Shield Tanking is the most common defensive method used by Caldari and Minmatar pilots, as well as some Gallente, and even a few Amarr capsuleers. Understanding how your shields absorb damage and how they regenerate can be essential for your survival in EVE. This class explores the techniques, skills and fittings for effective shield tanks.
- Class name: Shield Tanking 101
- Duration: 60-75 minutes
- Location: Docked up in any station
- Class contents:
- Advantages and disadvantages of shield tanking
- Shield tanking skills
- Examples of shield tanking ships
- Shield tanking math
- Shield tanking modules and rigs
- Shield tanking implants
- Techniques for effective shield tanking
- Mumble registration and access - make sure you have Mumble sorted out and operational well before the class begins. Use this guide for set-up: Mumble
- Access to the Class.E-UNI in-game chat channel
This class is primarily lecture, delivered in the Class.E-UNI channel in Mumble, followed by Q&A. There will be no practical exercises.
Notes for the Teacher
- Class.E-UNI chat channel, to receive questions and post relevant links
- It's useful to have examples of each of the modules listed below, to post to chat when described.
- Some helpful links:
- Basic tanking guide: Smurfprime's Guide to Basic Tanking
Shield tanking refers to the defensive fitting of ships which primarily mount shield-improving modules. It can be contrasted with Armor tanking.
- Passive resistance modules are less effective than the armor equivalents.
- There is no single passive resistance module that boosts all shield resistances at once.
- Shield boosters and hardener modules generally require more capacitor than the armor equivalents.
- Shield tanking modules are almost exclusively fit in mid slots, competing with tackling, ewar, and propulsion modules.
- Shields heal themselves over time at a natural recharge rate. Armor and Hull damage taken is going to sit there until it is repaired.
- After shields are exhausted there is still some armor and hull remaining, leaving a little more room for error.
- There is an active resistance module that boosts all shield resistances at once.
- Low slots are left free for damage modules, etc.
Shield Tanking Styles
Shield tanking comes in three types.
- Active shield tanks use energy from the ship's capacitor to run a Shield Booster module which repairs damage to shields. Active shield tanks are stronger against higher bursts of damage but tend to drain the pilot's capacitor over time resulting in the tank 'breaking' during long engagements and are vulnerable to capacitor warfare (tactics which drain a ship's capacitor actively, such as Nosferatu and Energy Neutralizers).
- Passive shield tanks rely on the fact that shields will naturally recharge themselves over time. This is achieved by increasing the resistance to various damage types, increasing the natural recharge rate (by adding recharge rate bonuses), and increasing the overall size of the shield (because recharge rate is proportional to shield capacity).
- Buffer shield tanks use shield extenders and resistance modules (like the Adaptive Invulnerability Field, and damage control) to maximize the ship's EHP (Effective Hit Points) without concern for recharge. This type of shield tanking is often used in PvP fleet fits.
Understand Shield Recharge Rate
It is valuable to understand the mechanics for shield recharge rate before you continue. All ships have some shields, and all shields have a recharge rate so this concept applies to every ship shuttle and pod in Eve, and thus to every pilot who undocks, and is similar to the recharge rate of a ship's energy capacitor.
In a ship's information screen, on the attributes tab, under the shield heading, is listed the total shield amount of the hull, and the shield recharge time. The recharge time expresses how long it will take to go from 0% shields to 100% shields when the ship is sitting idle in space and no one is repairing the shields or damaging them.
Shields do not recharge at a constant (linear) rate. Imagine a ship with a 440 shield and a shield recharge time of 440 seconds. To find out how many shield points you regain per second you might divide: 440 shields / 440 seconds = 1.0 shields per second.
That is close but not quite correct. The average shield recharge rate is going to be 1.0 shields per second but sometimes it will be higher, and sometimes it will be lower.
The actual behavior is that when the shield is near 0% or 100% it replenishes slower. The peak recharge rate will be approximately 2.0 shields per second and will occur when the shields are damaged to somewhere near 35% of shield capacity remaining.
