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TF2 associates server with LAN IP
This is the problem, and yes, I searched the forum and didn't find a solution...

When I start a TF2 server, it associates it with my local network IP, which is Nobody can join this server, not even if they manually enter my correct WAN IP when trying to connect from console.

I'm not a total novice at this, I forward ports all the time, and TF2 is THE ONLY application that I couldn't get to work with the knowledge I possess.

Here are my port forward directives on my router for TF2:

rdr on fxp0 proto $both from any to <myExternalIP> port 27015 -> <theLocalIPofMachineRunningTF2server>
rdr on fxp0 proto $both from any to <myExternalIP> port 27005 -> <theLocalIPofMachineRunningTF2server>
rdr on fxp0 proto $both from any to <myExternalIP> port 27016 -> <theLocalIPofMachineRunningTF2server>

"rdr" means redirect. The variable $both encompasses both TCP and UDP protocols. "fxp0" is the network interface which connects my router to my modem, which functions in bridged mode allowing me to define the external IP on my router, which is an actual Dell server machine and not one of those cheap boxes you can't even always fully configure. The port forward software I'm using is packetfilter. Everything works like a charm for EVERYTHING EXCEPT THIS PARTICULAR APPLICATION.

No, I don't have a Windows firewall enabled.

Also, my server.cfg in C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\<steamnick>\team fortress 2\tf\cfg\ has the line "sv_lan 0", yet when I start the server and check this setting from console, it says "sv_lan 1", and that 0 should be default. If I change this value and start the server again, it resets it to 1. Also, checking the "ip" variable in console shows "localhost", but changing this to my external IP does nothing to help the issue.

What is the deal with all this obnoxious bullcrap that autonomously takes place in order to ruin my fun when I try to host a Valve game server?
set your IP to your internal IP and see how that works.
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