Environmental hazards usually occur on planets with hostile environments.
Some worlds are dangerous to explore on foot, either from extreme conditions, radiation, pressure or biological contamination. The dangers are ranked as Levels 1, 2 and 3 and are listed on the planet's description on the Galaxy Map. Upon exiting the Mako - which is environmentally sealed - a hazard timer will begin to fill (the higher the danger level, the faster it fills). When the timer is full the character will begin taking health damage until death occurs. The timer can be reset by entering the Mako or large structures; small portable cabins do not guard against a hazardous environment. If it is necessary to spend an extended period on foot some hazards can be negated entirely by wearing Devlon Industries's Armor; If any member of the squad is wearing their armor, it will negate the timer on environments with Level 1 environmental hazards and slow down the timer on Level 2.
Common hazards include:
- Extreme cold
- Toxic agents (pollen, bacteria)
Environmental damage applies not only to EVAs, but interior hazards like falling boxes, or exploding power junctions which cause toxic damage if destroyed in close proximity. Another danger is from containment cells, often found in mercenary bases, mines or derelict starships:
- Fusion containment cells cause toxic damage.
- Ion containment cells release an electrical discharge that damages shields.
- Cryo containment cells release Bose-Einstein condensate that causes cold damage.
On all worlds, fires are ranked as Level 2 or 3 hazards, depending on the size of the fire, and ignore shields. Getting too close to one will destroy a character's health very quickly.