This imaginary shield tanked ship above takes a constant damage of 5 damage every 8 seconds It will slowly lose shields as the incoming damage is greater than the amount of shields recharging. Somewhere around 50% shield capacity the shields will start to heal about 5 damage every 8 seconds and the tank will stabilize at this equilibrium. ... When a new damage source is then added to the scenario, adding an additional 5 damage every 8 seconds the ship will begin to lose shields again. Somewhere around 35% the incoming damage will barely be more than the ship replenishes and the shield tank will be broken as the ship falls below it's peak recharge rate. From here the ship's recharge rate drops off quickly and the shields will be exhausted soon. ... If the original damage source is removed just as the ship is at 30% shields, leaving only 5 damage every 8 seconds the shields might stabilize again but if the original damage source is removed as the ship reaches 10% shields the recharge rate will be too low and the ship will continue to lose shields, and continue into armor and hull damage unless the incoming damage is effectively reduced to zero.
Shield recharge rates above 98% and below 2% shields is extremely low. For ships with small shield capacity it is essentially non-existent.
As we increase the total shield capacity, the average shield recharge rate will increase
The ship before with 440 shields and a 440 second recharge period is improved to have twice the shield capacity: 880 shields and a 440 second recharge. The average shield recharge rate will be 880 / 440 = 2.0 shields per second, and peak recharge will be near 3.8 shields per second.
Similarly improving the shield recharge rate will increase the average shield recharge rate
We double the shield recharge rate instead: 440 shields in 220 seconds. Now the average shield recharge rate will be 440 / 220 = 2.0 shields per second. Peak recharge increases as well.
Shield Tanking Skills
Shield Specific Skills
There are seven primary shield tanking skills, and four additional shield specific skills.
- Shield Operation is the only Rank 1 skill in the set. It improves the natural shield recharge rate and also grants the ability to use Shield Booster modules. Tech 2 units are available between skill level III and V, depending on size.
- Shield Management is a companion skill to Shield Operation. It improves a ship's maximum shield amount and also grants the ability to use Shield Boost Amplifiers, which magnify the size of shield repair amount for running Shield Boosters.
- Shield Compensation serves as a companion to Active Shield Tanking by reducing the amount of capacitor used for each cycle for Shield Boosters. Available after training Shield Operation lvl III.
- Shield Upgrades grants access to modules that increase a ship's maximum shield amount as well as passive shield hardeners and Shield Rechargers, a module that improves the natural recharge rate of shields, while also making it easier to fit all of these modules by reducing the Power Grid requirement to fit them.
- Tactical Shield Manipulation stops damage from bleeding through low shields into armor. More importantly it is the prerequisite for Adaptive Invulnerability Fields, the most useful shield resistance modules. The skill requires Engineering III and unlocks Tech 2 Adaptive Invulnerability Fields at level IV.
- Shield Emission Systems grants the ability to use remote shield repair modules. Tech 2 units are available between skill level III and IV, depending on size.
- Shield Rigging allows the use of rigs that can increase total shields, shield resistances, passive shield recharge rates, and active shield booster cycle rates. Higher levels of the skill allows use of tech 2 rigs and also reduces the signature radius penalty that those rigs incur.
Training the four damage type-specific shield compensation skills is less important. The passive Shield Amplifier modules benefit most from them, but are not widely used. Active resistance modules get smaller benefits, and only benefit when they are not turned on. These skills are:
- Thermic Shield Compensation
- EM Shield Compensation
- Explosive Shield Compensation
- Kinetic Shield Compensation
- Energy Grid Upgrades provides access to modules that increase shield recharge rate as well as modules that influence the operation of the ship's capacitor. Power Diagnostic Systems, for example, are low slot modules that provide small increases to shield hit points, shield recharge rate, total capacitor capacity, capacitor recharge rate, and to powergrid available for fitting.
- Energy Systems Operation and Energy Management influence the size and recharge rate of the ship's capacitor which allows a pilot to run active shield tanks longer.
- Hull Upgrades increases armor hit points, but also provides access to Damage Control Unit Modules that increase shield resistances without suffering from stacking penalties and only require a low slot.
Common Shield Tanking Ships
The Caldari and Minmatar are the two races that offer ships with shield-tanking bonuses.
