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Defog of War

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Fog of War is something that often annoys players, being unable to see enemy units and such in it, even worse if the computer is unaffected by it and can prey on your units with ease. Fortunately, there are tools at their disposal to clear the fog and see whatever was hidden inside.

The ways these tools can work are:

  • Vision-enhancing skills or technology
  • A light source
  • Removing the fog itself by Weather Manipulation or blowing it away

These tools tend to Boring, but Practical with other options to sink your time and resources into generally being more appealing.


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    Role Playing Games 
  • In the Fog of War levels in the Metal Gear Ac!d games, the IR Goggles, Solid Eye, Major Zero and Marionette Owl cards will let you see easier, although each one has its own drawback (some let you see the entire area but only last a turn, some last forever but only increase your field of vision a little, some are good but cripple you with added COST for as long as you have them equipped, etc).
    • The Solid Eye in Metal Gear Solid 4 has an infrared mode that allows you to see through snowstorms quite well.
  • LEMMESI in Desktop Dungeons shows you three random squares on the map. Because removing Fog of War heals you, the spell is effectively free (it reveals enough squares to repay its MP cost) and lets you heal without having to leave your current battle.
  • Persona 4: There's fog in the TV world and later in the real world, but the protagonists wear glasses made by Teddie to help them see through it. The fog, however, plays no part in gameplay. (Until you get to the Ameno-sagiri fight. Oddly enough, the glasses do nothing to combat his Fog attack.)

