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Just like in Age of Wonders 3, combat is a very important part of playing Planetfall and so efforts were made to keep the feel of AoW3 combat whilst developing a system that is more focused on ranged combat than melee combat.

Accuracy and hit chances[edit]

One of the first things we decided was that we needed to bring hit chances back into the game, having ranged weapons always hit makes combat feel stale and predictable, while the chance of an attack failing adds a level of excitement and tension. It also allowed us to add more gameplay to the combat environments, long range attacks would have their accuracy reduced, as would attacks on units behind cover. The terrain now has different height levels, and shooting at a unit that’s lower than oneself grants a bonus to accuracy. Units can also deploy smoke screens to protect their units in areas without cover.

One issue is that many people really, really dislike missing attacks. To help fix this every attack has a chance to Graze a target instead of missing it. Grazing shots do half damage, and any special effects attached to the attack are either weakened or disabled entirely. The chance of a graze happening is up to 25% of the chance to miss, so:

Chance to hit Chance to graze Chance to do nothing
90% 10% 0%
75% 25% 0%
50% 25% 25%

This gives the player more of a sense of control, since if a shot is good enough it’s guaranteed to do something, only the most reckless and ill-advised attacks have a high chance of achieving nothing at all.

Overwatch and staggering[edit]

Units in overwatch guard an arc of hexes in front of them, and the first enemy unit to act or move in one of those hexes will get shot at. Melee units get a special type of multidirectional overwatch which they enter even if they attacked during their turn, giving them a free attack against any unit who tries to move past them or shoot them at point blank range.

In order to counter overwatch, we added the Impact system. High Impact attacks, such as explosives and melee attacks, can Stagger the units they hit, knocking them out of overwatch and allowing your own units to act safely. Staggering will also knock units out of guard mode, and reduce their action points, limiting their options in their next turn. Stagger a unit enough times, and it will not be able to act at all!

Damage formula[edit]

While the damage formulas in AoW3 use flat damage reduction, which does not cope well with the wide range of damage values in this game, Planetfall uses a formula that reduces damage proportionally.

  • I = Incoming damage
  • R = Damage resistance (sum of shields, armor and elemental resistance)
  • D = Actual damage taken

The formula also has diminishing returns; the first few points of resistance reduce damage by roughly 10% each, but as more is stacked, this decreases rapidly. The difference between 10 and 11 resistance is only 4%.

A more practical way to look at this is to consider, how much raw damage a unit can take, before it dies.

Each additional point in damage resistance adds a constant 11.11% limit value to survivability. So a unit with 5|10 DR can take 69%|187% more raw damage than with no DR.

Status chance formula[edit]

The status chance formula is a small modification to the damage formula

Status Resistance is the sum of your unit's Resistance to the Status Effect's channel, your unit's Status Resistance to the Status Effect's channel, and . Armor and Shields are not taken into account.

For example, "Ammunition: Flechette" grants Firearms an 8 Kinetic chance to inflict Bleeding. Against a T1 unit with no weakness or resistance to the Kinetic damage channel, the formula gives:

Against a T2 unit with the same lack of resistance to Kinetic, the formula gives:

Because the T2 unit has 2 inherent status resistance from its Tier.

Heroes are treated as T4 units for the sake of this equation.

Damage channels[edit]

Each weapon group is dominated by a single damage channel but contains modules that allow changing into certain additional damage channels.

Weapon group Module damage channels
Damage Arc.png Arc
  • Anti-Mechanical
  • Bouncing Projectile
  • Stagger
Damage Bio.png Biochemical
  • Armor Melt
  • Infections
  • Slowdown
Damage Kinetic.png Kinetic
  • Anti-Organic
  • Bleeding
  • Smart Bullets
Damage Thermal.png Thermal
  • Blinding
  • Burning
  • Disintegration
  • Shield Breaking
Damage Psionic.png Psionic
  • Buffs
  • Debuffs
  • Mind Control
  • Ignores Armor