Rimworld: Complete Combat Guide (Anomaly DLC)

Master the art of war using these tips and tricks!

Rimworld Complete Combat Guide (Anomaly DLC)

Learning the different mechanics of a game can be difficult especially if the game doesn’t tell you anything. Some games can have some really deep and intricate mechanics, and if you learn all of them, you’ll get an edge when playing.

In Rimworld, doing combat sounds easy enough, just arm your pawns and send them to fight right? It’s not that simple, there are a lot of things going on in the background that you should know.

In this guide, we’ll go through how combat works with with the new Anomaly DLC for the game. We’ll look at how the game treats every facet of combat so you’ll know more about how to fight effectively!

Complete Combat Guide (Anomaly DLC)

Combat is deeper than you think in Rimworld. It’s not just about the pawns’ shooting or melee skills, it’s more than that. There’s the cover, weapon stats, and defensive tactics to think about as well! Here are some tips and tricks to help you master combat in the game.

SIDE NOTE: The game recently had a big DLC release, check out our guide on the Anomaly DLC for more information!

Pawns & Combat

We’ll be starting with the pawns because they’re the backbone of your fighting force. The guns won’t shoot without them and the swords won’t swing when they’re gone.

There are 3 main skills you’ll want to focus on when inspecting a pawn for combat. Those skills are Shooting, Melee, and Medical.

Rimworld Pawn Skills

Shooting is for guns and Melee is for knives and swords, simple enough right? The higher the Shooting Skill the better the chances of your pawn hitting targets. Of course, it also depends on the weapon and its stats and that’s for later.

The Melee skill is how well your pawn can fight in melee combat when two pawns touch. Whether they’re swinging a sword, using the butt of a rifle, or even with their fists it’s how well they can hit and dodge.

Rimworld Tend Wounded

Medical is important since when a pawn is down you’ll want to have a medic nearby. The Medic’s job is to either haul them to somewhere safer like your designated hospital room, or tend them on the spot. The latter is important when a pawn is bleeding and only has a couple of hours left before they die!

Weapon Mechanics

Another important part of combat is the weapons your pawns are using! You can check the weapon’s stats by clicking on it and then pressing the “i” button on the lower left of the screen.

Rimworld Weapon Stats

There are a lot of stats on each gun so let’s go through the important ones:

  • Damage – How much damage a body part takes when it’s hit by this weapon. Each body part has a different HP value like the brain having 10 HP and Torsos having 40 HP.
  • Stopping Power – When a pawn is hit they’re slowed down, this stat is the ability to slow down targets. Stopping power of 1 can stagger enemies slowing them down for a moment.
  • Armor Penetration – If the AP is higher than the armor % then it ignores the armor.
  • Burst Shot Count – The amount of bullets that fire before a delay. Rifles will have 1 while Assault Rifles will have 3 and Miniguns have a whopping 25 shots for each burst!
  • Range – How far can a weapon shoot based on tiles.
  • Accuracy – The accuracy values of the weapon at different ranges. Some weapons have an optimal range so check these stats to find out.
  • Ranged Cooldown – The amount of time between shots.
  • Aiming Time – The amount of time to aim the weapon before firing.
  • Melee Damage Per Second – Both Melee and Ranged weapons have this since you can bash weapons on people. It’s the damage a weapon does in a second assuming everything hits.
  • Melee Armor Penetration – The Same as ranged Armor Penetration.

Side Note: Not all weapons are made equal, so check the weapon’s quality! A Normal Assault Rifle will be better than an Awful one and will be worse than an Excellent one.

Cover Mechanics

Before we start shooting miniguns and throwing grenades you’ll want to send your pawns to cover first! Cover is something a lot of players don’t fully understand and I can understand why. The game doesn’t convey the information organically.

If your pawn is behind cover then there’s a chance for projectiles like bullets or arrows to hit the cover instead of the pawn. We want that since a dead pawn isn’t that useful. (Unless you’re a cannibal!) You’ll want to keep your pawns safe and fighting.

