Cover

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Cover can be anything that has the possibility to stop a fired bullet from hitting the intended target. Cover in RimWorld can be found in several forms. Some examples are: Rubble, Sandbags, Walls, the Saguaro cactus, and even animals.

High cover consists of any wall, constructed or otherwise, which a character can lean around to shoot enemies (if they're standing next to the wall). Any wall counts as high cover, and will stop bullets or other projectiles not just from hitting whoever is taking cover behind them, but prevent them from continuing on to hit anything else. It also blocks explosives.
Low cover consists of sandbags, rock or slag chunks, trees, bushes, animals, some types of furniture and structures, and virtually anything else that a character can shoot over. Low cover does not provide as high a chance of stopping projectiles as high cover, but it's still far better than nothing, and it allows your colonists to shoot over it whereas a wall could block your shooters' line of sight to target completely.
Natural cover is anything that can protect you on a newly generated map.
Artificial cover is anything you build; even debris that you move could potentially count as artificial cover.

Cover is multiplied by a factor of 20-100% depending which direction the attack is coming from. Cover works best against attacks coming straight at it, but doesn't work so well against incoming attacks from the sides.

Here's a list of each angle threshold and the corresponding cover effectiveness multiplier in a list - as this doesn't look particularly great in a table:

  • a < 15° = 100% effectiveness
  • 15° < a < 27° = 80% effectiveness
  • 27° < a < 40° = 60% effectiveness
  • 40° < a < 52° = 40% effectiveness
  • 52° < a < 65° = 20% effectiveness
  • a > 65° = 0% effectiveness

Cover is additionally less effective at point-blank range: cover's only 33.33% as effective when the shooter is directly in front of the target's cover, and 66.666% if the shooter is 1 tile away from the cover.

Sometimes multiple sources of cover also work together to block additional projectiles. For example, shooting at a pawn behind low cover from a diagonal angle will result in 2 units of low cover providing protection at once, each at a reduced efficiency.

Contents: High Cover Low Cover other/unknown
Artificial Cover * Door
* Walls
* Sand Bags * Buildings
Natural Cover * Mountain walls
* Saguaro cactus
* Rubble
* Bushes
* Animals

See: complete list of objects that provide cover

Natural cover

Natural cover is anything that is generated when the map is created, and is almost everything you can find on a newly generated map.

Walls

Solid walls in general, from mountain walls to walls of ruins scattered across the map, are all capable of providing good cover. Pawns using walls as cover will fire from behind the corner of the wall.

Walls provide up to 75% cover, but is heavily affected by direction.

Rubble

Rubble, in the form of rock chunks and steel slag chunks, is littered all over the map and will be used by attackers to gain an advantage over you. You can also use rubble for protection, but the random rubble placement is unlikely to favor you, so it's advisable to use it as a last resort only.

Rubble, in combination with a dumping area, can provide a free alternative to sandbag emplacements in the early game when Metal is scarce. Here is how it works:

  • Create a Dumping zone in the desired shape. (Typically a 1 square thick wall)
  • Designate the desired amount of rubble to be hauled.
  • Wait for the rubble to be hauled.
  • Place Colonists behind the wall for cover during a firefight.

Rubble provides 50% cover, while Sandbags provide 65%, so it's advisable that you switch to Sandbags when you can afford them. Enemies can also use rubble to their advantage.

Bushes

Bushes provide 25% cover. In general, you'll want to avoid these -- especially as they can catch fire very easily.

Trees

Trees provide 25% cover. Prior to Alpha 17, they provided 43%.

Saguaro cactus

It's a large tree-like cactus with 2 branches. See this page for a picture.

They provide 35% cover.

Animals

A last resort to cover if you have nothing else can be animals. By having animals between your colonist(s) and the attackers, they can actually work as a makeshift barricade (or 'meat shield') by being hit instead of your colonists. Larger animals (eg. Muffalo) work better for this. However, you shouldn't rely on this, as animals tend to wander off at random. They can, however, become enraged and attack your enemies (or you) if fired upon long enough, so there may be something to it after all.


Artificial cover

Artificial cover is anything that you can build. (In a sense, rubble could be counted as artificial cover after you have moved it, and are using it as cover.)

Sandbags

Sandbags are the easiest and cheapest method of protection, offering substantial survivability potential while maintaining maximum angles of fire -- great for turrets and any shooters that need to cover a wide area of approach. U-shapes are good for one character to hide in. Zigzag patterns will allow multiple characters to cover close together, which is handy if you want to focus fire on a few attackers.

Sandbags enclosing a turret make a great defensive hardpoint. But make sure to keep the turret repaired, as it will explode when destroyed and can damage nearby characters and structures. A good practice is to leave a 1 tile gap (or make it a hole with sandbags on the back of the tile too) in the back (most protected side) where a colonist can stand and repair the turret and still be mostly in cover, but be prepared to make the colonist run away when the sparks begin to fly from the turret...

Sandbags provide 65% cover.

Walls

Walls can be used as cover as well. Characters will lean around them to shoot. Three wall blocks placed diagonally make a great sniper nest. Natural walls work in the same way, and will almost always have more durability than any artificial wall.

Door

A door can be used as a high cover if it stands alone so a colonist can lean around it.

Buildings

Most things that you can build can also stop bullets, although they take damage and will eventually be destroyed, catch fire or explode, if not repaired in time.

Full Cover List

Click to view a full list of things that provide cover, sorted by most effective.

Not Cover

The following things do not provide cover.

  • resources and items that can be picked up (i.e. steel, wood logs, stone blocks)
  • plants (except for trees, Saguaro cactus, bushes, and raspberry bushes)
  • minified items
  • power conduit; power switch
  • improvised turrets
  • graves
  • dead bodies
  • spots (i.e. sleeping spot, crafting spot)