Most of the time, no one is going to defend a shield timer since it will be decided on the attacker’s time. Even if the defender’s corp is active at the time, they could be out on a mining trip rather than a PVP fleet. Meanwhile the armor and hull timer give a chance for the defenders to organize a defense. If the defenders do try to make a stand at this time, it is likely they already formed up a PVP fleet.
What about the signal amplifiers (used to boost… well the structure’s sensor)? If the defenders do actually decide to fight on the shield timer, can the structure operator swap out the Layered Armor Plating during the fight for a signal amplifier and then when the shield is at 10%, swap it out for the layered armor plating? The defenders could get the full benefit of the layered armor plating while having a better chance to defend the shield timer (assuming of course they have the numbers to even try a shield timer).
One buddy I mentioned said it was not worth contesting a shield timer most of the time simple because most of the corp was not going to be ready for it. He would only consider it if they formed a PVP fleet for some other thing and it was somehow large enough to counter the attacking fleet. Since he often does small gang roams, he didn’t think this would happen unless he asked for 7 guys and got something like 35, and then the structure gets attacked at the same time, and these pilots have the right skills to fly a composition that could take on the attackers. He said he’d also consider contesting a shield timer if there was a high likelihood of winning the ISK battle and in any event, he’d be planning the armor timer.
This might be possible if the attackers mindlessly bash the structure if faced with opposition, but assuming the attackers respond with the best response once the fleet arrives, I don’t see how this will work. If the attackers use Tech II modules instead of deadspace ones, anything the defenders can fly that can come out ISK positive seems likely to win the ISK battle.
Maybe a boosher might make this work? A frigate could wing warp a command destroyer onto logi, boosh away a guardian or basilisk and then have Hurricane pound a logi, have Griffins interrupt any cap chain, and the boosh distance is less than 150 km so the enemy DPS ships have to slowboat to help. I… don’t see how this can work in practice even if it’s fine in theory.
A third reason to contest a shield timer might be to keep morale up among the corpmates. Depending on the structure being contested and the context, this can be worthwhile. I won’t pretend to know the details of this, but every pilot is a human and morale can be important.
I can think of three reasons to contest a shield timer. One is if the defenders already formed a fleet and can contest is. A second is if they can win the ISK battle (and they value winning the ISK battle, sometimes there can be more important things than that, but there are times when this is valued). A third is for morale reasons. I understand the first and third, the second is questionable.
So here are questions I have. First, are there any reasons to contest a shield timer besides the ones I thought of? Second, if the defenders contest the shield timer, can they swap out structure modules on the fly as long as there is shield left? Third, even if the attackers have everything on grid (say… they aren’t cynoing in more guys), is there any situation where the defenders can win the ISK battle without having enough to just outright win?