MessyRecipeIs no one even gonna mention the stock sticky launcher? Has damage rampup and falloff, unless the sticky's been out for 5 seconds, in which case it does base damage regardless of the demo's position. Explosion radius expands over time in the air, unless it lands on a surface, in which case it's instantly full radius. Charging alters speed/range/arc. Absolutely none of this has any indication to any other players as to what state it's in, and even the demo has to pretty much just feel it out. And there's no actual stuff in the game explaining most of this. How is someone supposed to even know about it unless the go searching out old blog posts, update logs, etc.?
I think feeling it out is sufficient, and when someone needs finer details, finding an article or asking another player isn't too much of a burden. I can't recall information that is still mostly hiding in an old patch note or blog; players do cite those pages when informing others, but I admit they seldom turn up at the top of search results. It is unfortunate when that is the case, because the info can be made more accessible.
Most of the SBL's properties can be discovered by players with damage numbers enabled (I'll admit this statement seems optimistic, as most people I know believe they are above-average). At minimum, players should know that charged stickies are useful for extra distance. With damage numbers, players should definitely realize that charging does not add damage to stock stickies, and that after some time, stickies deal more damage at a distance. Some might even notice that traps deal less damage when camping close to an entrance. The decrease in damage with reduced radius is small enough that it probably continues unnoticed until a player frequently connects airdets about its edge, but players should discern that stickies deal more damage at the feet (granted, for additional reasons).
Some other mechanics that should flick on light bulbs when revealed include: crit heals, ubercharge rate (at least when paired with another heal beam), disguised spies being immune to most knockback, larger knockback while mid-air/crouching, and of course, melee random-crit chance.
Some things are harder to discover alone, such as disguise smoke, mini-crits being linked to the player or how to airstrafe better. One of the most frustrating experiences for me was testing and learning about the clusterfuck that is the on-hit effects against ubered/bonked/cloaked/disguised/cloaked+disguised players, and the dead ringer. Valve should clean up those interactions so they're easier to learn in normal play.
Although wikis and guides exist, I agree that more details need to be in-game, if Valve wants players to improve a bit faster. Updated tips and item details, and easy access to them in-game would be nice, particularly for new players that do not have many items. Still, the bulk of learning the game should, and already does, come from first-hand experience and the community, as opposed to static documentation.
Regarding complex weapons, I do fear the possibility of memorizing damage/effective health tables becoming more than trivial for decision-making. There might be a peak where Valve adds the ability to see or even batch ally damage, or make enemy IDs visible for all players, just to recover some quality of life when damage output becomes ridiculously volatile.