Rimworld Cover

There are a lot of natural and player-made covers that you can use. Each one of them has a Cover Effectiveness value which is the chance of projectiles hitting the cover instead of the pawn. Here are most of the common ones in the vanilla game:

  • Walls and Stone Walls (75% Cover) – Pawns can shoot around walls and have one the highest cover ratings in the game. Sadly they can’t shoot over or through them unless you’re using mods!
  • Doors (75% Cover) – A pawn can shoot around a door much like a wall but if you’re inside a door the cover doesn’t work.
  • Sandbags and/or Barricades (55% Cover) – These are often cheap and easy to build as well as you can shoot over them.
  • Steel/Stone Chunks (50% Cover) – Chunks lying around the map or placed by your pawns via zones can be used as cover. They’re not the best but you can shoot over them!
  • Trees (25% Cover) – Trees are everywhere unless you’re in extreme temperature places. It’s a cover that you can use in a pinch if there are no chunks or walls around!
  • Pawns and Animals – Yes, you can use animals and pawns as cover. It’s not advisable unless you can afford to lose them but they’re an option! There’s no information on their effectiveness so I suggest you don’t use them unless you’re desperate!
  • Furniture – The cover’s effectiveness depends on the piece of furniture. A chair will have more cover than an Orbital Trade Beacon and both will have less cover than an Autocannon Turret.

Now that you know what the different types of covers are, you’ll want to also know how to counter cover. That’s because Cover only works when it’s in between a pawn and the target. So if an enemy pawn is using cover, flank them by going to the side or back!

SIDE NOTE: The new DLC has added Invokers into the game. Make sure to check out our guide on how to get Invokers to help you out!

Defenses and Killboxes

Now that you know how most of the combat works you’ll want to use that all to your advantage. Make sure that you’ve built defensive areas around your base that have good cover.

You should also equip your pawns with the best gear possible like good armor and the proper weapons. Have your medics either on standby or a bit away from the fight so they can heal and tend to wounded pawns.

Rimworld Basic Defense

Building Defenses can be as simple as making walls or sandbags on where you think enemies will go through. This is even better if you have walls around your settlement and you only have one entrance where they can go through.

NOTE: Walling off your settlement can be a great way to funnel raids. Just remember that there are some raids with sappers and they will try to destroy walls instead of getting funneled.

Another way to deal with raiders is through Killboxes. This style of defense is a hotly debated topic with some people hating it because it’s seen as an exploit while others love it. Good thing this is a single-player game and the opinions of others don’t matter, play how you like it!

Rimworld Early Trap

A simple early-game defensive trap setup is the one shown above. This works if your settlement is completely walled and this is the only entrance to it.

SIDE NOTE: When going through defense options you’ll want to research fast and get the best turrets and weapons. Here’s a guide on how to speed up research in the game!

Your pawns will use the doors to go in and out of the settlement. Meanwhile, the raiders will have to go through the areas laid with Pitfall Traps. It’s great for early games and can be scaled up to however long you want it to be.

Rimworld Trap Kill Box

Another popular killbox design is death mazes like the one above. It has an unobstructed path going to the base which is walled off. The raiders would go through the maze tripping at the traps and slowing down from the sandbags.

Killboxes can trivialize entire raids in early and even late game so some people can find it boring and not challenging enough.

General Combat Tips

Now that you know all of that here are some great general tips to help you out more in combat:

  • Friendly fire can happen in the standard settings of the game. Pawns tend to not hit friendlies if they’re at a maximum of 5 tiles, and 4 tiles if diagonal.
  • Rushing ranged enemies with melee pawns can easily take them down. Make sure the melee pawn has a shield belt or good armor to shrug off shots and check if there are melee enemies nearby.
  • Weapons like the Heavy SMG or Chain Shotgun are great at close quarters due to their high DPS and accuracy in close range.
  • The accuracy of the weapon due to range is important. A sniper rifle won’t hit that much in close or short range but will excel in medium to long range.
  • Combine melee and ranged pawns in choke points. Melee pawns can block enemies from going through while ranged pawns can shoot over them. Make sure they’re close (2 tiles or less) to the melee pawn to avoid friendly fire.
  • Prioritize your targets! Take out the enemy with a rocket launcher using a long-range weapon like a Sniper Rifle. Don’t worry about the other enemy with a knife, a rocket launcher can ruin a game!
  • Use items like Psychic Insanity Lances to make raiders attack each other. This is great when dealing with high-threat targets like snipers or rocket launcher-wielding enemies.

With all of those tips and tricks, you’re ready to master combat in Rimworld! Now, go out there and play the game with this knowledge in mind! Have you encountered ghouls in the new DLC? Check out our guide on what to do with ghouls for more information!


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