Stacking penalties

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Stacking penalties refer to an effectiveness reduction that is incurred when using two or more modules or rigs that affect the same attribute. The more modules or rigs affect the same attribute, the less effective each additional module is; in practice, having more than three or four modules/rigs affecting the same attribute is not worth it.

Most (but not all) modules and rigs will show in their description if they are subject to stacking penalties.

Note that it is the stat bonus that is affected, not the module itself. For example, if you fit both a Nanofiber Internal Structure (boosts agility and velocity) and an Overdrive Injector System (boosts velocity), the Nanofiber's velocity bonus would suffer a stacking penalty, but not its agility bonus. Similarly with armour or shield resistance modules: if you fit an EM hardener, an explosive hardener and an omni-hardener (Multispectrum Shield Hardener or Multispectrum Coating): the EM/Explosive resistances from the omni-hardener would be stacking-penalized but the Kinetic/Thermal resistances would not.

Also of note is that module drawbacks (negative effects) can also be stacking penalized.

Effects of stacking penalties

Normally, the benefits of additional modules/rigs would be multiplicative. So if fitting one Speed Booster (a fictional module with nice round numbers to make the math easier to understand) module increases a ship's speed by 10%, fitting two of them would increase a ship's speed by 21% ((1 + 10%) × (1 + 10%) = 1.1 × 1.1 = 1.21), and fitting three would increase it by 33% (1.1 × 1.1 × 1.1 = 1.33).

However, due to the stacking penalties effect, the second, third, and fourth Speed Booster modules' effects are only partially effective (86.9%, 57.1%, and 28.3% respectively - see below for details), and would therefore only increase a ship's speed by:

  • 10% × 86.9% = 9% for the second module
  • 10% × 57.1% = 5.7% for the third module
  • 10% × 28.3% = 2.8% for the fourth module

Therefore, the actual speed increase for the ship would be:

  • One Speed Booster module: +10%
  • Two Speed Booster modules: (1 + 10%) × (1 + (10% × 86.9%)) = (1 + 10.5%) × (1 + 9%) = +19.8%
  • Three Speed Booster modules: (1 + 19.8%) × (1 + 5.7%) = +26.7%
  • Four Speed Booster modules: (1 + 26.7%) × (1 + 2.8%) = +30.3%

However, the modules' bonuses still multiply, so even if the percentage increase of each subsequent module decreases sharply, the absolute increase of each subsequent module drops off more slowly. If we take a ship with a nominal speed of 100 m/s:

  • Adding one Speed Booster module: 100 + 10% = 110 m/s, an increase of +10 m/s
  • Adding a second Speed Booster module: 110 m/s + 9% = 120 m/s, an additional increase of +10 m/s
  • Adding a third Speed Booster module: 120 m/s + 5.7% = 127 m/s, an additional increase of +7 m/s
  • Adding a fourth Speed Booster module: 127 m/s + 2.8% = 130 m/s, an additional increase of +3 m/s

The Formula

The effectiveness of stacking penalized modules plotted.

Stacking-penalized modifiers are applied one at a time, in descending order of strength.

The n-th modifier is multiplied by S(n-1), as follows:

[math] S(u) = e^{-(u / 2.67)^2} [/math]

The Numbers

The exact numbers for stacking penalties can be gained by the formula above, but here are some rounded guidelines for quick calculations that doesn't need to be precise:

  • 1st mod: 100.0% effectiveness
  • 2nd mod: ~86.9% effectiveness
  • 3rd mod: ~57.1% effectiveness
  • 4th mod: ~28.3% effectiveness
  • 5th mod: ~10.6% effectiveness
  • 6th mod: ~3.0% effectiveness

As is clear, stacking more than 3 or 4 modules or rigs - unless you really have nothing else at all that you could fit there - that affect the same stat is fairly pointless, as your benefit is so tiny.

What suffers stacking penalties?

  • Absolute effects are never stacking-penalized, only percentage effects. That is to say, things like +1 warp core strength, +1000 structure HP, +15 m signature radius, +400 GJ capacitor are not stacking-penalized because they are not percentage (%) effects.
  • Modules, rigs, the effects of Command Bursts and environmental effects of Abyssal Deadspace, Triglavian minor victory, EDENCOM systems and Pochven are stacking-penalized.
    • Skills, ship bonuses from ship skills, implants, hardwirings, boosters (such as Synth Blue Pill, Strong X-Instinct, and others) and the effects of wormhole space are not stacking penalized.
  • Negative and positive effects are stacking-penalized separately. So, one +% and one -% effect to an attribute suffers no penalties, whereas with two +% and two -% effects, one of each would only be 86.9% effective. An example might be velocity modifiers: if you have one Overdrive Injector System on your ship (to increase your speed) whilst at the same time being slowed by a single Stasis Webifier from an enemy ship - both velocity modifiers are 100% effective. If you are then affected by second Stasis Webifier (from the same or another ship) that second web will be only 86.9% effective.

It can be hard to tell exactly what suffers stacking penalties and what does not. For instance, the Overdrive Injector System II gives +12.5% velocity at a cost of -20% cargo capacity, and the description claims it suffers stacking penalties. The velocity bonus is stacking-penalized, but the cargo drawback is actually not. Similarly, the Warp Core Stabilizer II gives you one extra warp core strength at a cost of -40% targeting range and -40% scan resolution. It doesn't mention stacking penalty in the description, but the drawbacks are actually stacking-penalized.