- Caldari ships are generally shield tanked, with the primary exceptions being plated Blackbirds and Scorpions.
- Some Minmatar ships are commonly seen shield tanked, such as the Rifter, Jaguar, Stabber, Vagabond, Cyclone, Sleipnir, and Maelstrom.
The Gallente and Amarr design ships which are mostly armor tanked. There are a few exceptions, and also a few ships which can mount shield buffer tanks for PvP.
- A few Gallente ships can be well shield tanked, such as the Myrmidon and the Ishtar which often use passive shield tanks in PvE. Some Gallente ships, such as the Brutix can fit viable shield buffer tanks for PvP.
- Amarr ships are almost all better suited for armor tanks, but the Arbitrator, Curse and Harbinger can mount good PvP buffer shield tanks.
It's often more sensible to increase the resistances of your ship than to increase the total number of shield points. The damage reduction of resistance modules is a constant where as the shield buffer reduces with each attack. The fitting requirements for resistance modules are often less than the fitting requirements for Shield Extenders. The one drawback is stacking penalties these will inhibit the effectiveness of additional resistance modules but do not apply to Shield Extenders.
Imagine you have a shield booster that repairs 100 points per cycle. If someone deals you 1000 points of EM damage, to which you have a 10% resistance, will result in 900 points of shield damage. Your shield booster will repair this in 9 cycles. If someone deals you 1000 points of explosive damage to which you have 70% resistance, you'll only sustain 300 points of shield damage, which the shield booster will fix in three cycles. So you would use three times as much energy, and take three times as long to repair the EM damage because of the lack of resistance.
It is generally advised NOT to mix modules that increase shield recharge rate with modules that repair shield damage.
How resistances are calculated
Resistance percentages are calculated in a way that many people find confusing. A module may list itself as having a 30% bonus to resistances -- but you won't usually see a 30% increase in resistance when using it. The way the calculations work is that the percentage is applied to the remaining vulnerability. If things didn't work this way, you'd easily achieve 100% resistance.
So if you fit a 30% resistance mod to a ship with 0% resist you get 30% but if you have 40% resist to start with you will have a total resist of 58%. So 40% resist leaves a 60% vulnerability, so thats 30% of 60 added to the original 40%, (60/100)*30=18 + 40=58%.
Shield Hardeners require varying amounts of CPU and only one Power Grid to fit, but do almost nothing to improve resistances when they are not activated. Like all active modules they will not run when you don't have enough energy in your capacitor to run them, or when you cannot activate them (such as when docked or cloaked). As an example, see the Explosion Dampening Field I. Among the Shield Hardeners is also the Adaptive Invulnerability Field which grants a bonus to resistance of all four damage types with one module, but it requires more capacitor and more CPU to fit than the damage specific hardeners.
A Damage Control module gives a significant boost to any ship's durability by giving resistance bonuses to armor, shields and hull. This is the only module to increase hull resistances, which makes it very valuable in any tank. It is an active module, but it is easy to fit and uses very little energy. These resistance bonuses don't incur stacking penalties with other shield tanking modules, making it very effective when combined with other hardeners and resistance amplifiers. If you fit only one tanking module to your ship, the DC is the module to use. Just don't forget to turn it on.
Dampening Amplifiers and Basic Dampening Amplifiers
There are four damage-type specific dampening amplifiers -- these are used to boost one of the 4 resistances. They use no capacitor and require less CPU than active shield hardeners, and can thus be quite useful.
The Basic modules use less CPU than the normal variants and no power grid, but are much less effective. They are useful if you're unable to fit a standard Dampening Amplifier.
Shield Dampening Amplifiers have two varieties: those that require more CPU and one Power Grid and have higher resistances such as the Explosion Dampening Amplifier I , and those that have lower CPU requirements and no Power Grid and provide lower resistances such as the Basic Explosion Dampening Amplifier.
Shield Power Relays
Shield Power Relays are low-slot modules which trade capacitor recharge rate for an increase in the shield recharge rate, resulting in a significantly higher regeneration of shield points per second. This may endanger capacitor longevity when running active Shield Hardeners and is not compatible with Shield Boosters. Since shield power relays fit in low slots, they do not compete as directly with resistance modules and shield extenders when fitting a passive tank. Beta Reactor Control:Shield Power Relay I this one has a 35% reduction in capacitor recharge rate and a 24% increase in shield regeneration.
