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In 2005, Czech game studio Bohemia Interactive Studios, developer of 2001's Operation Flashpoint, had an internal falling-out with the game's publisher Codemasters, prompting a split wherein Codemasters took the legal rights to the Operation Flashpoint name, while BIS kept the rights to the game's assets and Real Virtuality engine. Still wanting to develop a Spiritual Successor to Operation Flashpoint, BIS proceeded to make that game, and called it Armed Assault, later shortened to ARMAnote Latin for "weapon".

ARMA is well-regarded as one of the most realistic tactical shooter game series on the market today. Set on various intricately-detailed Ruritanias in Present Day, Next Sunday A.D., and 20 Minutes into the Future time frames, most games in the ARMA series follow NATO military forces as they respond to (or get caught up in) threats and crises across the world, whether they be enemy nations, rebel paramilitaries, or rival peer-power alliances—and often, there's more to the conflict than what's being told. The games are held high as well-researched, true-to-life, unrelentingly-realistic military simulators that often reference previous titles and can balance being fairly funny and seriously awe-inspiring while appropriately addressing the negative aspects of war. So highly-regarded is ARMA's commitment to military realism that modified versions of the games are used by actual militaries for tactical and organizational training, titled Virtual Battlespace and developed by now-separate studio Bohemia Interactive Simulations.

    Games 
  • ARMA: Armed Assault / ARMA: 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: Armed 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 U.S.-backed) Kingdom of South Sahrani. U.S. forces have been training the South Sahrani military and are just starting to leave (in a trend of the series in which a predominantly American force prepares to leave a destabilized country only to get caught up in the fighting; see ARMA III). You see where this is going. With most of the U.S. military gone, the North invades the South. A few remaining American 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 II.
  • ARMA II (2009): The successor to ARMA: 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 with the Marine Corps 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 U.S. 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 operation 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 II directory (or run with ARMA II 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 copy of The War on Terror. Basically, the dictator of Takistan is said to have nuclear weapons, so the U.S. invades, occupies it, and has to fight an insurgency. It features the U.S. Army (rather than the USMC from the base game), the Takistan Army, local Takistani militias and Insurgents, and United Nations peacekeepers (which is a slight reskin of the Chernarus Defense Forces from base game).
    • 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, adds a Private Military Company named Ion Services, inc. 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 II and Operation Arrowhead must be installed) that adds Czech military small arms and vehicles, German KSK commandos, 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 U.S., and the last is independent. Guba, the commander of the Russian forces, wants to remove Gorbachev from power, so he schemes to get the U.S. and the USSR in a war. He uses his forces to invade the independent island, and defeat counterattacking U.S. forces. You have to stop Guba's plans.
  • Take On Helicopters (2011): This RV3-powered game is about piloting helicopters, and takes place within the Armaverse.
  • 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 and RV-engine games so far, Take On Mars is nonviolent and has no physical conflict against other living things.
  • ARMA II: Firing Range (2011): A mobile spin-off where you shoot targets at a firing range.
  • 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), U.S. Future Warrior equipment, and the military of a resurgent Iran and China. 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 Altian government starts getting backing by CSAT (a coalition of Eastern countries) 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, Jets, Tanks, and Art of War: Small optional DLC additions with new assets to play which are accompanied by platform updates such as bipods and ejection systems. Karts was an April Fools joke turned official. Art of War was a smaller DLC that added some fan-made assets made in a contest organized by Bohemia Interactive. The income of that DLC was donated to The Red Cross.
    • 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.
      • Old Man: A free update for the owners of the Apex DLC. Set after the events of Apex Protocol, the scenario follows Santiago, a Tanoan native and ex-legionnaire who returns back home to discover the origin of a mysterious malaria super-strain who is ravaging the country, and together with a familiar CTRG operative attempts to avert a catastrophic CSAT power play on the island of Tanoa. Differently from the other official scenarios, Old Man is a Wide-Open Sandbox campaign, with features such as free roam, fast-travel, buying and selling weapons, passing time and a full reputation system.
    • Laws Of War (2017): 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 its aftermath. The campaign involves an EOD technician with the International Development & Aid Project (IDAP) doing clean-up in an abandoned village after The East Wind while being interviewed by a reporter about the village's history during the Altian Civil War and the circumstances surrounding the death of a civilian from an unexploded landmine.
    • Tac-Ops (2017): Adds three single-player mini-campaigns. Beyond Hope is a prequel set in the Altian Civil War between the AAF and the Loyalists (later FIA). Stepping Stone is set concurrently with the events of The East Wind and follows a U.S. Navy-led NATO force using Malden as a base for the invasion of Altis, with the permission of Chinese CSAT forces (who have already set up there), but crucially not North African CSAT forces, who break orders to fight the NATO invasion force. Steel Pegasus follows a U.S. Army combined arms landing force as they attempt a distraction operation in southern Altis to help capture Altis' airport, only for half of them, including the player, to face more resistance than they banked on.
    • ARMA III: Contact (2019): The second major expansion for ARMA III. Set in the rural region of Nadbór in the fictional country of Livonianote , featuring the Livonian Defense Forces and Russian Spetsnaz, new vehicles, drones, weapons. Oh, and of course, Aliens.
    • Creator DLCs: A program of DLCs produced by third-party companies (former modding teams) and published by Bohemia.
      • Global Mobilization — Cold War Germany (2019): Set in the Cold War featuring West and East Germany's Armed Forces, as well communist Poland and Denmark. One terrain in the border between two countries with a summer and winter variations, as well a campaign set in a "Cold War gone hot" scenario between the two Germanies.
      • CSLA Iron Curtain (2021): Set in the Cold War, featuring the Czechoslovak People's Army, the U.S Armed Forces and Indepedent rebels in the border between Czechoslovakia and West Germany.
      • S.O.G. Prairie Fire (2021): Set in the Vietnam War, with focus on the MACV-SOG's operations in Indochina. Featuring the MACV, the Viet Cong, and the armies of North and South Vietnam; the map "Cam Lao Nam", which loosely resembles the geography of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam combined; as well as a co-op campaign following the MACV-SOG's operation in the Ho Chi Minh trail and a brand new multiplayer mode "MIKE Force", a counter-insurgency PvE mode.
      • Western Sahara (2021): Set in the main ARMA universe in the year 2036, in the fictional province of Sefrou-Ramal in the country of Argana, in the Western Sahara. The region has been divided between different tribal militant groups and foreign militaries. New factions added include the Sefrawi Freedom and Independence Army, Tura tribe insurgents, desert NATO forces, UNA note  peacekeepers, and the return of the ION Services PMC. The DLC also includes new multiplayer modes and an open-world scenario “Extraction”, where an ION Services team must search the region for a kidnapped journalist.
      • Spearhead 1944 (2023): Set in World War II during Operation Cobra, an American offensive against German positions in Normandy. Includes the U.S. Army, the French Resistance, Nazis with Gnarly Weapons, and a campaign following the events of Operation Cobra. So far the oldest setting in the entire series.
  • ARMA Tactics (2013): A turn-based tactics spinoff developed in the Unity 3D engine. It has nothing in common with the main ARMA series except for visuals and voice acting.
  • ARMA: Mobile Ops (2016): A mobile spin-off developed in the Unity 3D engine. Unlike its predecessor ARMA Tactics, it is a base building strategy game instead. The multiplayers servers were closed in 2022.
  • ARMA Reforger (2022): Reforger is a title using Bohemia's newest Enfusion Game Engine (also used in the standalone DayZ), and the first to be released on consoles. Reforger serves as a Tech-Demo Game of the Enfusion engine and its new systems, meant to showcase what the new engine is capable of in terms of gameplay, modding, graphics, and more, with heavy focus on multiplayer, and also to set the foundations for ARMA 4, as the game is poised to become a "creative platform", focused on modding and modularity. The gameplay gives emphasis to streamlining, refining and modernizing most systems while keeping ARMA's traditional tactical military simulation. The setting is four years after the original Operation Flashpoint, set on the island of Everon during the Cold War in a conflict between the United States, Soviet Union and the FIA rebels.
  • ARMA 4 (TBA): The fourth entry has been confirmed to be in development by Bohemia Interactive. It will use the new Enfusion engine and Reforger will serve as a foundation for it.

Please keep in mind that despite having started as a mod for 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 and Codemasters' brief continuation of that series are separate works and have their own pages, so tropes exclusive to them must go in their corresponding pages.

Now has a Characters page that needs work.


The ARMA series features the following tropes:

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    A - D 
  • Ace Custom: Two flavors:
    • Lt. James uses a Mk18 ABR with an RCO scope. While this setup isn't really unusual from a gameplay perspective (in fact, it's quite practical), do note that this is a marksman rifle with an assault rifle scope; other units use the Mk18 ABR with more powerful long-range scopes such as the MOS. Also note that the Mk18 ABR hasn't been a NATO weapon since Update 1.04, making this more unusual to most players since then.
    • In a weird cross between in-universe and Meta Game, it's not unusual to see experienced players specialize in a particular role with their own custom variations on loadouts, weapons, and accessories, especially if they're part of a unit or group that regularly plays with mods that allow multiple combinations. It takes deep knowledge of the game engine and the performance of all the equipment to do this well, but some seemingly nonsensical loadouts can prove to be very effective.
