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Overheating (sometimes also called overloading) a module allows you to get more output from it for a short time. As the name suggests, overheating isn't something you can do indefinitely. Eventually you will burn your module out, making it inoperable.
However, if used with care or in an emergency, the benefit gained from an overheated module could be the difference between losing your ship and killing your enemy. Good pilots know when the risk is worth the possible reward.
Overheating -- and knowing how and when to do it -- is a very important skill in small fleet and solo PvP.
The skill required to be able to overheat your modules is called Thermodynamics (3x, 4.5M ISK). This skill reduced the heat damage from overheating by 5% per skill level. This is a starting skill for characters made after the September 2015 Vanguard update, but before the September 2019 update. (Older and newer characters will need to train the requisites and this skill on their own.)
- Nanite Operation (2x, 1M ISK) - Requires Mechanics IV and provides a 5% reduction in Nanite Repair Paste consumption per level.
- Nanite Interfacing (3x, 5M ISK) - Requires Mechanics IV, Nanite Operation III and provides a 20% increase in damaged module repair amount per second.
- (Racial) Tactical Destroyer - Provides 5% reduction to heat damage from overheating per level.
- (Racial) Strategic Cruiser - Provides 5% reduction to heat damage from overheating, and 10% increase in damaged module repair amount per second, per level.
- (Racial) Core Systems - Provides 5% reduction to heat damage from overheating per level, when the associated electronic warfare Subsystem is fitted.
You can begin overheating a specific module by clicking the green light at the top of the module button. You can turn it off the same way -- note, though, that it won't turn on or off until the next cycle begins. Alternatively you can right click the module and choose to overheat it. You can also use a keyboard shortcut: by default you can overheat by holding down shift and pressing the key(s) required to activate a module normally.
In some circumstances, you may need to overheat many modules as fast as possible. You can choose to overheat an entire rack (all the highslots, all the mid slots, or all the low slots) via the small buttons to the left of each rack.
The effects of overheating vary depending on the module. Most weapons will generate more damage (in the region of 15%). Tackling modules like webifiers get more range (about 20%). Propulsion devices like Afterburners boost your speed even more (roughly 50% more). With such benefits, it is easy to see that overheating is very powerful in the right circumstances.
Not all modules can be overheated - cloaking devices and damage controls can't, for example.
|Module Type||Overheat Effect||Percent Bonus|
|Armor Hardener||Strength Bonus||20%|
|Armor Repairer||Duration Bonus||-25%|
|Armor Repairer||Strength Bonus||10%|
|Cap Booster||Duration Bonus||-20%|
|ECM / EWAR||Strength Bonus||20%|
|Remote Cap Transmitter||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Hull Repairer||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Remote Armor Repairer||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Shield Booster||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Shield Booster||Strength Bonus||10%|
|Shield Hardener||Strength Bonus||20%|
|Remote Shield Booster||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Short Range Turrets||Damage per Shot Bonus||15%|
|Long Range Turrets||Duration Bonus||-15%|
|Warp Disruptor||Range Bonus||20%|
|Warp Scrambler||Range Bonus||20%|
|Stasis Grappler||Optimal Range Bonus||300%|
- Shield Boosters and Armor Repairers have multiple effects.
- Weapon DPS bonuses aren't uniform: missile launchers and long-ranged turrets (artillery, beam lasers, and railguns) fire faster, while short-ranged turrets (autocannons, pulse lasers, blasters, and disintegrators) get more raw damage-per-shot. Both ultimately result in more DPS, but it's worth noting that overheating won't give you a bigger alpha strike when you're using missiles or long-ranged turrets.
Modules that are overheated generate heat. This heat builds up in the ship (separated by module racks), and causes damage other modules in the same rack. Heat damage is what limits the use of overheating and has to be balanced between the need for the extra boost, and the risk of losing the module.
Every module has a certain amount of health (visible in the repair shop or when you compare multiple mods from the variants tab on the info screen), found in the attributes tab of the info window for the module. When the amount of heat damage sustained is greater than the module health, the module will 'burn out' and be forced Offline until it is repaired in a station's repair shop. Heat damage and module health are non-integer numbers, and so even if a module has sustained 39.99/40HP in heat damage, it will still operate. Burned out modules cannot be repaired and reactivated in space, and must be taken to a starbase or citadel to be repaired. Module heat damage can be repaired either in a starbase Repair Shop, or by being Tethered to an Upwell Structure.
As an overheated module cycles, it causes heat to build up in its rack (high/mid/low). Every time an overheated module's cycle ends, it has a chance to deal heat damage to one or more modules in the rack (including itself more than not). Every module has a fixed amount of heat damage it can deal on a cycle, which can be found in the attributes tab of the module's info window. The tachyometer-looking heat displays around the capacitor in the central HUD display both the heat built up in the rack (from 0-100%), and a kind of damage multiplier, from 1-4, that increases the number of different modules in that rack which can sustain heat damage from a single cycle. Heat buildup in racks is linear, and is based on the number of modules overheated at one time, the type of the modules (not visible in-game, but visible in out-of-game data sheets as 'heatAbsorbtionRateModifier'), and the size of the ship (larger hulls build up heat slower, also not visible in game but found on data sheets as 'heatGenerationModifier'). However, heat dissipation is not linear, it's based on how hot the rack currently is. This means that it is most dangerous to leave large numbers of modules overheated continuously, and safer to use overheating on individual modules in short bursts of a few cycles at a time, waiting for the rack heat to dissipate in between.
Two modules overheated, and next to each other in the same rack will damage each other as well as themselves, causing them to burn out that much faster. Care has to be taken whilst fitting a ship to try and fit modules that are likely to be overheated away from each other. Note that whether or not modules are 'next to each other' is determined on the fitting screen, and not the location of the buttons on your screen in space. Moving the buttons around has no effect on heat transfer. Minchurra has shown the effects of spacing modules with experimental science: How does module spacing affect heat damage?.
Some people fit offlined modules in between modules they plan on overheating to act as a 'heat sink' and limit the transfer of heat. Of course, this means a slot isn't being fully used, and could be a waste, so a balance has to be struck (however, this can be a good option for utility slots, eg. the 8th high slot on a ship with 7 missile or turret hardpoints). What happens is, if the RNG for the splash damage hits the offlined module or the empty slot, no damage is done and you can effectively overheat longer. Note that empty and offline slots are effectively equivalent for overheating purposes, so there's no need to place modules you won't ever online. However, an online module instead of an offline module will increase the rate at which modules burn out. Minchurra has done a nice bit of science about this: Turning down the heat (Overheating part 2).
Repairing Heat Damage
If a module has been damaged by heat, but not destroyed, then in-space repairs can be made using Nanite repair paste. This isn't excessively expensive, but the costs can add up if you use it a lot. Repair is done by right clicking the damaged module and selecting repair. As a rough rule of thumb, 1 minute, and 1 unit of paste repairs 10 points of heat damage. Likewise, frigates should carry 100 units in their cargo hold, cruisers and battle-cruisers 200 units, and larger vessels 300 units. Several skills can be trained to speed up repair time, and reduce the amount of paste required. If a module is destroyed (burned out) then it can't be repaired with nanite paste and will have to be repaired in a station with a repair shop.
You can't use a module while it's being repaired, and you can't overheat anything while any module on your ship is being repaired.