It's not unheard of for unskilled Spies to keep dying to a Übersaw-wielding Medic. Congratulations, you're giving the enemy team free Übercharges...
Unwinnable: There's a glitch with the original version of pl_hoodoo where the cart will start moving on its own, with no one on RED able to stop it, and BLU never having to lift a finger. On the other side of the spectrum, there's a rare glitch with multi-phase payload maps that causes the cart to derail and become a freefloating prop.
On certain Attack/Defend servers, Red loses automatically when the Server Time is up, regardless of the current progress. Likewise, on Gravel Pit, if the BLU team did not capture Point B before going into overtime, they will lose when overtime is over, regardless of whether or not they've captured Point B during overtime.
Also, on Territory Control (and custom maps that feature territory control style C Ps), there is no Overtime mechanic; once time runs out, whichever side has captured all of the points wins, or Stalemate mechanics kick in, even if the point(s) were under contention.
Useless Accessory: The hats. The ones that provide set bonuses have a use by proxy, but no singular effect. The only other hats that have a use (albeit very specific ones) are the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head and the Saxton Hale Mask, which protect the player from being stunned by the Horsemann; and the Hotrod: a Spy disguised as an Engineer who is wearing one will have the hat flip down over his face when the Sapper is held, which can be used to detect Spies.
Vapor Ware: As Gabe Newell said in the first words of each map's commentary:
"Welcome to Team Fortress 2. After nine years in development, hopefully it will have been worth the wait."
Vendor Trash: Duplicate weapons and hats are often used in crafting or trading to make sure they don't take up space in the backpack.
Victory Pose: Inverted; the losing team is forced into poses that look sufficiently frightened and/or annoyed, and they can't do anything but flee or taunt. Of course it can also be played straight by using the taunt command yourself: some achievements are even unlocked by taunting after killing enemies in certain circumstances.
Video Game Caring Potential: As an airblasting Pyro or a Jarate-carrying Sniper, you may put your burning colleagues out, if you're feeling so inclined.
The sincerity of the "thank you" commands (some of which are automatically used when using a teleporter or getting healed) are probably made that way to invoke this for a Medic, who otherwise would be very tempted to leave his teammates to die and go Combat Medic with another Medic.
Heavies can drop a Sandvich or Buffalo Steak Sandvich to act as a medium health kit for their allies (or their enemies), which, since it's technically a medkit, also puts out fire.
Averted in public servers where the flamethrower is a beast, the default one sporting a rather hefty 150 damage per second at close range and the ability to hit multiple enemies. It can also deflect projectiles, push away enemies, and extinguish teammates. General lack of communication between team members means that it's easy for a Pyro to sneak in and kill many enemies at once, while less support classes means that afterburn damage isn't easily stopped.
Played straight in competitive play. Teams generally being more competent and having better communication diminishes the strength of a sneaky Pyro, while the limited range of the flamethrower means that a Pyro can barely put up a fight against mid to long-range spam. More prominence of Medics extinguishing afterburn makes its damage seem piddling as well. At most, the Pyro is reduced to just an airblast class, doing nothing but reflecting projectiles away from their teammates.
Prior to the Jungle Inferno update, the flamethrower suffered from inconsistencies with its particles — Players may find themselves on fire despite being nowhere near the flames, while other players can pass through the flames without taking a scratch. This added a large amount of variance to a Pyro's performance until the update changed its particles to be consistent with what the players see.
Dropping explosives at your feet to take out a Scout, or charging into a hail of gunfire to set someone on fire as a Pyro, rocket/sticky jumping. The description for the Ullapool Caber, a "potato masher" grenade that the Demoman uses to strike enemies, even lampshades this by saying a sober person would throw it.
Anything the Scout does counts. Running and jumping around during a gunfight is a great way to lose a few limbs at the least.
The Boston Basher is a weapon that, if you miss with it, you hit yourself. The Medi Gun builds ubercharge faster if the Medic is healing someone who isn't at full overheal. Thus, in coordinated teams, whenever the Scout and Medic both have downtime, expect the Scout to purposely miss with the Boston Basher to build the Medic's uber faster.
Spychecking. In order to find a disguised Spy, you have to shoot at a suspected teammate. If the teammate is friendly, they won't be hurt because they are Friendly Fireproof. If they are a Spy, they will be, since only enemy players can be damaged by your weapons. Expect to see a friendly Pyro attempting to immolate its teammates all the time. This waslampshaded in "Meet The Spy".
