Upgrade Station

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MvM Upgrade Station.png
When a robot kills a human, we erupt into a pleading mist of blood, meat particles and tears, which you can't really trade for anything. But when a robot dies, he explodes in a shower of money, which, during between-wave lulls, you can exchange at any Upgrade Station for weapon, item and ability upgrades.

An Upgrade Station is a place for players to buy weapon upgrades, abilities, and Power Up Canteen buffs in Mann vs. Machine. Players may access any kiosk in the base at any time to purchase upgrades with collected credits. The cost of each upgrade does not increase with a repeated purchase. Between waves, players may modulate the number of levels in an upgrade by pressing the + and - buttons to redistribute their credits if they have made a mistake before accepting the upgrade. Once accepting the upgrade it cannot be revoked unless all upgrades are refunded.

Upgrades cannot be refunded during a wave. During the first wave, upgrades can be individually refunded by pressing the minus button to regain the money spent for it and forfeit the upgrade. This includes missions where there is only one wave, such as Caliginous Caper. During any wave, the button to refund is grayed out, preventing a full refund of every upgrade.

During the setup of the first wave of the mission, upgrades can be sold back if the player wants to change weapons, classes, or buy a different upgrade. During the setup for each wave, players may refund their upgrades in the upgrade station menu as many times as necessary. A wrench icon (MvM Class upgraded.png) appears next to a class in the Class Selection Menu if that class already has upgrades applied to it. Upgrades apply to only a single weapon or to a single class if the upgrades purchased directly affect the player. Un-equipping a weapon deactivates all upgrades associated with that weapon, but they are regained if the player re-equips it. Disconnecting from a server and rejoining allows the player to retain their current amount of credits and upgrades if the player chooses the same class.

Failing to complete a wave refunds the credits spent during the setup of that wave to give the player a chance to use a different strategy. It does not refund every upgrade gained across every wave.

Since there are no Resupply Cabinets in the base, purchasing an upgrade from an Upgrade Station restores the player's health and ammo. Players cannot heal using the Upgrade Station during waves and may only refill their ammo across all weapons.

User Interface

MvM Upgrade UI.png

Upgrade Stations are accessed by walking up to them. By default, the primary weapon slot is selected. The UI automatically shades upgrades in a slot if the player cannot afford them. Players may hit the "Cancel" button at any time or simply walk away from the kiosk before accepting an upgrade to regain the credits used during the session.









These are available only to the Engineer.

Power Up Canteen

These are available to any class with a Power Up Canteen, Battery Canteens, or Kritz or Treat Canteen in their Action Slot. Canteens can have a maximum of three charges and only one charge type at a time.

Note certain weapons cannot be upgraded. These include:

Related achievements

Mvm navicon.png Mann vs. Machievements

Maximum Performance
Maximum Performance
Max out all resistances on a single class.

System Upgrade
System Upgrade
Max out all primary weapon upgrades.

Shell Extension
Shell Extension
During a wave, use a canteen charged with 'Ammo Reload' to refill an empty weapon slot.

Ghost in the Machine
Ghost in the Machine
Use a canteen charged with 'Teleport to Spawn' and then kill the bomb carrier within 5 seconds.

Kritical Terror
Kritical Terror
Use a canteen charged with 'Crit Boost' to destroy a giant robot.

German Engineering
German Engineering
Use a canteen charged with 'ÜberCharge' to destroy 15 robots.

During a wave, use a canteen charged with 'Instant Building Upgrade' to build a new sentry gun within 3 seconds of your previous sentry gun's destruction.
Do Androids Dream?
Do Androids Dream?
As a Scout, use the Sandman to mark 15 robots for death in a single wave.

Heavy Mettle
Heavy Mettle
During a wave, use rage as a Heavy to push a robot about to deliver the bomb.

Vial Sharing
Vial Sharing
As a Medic, share your canteen 5 times in a single wave.

Wall Of Pain
Wall Of Pain
Block 5,000 damage with the shield as a Medic in a single life.

Robot Flush
Robot Flush
Kill 5 enemies with a single rocket while upgraded with rocket specialist.

Dazed And Defused
Dazed And Defused
Stun 50 robots while upgraded with rocket specialist.

Update history

August 15, 2012 Patch (Mann vs. Machine Update)
  • Added Mann vs. Machine.

August 17, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a client crash related to the Mann vs. Machine upgrade panel.
  • Fixed seeing incorrect upgrades in the Mann vs. Machine upgrade panel.
  • Updated upgrade icons to remove numbers.

