- This article is for competitive play.
The standard competitive format Highlander is a common rule set used by many TF2 leagues. Not all leagues follow all of these rules exactly, but most major ones do, and most competitive players scrim with them on. Settings not listed here are either default, don't impact gameplay, or significantly vary by league.
Most who play in leagues that follow the standard competitive format use the standard competitive lineup.
Teams are limited to 9 players each. Most leagues allow teams to start with only 8 players if they are unable to field a ninth player or if the designated player can not attend the match for any given reason (though it is common practice to give opponents extra time to find all of the players necessary if any are having trouble). Teams unable to field the required nine (or eight) players generally incur a forfeit loss.
Classes are limited as follows:
In other words, each class can only be played by one person on each team.
Random crits are disabled.
All non-random crits still function, so long as their status is relevant (for example, backstabs will not crit, but still deal 600% of the target's current hit points, and a Kritzkrieg Über will still give a temporary crit-boost).
Damage spread is disabled.
This means that damage randomization is removed, but damage ramp-up and falloff based on distance still occurs.
Fixed weapon spread is enabled.
This means that pellet-style weapons (Shotgun, Scattergun, Force-A-Nature, etc) fire pellets in a nonrandom pattern. The pattern is composed of 9 hitscan paths spaced like a 3x3 grid, with one extra pellet going down the center (or, for the Force A Nature, two extra going down the center and one extra going down the middle-right path).
Attack/Defend and Payload maps use stopwatch.
This means that if both teams capture the same number of points when on offense, the team that did so faster wins that round.
King of the Hill
King of the Hill (commonly referred to as KOTH) matches are most frequently played in two match-rounds.
Each team competes to hold a single capture point until their timer, which is most often set at 3:00 minutes, runs out. In a two match-round setup, the first team to win four rounds is the victor. The first match-round is played until either team has won three rounds. The second match-round is played until a three more rounds have been completed. The first team to win four total rounds is the victor(this includes rounds from the first match-half). In an unusual situation where one team wins all three rounds of the first match-round, and the other team wins all three rounds of the second match-round the teams play a third match-round. The winner of the first round on the third match round is the victor. Possible scores for winning teams of King of the Hill maps include 4-3, 4-2, 4-1, and 4-0.
Payload matches are played by each team competing to obtain the faster time.
This means that the first team to capture every point on a payload map the fastest wins. After a team finishes attacking and defending for one round, the team with the fastest capture time is awarded one point. It is common for Highlander teams on a payload map to play in a best two out of three format. Possible scores for payload maps include 2-0, and 2-1.
Timed Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag (commonly referred to as CTF) matches are played to a specific time limit (as opposed to a score goal, though there may be a mercy rule).
This means that a given half of a match will continue playing until the timer runs out. Most leagues tally points from all halves into final scores (assuming there is more than one half) to determine the winner. Some leagues enact mercy rules, which end the game early if one team gets an insurmountable point lead over the other. Crits on capture is disabled.
Teamtalk, if specified at all, is enabled.
This means that team members can use in-game voice and text chat with each other even while dead (though most teams use low latency external voice programs such as Mumble or TeamSpeak regardless). Unfair ghosting is prevented by only allowing dead players to spectate allies, with third-person and free-roam spectating disabled.
All game models, textures, and particles are forced to TF2 defaults via
wait command may or may not be disabled. Scripts otherwise function normally and are permitted, so long as they're not exploitative.
Custom HUDs are allowed in full.