The Ghastly Gibus was given to anyone who visited a semi-secret web page. Anyone who missed this chance can still unlock it by dominating another player who is wearing the hat.
The Pyrovision Goggles were given to players who launched the game within a certain timeframe. They can also be unlocked by dominating a player wearing them.
Virtual Paper Doll: Along with the weapons in the loadout, there are three cosmetic item slots, an action slot, and eight taunt slots. Those slots allow customization of a character's appearance and actions.
Visible Invisibility: Players on the same team as a cloaked Spy will just barely be able to discern their transparent form. Players on the other team will see it only if they bump into the Spy, or will barely be able to make out a Cloak and Dagger-wielding Spy who hasn't let the charge on his watch build back up.
Emerging from water, being on fire, Bleeding, drenched with Mad Milk, and splashed with Jarate also reveal affected Spies partially. New items have been known not to work properly with cloaking, giving away a Spy using them or disguised as a player using them while cloaked, but are fixed eventually.
Invisible and/or disguised Spies using the voice chat on servers with all-talk enabled also risk giving themselves away due to a giant speech bubble appearing out of nowhere.
Visual Pun: Carry the Intelligence in a Capture the Flag game, and you'll constantly drop some documents which will hang around for a few seconds before disappearing. You'll be leaving a literal paper trail.
Voice Grunting: For those who don't want to or can't use the mic to voice chat, there are a lot of voice commands to choose from.
Wacky Racing: Payload Race. Both teams are trying to deliver a bomb to the other team's base and detonate it.
War for Fun and Profit: For Saxton Hale, Mann Co.'s business has been booming because RED and BLU are both sinking millions of dollars in weapons, resources, and hats.
The War Room: Appears occassionally. Coldfront has a type 3 example, while 2Fort has a type 1.
The Conscientious Objector, a picket sign used to bludgeon people.
In "A Smissmas Story", someone in the background during the trial is holding a sign that demands RED and BLU leave Teufort.
Weak Turret Gun: Zigzagged. Sentry guns aren't affected by damage falloff, which means that a pistol shot from long range will deal the same damage at point blank. Most classes can sit at long range and pick off an unattended Sentry with their bullets. However, a sentry with an Engineer repairing it is a deadly force, able to heal any damage to a sentry at an alarming rate, healing almost half the health of a fully upgraded sentry per second. Dealing with an attended sentry nest usually requires an Ubercharge or lots of Spies.
The Spy's Cloak And Dagger gives him unlimited invisibility, but only while standing still. This allows you to set up an ambush any time and almost anywhere. Now all you need is something to make the opponent stand still long enough to backstab him like the sexy picture sprays mentioned under this page's Shmuck Bait entry.
Weapon of Choice: Each class has both weapons and personality that reflect their gameplay. Some of these border on absurd, with weapons such as shovels, pickaxes, bonesaws, makeshift guns using pressurized air to shoot syringes, a bottle of Whiskey, real bear paws tied to the user's fists, jars of piss and milk (separate, of course), a rake, a letterbox/mailbox, a giant striped candy cane, a giant pink lollipop, a human skull attached to a spine, a whole smoked ham with bone (as the handle) used like a club, and, best of all, a FISH. The great variety often ends up with a Weapons Kitchen Sink.
The "Blood Brothers" comic. Redmond and Blutarch are revealed to have a long lost brother named Gray, who murders them and now has his sights set on Mann Co. The two teams have to pull an Enemy Mine to save the world and their jobs from an endless horde of killer robots.
Then there's the first issue of Team Fortress Comics, Ring of Fired. It begins with Hale losing Mann Co to Gray and the reveal that Gray has a daughter, followed quickly by the team being broken up, and ends with another reveal, this time that Spy and Scout are due to be hanged.
Fifth issue: Classic Heavy murders Gray Mann slowly and takes over his corporation. The mercs kill three of his squad in turn.
Wham Line: Played for laughs, sort of, in "Expiration Date":
Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The land under contention by RED and BLU is somewhere in the American Southwest, but aside from possibly Badwater it's not clear exactly where the bases are located; additional official and community maps imply a much more global conflict.
Its actually stated several times that the desert areas are all in New Mexico, although New Mexico is a fairly large state.
William Fakespeare: Shakespearicles, the strongest writer who ever lived, along with inventing the stage play, America, the two-story building, and the rocket launcher (to get to the second story, as he never mastered the concept of stairs).
