Mann vs. Machine
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Mann vs. Machine is a co-op game mode released in the update of the same name. In Mann vs. Machine, a team of six players attempts to prevent a horde of robots from carrying a bomb to their base. As well as the AI-controlled enemies and co-op gameplay, another distinguishing feature of the game mode is the ability for players to purchase upgrades for their weapons using in-game currency. All purchased upgrades will last for the duration of the game.
The team is attacked by a horde of AI-controlled robots, and must try to prevent the robots from successfully delivering a bomb to the players' base (as in Payload). Each robot destroyed provides the players with money (when one player collects a money pile, everyone benefits and earns some money). Between waves of robots, the players have the chance to upgrade their weapons at an Upgrade Store using this money. They may also upgrade abilities for their current class. The upgraded abilities are kept, even while switching to a different class, but the purchased abilities are only available for the class that they were purchased for.
For a fee, the Upgrade Store can also fill a player's Canteen with a buff—such as personal ÜberCharge, a five-second critical hit boost, or ammunition refill—or an ability such as rapid building upgrades for Engineers or the ability to teleport back to the spawn point. All of these Canteens each provide up to three uses.
Most of the robot horde is made up of plain robotic versions of eight of the nine playable classes (there are no robot Engineers), with their respective basic weapons equipped. However, there are also a number of special robots with unique abilities.
The bomb-carrying robot receives buffs, which increase over time. These buffs are divided into three stages, which stack together:
|First stage||Defensive buff, shared with all nearby robots|
|Second stage||Health regeneration|
|Final stage||Full crits all the time|
Abilities and Upgrades
For the sake of identification, all human players will be dressed in RED and will be identified as team DEFENDERS while all robots will have BLU colors in their visual effects and in the kill feed.
Before each round begins, Defenders will be given a graphic indication of the impending onslaught. Primary targets will have numbers underneath them and will be classified by class or (in the case of special robots) their specialty. Red groups indicate tanks as well as giant robots. Support targets will be noted as such and will tend to be focused on attacking the players rather than carrying the bomb (though some like Scout supports will try to carry the bomb at times). Snipers and Spies are always assigned support roles.
When at least three players enter a Mann vs Machine server, the option to begin play is enabled. During the setup phase before the robots arrive, Engineers are able to instantly place buildings, fully upgraded to level 3, at no metal cost, and Medics can instantly fill their Übercharge meters and rapidly max out ally overheals. Once one player declares he is ready, a 150-second countdown clock will begin. As more players acknowledge they are ready, the clock time will be reduced in 30-second intervals (to 120, 90, 60, and 30 seconds, respectively, depending on the number of players present). If all players acknowledge that they are ready, the round is committed and the clock is reduced to ten seconds. Regardless of how it is done, once the countdown ends, the robots will begin their approach to the field.
Robots cannot attack or be damaged until they jump down into the players' field. A strength gauge will appear to note the remaining forces of the wave. Only primary targets count towards this progress. As they are destroyed, the gauge will empty. Once it is completely empty, the wave is defeated. During the wave, support icons may appear to indicate a specific threat.
- Sniper - Snipers are entering the field. They enter like regular robots but will be focused on attacking players from afar. Snipers will always display visible lasers from their rifles when scoped, making them easier to spot. Beware of their Special counterparts the Bowmen. They don't produce visible lasers.
- Spy - Spy robots are on the field. Unlike the other robots, these used their cloaks to infiltrate the field and will enter from the player's side of the field (which means they'll be coming from behind you most of the time), already disguised as a human. They will act as your average Spy would: sapping Engineer buildings and attempting backstabs.
- Sentry Buster - Sentry Busters will fixate on a Sentry Gun on the field and try to get close to it. If it reaches the Sentry or runs out of health, it will stop and then explode powerfully after two seconds, destroying all buildings and players within the explosion's radius.
- Tank - Heavily-armored tanks will enter the field from specific entry points. They won't attack but will move implacably towards the bomb hatch until they are destroyed or reach their destination. Tanks do not need to carry or retrieve the main bomb as each one contains its own bomb.
After each successful wave, the defenders will be evaluated based on how aggressively money was collected (with a grade ranging from a low of F to a high of A+). If all the piles of money are collected (the A+ grade), the team will earn a $100 bonus. Once a mission is completed, the defenders will be given a final evaluation and the server will load the next Mann vs. Machine map.
- Models of robots of the RED team can be found in game files.
- Sometimes a menu such as team, class, or upgrade choice will freeze on screen, forcing you to refresh the HUD. (This can be accomplished by typing hud_reloadscheme in the console)
- The hole in which the bomb is placed kills everything, including bots carrying bombs.
- When killed by a dead bot, such as from afterburn, the killfeed shows that the bot has moved to spectator mode. This is due to the internal routine that reassigns bot players for the next attack.
- In the upgrade station, upgrading a canteen can sometimes fill differently than what you selected. (example: You selected to buy 1 uber, and got 2 fills with the price of 2.)
- Sometimes when a robot delivers the bomb, the game will continue. The hole will remain for the entire session and it will be impossible to fail, unless a second bomb is delivered (for example, if a tank is in the mission)
- Two grenade weapons cut from the game, the Bear Trap and the Frag Grenade, can be seen in the Upgrade Store.
- Using Taunts that normally deal damage, like the Fencing taunt, will not affect the tanks.