SWGoH: A Look at Physical Damage, Special Damage, Armor & Resistance

As you, my astute reader, may have noticed, there are two types of damage in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes – physical, and special. Having multiple types of damage in an RPG game isn’t uncommon.
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Separating magical attacks from physical attacks is an easy way to make sure a mage-type character isn’t as strong with a sword as a warrior-type character, effectively forcing you to choose a specific role. SW:GoH on the other hand, doesn’t force a choice – many characters have both physical damage and special damage attacks. Which, as you’ll soon find out, is not a bad thing.

Physical and Special Damage Stats

Special and physical damage each have their own set of defensive and offensive stats. These two sets of stats match up and directly correspond to each other. Each pair can even be grouped together under a blanket term, referring to the overall effect they have.

Physical Special Both
Physical Damage Special Damage Damage/Offense
Physical Critical Chance Special Critical Chance Critical Chance
Armor Penetration Resistance Penetration Penetration
Physical Accuracy Special Accuracy Accuracy

Physical Special Both
Armor Resistance Defense
Dodge Chance Deflection Chance Avoidance
Physical Critical Avoidance Special Critical Avoidance Critical Avoidance

Mk 11 BlasTech

As you can see, the collective term for each pair lines up with the relevant mod stats. Offense mods, for example, will increase both special damage and physical damage, which is why our popular “best mods for…” articles don’t specify which damage type you need to increase.

Gear on the other hand, does specify. A Mk 11 BlasTech Weapons Mod, for example, increases physical damage and resistance. This can, unfortunately, lead to “useless gear” which has no impact on the effectiveness of a character. The biggest example of this is Jawa Engineer. Since his bombs are neither physical, nor special damage, neither stat will make a difference. However, pieces which only increase damage are still needed to advance his gear level.


The Practical Difference

Now we’ve covered the basics of what the different damage types are, and how to increase them, it’s time to look at the game play effects. First and foremost, each attack will specify the damage type it deals, so you’re able to quickly tell the difference. The next, and most obvious, effect is the damage display during battles. The damage amount that pops up during battles is color coded – red for physical, blue for special, and yellow for critical. But, both of these, while helpful, are cosmetic differences, only affecting the game visually.

Emperor Palpatine Basic Attack

The truly practical differences require looking at the overall stats. Because gear doesn’t always increase both stats in a pair, they diverge. A character might have much higher special damage than physical damage, or much higher armor than resistance. A prime example of this is Baze Malbus. At max gear level, before mods, Baze has a massive 32.71% armor stat, and a much lower 15.95% resistance stat. As you know from my defensive stats explanation, this means Baze will block more than twice as much physical damage as he will special damage. Knowing this, you can tailor your team to suit – a character that can deal a lot of special damage will be more useful than a character that deals the same amount of physical damage. At the same time, you know your own Baze will survive longer if the opposing team has low special damage.

R2-D2 AoE and Basic Attacks

Other stat differences can have a huge impact on battles as well. R2-D2 for example, deals physical damage on his basic attack, special damage on his AoE attack, and has two very different critical chance values. At max gear level, before mods, R2-D2 has 24.16% physical critical chance, and 11.04% special critical chance. His AoE is much less likely to crit than his single target basic. His first unique gives him a 10% critical chance boost, which increases both physical and special critical chance, bringing them up to 34.16% and 21.04% respectively. If you’re running R2-D2 in a team that relies on critical hits, like an HK-47 led team, this difference can lead to R2 performing worse than expected.


The correlation between the related stats, as well as the clear difference between the two types of damage makes it easy to keep track of, and easy to take advantage of, while still increasing the complexity of the game. Understanding the difference allows you to make informed decisions about who gets a piece of gear first, tailor your team to counter specific threats, and understand why something may not go as expected.

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