  • Alien Space Bats: Actual aliens arrive in the Contact DLC's First Contact campaign. In a meta sense, some fans saw the announcement of the new expansion as this. It turns out these aren't actually the aliens themselves but their drones, see Faster-Than-Light Travel for why.
  • A.K.A.-47: ARMA III has 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 of the originals, in the case of some weapons such as the Zafirnote . The Apex DLC zig-zags this with the local Syndikat criminal faction; the various AKs they use go by their regular names, while their Makarov PMM sidearm is identified as the earlier PM, and their Mk 46 goes by the LIM-85.
  • Ambiguous Situation: ARMA III's "Cultural Property" showcase lampshades this in a section where the player, deployed to a town to defeat AAF holdouts after the events of The East Wind campaign, is rerouted from their current mission to deal with an AAF UGV that went haywire and is shooting everyone in sight. Upon destroying the UGV and investigating the scene for a potential cause, the player finds the UGV operator's terminal, learns the operators have already been killed by a NATO artillery strike, then finds an FIA guerilla with a jammer device. Mission Control realizes that it will be impossible to conclusively prove who or what caused the UGV to malfunction: the NATO artillery strike killing its operators, the FIA guerilla interfering with the signal, or the UGV operators themselves.
  • Artificial Brilliance: ARMA III's AI is really good in combat. The AI may not be perfect 100% of the time (see below), especially when vehicles and waypoints are a factor, but considering the "Normal" difficulty preset allows NPCs to detect hostility, take a hard-to-hit stance in cover, snap onto a target, and land shots from a couple hundred meters away, the combat AI is quite skilled out of the box. In fact, it's a common recommendation among players to manually reduce AI accuracy and skill in difficulty settings for more interesting shootouts, as setting it too high means NPCs will practically always have pinpoint accuracy and superb tactical maneuvering.
    • And this isn't even getting into mods, some of which alter AI behavior to make them smarter or more realistic. Most AI mods are compatible with each other, so it's possible to have absurdly smart AI in custom scenarios and even in multiplayer scenarios. Depending on the mods and difficulty settings used, a player could make their game stupidly easy or downright impossible.
    • The Jets DLC offers this via automated anti-air defense systems, including radars and a CIWS anti-aircraft turret based on the Phalanx CIWS. They're autonomous and can be remotely controlled by drone operators.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Practically a staple of the series, in part due to many aspects of the Real Virtuality engine having barely changed from ARMA: Armed Assault or even Operation Flashpoint.
    • AI pathfinding has been an infamous issue across the ARMA series. The AI tends to prefer rather odd routes to waypoints, and vehicles can occasionally freeze up, crash into objects, or inexplicably run offroad when faced with a mere intersection or curve, then take it completely fine at speed when the waypoint is moved a smidge. It doesn't get better on foot, where units can stagger through combat zones at best or walk through walls at worst, and units can even drop off ledges and die if set to traverse a surface where the terrain itself slopes beneath it (e.g. the Lijnhaven boardwalk in ARMA III's Tanoa).
    • AI squadmates under the player's command rarely follow orders properly and tend to get distracted or forget they have teammates. AT soldiers, for instance, 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. Likewise, medics may be "unable" to heal a soldier standing right next to them, only succeeding if the order is repeated or their distance to the patient is closer or even farther.
    • In ARMA III, the AI is known for often going prone upon detecting contact, regardless of context and even in situations where going prone is actually a worse option than standing and moving. Gunfire on their position? Explosions nearby? An enemy is entering their building through the floor below? Unless specifically set to remain in a certain stance or scripted to automatically change stance when going prone, most of the time they will drop to the ground to return fire, even if there are things in front of them blocking their weapon.
    • ARMA II's AI has problems with waypoint finding, and requires some tweaking for patrolling soldiers to acknowledge that their comrades are suddenly dying from sniper fire.
    • ARMA III's AI is host to many of these issues, but it is far more noticeable in the Zeus gamemode. 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".
    • Most UAV-capable objects can be hacked if an enemy unit happens to sneak up to one unnoticed and hack into it. Most of these objects can defend themselves if the enemy unit isn't close enough, but if the unit happens to be at an object's blind spot, then there's nothing the object can do about it.
  • Anachronic Order: The Apex Protocol campaign begins In Medias Res. The first mission is chronologically the fourth, after which it jumps back to show How We Got Here, before the rest of the story picks up where it left off from the fifth mission onward.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost every important character in ARMA III can die, especially if you go for The East Wind's Miller ending.
  • Attack Drone: ARMA III 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 they're in flight, there's little to no point of reference in the background to calculate their current distance or flight speed.
    • This is vital when going against tanks, primarily in ARMA III. While it's a general rule to never engage tanks if you don't have to, sometimes engaging a tank is necessary. Knowing the best places to hit a tank with rockets and other useable explosives is the only way you can actually take out a tank.
    • Aiming for center mass is the primary go to when engaging hostile NPCs as aiming for the head is very difficult and just wastes valuable time, so it would make sense to avoid aiming for the head unless you've got time to kill and plenty of ammunition to spare.
  • Author 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 lowest-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 III despite its real-world cancellation, renamed the AH-99 Blackfoot.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Most high-caliber weapons, such as machine guns, anti-materiel rifles, and turrets. Sure, they pack a lot of dakka, can often penetrate vehicle armor, and strike fear into the hearts of the enemies... but I hope you weren't planning on standing while firing, or running with the rest of your team, or going solo, or doing anything aside from going prone with your bipod down or standing still at your turret. And that's not even considering carrying ammunition and equipment; there's a reason why "Ammo Bearer" is a role in The Squad.note )
    • The Bergen Backpack, introduced in ARMA III's Apex DLC, is the largest backpack in the game in terms of both storage space and size, allowing you to loot and carry gear to your heart's content. It's also quite possibly the heaviest backpack in the game, and will more often than not cut your stamina down enough that you'll be forced to walk. Nevermind that its large profile also lets enemies know exactly who to aim for.
    • The Phalanx CIWS-based Praetorian 1C defense system in ARMA III is great for keeping anything hostile away from wherever it is placed. Until an enemy drone operator hacks it. Then it switches sides...
    • The Kozlice is a 12 gauge double-barrel shotgun introduced in ARMA III's Contact DLC that comes with a sawn-off version. More specifically, the Kozlice is an over-under hunting shotgun that has a very short effective range of roughly 150 meters, loads a munition considered quite uncommon in modern warfare (especially seeing the only other shotgun uses a magazine, not loose shells), and doesn't accept attachments. That it's only used by civilian hunters and looters in the First Contact campaign says a lot.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Any player that actually stops to think for a second. Given that the game is a military simulator rather than a straight-up shoot-'em-up, if the enemy is half competent and knows what they're doing, then they'll likely act in predictable patterns: flight paths 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.
  • Battle Royale Game: The ARMA community ended up modding in the first known example of the Battle Royale in video games. Players have to find their equipment, but have to deal with an encroaching circle of radioactive fog.
  • Beneath Notice: In a way. In the Apex Protocol campaign, NATO is in Tanoa for a politically-motivated humanitarian mission, and the CTRG is using that as cover for cyberwarfare and covert ops. They're completely unaware of Viper Team, a CSAT special forces unit specializing in toppling governments and destabilizing nations. They used the Eastwind Device to cause the tsunami and were funding the Syndikat terrorists to destabilize the Horizon Islands, until Syndikat stole the device for ransom, which Viper and CTRG fight to recover during the campaign. Indeed, they're packing up and ready to leave by the time NATO learns about their existence, their mission all but accomplished. Interestingly, it is explicitly stated that they don't care about NATO or the CTRG's presence in Tanoa, and only engage them when they stand in their way of recovering the Eastwind Device.
  • BFG: Several would qualify (and that's leaving mods out of it) for different reasons.
    • The Navid and the SPMG are medium machine guns. Even the bullets they fire are so huge and heavy that you can't carry a second spare bullet box without getting too encumbered to run, and that's if you have enough room for more than one box magazine.
    • The ASP-1 Kir doesn't look particularly big or imposing (it's kind of goofy looking with its oversized barrel), but its large, powerful rounds can punch through light cover.
    • And then there are mods, with some having monstrously powerful weapons capable of penetrating modern tank armor.
  • 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. Tomáš Marný ("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 literally means "Tooth", the peninsula Golova means "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 means "Place Behind The Mountains"), Chernogorsk and Elektrozavodsk, can be loosely translated as "Place of the Black Mountain" and "Place of the Electric Power Plant"note , the former of which alludes to the country's name of Chernarus (lit. "Black Rus", riffing on Belarus, aka "White Rus").
    • In ARMA III CSAT's revolver is a Chiappa Rhino under the name Zubr... which is Czech for bison... and also Arabic slang for a phallus.
    • "Arma" is both the Latin term for "weapon" and the in-universe codename for "armed assault".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Two out of the three possible endings to the Old Man mini-campaign:
    • Give the counteragent to Miller and the CTRG: NATO exposes CSAT's bioweapon program to the world, dealing a devastating blow to the alliance and forcing them out of Tanoa. However, the CTRG transferred the counteragent to the Western pharmaceutical industry, and by the time a vaccine was made ready, the virus had already devastated Tanoa.
    • Give the counteragent to Dr. Drábek: Dr. Drábek gives the counteragent to a global health organization, who produce a vaccine and a cure. However, Miller and his team are dead, and Santiago has been forced to flee Tanoa, meaning CSAT's responsibility is never revealed. CSAT maintains their presence on Tanoa and continues developing the virus—this time with the goal of nullifying the cure.