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Dota 2's Night Stalker has one in the form of his ultimate ability while he holds an Aghanim's Scepter. If he has one, he can passively see through the fog of war, over cliffs, and through trees. This has earned him the nickname "The Legal Map Hack".
    • It doesn't help that the active part of his ultimate turns the time to night for a set duration.
  • Starcraft and Starcraft II
    • Terrans has the Comsat in I and Orbital Command in II, which reveals a targeted area on the map. Ironically, most professional players prefer not to use them (in II) this way since cloaked units are such a pain. They'd usually rather sacrifice the SCV in II rather than scan for information since the energy can create the much more effective MULE harvester. In the late game, multiple Orbital Commands are typically built for spamming some MULEs but may be used to scout otherwise.
    • Terrans also have Sensor Towers that don't actually remove the fog, but detect movement through the fog to allow players to be alert for incoming attacks but this doesn't tell what's behind the fog. However, the opponent also sees the effective radius on their own minimap so they might try to use warnings against you.
  • Warcraft III has the spell "Farsight". Paladins had Holy Sight in II.
    • The game also had Goblin Workshops that allowed you to do the same thing as Farsight for a price.
    • And human arcane towers had a weaker version, however as they're a really effective counter to hero harassment, you'll have enough of them to reveal large parts of the map.
    • Similarly, the Humans had mortar teams, who could fire flares that do the exact same thing.
    • The Night Elves can research an ability that lets Huntresses put an owl spirit in a tree, granting vision of the area until the tree is killed. Their Faerie Fire spell not only removes armor but allows you to spy on the affected unit.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has Planterns, Blovers, and Torchwoods to remove fog in the night pool level.
  • There is one in the first Dawn of War at the disposal of the Imperial Guard called something like an 'auspex'. Basically an ability of the command center to reveal a circular section on the map, and show any stealthed units in said circular section. Of course, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, so it always has the ability active, reusing it once it ends, and always hits your stealthed units with it.
  • Dune II: when you start, you can only see a limited area around your Construction Yard. Once you create an Outpost you get an on-screen radar which allows you to see the entire area you've explored.
  • Dungeon Keeper:
    • In both games, torturing an enemy to death for information has a chance of revealing a random part of the map.
    • The "Sight of Evil" spell in the second game can be targeted on any area of the map to reveal it for a few seconds.
  • Most Command & Conquer games give each faction intelligence powers like radar scanning that let you reveal targeted areas of the map.
    • In Red Alert, the Soviet deploy a spy plane (removes a circle of fog) from their airfield while the Allies launch a GPS satellite (reveals the entire map) from their tech center.
    • In Red Alert 2, the Allies can build a spy satellite uplink that reveals everything on the map. They can also cover up areas on the map with regenerating shroud by placing a Gap Generator. In Yuri's Revenge, the Soviets gain the ability to deploy a spy plane, and Yuri can use clairvoyance as a radar scan.
    • In Generals and its expansion, an American command center and upgraded GLA Radar Vans provide radar scanning abilities. In addition, China can use satellite hacks to permanently reveal the space around enemy command centers, and both they and the USA can intermittently reveal everything the enemies see.
    • In Tiberium Wars, the intelligence powers are more limited. GDI has a radar scan ability, Nod has to manually scout everything (but in the expansion, they can scan for power plants), and the Scrin can reveal the locations of anything Tiberium-related: refineries, harvesters, silos, and crystals will all be revealed.
    • In Red Alert 3, powers like this are even more limited (while some Challenge maps reveal the whole map, mostly this is only a luxury afforded to the AI, who will gleefully drops bombs, acid, and drones on your unit without warning). The only real intelligence support power belongs to the Allies, who can send invulnerable scouting drones to reveal a line across the map.
  • Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander do not have defogging, but do have radar, which shows units in the fog on the minimap. Large battlefields and ridiculous artillery make this vital.
  • EndWar has the ECM support; it stuns enemy vehicles but it also shows any units out of Line of Sight or any Stealthed Riflemen.
  • World in Conflict had the "Aerial Recon" Tactical Aid, which revealed all enemy units (including the hidden ones) in a certain area. Useful to finding those pesky enemy artillery units, as well as unmasking the infantry hidden in the woods and the tanks hidden behind smoke shields. The latter can also be done with the special ability of the Scout Helicopters, which basically does the same but limited to the scout's current location.
  • There is also a defogging ability in the Elves' arsenal in The Battle for Middle-earth, at least in the second one. It clears a blurry-edged circle on the map. In the first game, the forces of Darkness (Sauron and Saruman) could use the Eye of Sauron and the Palantír, respectively, as support powers to clear the fog where they pointed.
  • This option is avaiable in all of the Total War Series games.
  • The Clairvoyance Support Power, as well as Twisted Fate's Limit Break both incorporate this in League of Legends. Wards are also a cheap option to buy and utilize which are downright attached to the hip of competitive players, and starting in season 5, are literally provided free through "trinkets". There's also been the introduction of the Scuttle Crabs, a pair of monsters that wander through the river... killing this monster will provide a temporary vision and speed zone.
  • In Star Wars: Empire at War, every faction has one unit which has the ability to clear a defined area for a fraction of time via sensor ping. On certain maps you can also capture an abandoned sensor array to remove the Fog Of War permanently on the entire map (until it's lost or destroyed).
  • In Age of Empires III, when playing as Portugal your explorer has a "spyglass" ability, which instantly reveals a circle in the fog of war, anywhere on the map. Early in the game, this can be used to scout out resources or find your opponent's settlements. Late in the game, it's mainly used to spy on your enemies and find out the make-up of their army before an attack.
    • It's also possible (very late in the game) to research the "Spies" upgrade to completely remove the fog of war. However, by the time you're able to afford researching "Spies," you've already mostly won.
    • In Age of Empires II, when you research Cartography, you clear up a lot of the fog of war by seeing the same thing as your alliesnote . There isn't any way to remove it if you have no allies, though. The Spies tech comes close, letting you see through your enemies' eyes, but it costs 200 gold per villager. By the time you can afford this, like in AOEIII, you've already mostly won.
  • In Europa Universalis countries in a royal marriage or alliance with the player have the fog of war removed. In EU III espionage missions does the same for enemy territories as well.
  • In Rise of Legends the Vinci faction could build an observatory complete with giant telescope. It cleared the fog of war in a cone across the map in whatever direction it's pointed, rather than just clearing a round spot in the middle of the fog like in most other games. Later on, the Cuotl faction could get a support power that was basically a Kill Sat, both clearing and blasting where it was targeted.
  • Spies in The Ancient Art of War can see twice as far as other units, but can't put up a fight.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon: Using a spotter with a high 'spotting' rating will increase the maximum distance ships can be spotted from.

