Armor vs. Shield (Capships)

Just saw some thread on reddit asking why the capship meta favored armor over shield. The responses said that you could neut out shield ships, and that your capship lands on grid without cap because of the jump. Bottom line, shield caps are cap dependent, thus that is their downfall.

I didn’t understand. For buffer tanks, armor ships will load up a bunch of armor in the lows and rigs, and a shield ship will load up a bunch of shield extenders. For active tanks with reppers, the armor ship is gonna need a cap-dependent armor repper just as much as a shield ship is gonna need a cap-dependent shield repper.

It seems to me that both tank types (armor/shield) are equally dependent on cap. Can anyone explain?

Armor resistance modules are capless, while shield hardners will all turn off when the ship is dry which lowers resistances and ehp.

Also for armorbBuffer you can equip slave implants to help. I don’t think we’ve gotten the shield versions yet.

Shield hardeners used to confer a percentage of their resistance value even when turned off … CCP nerfed them :psyccp:


I personally dont fly capships, but my experience with subcaps it is the same way with them.

Most ships flown in PVP are armor tanked not shield tanked because of the neut issue. The factors I have seen that pretty much negate the shield tanking is the rise of webifiers, stasis fields, and other signature increasing or ship slowing effects. Makes shields pretty much pointless for their one major perk… they dont increase the ships mass and slow it down.

That and shields naturally regenerate over time so you can have a secondary buffer when you armor tank that you really dont have when you shield tank.

At the most basic level it comes down to the fact that the only shield module that affects all resists is the Adaptive Invulnerability Field on which the T2 has a 30% affect across the board, however it is an active module, in that it uses cap to have the effect so being neuted will turn it off. In terms of Armour there is the Energized Adaptive Membrane and the T2 version has a 20% affect but is is not active so it cannot be turned off.

So when a shield super gets neuted its tank gets reduced significantly once the module is turned off, but the armour one does not. There are passive shield resist modules for each damage type, but that means you get squeezed on choices elsewhere such as MWD and other mods which are medium powered.

Another major issue is when the server is stressed, modules stop activating so having a passive tank made a big difference. When they orginally designed the game the Adaptive Invuln field had a passive affect too, but as the server had to check the status of it the calls added to lag, so they removed that affect. I understood why they did that change, but damn I hated it, it made shield ships worse.

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As far as straight buffer goes, using Genolution for shield (+ shield management) and HG slaves (+mechanic) for armor, the typical levi vs avatar tank fit will see 48.5M (44.5M if 2x passive fit) vs 46M EHP respectively. This is about a 5% difference. This is assuming all active tank modules stay on, which will never happen in a large engagement where your dreads are neuting the next target as you focus down the other. This is also a reason why jumping directly into a fight armor is heavily favored over the heavy cap reliance shield has to maintain it’s high resist profile. When titans die it’s typically very fast so passive regen isn’t even a worthy talking point. So while shield as slight advantage in active tank it’s not reliable.

Now lets turn the hardeners off, same fits. We’re going to assume we’re in combat and you are already several DD into a fight so refitting isn’t going to happen any time soon. Now the EHP for the levi vs avatar drastically swings to 12M (17.4M if 2x passive fit) vs 31.9. All of a sudden it becomes pretty apparent who is actually at an advantage/disadvantage here.

There is almost no need to look at FAX for this, but since you’ll rarely see the two apart I may as well. Yes, shield apply immediately while armor lands at the end of the cycle. However, when shield take 4 seconds to cycle and armor takes 3 seconds this is rather moot. In fact an argument can, and has, been made that a faster cycle time is actually beneficial as it makes you less susceptible to alpha/leaking HP outside of your main buffer. Again, we’re talking about one second here on targets that usually go down to multiple DDs so take that as you will, but an advantage is an advantage.

Lastly the actual FAX themselves, on top of armor actually cycling faster, their HP/S is actually slightly higher than that of shield while being less cap intensive. Minokawa vs Apostle under triage you’re looking at 371.25 GJ/s for shield and 365.6 GJ/s for armor per T2 rep (each scales similarly from meta and faction so this difference remains about the same). So that’s yet another advantage towards armor made all the more apparent when you remember that any fax being cynoed on grid is going to already be low on cap and the first few into triage are going to need to be able to squeeze out as many rep cycles as possible while the others chain up to get enough cap to reliably enter triage.