  • Bland-Name Product: Bluking, Redstone, Michurin, among others.
  • Boring, but Practical: Marksman rifles in ARMA III. Normally in games, assault rifles are used in around 100 meters and "sniping" consists of shooting around twice that distance. In ARMA, snipers are actually supposed to engage in distances of kilometers, and assault rifles have effective ranges of 200 - 500 metersnote . Marksman rifles are made to close that gap between the two types of gun by being able to engage at 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: ARMA III's Laws of War DLC's Remnants of War campaign takes place exclusively in the town of Oreokastro and its countryside, showing chronically through playable flashbacks the different time periods from the cheerful pre-war peace time, to its ruined, mine-infested post-war present.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • In ARMA II, the Chernarussian resistance has access to the T-34 tank from World War II. Certainly quite an antique to field in the early 21st century. note 
    • Interestingly, while most of the weapons and vehicles in ARMA III 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 second-rate technology that is actively sold off in bulk by European countries.
    • The Mk14 Classic from ARMA III's Contact DLC is a classic M14 rifle with a Picatinny rail mounted on top.
  • The Bully: The AAF in a nutshell, at least before The East Wind. Their modus operandi is basically either A) attack the local population (guerrillas or not be damned) and then get bailed out by their NATO allies or B) get bailed out of a sticky situation by NATO and then lash out on the civilian population.
  • Canon Welding: Shares the same Like Reality, Unless Noted fictional universe with the original Operation Flashpoint series.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Zig-Zagged by Lieutenant Collins and Sergeant Sturrock in ARMA III's Tac-Ops DLC's Steel Pegasus campaign. Collins is a just Crewman who ends up being the highest officer alive in the botched invasion, and given his blatant inexperience he's adamant of following his orders to the letter, no matter what. He is told to gather up the survivors in some RV point, and move them up to a safe zone. Sturrock is a Sergeant Rock solely by virtue of being technically outranked despite being The Leader of a spec-ops team and having vastly more field experience, who is forced to disobey often. Their first interaction is Sturrock and his team requesting some manpower to help fend off the attack on the RV flank, with Collins refusing since his orders are simply to bring everybody to the RV.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: All over the place, given that it's practically mandatory to remain calm, even if bullets and explosions are flying around you, or else, no one is making it back, a few particular examples stand out though.
    Pariah: [when mortar shells start falling inside the perimeter during a briefing] Damn, I was really hoping it would take a bit longer for them to get a bead on us.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rudwell's ability to speak both Polish and Russian is important later on, after all he signed up for the US Army as a linguist rather than drone operator.
  • China Takes Over the World: In ARMA III, the Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty (CSAT), led by Iran and China, is growing in global influence, while the United States and NATO is on the decline.
  • 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 ARMA 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.
  • Code Name: Squads are often automatically assigned a Greek letter identification, with ARMA III allowing for different code name systems. In story, squads receive callsigns themselves, such as Razor Team, Howlite, etc. These callsigns slightly confused Cooper when told about what happened to "Red Square".
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted to hell and back in ARMA III. 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 mm round will barely penetrate even thin metal sheet, and not really do much damage to the target behind it. A 9.3 mm 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:
    • Operation Flashpoint and ARMA both take place in the same mildly fictional Alternate Universe. So aside of the most meta elements like the soundtracks, organizations like the ION PMC and Vrana Corp., and a lot of details can be spotted if you look closed enough. The Cyrus, for example, was made in Chernarus.
    • The Malden 2035 terrain isn't just a remake of the Operation Flashpoint map: it's one with additions and improvements to indicate how it's not only been half a century since the events of that game, but also how it's no longer under NATO's sphere of influence, with installations previously belonging to NATO either in CSAT's hands or abandoned. Some briefings for missions set on Malden also acknowledge the events of the game and shed light on what happened in the 50 years since.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Averted all around. While the different sides may have equivalents (all have service rifles, main battle tanks, transport helicopters, trucks, etc.), all their equipment, vehicles and even the individual gear of the soldiers will have different stats from one another, and some might be objectively better. Some sides in various games (the FIA, ChDKZ, NAPA, Syndikat and Takistani Militia) are guerrilla groups armed with outdate or improvised equipment.
  • Countrystan:
    • ARMA II features Takistan, a mash-up of Iraq and Afghanistan, ruled by an obvious Saddam Hussein expy named Muhammed R. Aziz.
    • Karzeghistan, a small oil-rich nation located south of Takistan that appears only in ARMA II's backstory, is clearly a stand-in for Kuwait.
  • 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 ARMA III fall squarely into this, being very situational at best:
    • The SDAR 5.56x45 is an underwater rifle that can fire specialized ammo in underwater firefights. But on dry land, it's practically useless, with no attachment proxies and less range and stopping power than most pistols. This drawback is alleviated somewhat by the SDAR also being compatible with normal 5.56 magazines, but these cannot be used underwater, forcing players to choose which ammo type they should prioritize in taking with them, making it this trope.
    • The ASP-1 Kir is a sniper rifle designed specifically to punch through heavy armor 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 its effective range is reduced to 200 meters at best, and the zero calibration (the distance in which 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 
    • To some degree, all shotguns in the game have this apply to them, as they're only really meant for close-range combat, self-defense, or as a tool for mine-clearing, which is more or less how they're used in actual modern warfare. That said, the Promet SG's underbarrel shotgun, the Western Sahara Creator DLC's AA-40, and the ED-1 Mini UGV's Disruptor shotgun have their perks and can be used rather effectively in combat. The Kozlice, on the other hand, seems specifically designed to be used at close-to-medium range for hit-and-run attacks.
    • Some gamemodes and mods tend to turn many 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.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: ARMA III's First Contact campaign begins In Medias Res, with a NATO squad in combat with the Livonian Defense Force.note  After losing their APC and continuing on foot to disable LDF UGVs, the player, a drone specialist, enters a control facility to disable them when he is held at gunpoint by a Livonian soldier. The specialist quips about them getting extra points for shooting them in the back, so the Livonian soldier shoots the specialist in the front—with training rounds. Cut to the exercise debriefing.
  • Decoy Protagonist:
    • ARMA II's Harvest Red campaign starts off with the player controlling an unnamed Chernarussian soldier. This is eventually revealed to be a dream of Matthew Cooper, the actual protagonist.
    • In ARMA III's Prologue campaign, as well as some showcases, the player controls various named characters in different roles with different ranks. Most of these same characters return as supporting characters or cameos in The East Wind, although since your interactions with NPCs is very limited there, it's hard to notice.
  • Desert Warfare:
    • South Sahrani in ARMA: Armed Assault has a big desert in a section of the map (as well South Sahrani troops use desert-based camouflage) but it also has semi-arid plains and coniferous forests.
    • The maps introduced in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead are desert maps inspired by Iraqi and Afghan geography.
    • ARMA III has this, sort of: while the only desert terrain is Sefrou-Ramal from the Western Sahara Creator DLC, Altis has the Almyra salt flats, which are sort of desert-like and were more or less the closest thing to a desert until Western Sahara's release.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Loyalists in the Beyond Hope mini-campaign. Though they win the battles shown in the campaign, that they don't really appear by name in The East Wind (by which point they're the FIA), and that The East Wind even happens in the first place, says all you need to know about how they fare in the Altian Civil War.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun:
    • Perfected even more since Operation Flashpoint. 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 III, where you can't sprint/run with a raised gun but you can do a "combat pace" jog with your weapon raised. It's 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.
    • BIS 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 an advanced flight model for Helicopters or bipods for Marksmen) and the Premium content (such as new weapons, vehicle access, and terrains) is available only if the purchase is made, but you can share the same servers with players who do have access.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The AAF soldiers in ARMA III's Prologue campaign are not amused that their NATO-led firing drills are using CSAT targets. Adams claims it's all they have on hand, though 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.

    E - O 
  • Easy Logistics:
    • Averted in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign both in gameplay and plot. In the first act, Survive, the player is the survivor of a small decommissioned Task Force, while in the second, Adapt, 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, Win, 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 III's The East Wind campaign, the Eastwind Device is implied to be one, and the Apex Protocol campaign confirms it, though it is never seen used as a weapon onscreen.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous:
    • In ARMA II, the main protagonists are members of "Razor Team", a squad of the Marine Force Recon. In the Operation Arrowhead campaign, some missions you play as Sergeant First Class Terry Graves, a Delta Force operator, although the rest of the campaign also involves a normal Infantryman, an attack helicopter pilot and a tank commander.
    • Averted in ARMA 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, which 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 Protocol, 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 Viper Team, CSAT's special forces and their answer to the CTRG. However, Miller appears in the DLC as well, and it's eventually revealed that the player characters are in the CTRG, the same unit Miller is in. The DLC also reveals that said unit is indeed NATO special forces. This places the Apex NATO cast firmly within the gray compared to Viper Team.
    • In the Contact DLC, the main OPFOR faction is the Russian Spetsnaz. Except they're not really opposing forces: the First Contact campaign has them covertly assist NATO and reluctantly fight the LDF to save Eastern Europe from an alien explosion.