William Telling: Invoked in the achievement "William Tell Overkill", though to achieve that, the Sniper must pin an enemy Heavy's head to a wall with an arrow. On May 3, 2012, a "Fruit Shoot" headwear item was added for the Sniper, which is an apple with an arrow through it.
A Wizard Did It: The in-universe explanation for "Medieval Mode" - literally.
How did the manly men of Team Fortress appear at a tenth century battlement? Simple. The Soldier angered a magician.
A lot of the Demoman's backstory, told in comics, is also linked to Meramus and to the Bombonomicon, a talking book that contains the ancient mystical secret of how to make bombs.
The Smissmas Comic implies that everything that doesn't have some sort of outrageous explanation within the TF2 universe is Merasmus's fault, since when Miss Pauling asked how the Soldier of all people managed to become a defense attorney, the Spy simply answered:
Spy: It's a long story, but Part One, his roommate is a magician. Should I continue?
Miss Pauling: You know what? Nevermind.
Spy: Thank you.
Also, the Gunboats page of the WAR! Update mentions how the shoes work:
"What is the science behind these miracles of technology? Magic, probably."
The April Fool's Day 2013 event (on April 1, 2013, which coincided with Easter Monday) added "support for Pirate language" as part of the fake "Eastralian Update" patch. For one day all content in the game was changed to pirate language, including altered game menues, voice commands, and renamed in-game items and buttons in the Mann Co. Store.
You can turn this on to ensure that your character's hit something, which is signified by a bell dingnote The default sound; you can change it and its pitch as you desire with each strike. Especially useful for Engineers and blind-firing Demomen.
Particularly entertaining as a Pyro; it's not uncommon to light someone on fire, then die and wait the full respawn time only to come back and still hear that lovely dinging as your afterburn continues to damage your prior target.
Certain weapons will also cause a "whoosh" to be heard if they just miss your head.
You Bastard!: Several revenge lines counts as this, specially if the other player that you're dominating got a revenge kill on you. By the way, if you've been taunting after every kill and this happens, YOUgot whatwas coming!
Scout: Still think you're funny, funny-man?
Engineer: I'm done playin' games with you, boy.
Sniper: What goes around comes around, ya' snotty little nance!
You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Mildly Disturbing Halloween Mask "appears as a moldering, eldritch veil of such manifold depravity, the human eye will not process the sheer enormity of its malevolence, and out of self-preservation will merely show you a brown paper bag with a team colored face painted on it."
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Many attack/defend maps are (possibly intentionally) designed to invoke this — due to faster respawn times and shorter travel distances, unless the attacking team is supremely incompetent, they will almost always make it to the second-to-last control point.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: in the 2013 Halloween event, once the mercenaries take the corpse of Redmond/Blutarch to hell, the remainder will send everyone to hell so he doesn't have to pay them.
Your Mom: One of the Spy's unique post-kill taunts against the Scout is "Well! Off to visit your mother!" In addition, in the Meet the Spy trailer, when the BLU Scout jokingly asks if the BLU Spy was part of the RED Spy's fan club, the Spy replied: "No. That would be your mother!"
The comics follow up on this by repeatedly implying that Spy is Scout's real father (which Scout refuses to even acknowledge as a possibility, or is in permanent denial). As of The Naked and the Dead, Spy is confirmed to be Scout's legitimate father.
Zerg Rush: Stacking a team with Scouts, affectionately called a Scout Rush, is usually done in CP and CTF matches; Engineers are required to counter this.
Mann vs. Machine thrives on Zerg Rush, especially with Scouts. In fact, several rounds consist of nothing but Scout Zerg Rushes.
The addition of the Pain Train for the Soldier and Demoman that gives them additional capturing power in exchange for increased vulnerability to bullets may start shifting the Metagame.
You can conceivably rush with any class, or any combination of classes, but some are only for comedy, like Medic or Sniper rushes.
Since both teams usually start with all their players present (barring explosive stupidity), it is fully possible to rush with a whole team of Heavies. While not fast, it usually guarantees victory unless the enemy team has a competent spy. This is especially effective on Payload, where the cart can provide an endless stream of bullets while moving just a smidge slower than the actual movement speed of a revved up Heavy (meaning speed isn't a priority).
Zombie Apocalypse: The mission "Wave 666" on Halloween!Coaltown. "Apocalypse" is putting it mildly — it is by FAR the hardest Mann Vs Machine mission, with over eight hundred zombies crammed into a single wave, and the zombies are actually slightly stronger than the robots.