Team Fortress 2 bulks up with Mannpower: a beta mode with grappling hooks for all

Team Fortress 2

There’s something taking shape in the stocking of the Team Fortress 2 Smissmas update – the same patch divined decades ago in classics like ‘Merry Smissmas Everyone’, ‘Last Smissmas’ and ‘Driving Home for Smissmas’. 

It’s named Mannpower Mode, and enlivens Capture the Flag with two of gaming’s best-loved features: grappling hooks and power-ups.

“We want to stress a very important word: beta,” cautioned the ent-like developers of some of the best first-person shooters in the world. “This is an unpolished beta game mode we’re releasing specifically so we can get playtest feedback from everybody and improve it moving forward.”

All of Mannpower Mode’s art is temporary, and every one of its new mechanics is “in flux”. But oh, what mechanics.

There’s a grappling hook, available to all classes, that you can equip in your action slot. Switch to slot six, press fire, and you’ll shoot out a hook that reels you in wherever it connects with the terrain. You can release the fire button whenever you want to detach – so there’s scope for skilled play and tactical vantage points.

The power-ups are the titular Mannpowers – nine of them in total, but subject to change over the coming weeks.

  • Strength: Double damage for all weapons. Distance damage fall-off immunity.
  • Resistance: Reduces incoming damage by 50%. Immune to critical hit damage multiplier.
  • Vampire: All damage dealt is returned as health. 25% damage resistance. Max health increased by 40%.
  • Warlock: 50% of damage received is reflected back to the attacker (reflected damage cannot directly cause death). Max health increased by 50%.
  • Haste: Double weapon firing and reload rate. Double clip size and max ammo count. Movement speed increased by 30%.
  • Regeneration: Ammo, health and metal regenerate. Rate of health regeneration inversely proportional to max health.
  • Precision: Greatly reduced bullet spread. Distance damage falloff immunity. Rocket and grenade travel speed increased 250%.
  • Agility: Movement speed increased by 50%. Grapple speed increase. Jump height increased by 80%. Instant weapon switch.
  • Critical Hit: temporary full crit power for 30 seconds. Respawns in the same place after 60 seconds.

You’ll find them littered about the map. When picked up, Mannpowers will instantly add their enhancements to the player carrying them – but can be dropped at any time (and won’t follow their users beyond the pale). You’ll only be able to carry one at a time, and can’t bring them into respawn rooms.

The mode is currently playable in slightly modified versions of Ctf_foundry and Ctf_gorge. You’ll find it by ticking the ‘Play Beta Maps’ box in the TF2 multiplayer menu.

We had thought Counter-Strike: Global Offensive bird surfing was the new rocket jump. But perhaps grapple hooks will win that hallowed role instead?