    • The CTRG return again in the Old Man mini-campaign, and despite returning to Tanoa, they're not the shade of grey they were there. Group 14, to be specific, is deployed to the region to investigate "Atrox", the malaria super-strain unleashed there, and Miller serves as Santiago's handler. Ultimately, CSAT is treated as the grey this time around, as Group 14 chooses to abandon the Horizon Islands after getting the Atrox counteragent. Admittedly, their reasoning is sound this time around; they only have a small sample of it, and they don't have the facilities needed for production, though the ending that follows the CTRG does have NATO return with full production of the counteragent, and combined with the evidence Santiago dug up, CSAT is left on the backfoot, though at the cost of substantial civilian losses beforehand.
  • Elite Mooks: CSAT is this to the AAF in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign, as their soldiers are more well-trained and their equipment more advanced. When they are seen in the last mission of Survive, the reaction of everyone is a Mass "Oh, Crap!".
  • Enemy Mine: The final mission of ARMA III's First Contact campaign has the stranded NATO troops fighting alongside Russian Spetsnaz against the Too Dumb to Live LDF.
  • Evil Brit: In one of the endings to The East Wind, Miller threatens to murder Kerry. When CSAT invades, he says he'll help get him off the island. He doesn't.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In ARMA III's Laws of War campaign, one of the flashbacks centers around a CSAT Viper Team unit deployed to direct a cluster bomb strike on Oreokastro to break the FIA's stronghold there. Though the bombing can easily be called in once it's available, the player can choose to wait for some of the town's residents to leave the blast zone beforehand. One of them is an IDAP doctor who, if spared, prompts Nathan to remark the doctor was lucky given that they couldn't have delayed the strike just for him. To add to the decision, the Viper Team unit is implied at the end to have really been CTRG Group 14, led by Miller, who is normally shown to be rather willing to let people die if necessary.
  • Evil Counterpart: CSAT's Viper Team in the Apex DLC is this to the NATO's CTRG, relatively speaking.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Not counting the bootcamp scenarios, the AAF's first appearance sets the tone for what you can expect from them: massive incompetence (they forgot to bring a map on patrol and are lost in the countryside), needless brutality (raiding a compound and killing five unarmed civilians on the mere suspicion they were FIA guerillas, without checking for evidence or confirming beforehand), and a severe overreliance on foreign assistance (calling for preoccupied American training instructors to assist them, while barely bothering to secure the scene themselves).
    • For contrast, the British special forces team makes 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) disabled with 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; for instance, handguns 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 handgun.
  • Faction Calculus: ARMA games feature three factions in their plots, organized into three sides, usually with different gear at their disposal.
    • In ARMA II, the U.S. Marine Corps are Powerhouse, Russia and the Chernarussian Defence Forces are Balanced, and the ChDKZ are Subversive. For Operation Arrowhead, USMC is again powerhouse, the Takistani military is Balanced, and the Insurgents are Subversive.
    • In ARMA III, it's a bit muddier seeing the three main factions (NATO, AAF, CSAT) have equal vehicle equivalents and are mostly on equal footing, but very loosely speaking NATO is Balanced Cannons (better artillery), CSAT is Balanced Powerhouse (better gunships and armored vehicles), AAF is Balanced, and FIA is Subversive. 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.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: "Warm Welcome", the first mission of ARMA III's Apex Protocol campaign, is meant to be a sort of Cold Open to introduce the players to the campaign and the new terrain. To its credit, it works pretty well: the players are meant to travel on foot to an objective through the Tanoan fauna, with the sun rising 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 without cutscenes or gameplay interruptions. However, you're still deep in a warzone where enemies are everywhere, so many players are either too focused on sneaking through to notice, or they're too busy taking in the scene that they don't notice they're about to cut the moment short by walking straight into an enemy patrol.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: CSAT is very clearly not in Altis out of the goodness of their hearts. Though they assist the AAF a handful of times, they ultimately leave the AAF out to hang when NATO invades Altis during The East Wind campaign, falling back to a supposedly empty region before ultimately forcing the AAF's remnants to fight a last stand just so they can hold a better seat in post-war negotiations. CSAT is really on Altis to test their experimental Eastwind Device, a tectonic weapon of mass destruction, and is merely using the AAF as a meat shield to buy more time for their operation.
  • False Flag Operation: The final mission of the Black Gauntlet campaign for ARMA II's Private Military Company DLC ends in this. When the team discovers that the Takistani nuclear arms program was supported by China, the executives of ION Security order the team to disguise themselves as Insurgents and ambush the UN nuclear inspectors before they can publish the evidence.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Averted on a macroscopic scale in ARMA III's First Contact campaign. In the credits, scientists speculate how the aliens were able to arrive on earth so soon after the initial release of encoded neutrino messages by Exercise Electron. One theory states that the aliens had begun their journey hundreds of thousands of years ago, and were able to time their arrival for just after the neutrinos began to be released by the root network. A second theory, based on the idea of neutrino time travel, speculates that the aliens were acting in response to acausal information—that the neutrinos were traveling backwards in time from the moment of their release and so reached the alien homeworld prior to being sent. Either way, the aliens themselves were restricted to light speed when traveling.
  • A Father to His Men: Brian Frost from ARMA II's British Armed Forces and Private Military Company DLC expansions says that the troops he was commanding were like sons to him.
  • Fauxrrari: The British Armed Forces in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead get the "Offroad" vehicle, a Hand Over Offender.
  • Fictional Flag: The ARMA series is usually set in fictional nations and conflicts, and has flags to accompany those fictional factions:
    • ARMA: Armed Assault: The Kingdom of Sahrani's flag features a vertical Triband with the country's coat of arms in the middle, an grifon circled by a laurel wreath. The Democratic Republic of Sahrani's flag is divided between a diagonal line from the bottom right side, with black on the left and orange on the right, with the country's crest in the middle, a socialist star circled by weat and cogs.
    • ARMA II (and its Spin-Off DayZ): Chernarus' flag is green with a big yellow star circled by smaller stars in the canton, with divergent white stripes in the bottom half. The CDF's flag has simple horizontal bands, yellow at the top, and green at the bottom. The ChDKZ rebels have a horizontal tricolor of green, black and red with a red star in the middle. The indepedent NAPA guerrilas have a flag with a black smaller hoist and green fly, with crossed swords where the colors meet.
    • ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead: Takistan's flag is a horizontal tricolour of white, black and green, with a stylized star-and-crescent. The Takistani Rebels have a flag with a black smaller hoist and green fly divided by a serrated line. The Takistani Militia has a simple black flag with a star-and-crescent.
    • ARMA III: The Republic of Altis and Stratis has a green flag with a yellow isosceles triangle superimposed on the larger white-edged black triangle, both based on the hoist-side, pointed toward the fly-side. The AAF has a flag with the Altis flag in the canton, and the coat-of-arms of the military (a lion with two-swords below it) in the center. The FIA uses a flag similar to Altis', but with cyan blue and a lion in the host side. CSAT uses a red flag with six black hexagons in the form of a larger hexagon.
    • ARMA III: Apex: The Horizon Islands' flag is a blue field with the Southern Cross in the canton and a green, white and yellow rays coming from the bottom left. The Gendarmerie's flag is the same but with their seal in the middle, consisting of a red, green, and yellow design.
    • ARMA III: Contact: Livonia's flag is a blue, white and yellow triband with the country's coat-of-arms in the middle, a white stag inside a blue shield. The LDF's flag is a blue field with the coat-of-arms in the middle, surrounded by laurel wreaths, two rifles, and the motto "Si?a i Czujno??" ("Strength and Vigilance") on the bottom.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. Players can even hold a key to look away from their point of aim to see their entire body, or 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 Survive, the first act of ARMA III's The East Wind campaign, that may be weird but are quickly overshadowed by more greater concerns such as survival or new events, before coming back to light at the end of the campaign. They may require a second playthrough to notice that something major is going down behind the scenes, such as how the AAF attacked minutes after an unknown NATO force landed on an already decommissioned base, or that tremors began just after CSAT units were spotted on the island..
    • In First Contact, it was discussed in an early briefing that the Russia could invade Livonia, and that the exercise is meant to test the LDF's response to that, with American NATO forces standing in for the Russian military. The Russian military eventually does invade Livonia, but for a very good reason, with the American NATO forces supporting them.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Invoked by CSAT in the third game: Their basic Rifleman 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 constants present in almost all games and gamemodes, choosing loadouts is usually up to every player who must balance between protection, firepower or mobility, with the defining factor ideally being their role in the team and their objectives in the mission.
  • Friendly Sniper: Lt. James in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign. For Miller's right hand man, he's quite friendly with Kerry and the Task Force survivors, and uses his signature Mk14 EBR 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, which means he's The Dragon.
  • 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.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In ARMA III, CSAT is a coalition of several countries from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, headed by China and Iran, with the goal of gaining as much influence and military power in Afro-Eurasia as possible, no matter what it takes. Combined with ongoing Western isolationism and economic troubles, they manage to become a dominant global power by 2035.
  • Future Copter: ARMA III is full of these, with the UH-80 Ghost Hawk and AH-99 Blackfoot looking the most futuristic. Subverted because both are based on real-life prototypes. The only exception is the Apex DLC's CSAT Pacific faction's 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 III, 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 they 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 III 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 III. 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 its own military as a playable faction.
    • The by-far most famous and possibly most influential of all though is the Zombie Apocalypse mod 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 III) 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.
    • Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene created two mods, DayZ: Battle Royale for ARMA II: DayZ and PlayerUnknowns Battle Royale for ARMA III, and later created Player Unknowns Battlegrounds as a standalone version of his ARMA mods.
    • The ARMA III community has notably produced Battle Royale, King of the Hill (a team based deathmatch with weapon purchasing, unlock and exp system), Altis Life (civilian roleplay on Altis with jobs, an economy, and events), and ExileMod (a multiplayer mod with crafting, survival and base building, zombies depending on the server).
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: In ARMA III's First Contact campaign, after the incident involving the drone strike and the roots, the old factory where the training exercise was held is quarantined by the LDF, who claim the factory was built on a landfill and that the drone strike caused toxic chemical compounds from said landfill to be released through the air. But as Stype points out, that factory was built on the site of an old sawmill, not a landfill, so it's probably not the real story. It is in fact a fabrication to keep people away from the alien artifact the explosion uncovered without blowing the whole thing wide open.
  • The Generalissimo: A recurring trope in the series:
    • Prime-Minister Torrez of the Democratic Republic of Sahrani, who orders the invasion of the Southern monarchy.
    • Former President of the DSR Ramirez/Richardicz, the supposedly died before the events of ARMA: Armed Assault. Who was actually alive and hiding in Rahmadi, directing the invasion from the shadows.
    • Colonel (later President) Muhammad R. Aziz, a pretty obvious Saddam Hussein expy. He led a socialist coup to overthrow the old Takistani monarchy. Ruling the country for two decades with an iron fist. After the country's lucrative oil wells and refineries are sabotaged by CIA-backed pro-royalist rebels, he attempts to invade the southern neighbour country of Karzeghistan and results into a UN-sanctioned NATO invasion and ultimately his death.
    • Georgious Akhanteros, commander-in-chief of the AAF and de facto president of the Republic of Altis and Stratis.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • CSAT infantry in ARMA II have armored uniforms and very bulletproof helmets but only unarmored carrier rigs, meaning they trade more powerful vests for broader-but-lighter armor coverage. Their vehicles also follow the same pattern of faster but with ligher armor than their NATO counterparts.
    • Tanks in ARMA: Armed Assault and ARMA II, which would blow up with a couple hits from even an RPG.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In the Black Gauntlet campaign from ARMA II: Private Military Company, China is revealed to be this as not only they're the main benefactors for the Takistani nuclear program but they're also the who orders ION and Mark Reynolds to put the lid on the discovery by assassinating the UN inspectors.
    • CSAT in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign. Most of the immediate fighting you do in the campaign is against the AAF, with only the occasional skirmish against CSAT.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Definitely the case for ARMA III's First Contact campaign. The LDF is well-intentioned but is motivated by misguided beliefs to prevent alien incursion on their country. While NATO and the Russians, who knows better, are trying to stop them from destroying the alien core that would potentially led to the devastation of a large chunk of Europe at best and the entire Earth at worst. While the aliens are mostly keeping by themselves and only retaliates against NATO and LDF forces after the latter mistaking them to be hostile and opens fire.
  • 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 II list consisted of variants with attachments though (i.e. M16A4, M16A4 ACOG, M16A4 M203), while the weapons list in ARMA III 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 III, 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 to ARMA III's The East Wind campaign that Stavrou's death by friendly fire was engineered on purpose due to this trope. If you also play the Remnants of War campaign and Tac-Ops DLC mini-campaigns, it is pretty clear to see why.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The CSAT faction in ARMA III is seriously obsessed with hexagons: its logo is a hexagon made of smaller hexagons, and their military forces even adopt a hexagonal camo pattern, which overall contrasts with the more traditional camouflage schemes of NATO.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted with a vengeance in ARMA II and ARMA III. 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 ARMA III, although the degree of effectiveness varies between weapons and size of bullets. Suppressors only make it harder for the enemy to find the direction the shot is coming from, but it will not remove the bullet whiz sound.
  • 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, though 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: ARMA III's Apex Protocol campaign starts In Medias 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.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • While Colonel Akhanteros looks like a General Failure most of the time, in ARMA III's Remnants of War campaign, it is said that Major Gavras is actually the one that has been doing most of the work and what allowed the AAF to hold out for three days rather than one. Gavras also used his command staff, including himself, as a decoy to draw NATO-FIA forces away from his retreating troops.
    • Kael Mavros is a former Rebel (precursor to the AAF) and defector to the Loyalists. Being high ranked, having a ton of experience and spec op training, he ends up being able to fulfill whatever role the loyalist need him to.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. As in Operation Flashpoint, you can only carry as much equipment, weaponry and ammo as your webbing or backpack allowsnote . Large 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.
  • Indy Ploy: In most singleplayer campaigns and scenarios, the player is usually tasked with an objective and informed about the general situation around it, but it's up to him to make his own decision and plans. However, the rule of thumb is "no plan survives contact with the enemy". So, either single player or multiplayer, while having a plan B is usually a good idea, sooner or later you'll have to make things up on the fly and start thinking on your feet. And then, well... there are other schools of thought:
    Mavros: Okay, so what's your plan?
    Lt. James: The plan? I don't know! We mostly just make shit up as we go along.
  • I Call It "Vera": Dixon's aforementioned "Matilda".
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted. Unless you get shot point-blank in the head or are hit with a powerful round at very close range depending upon armor configuration. 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 ARMA: Armed Assault, where U.S. Army soldiers express embarrassment at having to be rescued by U.S. Marine Corps air power.
    • In ARMA III's Apex Protocol campaign, the CTRG is shown to not really fond of NATO, its assets, or its personnel, despite being part of them and using their assets and personnel. NATO 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 ARMA: Armed Assault, 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.
  • Jungle Warfare: Tanoa in ARMA III's Apex DLC is a South Pacific island covered by a lush jungle. However, the map also includes a lot of open areas, small hamlets, a somewhat big city with buildings for Urban Warfare, and a specific place has a coniferous forest, probably grown for the sawmill in the middle of it.
    • Also from the Apex DLC, Syndikat/L'Ensemble is equipped for jungle warfare and regularly operates out of the jungles of Tanoa, where authorities such as the Gendarmerie are ill-prepared to counter them.
  • Just Plane Wrong: There are some glaring issues with ARMA III's larger UAV. For starters, there's already an MQ-4 UAV (ARMA III'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's first meeting with the guerrillas in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign 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 the northern 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 Services PMC.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Subverted by Adams' death in ARMA III. The mine goes "beep" when stepped on, then explodes instantly with no chance of survival.
  • 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 III, there's the FIA, a CIA/SIS-backed resistance group on Altis fighting CSAT's presence. In a subversion, in the Prologue campaign they are resisting the player, although the more you learn of your current allies, the more sympathetic they look. Midway through The East Wind, you're a full member.
      • ARMA III's Tac-Ops DLC shows that the FIA is more than just a bunch of idealistic guerillas. They are born from the ashes of the loyalists of the previously overthrown democratic government. That and James and some CTRG operatives were already with them since the start.
    • Syndikat in the Apex DLC is a darker and more brutal example of this and is one of the two main antagonists of the Apex Protocol campaign, though they're initially just smugglers who are more interested in gaining power and getting the Gendarmerie off their back. By the Old Man mini-campaign however, the new Horizon Islands government becomes Les Collaborateurs to CSAT, so Syndikat reforms into L'Ensemble, which is ostensibly an anti-imperialist revolutionary popular front fighting against the pro-CSAT government, but is outright stated to be the exact same as Syndikat but with a political veil to justify their actions.
  • Legion of Lost Souls: Santiago, the protagonist of ARMA III's Old Man mini-campaign, is a Tanoan native and former French Legionnaire.
  • 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 FIA constantly has the upper hand on them until NATO bails them out, and even the Task Force survivors in The East Wind have little problems kicking them out of Stratis until CSAT bails them out of that one too.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: ARMA: Armed Assault's and ARMA II's radio voiceovers for 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 III 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: pusta means "empty" in Russian.
  • MacGuffin: ARMA III's The East Wind and Apex Protocol campaigns have the Eastwind 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 GREENFOR or INDFOR) which can be set to be allied with either BLUFOR, OPFOR, neither, or neutral to all. All games in the series have at least one faction for each of the three sides:
    • ARMA: Armed Assault has U.S. 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 U.S. and the RACS are allied trough the entire campaign.
    • ARMA II has the U.S. 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. Indepedents are represented by the National Party, a small nationalistic guerilla fighting against both CHDKZ and the Government forces (which can be recruited later to fight against the CHDKZ).
    • ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead has the U.S. Army, the British Armed Forces, German Bundeswehr and the Army of the Czech Republic as BLUFOR, fighting the Takistani Army as well pro-government militias as OPFOR, while INDFOR is formed by Indepedent Militias (a Palette Swap of the OPFOR militias), a Chernarusian contigent of UN Peacekeeping, and ION Services, Inc.
    • ARMA III has NATO and the CTRG as BLUFOR, CSAT as OPFOR, and both the AAF and FIA as the INDFOR. That's just in the base game, by the way: with the other DLCs, you can add the Gendarmerie as BLUFOR; Viper Team, the Gendarmerie (in Old Man), and Russian Spetsnaz as OPFOR; and Syndikat, the LDF, and Looters as INDFOR.