As you can see, armor simply has a several small advantages over shield except for straight active buffer. These advantages add up which is why shield just simply has never been the preferred tank for super capitals. You also have to realize that even if CCP did something to swing a few of these advantages towards shield, many alliances are already entrenched so it would take a very drastic shift in balance to convince them to make the swap.

A nice QOL change could be to bring back the passive bonus hardeners used to have if they were shut off at any time which was effected by the shield compensation skills. It never amounted to much, but anything is better than 0 when neuting is so prevalent in every facet of fleet combat nowadays.

A second such QOL change would be to release a the shield implant set which granted passive resist rather than bonus HP. Reasoning being that these passive resists would be effected by existing DR, so are only easily noticeable when hardeners are shut off. It would also prevent what is already a very close balance in buffer from swinging heavily from one side to the other, again, due to the DR mechanics already in place.


Active hardeners for both versions exist. Passive versions for both exist.

That said, more passive options exist for armour.

THAT said, cap dependency is nearly moot. Armour gives you way more tank. Shield gives you better mobility… but you’re in capitals. Your idea of mobility is spending 5 minutes burning out of a bubble. I guess technically you can get better active shield tanks a la ASBs, as anci armour reps are limited to one module.

Caps depend on tank far more than they depend on mobility. And yes you can turn off an active cap tank, but any cap fit should have a cap booster on it if it isn’t passive fit to protect against neuts. One pulse of the cap booster right before your hardeners cycle.

If only that was reliable in a fight, especially one under tidi. There have been more than a few times where I went to inject cap and either neuts would hit just then or the game didn’t register the cap and refused to turn the hardener back on. That was before FAX, but literally nothing has been changed to my knowledge to make it act any better between then and now.

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True. I was in theory mode there. I’ve never even had a need for tank on mine, as I’ve never been the primary. Any time I’ve been in a fight, some other lucky duck was the one getting shot at.

It’s interesting topic. Most players ‘I heard’, prefer passive Armor Caps due to the explanations done above. I have no any practical experience with Capital tanking sets, but I spent hours by theorycrafting it, back in the days. Moreover, I think there isn’t a capsuleer in EVE available, which has practical experience with all types of Capital ships, including faction ones.

Talking about Dreads and Carriers, it’s no matter what type of tanking they have. In case if like 100 of other capitals will red boxing you - you are doomed whatever tank your ship has. Only a Capital Emergency Hull Energizer will let you to stay on the grid for 22 sec more. Talking about Super Carriers, it depends by situation and support team. Anyway, from Supers we need only DPS. Titans alone will not survive no matter what type of tank do we have - armor or shield (zkillboard can prove it). They requires a support team like the aircraft carriers requires it in real life.

I want to talk about Titans, as the best option to work around tank abilities. My Capital weapons skills are level ‘zero’, but I have decent armor, shield and rig skills for the next presentations. Avatar is a perfect option for ‘passive’ Armor tanking (with good skills near 25M EHP), while active Hardeners are even much more worse option compared to a Shield tanking Titan, due to its dps concept and cap drain. A fit with faction modules is presented below. With implants it can have more EHP. Well, I can’t imagine a Titan pilot without full set of respective implants on a Titan without faction modules installed.

A Shield tanking Titan can be built in many variants and its ‘a plus’. Below is presented a crazy passive tanking utility Titan in theory. A Titan which should be summoned the last on the field, depending by situation

Titan Command Bursts - the best bursts. 10M EHP with 6.6k hp/s!!! Racial Phenomena Generators aren’t used at all by serious reasons, but they are very strong modules in special COMBO fleets if to take into consideration that almost all players are using passive Armor tanked Caps. This Phenomena works as a nightmare versus pure Ammar Caps. Such types of Titans must be summoned the last on the grid.


