Critical Damage: How It Works – Alexander Chulkov (WOWP Game Designer)


Critical Damage: How It Works – Alexander Chulkov (WOWP Game Designer)

  • Gameplay
  • Difficulty
  • Effects
  • Graphics

Along with the updated shooting system, Update 1.9 will include a completely reworked critical damage system. What is its purpose?

The system we currently have does not provide much variety in ingame situations, almost every crit result, except for the engine, has very little impact on the aircraft. You normally only notice the effects of a damaged wing or tail in a tough dogfight with a skilled rival. A drop in skills effectiveness from an injured pilot or rear gunner is even less noticeable. As a result, in most cases you can treat your HP points quite liberally — if your aircraft isn’t already battered from battle, usually nothing really unfortunate happens if you’re under fire for a short while.

The new critical damage system will change that. Every attack can break something vital on an aircraft and turn the tables in a dogfight. This adds value to every attack decision and forces a pilot to be careful when defending.

So how does it work?

Every armament type has an ability to deal critical damage which depends on its caliber and the ammo installed.

Every module has specific resistance to crits. This depends on its type, the aircraft model as well as some other factors (for example, equipment you choose can make other modules more durable). As an example of the varying crit resistance let’s take a look at engines. Air-cooled models are more durable on average even though they are often larger than water-cooled ones. Yet even though it’s easier to score a hit on a larger module, it’s harder to critically damage it. At the same time the engine is a sophisticated mechanism, and a cannon shell penetrating its cowling has much more chance to break something vital. On the other hand, a shell can punch through a wing missing all the rods and framework and thus not affect the aircraft’s ability in battle in any significant way.

After a player’s aircraft sustains critical damage to a module, the flight parameters associated with it will drastically decrease. Several seconds later they will be partly restored. This emulates the ability of the pilot to restart the damaged engine or compensate for difference in lift on the damaged control planes. But the aircraft will not return to its initial conditions — noticeable, though not fatal consequences of damage will remain till the end of the battle.

Also we take into consideration the overall structural integrity of the aircraft. Some small caliber bullets won’t be able to critically damage a fully intact machine, but if it has already sustained significant damage that’s when it’s time to be worried. However it won’t matter if your aircraft is brand new and hasn’t seen any battle if you get hit by a 45 millimeter shell.

The following modules can be critically damaged:

  • Engine damage reduces thrust, boost capability and overall speed characteristics of an aircraft. When the engine is destroyed (‘red’ critical damage) it loses all thrust including boost, the engine does not cool down until it’s restarted, and maximum speed is reduced by 50%. After the engine is restored to the damaged ‘yellow’ state (after the preset repair time or by using aPneumatic Restarter) all the parameters linked to it will be reduced by 10% from normal. On a twin-engine aircraft every engine provides half of overall thrust and boost, so a crit to a single engine results in fewer penalties: boost and thrust will not be entirely lost but will be reduced by 50%, maximum speed will be reduced only by 25%.
  • Wing damage significantly decreases roll speed and dynamics and also slightly decreases speed due to aerodynamic effects. Critical damage reduces roll speed and dynamics by 50%, speed drops by 20%, plus effectiveness of the flaps and pitch speed will slightly decrease. When both wings are damaged – these penalties are multiplied (75% instead of 50% and 36% instead of20% respectively). After restoration or use of a Control Surface Trim consumable, main penalties to roll speed and dynamics are reduced by half, pitch speed and flaps effectiveness are fully restored and speed reduction will be only 5% per wing.
  • Critical damage to tailplanes reduces pitch and yaw speed as well as dynamics and also slightly decreases speed. A ‘red‘ crit primarily affects yaw — its speed and dynamics are reduced to 25% of nominal values. Since pitch is crucial for aircraft survival, these penalties are more player-friendly — just 25% to pitch speed and 50% to dynamics. After returning to the‘yellow’ state, the tail will provide 75% of nominal yaw parameters. Pitch dynamics will suffer 25% dynamics penalty, but its speed will return to nominal values. Similar to wings, a damaged tail will result in 5% decrease in maximum airspeed for the aircraft.
  • A wounded rear gunner stops shooting for the duration of the ‘red’ crit. After that his shooting efficiency will be significantly reduced.
  • A crit to a pilot results in drastic drop in his shooting accuracy with forward-facing armament. In a ‘yellow’ injury state, his accuracy will be at 80% of normal.

You can reduce probability of critical damage by installing special equipment. Improved Covering protects control planes,Additional Armor Plates provide more armor to the crew and engines (in case of the single-seater aircraft with remote controlled turrets the protection extends to the turrets themselves), while Reinforced Airframe increases resistance to all kinds of critical damage. You can combine them to make your machine more durable against specific damage, or you can even fully armor heavy fighters and attack aircraft with all three kinds of equipment to turn them into flying tanks. Those types of equipment that improve effectiveness in specific aspects (sights, engine tuning, improved flaps etc.) will continue working after sustaining critical damage, effectively reducing penalties caused by it. All the crew skills continue working even when its members are wounded.


We added new features to the interface and graphic effects to provide better feedback on crits to both the attacker and the target. First of all, you can see easily recognizable effects when a crit occurs — debris starts falling off a damaged aircraft, it starts smoking, etc. Also a pictogram of the damaged module is displayed to the attacker next to the target’s marker.

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