    • The FIA can be placed as BLUFOR, OPFOR, and INDFOR. This is probably so they can be used both as a friendly resistance faction or an enemy insurgent group.
    • Similarly, the Gendarmerie from the Apex DLC can be placed as BLUFOR and OPFOR, though only the former includes their vehicles. Makes sense in lore, as while they are initially cooperating with NATO in the Apex Protocol campaign, by the Old Man mini-campaign they have switched allegiances to CSAT.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: CSAT. Its membership stretches much farther than most examples, with China at the top of the command chain, though it's still based in the Middle East, with every other Middle-Eastern country except Israel also part of it. Interestingly, the sheer amount of resources they can pool together from the alliance means they actually surpass NATO on the tech front in a lot of areas.
  • Mildly Military: Gameplay aside (where you can go as bunny ears as the server and game mods allow), The East Wind in ARMA III is one of the few justified and believable examples. Early in the campaign, the Task Force stationed at Stratis is more or less a skeleton crew lazily packing up to go home, with lax discipline and lots of fraternization and mild disrespect. But when shit hits the fan, the Task Force, after the usual chaos following an attack, bands together and proceeds to take back the island in a single day with no logistics or external support, succeeding in their objectives at least before CSAT ruins the fun.
  • Military Science Fiction: ARMA III has some elements of this: most of the equipment is slightly futuristic, although mostly based on working prototypes or plausible equipment, not to mention the Eastwind Device, a machine that causes earthquakes. It gets full-blown Military Sci-Fi with the Contact DLC, where aliens show up.
  • 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.
    • ARMA III goes full-blown 20 Minutes into the Future, into an alternate timeline where China and Iran have formed CSAT, a coalition similar to the old Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact albeit mostly centered in Asia, which not only rivals NATO and the Western world both military and economically, but has forced them into a new cold war in which the West is all but stated to be 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 III takes it up a notch with its showcases, which serve as tutorials mind you, often being insane one-man commando missions. A good example is the "Night" showcase, where you're dropped off in an enemy-infested area under the cover of darkness and tasked with single-handedly causing as much havoc as possible. By yourself. Without night vision goggles.
    • Picking up enough Urban Warfare experience in ARMA III 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. AI 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 III.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted somewhat in ARMA III, 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 local government (your former allies) to hunt until they betrayed your task force, forcing you to join guerrilla ranks in order to survive. Inverted in the Tanks DLC's Altis Requiem mini-campaign, where you play as an AAF NCO since the campaign is there mainly to showcase the new Angara tank.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The Art of War collection (which consists exclusively of ARMA fan art) is stated in-universe to be borrowed from several renowned (but fictitious) museums like the Royal War Museum of London (alluding to the Imperial War Museum) or the Andere Pinakothek of Munich (alluding to either the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek or the Pinakothek der Moderne).
  • 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 a CSAT-AAF full scale counter offensive on the nearby city (patrol boats, tanks, APCs, planes, helicopters, infantry, fortified outposts, you name it) and you have to cross it alone to reach some friendlies across the mountains.
    • LZ Nowhere, the first mission of the Steel Pegasus campaign from ARMA III's Tac-Ops DLC. While there are some rifles nearby, you can only find a couple of spare magazines in the starting point. The player is also an APC crewman, not an infantry soldier, so the only armor available at the start is a lightly-armored crew helmet. And you'd best not linger for too long in the crash site, or an AAF squad will arrive searching for survivors.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A particular brutal example in the finale of the "Win" episode of ARMA III's The East Wind campaign. 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, 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 task force. 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!
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Lars Blanken, an heir to a war-profiteering Dutch shipping dynasty and a philantropist who founded IDAP, is an early-20th-century Composite Character of Henri Dunant (the founder of the International Red Cross), Andrew Carnegie (who bankrolled the Peace Palace in the Hague, which currently also houses the International Court of Justice) and Alfred Nobel (who, despite having invented dynamite, also went down in history for his charitable and pacifist work).
  • Noodle Incident: In ARMA III, on the whiteboard, there's a list of NATO goat ROE (rules of engagement). The list goes like this:
    Do not feed the goats
    Do not touch the goats
    Do not go near the goats
    Do not do what Pvt. Nelson did to the goats
    Do not enrage the goats
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
    • While OFP featured exceptional voice acting (Mad Libs Dialogue 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: Armed Assault, 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, and one of the Force Recon Marines is played by a Canadian. 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.
    • Livonian soldiers in Contact DLC expansion speaks Polish with a distinct accent from the southwestern part of the country (not too far from Czech Republic), despite the fact that Livonia itself is located further north beside the Polish border near the Baltics.
    • In ARMA II's campaign, a USMC intelligence officer has a British accent.
  • 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.
  • Old Soldier: Santiago, the titual protagonist of the Old Man mini-campaign, is an experience ex-legionnaire.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In ARMA II, one of the British soldiers pronounces the letter "Z" as "Zee" instead of "Zed" as Britons usually do it.
  • Orphaned Series: ARMA: 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 Armed Assault, 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.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Several missions in the series are less tactical shooters and more Environmental Narrative Games in their own right: The Art of War scenario is a prime example. Here, the player visits the (fictional) Lars Blanken Gallery in Amsterdam. That's it. They're left to explore a sizeable collection of some really good art (ARMA fan creations, presented in a lore-friendly environment) and to deliberate on the nature of war, the increasingly dehumanising future of warfare, and most importantly, what can be done to make war as just and humane as possible.

    P - Z 
  • People's Republic of Tyranny:
    • The Democratic Republic of Sahrani (DRS), or "North Sahrani", in ARMA: Armed Assault, is basically a Hispanic version of North Korea (with a touch of Cuba).
    • In ARMA II, Chernarus used to be this, and some of the in-game factions would like if it stayed that way.
    • Takistan is a dictadorship lead by Colonel Muhammad R. Aziz, who was a socialist rebel leader supported by the Soviet Union against the Royalist government of the Kingdom of Takistan. Aziz would later rule Takistan with an iron fist, and threatening their southern nation of Karzeghistan, leading to the events of Operation Arrowhead.
    • The Altian goverment is more lowkey about its supposedly democratic nature, but no less bloodthisrty. Played straight in the Tac-Ops DLC's Beyond Hope mini-campaign, showing who they really were and how they came to power.
  • Police Are Useless: The Gendarmerie from ARMA III's Apex DLC. They only appear in one mission in the Apex Protocol campaign, and are severely underequipped, armed with basic P07 pistols and Protector submachine guns (both 9 mm, the latter being one of the worst-performing SMGs in the game), wearing just basic ballistic vests to protect themselves with only caps and berets as headgear, and driving completely unarmored pickup trucks and vans. Mind you, they're going up against Syndikat, who regularly pack AKs, RPG-7s, and technicals, and during Apex Protocol manage to whoop the Gendarmerie so badly that they lose control of several areas of Tanoa and see high-ranking gendarmes targeted by Syndikat. Their weaknesses are somewhat justified though, seeing the Gendarmerie is merely the police force of a small archipelago and not a proper military equipped for fighting wars, the Horizon Islands had just been devastated by a natural disaster, and Syndikat is being funded and armed by CSAT.
    • Subverted in the Old Man mini-campaign, set in 2038 when CSAT begins assisting the Horizon Islands' government. The Gendarmerie now has access to tactical teams with proper combat helmets, assault rifles, personal defense weapons, machine guns, and the ability to mount an effective response to Syndikat/L'Ensemble activities, though their vehicle and body armor situation hasn't really improved, and they're still a step below CSAT troops.
  • Present Day: ARMA: Armed Assault was released in late 2006 and is set in mid-2006.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • David Armstrong in most games.
    • Sergeant Adams and Sergeant Conway from ARMA III's Prologue campaign are supporting characters in The East Wind. On the inverse, Ben Kerry, The East Wind's protagonist, makes a cameo in Prologue as the Hunter MRAP driver who chauffeurs Sgt. Adams and Conway through Kavala.
    • Sergeant Sturrock is one of the two possible player characters in the Stepping Stone campaign, and makes an appearance in the Steel Pegasus campaign.
  • Private Military Contractors: The protagonists in the Royal Flush campaign in the ARMA: Queens Gambit expansion are part of the Royal Flush team of the "Black Element" corporation. The corporation later rebrands as "ION Services, Inc." and became the subject of ARMA II: Private Military Company. ION Services also appears in ARMA III through advertisements and as a security detail in The East Wind's epilogue, and ION Services teams are the focus of the Western Sahara Creator DLC.
  • Product Placement: The MX series rifles in ARMA III are designed and modelled by CMMG Inc., an American firearms company, based on a real prototype rifle they made. There is even a CMMG brand label on them, normally filed off on most other weapons. A prop in the game also represents one of their non-firearm products, Tactical Bacon, which is just canned preserved bacon.
    • The GM 6 Lynx anti-materiel rifle is a real firearm made by Hungarian firearms company Sero International Ltd..
  • Psycho for Hire: Dixon in ARMA II: Private Military Company. He even suggests shooting at U.S. Army soldiers to expedite some processes.
  • Qurac: Takistan in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead. It is a generic Middle Eastern nation set as a mix between Iraq—as it is invaded by the US trying to topple the authoritarian regime with WMDs—with Afghanistan, mostly on the geography and local population.
