Other than normal white hits, yellow numbers are confusing. There are 2 types of "yellow" damage.

1) Crit damage numbers

When you deal white damage to the enemy, yellow numbers are crits

2) Stealth Damage numbers

When you deal damage to enemy, who is not in "battle-mode", in situations such as:
  • not being aware of your presence (stealth)
  • using console [need testing]
  • "taunting" (infected runners and leapers tend to "lean" or "bend" before attacking) [need testing]
  • or (most common) dealing melee damage while being invisible.

The second type of yellow hits, regardless of critical multiplier, always deal double damage (2x). So no matter if you use Galatine or Dual Ichor with Organ Shatter, these strikes hit for 2x.

There are also times when aside from seeing white and yellow damage numbers, player can witness causing red damage numbers. And those are:

3) Stealth Crit Damage numbers

When you deal damage, you always have some chance to score critical hit. Same thing happen while dealing damage in stealth, and this damage is Stealth Crit Damage.
However, this type doesn't deal twice as much damage as critical. Instead, it deals damage based on double damage of your attack and then it is multiplied by your critical damage.
For example: We have Dual Zorens, that deal 30 dmg. Basically, on unarmored enemy, they would deal 90 critical dmg, but while in stealth, they will deal 60 stealthed dmg, and 180 crit dmg (30x2x3). False assumption, is that they would deal 270 red damage (30x3x3).

Why does red damage happen randomly on enemies?

My theory is that in some occasions, enemy AI algorythm will turn off "battle-mode" for a brief moment. If you happen to score critical hit on such enemy, it will appear as red numbers.

@Edit: Alternatively, machine that collects data for damage has slight delay (latency), meaning it sometimes could fit under red crit algorythm, thus showing us red numbers when they might not even be bigger than yellow hits.

@Edit: Also, it might happen when enemy recieves a critical hit from elemental damage he has weakness to. However, to fit red crit theory (which is plausible, considering Synapse can red-crit on Corpus through E-shield) this elemental damage needs to be somehow 50% stronger. I think it happens when headshots deal double damage to enemy, so when elemental damage hit enemy weak spot while being critical, it should appear as red-crit. Although I believe anyone would notice that easily, because it would happen often. That needs further testing.

@ Edit: Why Synapse deals red critical hits through Electric Shield on Corpus?

I think that is because of similiar mechanic to stealth. Weapon's electrical damage through E-shield is increased by 50%, and Corpus have weakness to electricity. When someone shoots Synapse through E-shield, electrical damage is increased by 100% (2 times). And if algorythm (dmg*2*crit) is true, the numbers will appear red.

Thank you for reading. If you agree or disagree with this article, please, write about it in the comment section.

I appreciate your feedback in this matter.

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