How does armor protect units? What is piercing damage? How effective are unit upgrades? This section will take a look at how
combat works in the Warcraft universe and answer some of these questions. Warning: There is a bit of number
A unit has four ratings that determine how effective it is in combat. Hit Points indicate how much damage the unit
can take before dying; an ogre with 90 Hit Points can take quite a bit more damage than a Grunt with 60 Hit
Points. Armor reflects not only armor worn by the unit, but its innate resistance to damage. All buildings have an
automatic armor rating of 20. Basic Damage is how much normal damage the unit can inflict every time it attacks. This
is lowered by the target's Armor rating. Piercing Damage reflects how effective the unit is at bypassing armor. Magical
attacks, like dragon's breath and lightning, ignore armor.
When one unit attacks another, the formula used to determine damage is:
(Basic Damage - Target's Armor) + Piercing Damage = Maximum damage inflicted
The attacker does a random amount of damage from 50%-100% of this total each attack.
An Example of Combat in Warcraft II
An ogre and a footman are engaged in combat. The ogre has a Basic Damage rating of 8, and a Piercing Damage rating
of 4. The footman has an Armor value of 2. Every time the ogre attacks the footman, it has the potential to inflict up
to (8-2)+4=10 points of damage, or it could inflict as little as 50% damage, or 5 points. On average, the ogre
will kill the footman in about 8 swings.
The poor footman, on the other hand, with a Basic Damage of 6 and a Piercing Damage of 3, will only inflict 3
or 5 points of damage each time he attacks the ogre, which has an Armor value of 4 (that's (6-4)+3=5). Even if the
footman is extremely lucky and does the maximum amount of damage with every attack, it will take 18 swings to kill that 90
Hit Point ogre. By that time, the ogre will have pounded him into mincemeat and moved on.
The most important thing to remember with upgrades is that weapon upgrades affect Piercing Damage. If the same
footman from the above example waited until he had a double weapon upgrade, he would be able to inflict
up to (6-4)+3+4=9 points of damage with each attack, which is almost twice what he was doing before. You can see now
why Elven Rangers are devastating in numbers; fully upgraded, they will always do at least 6 points of damage with each
attack against any target.
This tip may not change the way you play Warcraft, but hopefully it will give you a little more insight into the inner
workings of the game. Try playing around with the unit combat values in the Unit Editor to see how you can change the balance.
Lowering a unit's Hit Points and raising its Armor, for instance, makes it more vulnerable to magical attacks but increases
its effectiveness against normal troops. You may also find that against some players, you're better off upgrading your basic
troops than researching new ones, especially if they like to attack early. It's Warcraft's flexibility that gives it
longevity. Above all, have fun!