August 23, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed the Metal Regen upgrade displaying a percentage instead of an incremental value.

September 4, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a client money display issue when purchasing or selling bottle charges after changing classes.
  • Fixed Sniper Rifle reload upgrade not reducing the time delay from hip shot to scoping.

September 21, 2012 Patch

  • Added the ability to buy projectile penetration for the Crusader's Crossbow.
  • Fixed the Medi Gun overheal duration attribute causing the overheal effect to decay faster, rather than slower.
  • Fixed the Demoman shields not saving their upgrades upon round reset.

September 27, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a bug where players could only buy 1 upgrade at a time from the upgrade station.

October 9, 2012 Patch

  • Balance changes:
    • Explosive Headshots
      • Damage is now 150 regardless of upgrade level.
      • Damage is done in one tick instead of the previous six.
      • Added a slowing effect based on upgrade level (50%-80% slow, 2-4 second duration).
      • Radius still scales with upgrade level (unchanged).
    • Marked For Death duration reduced to 7 seconds from 15 seconds when the target is a giant robot.
    • Reduced the "effect bar recharge rate increased" upgrade from 20% increments with an 80% cap to 15% increments with a 60% cap.

July 10, 2013 Patch

  • In MvM, when robots are killed by Sniper headshots or explosive headshot upgrade, they will drop 'red' money that will automatically be collected when it would otherwise dissolve.

August 27, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the Medi Gun's "Share Power Ups" upgrade from working correctly in Mann vs. Machine mode.

October 29, 2013 Patch

  • Inspecting a player in Mann vs. Machine (default key: F) now shows the upgrades of the player who is currently being inspected.

November 21, 2013 Patch (Two Cities Update)

  • Players can earn a "Refund Upgrades" credit by collecting money during waves
    • The amount required is listed in the scoreboard, and varies per-mission
    • Any money collected – whether winning or losing – will count toward earning a credit
    • To redeem, visit an Upgrades station and click the "Refund Upgrades" button
    • Any money spent on buy-backs and Canteen charges will not be refunded
  • Medic
    • Projectile Shield Upgrade
      • Build Energy by healing teammates, reviving and preventing damage via Invuln ÜberCharge.
      • Press ATTACK3 to activate when Energy meter is full (mouse3 by default)
      • While active:
        • Blocks all enemy projectiles
        • Damages enemies on touch
    • Mad Milk Syringes Upgrade
      • Syringe Gun needles apply Mad Milk (heal-on-hit for teammates) on contact
    • Healing Mastery Upgrade (previously two separate upgrades)
      • +25% heal rate per point
      • +25% revive rate per point
      • +25% self-regen rate per point
    • Overheal Expert Upgrade (previously two separate upgrades)
      • +25% more overheal per point
      • +50% duration per point
    • Canteen Specialist Upgrade
      • Shares canteen charge effects with heal target
      • +1 second charge duration per point
      • -10 canteen charge price per point
  • Soldier
    • Rocket Specialist Upgrade
      • +15% rocket speed per point
      • On direct hits
        • Stuns target (duration increases per point)
        • +15% increased blast radius per point
        • No range-based falloff damage
  • Heavy
    • Attack Projectiles Upgrade
      • Now has two levels
        • Level one is less effective than before
        • Level two is more effective than level one used to be
      • Price reduced from 600 to 400 per point
    • Rage Pushback upgrade activation moved to ATTACK3 (mouse3 by default)
  • Lowered the cost of the Bullet and Blast Resistance upgrades from 350 to 300
  • Added Demoman upgrade: -30% Push Force on wearer

November 22, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed a server crash related to damaging the tank with the new Medic shield.
  • Fixed the Health Regen MvM upgrade string mistakenly displaying %

December 6, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed players who join in the middle of a mission not receiving the Upgrade Refund credit if it has been earned by the team.
  • Fixed an exploit that allowed purchasing upgrades for weapons other than what they were intended for.

January 9, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed an exploit in Mann vs. Machine related to purchasing upgrades.

February 7, 2014 Patch #1

  • Fixed an exploit that allowed players to purchase/sell the Canteen Specialist upgrade to get more money than they originally spent.
  • Fixed a bug that caused players to not receive an Upgrade Refund Credit when they should have.
  • Fixed the UI not updating properly if an Upgrade Refund Credit is earned after the wave has ended.
  • Fixed the MvM upgrade menu closing when a Strange item has its counter increment.