Another active Shiled tanked Titan

Normal mode with 30M EHP under 90% resistances with full set of low dps modules! Sure, this ship should not be summoned firstly and close to the enemy fleet. This Titan requires a special secret group of 3-5 Capacitor AWOXes to become very effective. The advantage of shield Titans is in their proactive reaction and adaptation to the current situation. As soon you are redboxed by entire fleet - you can overheat both Adaptive shield hardeners or only one:

So, we will get 40M EHP, but with max skills, bursts and full set of implants - like 50M EHP!!! Afterwards, the burned shield module can be repaired.

As a conclusion, I can say that both tanking types are proportionally effective. It depends by situation, how you are using them and by supporting fleet. Overall, a passive Armor tanked Avatars are most popular for ‘any case situation’, while active Shield tanked Titans like Ragnarok requires special support and management of a pilot.

Kind of funny because when I first started playing Eve, the meta was shield tanking, and armor was considered garbage.

Time for Adaptive Invulnerable Amplifier has come? Let’s say 15% resistance for T2 and ~ 17,5% for green and blue versions while it’s 99% passive within higher CPU price as a trade off?

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All of this Capship armor vs shield talk… it is the same for all of the ship classes.

Armor tank is generally a bit better because it is less CPU intensive and far less capacitor draining. With the rise of neutralizers and Nosferatu, you want to squeeze as much out of your cap as possible without popping through cap charges like M&Ms at a kids party on Halloween.

Good point. Since I began in 2009 there has been an extreme bias in the game towards armor based anything. There are Crystals, but Shield Boost bonus is the same as Armor Rep Boost bonus… where as there is no Shield HP set to offset the Slaves.

The only half-reasonable argument against it would be that shields recharge… but even then it is still greatly inferior to armor tanking.

Kinda horse$hit if you ask me.

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That’s probably due to the nature of shield mechanics since has recharging rate and restored by the time no matter it’s kind of slow vs. armor doesn’t have such feature. So basically shield is an “energised module” so we have all sort of related imps and booster effects related with that. And hawing raw HP increment with implants is some sort of bypassing the nature of the shields.

umm there are both passive and active resistance modules for both shield and armor.

It was there to offer a small amount of resists in case the hardeners were turned off. It was in no ways an equal to amplifiers for either shield or armor. Basically CCP’s reason to remove it was “most people didn’t even notice it’s effects.”

And since I’m posting anyway, to address someone above, shield/armor repair implants only apply to subcapital reps. Unlike slave which apply to all hulls, and you are correct there is no shield variant. CCP Fozzie pretty much hinted that they were dropping the idea of releasing a direct (or any really) shield slave variant back at EVE Vegas. Which I agree is not the correct direction to go given the amount of balancing they would have to overcome due to shield recharge rates. That is why I suggested above as a QOL change to introduce them as a resist bonus set. That way their effects are minimal in high resist profiles due to current DR mechanics, yet are more noticeable and useful when hardeners are turned off. At the same time not requiring much, if any, balance in terms of shield regen rates for the same reasons.

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you also have to remember caps are used in large fleets, large fleet fights take longer. one difference between armor and shield is shields are built in a way that favors burst tank. This is done in a few ways. shields in generally eat more cap than armor as you seem to have figured out at this point. The hardeners are active (passive ones are almost never useful except in niche fits) this takes cap however they are better at adding resists than the passive armor hardeners. The shield booster reps far more and more often than the armor rep, however it also costs more GJ/hp.

where shields really come into their own is OH their hardeners. something that can give amazing tank but again only lasts for a short time. pairing this with a passive set up (something that generally strongly reduces your cap recharge) can make you near unkillable in small and mid fleets for a short time.

armor also can get higher buffer letting it survive in high alpha environments and the armor RR cycles faster allowing each one to rep between volleys of most high alpha guns. for example a t2 armor RR can cycle faster than med artillery (the largest rof being ~7seconds) T2 shields however cycle at 8 seconds. a common fleet being the arty BCs makes this very important.

So it’s not that shields are worse but rather their Pros favor small fast fights rather than large drawn out engagements. This is not to say shield capitals have no place. despite what some will tell you there are still areas in eve where small and mid fleets do use capitals and in many of these you will find shields being used


sorry if this was disjointed a bit. i was rolling holes while writing and wasn’t very focused


It’s not the stuff I get involved in, but I thought it was well written and very interesting to read. Thanks.