Shield Flux Coils
Shield Flux Coils are low-slot modules which trade the maximum shield capacity for an increase in the shield recharge rate, resulting in a higher regeneration of shield points per second. The trade off is smaller buffer which increases shields fail point and reduces the natural shield recharge amount and for this reason they tend to be less popular than shield power relays. That they fit in a low-slot means they do not compete as directly with resistance modules and shield extenders when fitting a passive tank. So when the damage is relatively low but constant they may be affective modules when using a passive tank.
Shield Recharger modules are mid-slot modules which provide a modest increase to the shield recharge rate. M51 Iterative Shield Regenerator
Shield Extenders are a mid slot mod are pretty straightforward -- they add base shield points. As a drawback they increase the ship's signature radius which makes you faster to target and somewhat easier to hit with bigger weapons and for more damage. They also use significant power grid to fit. Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
These modules repair, or boost, your ship's shield amount. The better modules are more efficient, and may cycle somewhat faster. Shield boosters are not very efficient, giving somewhere near 1 shield for 1 unit of capacitor for the meta 0 version and 1.5 shield for 1 unit of capacitor for the tech 2 version.
Unlike Armor Repairers, Shield Boosters give the boost at the beginning of the cycle time instead of at the end, meaning you can wait until you need the shields to activate the shield booster instead of activating it in anticipation of needing it, as is commonly done with armor repairers.
Shield boosters are not usually recommended on Uni fleet operations, because while they typically cycle fairly quickly, they do not give large boosts to shields for each cycle and they are hard on your capacitor. If your ship is called primary, it's likely that the booster won't keep up with the incoming damage. Similarly, passive tanks that emphasize shield recharge rate likely won't keep up with the incoming damage. Fitting shield hardeners or resistance amplifiers with shield extenders and being prepared to warp out if you take fire is the recommended strategy.
Shield boosters can be useful in PvE activities. Typically you can reduce the incoming damage by eliminating some of the NPC ships to slow the incoming damage. This combined with pulsing the shield booster on and off (or setting Auto-Repeat to off) and/or using a capacitor booster and other capacitor modules can help pilots establish a balance point between the incoming damage and the capacitor energy used to run the shield booster. This is an active strategy and does require more focus than a passive tanking PvE strategy but can bring other benefits in fitting. Large Clarity Ward Booster I
Ancillary Shield Boosters
The Ancillary Shield Booster works in the same way as a normal Shield Booster does: it transfers capacitor energy into shield hit-points (HP), but it repairs a lot more shield HP per cycle than a normal Shield Booster does. It has an efficiency of around 1 shield unit to 1 capacitor unit, and this means it would use a huge amount of capacitor per cycle. However, the main advantage of the Ancillary Shield Booster is that it is able to use Cap Booster Charges as a direct source of cap energy. The size of the charge depends on the size of Shield Booster. It always uses 1 charge per cycle, and when the cap booster charges are spent, only then does it use the ship's capacitor. The maximum number of charges an Ancillary Shield Booster can hold is 10. The recharge amount doesn't depend on the charge size, so always load the smallest possible charges to give the largest number of cycles per reload. Due to the short cycle time the Ancillary Shield Booster depletes within 20 to 40 seconds depending on the module size. After the charges are depleted you can run the Ancillary Shield Booster without charges (it then uses your ship's capacitor) or you can reload it. But here is the biggest drawback of the module, the reloading time is 60 seconds. Currently only a tech 1 version is available. The quick transfer of cap energy to shield HP have made this popular in PVP.
The Ancillary Shield Booster's main features:
- It works like a Shield Booster
- It repairs more shield HP than a Shield Booster per cycle (around 1:2.2)
- It needs high amounts of capacitor (around 1:1)
- It can use Cap Boosters as charges and uses one charge per cycle
- Its reload time is 60 seconds
- Only meta 0 version for now
Shield Boost Amplifiers
These modules improve the efficiency of Shield Boosters. Given that they occupy a valuable mid-slot, they are infrequently seen on cruiser sized and smaller hulls, but are more commonly seen on battlecruisers and battleships. These modules have a stacking penalty and typically no more than two is ever appropriate on any ship. 'Copasetic' I Particle Field Acceleration is the best t1 module having the lowest CPU requirments. Tech II gives 36% increase compared to a 30% for tech I.