    • Karzeghistan, a small oil-rich nation located south of Takistan. It appears only in the backstory (although the terrain Shapur is said to be located in the border) as a stand-in for Kuwait, it is threatened by a Takistani invasion which leads into Operation Arrowhead.
  • Red Scare:
    • ARMA: Armed Assault has the player fight the Commie-ish Democratic Republic of Sahrani, which is invading its southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Sahrani.
    • ARMA II has communist rebels in Chernarus and even brought back the Russians, though of the modern day non-communist flavour.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally ARMA III was supposed to be set in Greece with a conflict involving Iran, but after some of the studio's developers were arrested and jailed while on holiday in Greece, the setting was changed to a fictional country and the Iranians replaced with CSAT.
  • Real-Time Strategy: Not only is there at least one ARMA II mod that allows this, but the Zeus DLC for ARMA III 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.
  • Revisiting the Roots: ARMA III's Global Mobilization and Iron Curtain Creator DLCs are set in a "1980s Cold War gone hot" scenario reminiscent of the original Operation Flashpoint.
    • ARMA Reforger is set in the same time frame as the original Operation Flashpoint, and is set on Everon, also from that game.
  • 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 III 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—in no way related to Cyprus or North Cyprus.note 
  • Rouge Angles of Satin:
    • Lots of weapon descriptions in ARMA II feature this. For example, any M16A4 with an attached M203 in reads "Assault rifle with grenade luncher". There is also the description of the M60E4, which lists it as a "Medium machie gun".
    • There are also multiple typos in some of the scripting commands and config parameters under the hood, such as ARMA II having at one point "[IncomingMisslieDetectionSystem]".
      • The scripting command "setDammage" existed for years, from OFP all the way through ARMA III. When they finally corrected it well after the release of ARMA III, they added the correct spelling as an alternative rather than replacing the original typo, because deprecating the incorrect spelling would have broken thousands of user-created missions.
  • Running Gag: The Player Character of ARMA III's Tac-Ops DLC's Steel Pegasus campaign, Corporal Barklem, constantly has to put up with his superiors calling him with wrong names like Barkley, Barker, and Barlem.
  • Ruritania:
    • The Kingdom of Sahrani Island from the first ARMA game played this trope fairly straight, being a stereotypical Mediterranean-esque monarchy. Its 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 North and South Sahrani, 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 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 with a name that's a blatant send-up of Pakistan.
    • The Republic of Altis and Stratis in ARMA III is an interesting example. The maps are based on the real life Greek islands of Lemnos and Agios Efstratios (although the game makes it clear they're not the islands with a different name - having been renamed from "Limnos" during development - but an entire separate location), the general theme of the islands is very similar to the countries of Malta and Cyprus in that it's an independent Mediterranean island republic, with the history begin closer to that of Cyprus than of Malta: both Altis and Cyprus were colonized by various nations, such as the Phoenicians, 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, the Cypriot National Guard, and the Hellenic Armed Forces.
    • Livonia in ARMA III's Contact DLC borders Russianote  and uses Polish as the official language. The way on how they recently joined NATO and are a stepping-stone for a Russian invasion of NATO makes them a very clear stand-in for Baltic countries and Poland. The LDF even uses the "Promet" rifle, based on the Polish "MSBS Grot B" model adopted as Poland's service rifle in 2018.
  • 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's Apex DLC, 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.
    • On June 22nd, 2017, the Malden 2035 terrain was released for free, a remake of one of the OFP's islands (the eponymous Malden). Not only does it look amazing, but it was also praised for being an excellent design for infantry 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: Armed Assault and ARMA II, plus all of Operation Flashpoint and its expansions) to be playable in the ARMA III, 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 ARMA II, 1980 to 2020 in ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead, and then 1982 to 2050 in ARMA 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-34s against modern (and future!) military equipment, like the T-100 Varsuk (based on T-95s and the "Black Eagle" concept tank).
    • In-Universe, this is somewhat the case with the FIA and Syndikat, who noticeably use older, simpler, and cheaper weapons in general. This is perfectly justified given they're respectively a resistance group and a criminal/terrorist organization. That said, Syndikat also has access to prototypes for the AK-12 alongside older AKMs and the like; they don't, however, have any of the other weapons that were supposed to be based on the AK-12, like the AKU-12 carbine or RPK-12 machine gun, both of which only became accessible with the arrival of Russian Spetsnaz in the Contact DLC.
  • Schmuck Bait: Averted in ARMA III's First Contact campaign. When Rudwell finds a glowing root in the area cordoned off by the LDF, he radios Stype to ask "Okay, now what?" When Stype suggests he "get a sample, or some shit," Rudwell replies "You can fuck right off if you think I'm touching that!"
  • Self-Deprecation: ARMA III features a corrupt arms company that cares more about profit than integrity and holds no real allegiance to NATO nor CSAT, only seeking to enrich themselves from the proxy conflicts by selling deadly weapons to both sides. The company's name? Bohemia Interactive Industries.
  • Semper Fi: ARMA II's Harvest Red campaign stars a U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance team. The USMC are the default BLUFOR faction for the game, and thus many BLUFOR assets .
    • Averted in ARMA III, where the USMC does not appear at all and is never mentioned; the NATO personnel seen in-game are mostly U.S. Army soldiers, at least from what's directly confirmed. However, early renditions of The East Wind campaign indicate this was apparently meant to be subverted instead, as a USMC Marine Expeditionary Unit would have appeared, only to be almost completely annihilated at the start of the campaign.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: As noted in Mildly Military, ARMA III's The East Wind campaign 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 situation. 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 averts this to hell and back: unless you've just spawned and haven't so much as moved, firing without lining up the sights means you're spraying and praying. That being said, scopes and collimators are more common than not, so you don't have to rely solely on the iron sights. ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead introduced the ability to sight along backup sights on some scopes, and ARMA 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; rather, it should be viewed as what Minecraft is to LEGOs, or the Skyrim version of an FPS. As the official video guides for ARMA III put 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 you're playing as. Meaning that imitating real life is usually the most likely way to succeed.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: A lot 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 (outside Steam Workshop custom scenarios) exclusively for sniping and if you do need an ocassional long-distance target taken out, most basic infantry squads have a designated marksman equipped for exactly that. Though are several shooting range competitions with many weapons, including sniper rifles.
  • So Much for Stealth: Averted to hell and back in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign. Stealth and subterfuge are often a guerilla'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.
  • Spanner in the Works: In ARMA III's Prologue campaign, peace talks are underway to ensure lasting peace between the AAF and the FIA, so that NATO can finally end their peacekeeping mission. But then, an AAF patrol guns down unarmed civilians while searching for FIA hideouts, and the FIA retaliates by ambushing a convoy, so 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 in The East Wind's third act "Win", 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 its loss, so his motives to do so remain suspect at best.
  • Spiritual Successor: ARMA: Armed Assault was a sucessor to Operation Flashpoint, as Bohemia and Codemasters had a falling out. Codemasters went to make Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, but BIS kept Operation Flashpoint's Real Virtuality engine, and upgraded to to their new ARMA'' series.
  • 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 II, all characters in-game show no emotions (no eyebrow movement) at all, which is especially noticeable when they are supposed to be smiling, laughing, crying, etc.
  • Surveillance Drone: In ARMA II there are three drones available, four with the addition of Private Military Company. This is extended in ARMA III with automated turrets, the unarmed quadrotor UAV, a UGV called the Stomper/Saif, 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 adds underwater combat (rebreather and a dedicated underwater weapon required).
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: You'd be surprised to see how many uses one can find for an underbarrel grenade launcher when you're not limited to explosive grenades. Smoke and flares for cover, lightning and communications, and IR grenade for tracking targets can turn grenade launchers into invaluable long-range tools quickly, provided the proper grenades are on hand.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Old Man mini-campaign introduces the Atrox strain, a CSAT-engineered variant of malaria that can be targeted at specific human genotypes. It is "harmless" to non-targeted genotypes, and afflicted hosts can be quickly treated by conventional anti-malaria medication. For those that fall within the strain's scope however, a very painful death is a practical certainty, and only specific vaccines—created by CSAT scientists—are able to cure the disease. The prime use of the strain is fabricate crises that favor CSAT intervention, allowing them to gain favor and spread their influence. Where others have failed to treat the infected, CSAT doctors, acting under the pretence of providing humanitarian aid, appear as the only "saviors" who are able to cure the super-strain with their special vaccines.
  • Take That!:
    • At Codemasters for Dragon Rising. From an in-universe interview at "AA News Online" (for ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead):
      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 AAF in the campaign may have something to do with the creative director and environmental lead having spent four months in a Greek prison after being accused of espionage.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • Subverted from ARMA II: Operation 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 its turret or knock off the main gun, while AT mines can blow up the tracks immobilizing it in an inconvenient location or away from the battlefield.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • In ARMA III, the general feeling among NATO troops towards the AAF seems to be "Why the hell are we helping these assholes?". Before shit hits the fan NATO is on a peacekeeping force, yet the AAF seems intent on doing its best to brutalize the local population, just because they can. Sgt. Adams and Conway especially make no attempt to hide their contempt for their incompetence and constant bravado.
    • The Bootcamp and Prologue campaigns reveal Adams had been hating on the AAF for about a year by "Drawdown", and not without good reason, either.
    • Syndikat and Viper Team in the Apex Protocol campaign aren't even attempting to hide their dislike of each other. They even turn on each other at times when NATO forces aren't looking.
