Damage is a game mechanic in Horizon Zero Dawn that measures the impact of attacks or harmful behaviors, such as falling. Taking damage will reduce Aloy's health and delivering damage to humans or machines will reduce theirs. Death occurs when a health bar is fully depleted.

Damage Types

There are different types of damage, depending on the method of attack.

Type Effect on Machines Effect on Humans
Damage Damage-Icon Reduces health with no secondary effects.
Tear Tear-Icon Dislodges components, possibly dealing preset amounts of damage depending on the component that is severed. Heavy knockdown; sends regular enemies flying.
Fire Fire-Icon Deals damage over time based on target's max health. Forces Corruptors and Deathbringers to expose their Cooling Rods. Deals damage over time.
Shock Shock-Icon Causes temporary paralysis, immobilizing the target and enabling Critical Hits.
Freeze Freeze-Icon Slows the target's movement and increases susceptibility to Direct Damage by up to 200%. Negates additional defense provided by armor. Slows the target's movement and increases susceptibility to Direct Damage by 50%.
Corruption Corruption-Icon Causes targets to become hostile to all units, including allies. Corrupted machines are immune. Causes targets to become hostile to all units, including allies. If inflicted on Aloy, causes massive damage over time until it wears off.

Severity Thresholds

In addition to traditional impact damage, several weapons and ammunition types can impose element-based status effects on enemies by reaching set severity thresholds. "Severity" refers generally to the build-up to these status effects and applies to Freeze, Fire, Shock, and Corruption attacks.[1] Each of the four attack types produce a different status effect with varying impact on enemies. In addition to elemental attacks, severity thresholds indicate the amount of damage required to trip a sprinting enemy or knock one down with explosives.

When an enemy is hit by an elemental attack, an icon appears above them indicating the current severity build-up. The icon fill with color as subsequent elemental attacks are landed and is replaced with the status effect icon once the build-up reaches 100%. A white ring will then appear and deplete as the status wears off.

Elemental Severity Thresholds

Normal Machines Corrupted Machines Humans
Damage Type Small Medium Large Small Medium Large Normal Heavy/Elite
Fire 75* 150 300 113 225 450 50 75
Freeze 75* 150 300 113 225 450 25 75
Shock 75* 150 300 113 225 450 25 75
Corruption 50 100 150 - - - 50 10

* 70 for Watchers

Every weapon with stats that include one of the four elemental damage types contributes to the build-up of a status effect. For example, if a weapon has a Freeze attack with a value of 25, it would need to hit an enemy with a 100 Freeze severity threshold four times in order to apply the Frozen status effect. Likewise, a weapon with a Freeze attack value of 50 would reach the threshold twice as fast.


  1. Horizon Zero Dawn Strategy Guide (Collector's Ed.), p.32. Future Press, 2017.
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