Power Diagnostics Systems
Power Diagnostics Systems are low-slot modules that Increases your shield points, capacitor points and power grid while also reduces the recharge time of both shield and capacitor by a small percentage. Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System. They are not shield modules and can be found in the Engineering Equipment section.
Shield Transporters operate similarly to Shield Boosters by converting capacitor energy into shields, except in this case the shields are added to your target (ships, drones, anchored structures, etc). Note that you must target lock the ship to be repaired, and that your cannot repair your own ship with a shield transporter.
They can be more useful in fleet operations than shield booster, for a couple of reasons. First, one transporter can repair many ships. Second, a transporter is generally more efficient than a shield booster. Third, if several ships have them, they can focus their repair power on whatever ship in the fleet is being attacked, giving that ship a great deal of shield repair capability. This is known as Spider Tanking.
Note that remote repair modules take a significant amount of capacitor to run -- your ship will probably need a cap booster module to use it for any length of time.
Capacitor Power Relays
These are not a shield tanking module, but are mentioned because they have an adverse effect on shield tanking. Capacitor Power Relays are a low slot module that greatly increases capacitor recharge, which would be an active shield tanker's dream, except that to balance this capacitor power relays apply a penalty to shield boost amount when fitted. As such, they are not recommended for active shield tank fits. Capacitor Power Relays do not penalise passive shield tanks, and the penalty does not apply to Shield Transporters. Capacitor Power Relay I
For shield rigs, Jury Rigging III and Shield Rigging I are required to fit T1 rigs, though not to use them. All shield rigs bring with them the penalty of an increase signature radius on the ship using them.
There are several commonly used shield rigs.
- Screen Reinforcers increases a ship resistance to single type of damage at a cost of increased Sig radius. The most commonly used is the Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I, because typically shields are vulnerable to EM damage.
- Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer
- Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer
- Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer
- Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer
- Core Defense Capacitor Safeguard makes a shield booster run more efficiently reducing the cap requirement. (but see below).
- Core Defense Field Extender works similarly to a Shield Extender by increasing shield capacity.Large Core Defence Field Extender I
- Core Defense Field Purger works similarly to a Shield Recharger by increasing the shield recharge rate.Large Core Defence Field Purger
- Core Defense Charge Economizer reduces the powergrid need of shield extenders. Rarely used except in some very large buffers to pvp fits. Much cheaper than the general PG upgrade rig Large Core Defence Charge Economizer I
- Core Defense Operational Solidifier makes the booster run faster, increasing tank but also capacitor use. Unlike its armour equivalent, usually ignored in favour of a boost amplifier module Large Core Defence Operational Solidifier I
- For Active shield fits capacitor will be a major concern and many will rely on a Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I to make the tank work. So depending on the ship and the skills it may be more effective than the Medium Core Defence Capacitor Safeguard and has no drawback.
There are various shield implants available on the market. These can be interesting for various shield fits. This is especially true for passive tanks, where the tank can be increased by 6% for just a few million.
- Slot 6: Zainou 'Gnome' KUA.... Reduces shield extender power needs by a few %. Rarely used
- Slot 7: Zainou 'Gnome' KVA.... Bonus to shield capacity. Useful for buffer and passive tanks
- Slot 8: Zainou 'Gnome' KXA.... Reduced capacitor need for remote shield repair equipment. Useful for logistics fits
- Slot 9: Zainou 'Gnome' KYA.... Increases shield recharge rate. useful for passive tanks
- Slot 10: Siege Warfare Mindlink; technically not a direct shield implant, but increases the effectiveness of shield leadership skills in fleets.
The "Blue Pill" range of boosters adds bonuses to the repair amount of shield boosters. "Mindflood" boosters increase capacitor capacity, which in turn boosts cap recharge rate and allows shield boosters and active shield hardeners to run longer.