    Simulation Games 
  • Warship Gunner 2: Equipping your ship with light amplification equipment lets you see through darkness, thermal imaging systems let you see through fog, and the Image Enhancement System lets you see through darkness, fog, and water.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Advanced Strategic Command has spying satellites and radar units. When unavailable, a player may have to use Anti-Air units or anything else with good view value to the same end. It's an important advantage, especially when either side tries to pull Hit-and-Run Tactics.
  • Age of Wonders 2+ has capturable structures Watch Tower that gives a good view (and defensive walls) and Reflective Pool that shows some other area.
  • In Civilization, discovering satellites reveals the entire world map (and causes NPC civs to ask to trade world maps more often, which only gets you updated info on new/captured settlements at this point). Air units can perform a recon action, which does as you would expect and reveals a part of the world that is in-range.
  • Fire Emblem: the Torch item and Torch Staff are useful in increasing vision in fog or night. While most units can only see a few spaces around them fog or night, the Thief, Assassin, and Rogue units can see a considerable amount of spaces around them, making them invaluable in such scenarios. Once shifted, Laguz units in the Tellius games also have a better sight than most of your units.
    • Interestingly, the Torch item doesn't light up a fixed radius around its user - it adds to the user's sight by a fixed amount. So a torch held by a thief, assassin, or rogue is three times brighter than that same torch held by anyone else.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance also has Janaff's Insight skill, which adds +5 to his vision range (which is already high as it is, due to being a Laguz unit), and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has Vanguard!Ike have just as much vision as thieves for no real reason. There were also fixed-position torch obstacles in the sequel as well, which reveal 5 spaces within its range when lit. Enemies can also extinguish them.
    • It's worth noting that Thracia 776, the first game to feature fog of war, does not give extended vision to thieves.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic series, giant trees and mage huts with magical eye networks served precisely this purpose, the first one revealing a big area around the tree, the second - a moderate area around the eyes. The Grail building for the Tower/Academy, a flying ship, was an instant Defog of the entire map.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • Sonja's main strength is her increased vision range in fog.
    • The Flare unit in Days Of Ruin temporarily clears up fog around where the flare is shot. Lin's CO power also increases her units' vision in fog.
    • The Recon unit in all four games has a very high field of vision. The Submarine is the naval equivalent but its range isn't as great.
  • Rebel Inc. allows you to request periodic Surveillance Drone sorties from the Coalition, that will reveal what is going on in the area they are observing. They do not attack, but soldiers operating in Fog of War are at a large disadvantage, so a Defog of War at the right time can completely turn a battle around. You can upgrade them with more fuel efficiency (a drone sortie lasts longer), additional maintenance crews (sorties become more frequent), and better sensors (increasing the power of soldiers fighting in areas they observe). By themselves, they cannot attack, but have a good synergy with Airstrikes: Drones locate insurgent bases while airstrikes destroy them.
  • Some races in Warlords Battlecry 2 can have an upgrade that exposes the whole map and removes the fog of war.
  • The X-COM reboot series by Firaxis Games features the Battle Scanner, a round camera-like item that's thrown by hand to reveal a wide circle around where it lands but can't see through bits of scenery that serve as cover. It always has two "charges".
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown it's a promotion skill for Snipers at Lieutenant ranknote , and in the Enemy Within Expansion Pack, it can de-cloak Seekers within range. Throwing a Battle Scanner doesn't break concealment from Ghost Armor or Mimetic Skin.
    • In XCOM 2 it's a standalone item that takes up a utility slot, shows enemies caught within its radius as "Scanned" even if you can't see them on the screen, and blows the cover of disguised Faceless and burrowed Chryssalids, making it ideal for Retaliation missions. In War of the Chosen, it also reveals concealed Spectres and the Chosen Assassin.

    Non-Video Game Examples 


  • Haruhi Suzumiya: In "Day of Sagittarius", the computer club cheats in the eponymous game, by removing the fog of war from their side.