We can learn from this that it is not the module itself which determines whether its effects are stacking-penalized, but rather the attribute affected.

Assuming the attribute they affect is actually stacking penalized, Command Burst modules are stacking penalized as normal, along with the rest of your modules and rigs.

Here's a handy table of what ship effects are stacking-penalized and which aren't; there are some weird exceptions which are further discussed below the table. Remember, it is only percentage effects from modules/rigs that are penalized.

Is <insert attribute> stacking-penalized?

Ship attribute Stacking-penalized
Powergrid (including reduced-PG-need effects) no
CPU (including reduced-CPU-need effects) no
Cargo capacity no
Capacitor capacity no[1]
Capacitor recharge rate no
Energy Warfare resistance yes
Module capacitor use no
Shield recharge rate no
Shield / armor / hull hit points no[2]
Shield / armor / hull resistances yes[3]
Shield boost / armor repair bonus yes
Sensor strength yes
ECM jammer strength yes
Sensor dampener scan resolution dampening strength yes
Sensor dampener targeting range dampening strength yes
Scan probe sensor strength yes[4]
Scan resolution yes
Targeting range yes
Signature radius yes
Velocity yes[5]
Inertia modifier (agility) yes
Mass yes
Duration (cycle time) bonuses (weapons) yes
Duration (cycle time) bonuses (other) no[6]
Missile launcher rate of fire yes[7]
Missile damage yes
Missile explosion velocity yes
Missile explosion radius yes
Missile flight time yes
Missile velocity yes
Turret rate of fire yes[7]
Turret damage modifier yes
Turret tracking speed yes
All optimal range (modules/turrets) yes
All falloff (modules/turrets) yes
Mining laser yield (including mining drone yield) no
Mining laser cycle duration no
Drone control range no
Drone damage yes
Salvaging probability no

Bonuses from overheating sometimes follow same stacking penalties as normal bonuses. But this is not always the case.

Overheated module (bonus) Stacking-penalized
shield/armor repairer (repair ammount) yes
Local/remote shield/armor repairer (cycle time) no
ECM strength bonus yes
Sensor dampener (range dampening strength) yes
Sensor dampener (resolution dampening strength) yes
Guidance and tracking disruptors yes
Target painters no
Warp disruptors, Warp scramblers and Stasis webifiers yes
Afterburners and micro warp drives yes[8]
Turrets and missile launchers (damage bonus) no
Turrets and missile launchers (Rate of fire bonus ) no[9]
Capacitor transmitters no

Many overheating bonuses are not stacking penalized simply due to the fact that there are no modules or effects that would modify the same stat as the overheat bonus.These modules are considered to be not stacking penalized until an effect that modifies same stat as the overheat bonus is released.
Modules with no overlaping effects:

  • Sensor boosters
  • Capacitor boosters
  • Tracking/guidance computers
  • omnidirectional tracking links
  • Hull repairers
  • Active hardeners
  • Energy neutralizers and nosferatus
  • Smarbombs
  • Reactive armor hardener
  • Target spectrum breaker

Weird Exceptions

  1. ^ Both the flat bonus from capacitor batteries and percentage bonus from micro warp drives and capacitor flux coils are unpenalized.
  2. ^ Both the flat bonuses and percentage bonuses are unpenalized.
  3. ^ Damage Control modules, the Reactive Armor Hardener module and Bastion module work slightly differently.

    If you only fit only one of them (one Damage Control or one Reactive Hardener or one Bastion module), then they are never stacking penalized. They will always give their full damage resistance effect, along with your most effective module that also gives it's full effect as explained above, followed by any other modules that will be stacking penalized. This is one reason why the Damage Control module is so popular; because it is always 100% effective.

    If, however, you fit two of them, then one of them (whichever is less effective) will count as a second module and be stacking penalized accordingly (so, 86.9% effective). This is in addition to your normal resistance modules, of which one will give its full effect and the rest stacking penalized as explained above.

    As an example, consider the following five modules all fitted to your ship and their resulting effectiveness: one Damage Control (100% effective), and one Reactive Armor Hardener (86.9% effective); one EM Armor Hardener (100% effective), one Multispectrum Energized Membrane (EM resistance 86.9% effective, other resistances 100% effective), and one Multispectrum Coating (EM resistance 57.1% effective, other resistances 86.9% effective).

  4. ^ The probe scan strength from Gravity Capacitor Upgrade rigs and Scan Rangefinding Arrays and Sisters & Tech 2 launchers are all stacking penalized, even though the rigs and launchers don't mention it. Sisters probes are not, because they are not percentage effects - the core probes have a base strength of 44 instead of 40 (or 22 instead of 20 in the case of Sisters combat probes).
  5. ^ There are two different velocity bonuses, the Maximum Velocity Bonus (propulsion modules such as afterburners and microwarpdrives) and the Velocity Modifier (propulsion upgrade modules such as nanifibers, overdrives etc). They stack separately and thus a MWD doesn't change the stacking order for multiple propulsion upgrades.
  6. ^ Although the Nanobot Accelerator rig (to decrease armor repairer cycle time) says it is stacking penalized in Show Info, it isn't.
  7. ^ a b The rate of fire bonus from Bastion Module is not stacking penalized.
  8. ^ Stacking penalized with rapid deployment command burst. Not with speed boosting modules or rigs.
  9. ^ The Bastion module rate of fire bonus is stacking penalized with overheat rate of fire bonus.