Today marks Day Three, the final day, of the Mann vs Machine Team Fortress 2 update extravaganza. Yesterday we went into detail about the enemies you can expect in the new horde mode, as well as the brand new Update Station and all the goodies you could obtain there to aid you and your six-man party in battle. What did Valve unveil for Day Three, officially named “Bounty”?
For one thing, an Easter egg on the MvM page reveals a new Archimedes (Medic’s loyal dove friend) plush that is available in the Valve Store for $24.99, and includes a promotional code to unlock an in-game version of the bird. The official Day Three page discloses 35 new achievements and a new item to buy at the Mann Co Store—the Tour of Duty Ticket—which gives you access to “Mann Up Mode”. Mann Up Mode is a way for you to earn items (all of which are cosmetic only) for completing Mann vs Machine missions and “Tours of Duty”—a collection of missions that exist only in Mann Up Mode. Hit the break for a run down on the achievements, and more information on Tour of Duty Tickets, Tour of Duty Badges, and Squad Surplus Vouchers (all of which are meant to monetize the update and provide you with unique items).
The achievements are all pretty standard—many of them reward you simply for using the new items and mechanics introduced, or for killing a certain number of robots or certain kind of robots, or meeting a time limit, and other typical stage-specific fare. Other achievements probably won’t make sense without having played through the missions, such as Hard Reset: “As a Pyro, reset the bomb 3 times in a single wave,” and Raid Array: “Complete the Crash Course, Doe’s Drill, and Manouvers missions.” There’s also an achievement for completing a mission with 5 people from your Friends list, so start organizing yourselves.
The Mann Up stuff is a little more complicated, and required its own complete FAQ. Yes, Mann vs Machine is totally free, all the missions are free, and, “all play time in Mann vs. Machine will count toward your standard timed loot drops.” However, if you want to do something a little special and get some rewards, you can buy a Tour of Duty Ticket from the Mann Co store. This allows you to play on official Mann Co servers. When you play on those servers, you enter Mann Up Mode, which allows you to start a Tour of Duty.
A Tour of Duty is a collection of Missions that may span multiple maps. Tours of Duty only exist in Mann Up Mode. Mann vs. Machine is shipping with one Tour of Duty. We’ll be releasing more Tours of Duty in the future.
Mann Up Mode also, “allows you to earn special item rewards and track your progress through various Missions.”
So basically: you buy a Tour of Duty Ticket for $0.99. This ticket lets you play on official Mann Co servers where you can pick up special items and do a special collection of missions. After completing your first Mann Up Mode mission, you receive a Tour of Duty badge, which tracks your progress through a Tour of Duty. Each newly completed mission grants you an item, and each completed Tour of Duty grants you a rare item and an upgrade Badge. These are three ways you earn items in Mann Up Mode:
- Each time you complete an unfinished Mission on your ToDB in Mann Up Mode, you’ll earn an item. This will consume the Tour of Duty Ticket you presented to enter Mann Up Mode.
- When you complete all of the Missions on a ToDB, you’ll earn a random rare item. These rare items can only be obtained by completing ALL Missions in a Tour of Duty.
- You can also obtain items using Squad Surplus Vouchers.
What a Squad Surplus Voucher does is give an item to you and every member of your team after completion of a mission in an official Mann Co server only. If two of you present Squad Surplus Vouchers, then you all get two items, and so on. If for some reason you all fail the mission, the voucher won’t be consumed. “Tour of Duty Tickets and Squad Surplus Vouchers are ONLY consumed upon successful completion of a Mission. If you do not beat the Mission for any reason, then your Tickets and Vouchers will not be consumed and can be used again later.” Additionally, while Tour of Duty tickets will not be consumed following missions you’ve already completed, Squad Surplus Vouchers will always be redeemed for items when a mission is completed successfully. Vouchers are $1.99 in the Mann Co Store.
The third and final map to be revealed for this update is “Decoy.” Who knew the Mann Co headquarters were a pair of wooden buildings in the desert?
As for the ticket and voucher stuff, I know a system like that is necessary to monetize a free to play game, but it is a much better deal than buying keys for crates. Instead of $2.50 for a potentially useless item, you pay $0.99 for a guaranteed unique item. Additionally, it’s all cosmetic-only, keeping the game fair and balanced, unlike many other free to play, pay to win games.