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When playing Battlefield 3, I've noticed that unlike many other shooters, I can actually damage buildings and other forms of cover. This is an interesting game mechanic, but I'm curious about its limits.

Is there a maximum amount of damage that I can do to a given structure? Can I cause it to collapse completely? Are there only certain structures that can be damaged? Beyond just blindly firing explosive weapons into a building, how do I tell if I can or can't do (additional) damage to a building?

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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Some buildings can be collapsed completely. Upon collapse they kill not only everyone inside, but also falling debris kills anyone standing to close on outside. This are typically small, house-like, one or two level buildings.

For some larger structure whole façades can be destroyed, core structure remains intact, but whole front will collapse. These are typically high-rise buildings in city levels.

Some buildings have destructible walls, however structure remains untouched. This are typically either ones with metal structure or the unfinished construction type of buildings (like for example ones at construction site in Karkand or Gulf of Oman).

As for weapons:

  • small caliber arms don't damage buildings
  • large caliber machine guns (like eg. .50) chip away walls bit by bit
  • canons, rockets, grenade launchers and C4 do significant amount of damage
  • hand grenades and claymores do no damage
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It is possible to cause a building to completely collapse. This will kill anyone under it, whether they be enemies or teammates.

Damage is quite visible when caused. I don't believe that gunfire can damage structures, but I could be wrong.

Some buildings are invulnerable, such as spawn buildings but they are few and far between. The best way to determine if a building can be damaged is to detonate c4 or shoot a rocket inside it.

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+1 for saying that buildings can be damaged by rockets and C4. –  Elliot Bonneville Dec 21 '11 at 15:30
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According to the Battlefield Wiki, the recent patch that accompanied the Back to Karkand DLC has updated the number of buildings that can be destroyed. Prior to the update, only a handful of buildings could be demolished, but now almost all buildings can be completely collapsed.

Edit: The wiki also mentions that some destruction is possible using regular firearms (microdestruction). I believe that this is referring to the ability to chip away at walls or destroy wooden fences with small arms fire, but bringing down a building requires heavy explosives like RPGs, C4 or tank shells.

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