February 19, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed a Mann vs. Machine bug related to upgrades after a retry/reconnect.

March 5, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed an exploit in Mann vs. Machine mode related to purchasing upgrades for free.

May 15, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed the Engineer being able to purchase the Disposable Sentry Gun upgrade in Mann vs. Machine, build a disposable Sentry Gun, and then refund the upgrade without the Sentry being destroyed.

June 20, 2014 Patch

  • Updated the B.A.S.E. Jumper to prevent buying unusable upgrades in Mann vs. Machine.

October 27, 2017 Patch

  • Removed the "Faster recharge rate" upgrades from The Dragon's Fury.
  • Fixed the missing "Increased Airblast Push Force" upgrade on The Dragon's Fury.

July 7, 2022 Patch

  • Fixed Übercharge charge rate and duration upgrade not working for the Vaccinator.

July 12, 2023 Patch #1 (Summer 2023 Update)

  • Fixed the Mann vs. Machine upgrade panel closing after receiving a matchmaking party invite.

Unused content

  • There are many additional sound files for Projectile Shield upgrade; they are referred to in the game files as "prefix_burn_suffix". These would likely be used when multiple projectiles are blocked by the Projectile Shield. There is also another unused sound that would be used if the user retracted the shield after switching weapons.
  • Inside the game files, there are 3 upgrades to be found that are not currently in the game; They include a radius of Sentry Gun upgrade, regeneration of a percent of a mercenary's max ammo every 5 seconds upgrade, and gaining more credits through an additively stacking percent multiplier upgrade.
  • There is an unused song in the game's files that would possibly be played while the player used an Upgrade Station.


  • Changing a weapon via loadout screen before walking up to the upgrade station, then buying a single upgrade, prevents buying (most) upgrades that cannot normally be bought on the new weapon. For example, having the Air Strike equipped, switching to the Cow Mangler, buying a movement speed upgrade, and then buying ammo capacity in the Air Strike tab does not take credits away from the player's balance and does not apply the ammo upgrade to the Cow Mangler since it cannot be normally bought that. Purchasing an upgrade in the original item, such as a damage upgrade on the Air Strike, the money is taken away and the player does not get the damage upgrade on their Cow Mangler, however any future upgrades in the Air Strike tab apply to the Cow Mangler if they can normally be bought. The first upgrade bought cannot be refunded if the player is not on wave 1.
    • There are select weapons that have "ghost upgrades" that can be purchased using this bug. The most commonly abused and useful one of these is being able to buy a firing speed upgrade on the Soda Popper.
  • Occasionally, when on the Canteen charges page, clicking once on any upgrade's + sign gives the player two charges for the Canteen, at the same cost of purchasing one charge twice, though only one circle fills. The player ends up with those two charges upon clicking "accept", and the interface returns to the correct number of circles filled the next time the player goes to the station.
  • The second firing speed upgrade for every Minigun (except Tomislav) has no effect; also due to the firing rate being tick based, the indicated percentage is wrong, the first/second upgrade increases firing speed by 14%, third by 29% and fourth by 43%. For the Tomislav, the first firing speed does not work, and the second tick increases the rate by 13%, 25% for the third upgrade, and 38% for the fourth upgrade.[1]
    • Sentry Guns do not benefit from the second or third upgrades of firing speed in a normal server; however, if the server's simulation tick timing is slightly off, then the first tick does not work and the second tick is required to gain any benefit. Using hitsounds is the best way to judge if the first tick actually worked since it is impossible to know if the server tick is off. A crit canteen always gives the player the fastest firing speed possible regardless of how many ticks are purchased or if it is wrangled.[2]
  • Inspecting another player, walking up to the Upgrade Station, and hitting cancel results in showing the player an upgrade screen for the other player. The only buttons that can be pressed are cancel and refund, which refund your upgrades.
  • Buying "+2s Crits On Kill" and/or "+25% Damage" upgrades on the Half-Zatoichi as a Demoman can carry over when the player switches to Soldier with the same weapon equipped, despite Soldier being unable to buy Crits On Kill nor Damage upgrades.


  • There are several items visible inside the Upgrade Station, the most notable being one of the many scrapped weapons used for the scrapped grenade slot, which are the Bear Trap and the Frag Grenade.
  • The texture for the Upgrade Station contains a hidden note in the top left corner, which cannot be seen in-game, which reads:



  1. Graph explaining Minigun firerates.
  2. Graph explaining Sentry Gun firing rate.

See also

External links