  • Tempting Fate: The first mission of ARMA III's The East Wind campaign, "Drawdown", begins with the NATO NPCs that Cpl. Kerry encounters sounding rather derogatory about the prowess of the AAF, 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 them 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.
  • Timed Mission: Some missions have a time limit, although there's a variety on how they're implemented. For example, Chopper Transport in ARMA has a 5 minute timer, with the enemy starting their attack at that point (including some anti-aircraft fire.)
  • Token Good Teammate: Major Gavras' 3rd Regiment in the AAF mostly consists of soldiers not willing to Kick the Dog and the least trusted officers who are being Reassigned to Antarctica. They are also probably the only AAF regiment that is actually competent.
  • 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 simulator 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 Services make 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The LDF in Contact probably put the AAF to shame in this department. So very much so that the stranded NATO soldiers decided that the Russians are the lesser of two evils and join forces with them in order to stop the Livonians from detonating a core that would potentially extinguish all life on earth.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Operation Flashpoint takes place in 1985, with an epilogue in 1991, and was released in 2001.
    • ARMA: Armed Assault was released in November 2006 and takes place in June 2006.
  • Urban Warfare: Most terrains have one or two big towns mostly covered by buildings and houses, and fighting over them will probably turn into this. While many of them are fairly small and mostly consist of houses and small shops, some settlements such as Novigrad from ARMA II's Chernarus and Georgetown from ARMA III's Tanoa are very built-up cities featuring multi-story buildings, commercial properties, and infrastructure.
  • Unfriendly Fire:
    • In ARMA III's Remnants of War campaign, it is heavily implied (but not confirmed and just left hanging) that the ones wiping out the guerillas in the castle and calling the airstrike on Oreokastro were not CSAT but rather Miller and his CTRG team.
    • At the end of The East Wind, Mark Cole implies that Miller's failure to inform NATO that the guerrillas are at the target site, and Stavrou's death as a result, was this trope.
  • 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 - for instance, the Mk18 ABR and the Rahim in ARMA III both use 7.62mm, however the Mk18 ABR is 7.62x51 while the Rahim is 7.62x54. Likewise, NATO's MX and CSAT's Katiba both use 6.5x39mm caseless rounds, but they use completely different, non-interchangeable magazines. The only real possibility for ammo sharing between NATO and CSAT weapons in the default game is with the P07 and Rook-40 9mm pistols.
    • Even within a family of weapons that does take the same ammunition, there are exceptions to what can be used together. Originally, for instance, both 30- and 100-round magazines for the MX exist, but while the support weapon version, the MX SW, can take the 30-round mags of the other variants, the non-support versions couldn't take the MX SW's 100-round ones. Updates have loosened the restrictions, allowing for more combinations of weapon and not-quite-matching magazines, including letting the non-SW versions of the MX use the hundred-rounders, using magazines of different colors in a non-matching version of its parent firearm (e.g. using a black MX mag in a sand-colored MX, rather than the magazine automatically changing color to match the gun you load it into) and allowing greater compatibility between weapons of the same caliber, within reason (e.g. loading magazines from the Apex DLC's AKM in the AKU-12 or RPK-12 from the Contact DLC, letting the Rook-40 and P07 take the straight 30-round mags for the PDW2000). The only exceptions still in the game are those that wouldn't be interchangeable in real life, such as the Mk 20 and TRG-21 being unable to take the dual-drum magazines available for the SPAR-16S (because the design of the guns means you can't use those kinds of drums with them), or Katiba magazines in the MX or vice-versa (since the magazines are of completely different designs, despite taking the same bullets).
    • 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, save for their actual uniforms (it is a war crime, after all). The second act of ARMA III's campaign encourages this, where CSAT weapons are more powerful and enemy depots, outposts and other positions are the best way to secure high-end gear like thermal optics, vests, suppressors, long range scopes and weapons, etc. 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.
  • The Un-Reveal: The true nature of the aliens and the strange roots found in the Contact DLC's First Contact campaign. Did the aliens create the root network as a Von Neumann Probe-based communications array? Did someone else create it, and the aliens decided to destroy it after one of the cores destroyed a drone mothership? Did the aliens arrive in response to the release of time-traveling neutrinos by the Electron Exercises? Or did they begin their journey thousands of years ago in pursuit of the root network? What do the aliens really look like, and is Čapek correct in his belief that they created their drones in their own image? In all likelihood, we will never know.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: When ARMA: 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 ARMA III, 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 them in 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.
  • Vague Hit Points: If hit by a bullet that doesn't kill, you are wounded but not shown by what degree. In case of vehicles, they do take damage but the exact status isn't always known to the passengers.
  • 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!
    • Averted mostly in ARMA III, as friendly fire will usually result in a Non-Standard Game Over, and if it doesn't then the AI will simply turn on you if you repeatedly shoot a teammate.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: In ARMA III's Tanks DLC's Altis Requiem mini-campaign, if you kill any civilian during the missions, the ending cutscene show that the player character was identified as a war criminal after the war and executed.
    • Even if mission scripting doesn't automatically punish the player, in all of the games deliberate friendly fire (usually killing one ally and then shooting another) will cause allies to recognize you as hostile and promptly gun you down.
  • 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: One was added to ARMA III, 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 the ability to load the virtual space into the level editor like any other map.
    • The opening of the Prologue campaign is also set in virtual reality, as a way to demonstrate basic movement.
  • War Crime Subverts Heroism: A recurring theme throughout the series. At least once per game, the protagonists end up either witnessing a war crime, chasing down war criminals or getting the chance to become one themselves. Several missions and DLCs (most prominently the one that introduced the International Development and Aid Project, or IDAP) also focus specifically on showcasing The Laws and Customs of War. Of course, amongst ordinary players, trying to tick every box of the Geneva Convention has reached Memetic Mutation levels.
    • The AAF's very first scene is a patrol requesting help (even having to be found, since they don't even have 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 they never so much as considered calling a medevac until you get there). 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, the AAF razes the town with an artillery attack, just because.
  • War Is Hell:
    • OFP and ARMA: Armed Assault gave 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 ARMA III had you fight a guerilla war alongside special forces and a local resistance, and then some. Still, it is anything but glamorous, not heartwarming nor awesome. The series makes it fairly clear that the conflicts in the game are not enjoyable for anyone involved; victory often doesn't mean the world has been saved, and wider conflicts, downfalls, and atrocities tend to continue anyway; and people who don't deserve to get hurt or killed often do, both at the hands of the "bad guys" and the "good guys".
    • Conveyed to some degree through the death sequences in most ARMA games. In ARMA III for instance, there are no special animations or fanfare or much of an acknowledgement from those around you, just you keeling over as everything fades out, followed by a third-person shot of your body as the display tells you what killed you. It's not very glamorous.
    • Between the Obviously Evil AAF, a half-butchered/half-displaced local population, and the countryside being almost completely abandoned, save for the scattered resistance camps and AAF patrols, things don't look pretty for anyone in Altis during and even after ARMA III's The East Wind campaign.
    • The Laws Of War DLC and its Remnants of War campaign deal 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.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • In ARMA III, the subfactions of both CSAT and NATO aren't exactly on even terms with each other. The Tac-Ops DLC showed a lot of what behind the scenes. The British were not exactly happy that NATO supports the new Altis government and has their own operatives working with the previous government's loyalists to undermine the AAF. Also, the Chinese CSAT and Viper Team are so uninterested with direct conflict with NATO that they left the African CSAT Scimitar Regiment to their fate in Malden.
    • Syndikat and Viper Team in the Apex Protocol campaign. They simply treat each other as pawns in each of their own schemes. In a video feed, a Viper operative and a Syndikat officer are seen arguing after a failed attempt at ambushing the CTRG operatives which ended with the Viper operative shooting the officer. By the sixth mission, they turn on each other.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The games usually have a very big map (usually 400km), and you load a mission within that map. Theorically you could explore the whole map in the mission, but your objective will be in a small part of the map. Many missions are in a sandbox manner, allowing you massive space to roam and a wide variety of equipment and support options.
    • ARMA III's The East Wind campaign has scouting in-between missions, where you roam Altis and do small side objectives.
    • The Old Man mini-campaign is a full persistent sandbox, including new features to emulate those in several other sandbox games like waiting to pass time more quickly and fast-travelling between unlocked safehouses.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Subverted. The new Altis government is specifically trying to avoid this, focusing on healing and rebuilding from the moment the AAF surrenders. It's stated, however, that it will take a long time to prosper.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: A couple of missions have you reach your objective only to find that the game moved the goalposts. Particularly "Bingo Fuel" in ARMA III's The East Wind campaign, in which you are simply meant to go retrieve a fuel truck; by the end, Kerry had sneaked through an enemy armored division, looted a vehicle depot, raided a base, ambushed an armored convoy, and assassinated the enemy's highest-ranking officer in quick succession before he actually finds the fucking thing.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:
    • The FIA sees 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.
    • In the Old Man mini-campaign, L'Ensemble views themselves (or at least sells themselves) as anti-imperialist revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the pro-CSAT government of the Horizon Islands and force CSAT out of Tanoa. However, most of the populace hates them as much as CSAT, as they have barely changed from their predecessor, Syndikat.

"ENEMY MAN. AND, MEN. TO OUR RIGHT! FROST, TARGET THAT! END OF PAGE."

 
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