Why do we have Armor and Hull?

Hello everyone,

I was wondering why do we have both Hull and Armor when both share almost everything, they both use low slots modules and don’t regenerate on their own so why not just remove one of them and add it to the other + some for shields.

I’m not experienced player so i might be missing something big here tho :slight_smile:

Because armor tankers are wimps and hull tankers are very manly men.
Also because it makes logical sense.

– A hull tanker


When a human puts on armor, do they die when the armor is removed? Or is it the case that the foundation of a structure has some vitality of its own?


Read : a real man


Armour: to keep the hull around the ship

Hull: to keep the air around the ship



I think you meant to say, to keep the air “within” the ship.


Nah the ship is the pod.

Everything else is pod armour.

I dont need messy air in my podgoo.


For everything else, there is duct tape.


Defense is a complex topic.

You realistically have 4 options for protecting your ship, and they depend on the ship and how you fit it in station before you undock:

Fast speed and/or small size.
Big weapons are designed to do very little damage or even not be able to hit small ships, or ships that can go faster than the weapon’s ability to track them. This defense is used by frigates, and it was specifically put in the game to give frigates a chance to go against big ships. You can get a feel for the difference size / speed make when you go from frigate to destroyer; the destroyer has the same shields and armor as a frigate, but greatly increased size and lower speed, and will take full damage from big ships, in situations where a frigate will take 50% damage or less.

Shield defenses.
Because shields regenerate (although slowly), you have choices. You can either pump energy into the shield and replenish it (using a shield booster module), or you can enhance the shield’s natural regeneration rate and add so many resistances that it’s able to keep up with damage in combat. For active shield repair you use mid slots to install active shield modules, and for the passive shield regeneration you will use mid slots to install extra shields and shield resistances, AND low slots to increase the regeneration rate.

Armor defenses.
Armor must be repaired, so you need to use the ship’s low slots to install repairers and resistance modules. The armor repairers use a lot of capacitor energy.

Range / jamming / avoidance.
The final option is to simply avoid damage altogether and stay out of range, or jam the enemy’s targeting or weapons so they can’t do damage. For this, you need a good “propulsion” module (afterburner, microwarp drive MWD, microjumpdrive MJD) to control your range, or you need friends with ships that can jam the enemy (jamming also uses mid slots) so they can’t even target, much less shoot. And you need weapons that can do damage to the enemy at the long range that you’re staying at.

There are a few “you’re joking, right?” options for defense, and they exist because of quirks of the game:

Buffer tank.
You simply add as many hitpoints and resistances as possible to your armor OR shields, and go without any means to repair them. This relies on the assumption that the fight will be over before you run out, like for example in high-sec where you can expect Concord to come to your rescue within 30 seconds. Or, for example, if you have logistics ships (healers) in your fleet, that can repair you better than you can repair yourself.

Hull tank.
To answer your initial question, the hull of the ship is basically the last layer before your ship explodes. If you lose your primary defense (the shields or the armor that you could repair), you’re supposed to abandon all hope and focus on GTFO, escaping the situation, and the point of the hull is to give you time to align your ship to an escape vector and get out. If you look at the hull repair modules, they do use low slots, but they don’t come anywhere near being able to repair the amounts of damage you’ll suffer in combat. Hull repair is more an option to avoid paying repair fees at a station; just strap a module on and wait until it’s quiet to undock and bandage your ship at the slow rate of “it’ll take all night”.

Spider tank.
The first thing a fleet will do to you is concentrate all their weapons on you, so you have no chance. The enemy fleet commander (FC) calls you as the primary target, and everyone shoots you. Focus fire, it’s a basic tactic. How do you deal with that? Well, everybody in YOUR fleet has to remote-repair you, and hopefully the love from your friends matches the hatred from the enemy. So when they give up on trying to take you down, and switch over to your friend in the next ship, YOU and everyone else in your fleet switch over to repair them.

Can’t catch me.
First, you pick a ship that’s very agile to begin with, like an interceptor or basic frigate, and then you enhance its agility (how fast it can reorient itself to warp away) to ridiculous levels, making it faster (at going away into warp) than the game server can reasonably react given the “1-second per round” rule that it has for its processors, and the approx. 1 second delay for data traveling over the Internet. So this basically lets you travel like The Flash. Of course, to counter this, the enemy can set up their interceptors to target and warp-disrupt you faster than the server can react too, and then the situation becomes a coin toss, purely chance.


Memphis … This is gd not ncq&a , snappy one liners and sarcasm are the order of the day.


What you’re giving up, when making the defense choices above:

Speed and small size
You need to make your ship fast and keep it small. Shield extenders make your ship appear big to the enemy’s targeting radar, and armor plates make your ship slow. If you’re in a frigate, you go for speed and give up the shields and armor altogether.

Shields are great, as long as you have the capacitor energy to keep them up. But you’re using up your mid slots, and that’s where you could have installed a propulsion module (for speed), jamming (including the requirement to install warp-disruptors for any PVP activity, otherwise you can’t catch any prey they just warp away), and capacitor-recharge modules.

Armor is also great, as long as you have the capacitor energy to keep repairing. You have shorter time to get out if you lose your armor, but hopefully your defenses hold. But you’re using up low slots, and weapon damage enhancers go into low slots (for example, magnetic field stabilizers will add 5% - 15% DPS for rail guns and blasters). You do less damage when you put on the armor.

Long range weapons in this game don’t do awesome damage - it’s not like a sniper taking headshots. If you’re set for sniping, you do less damage than if you set up for point-blank shotgun-blaster type weapons. In addition, the basic tactic for NPC pirates is to get close to you and stay there, so doing missions is a bit more cumbersome.

Your ship has only so much powergrid and CPU, and only so many slots. You have to install weapons, and you have to install a defensive strategy, and they all could use more slots or more power/CPU than you have available. You always have to make sacrifices, every ship is tuned by CCP to force you to cut something. So the trick is to make your weapons and defense work together (at the same range, or based on the plan that you have for the ship), and thus conserve how many slots, power, and CPU you’re using up. The idea is to fill the ship up to the brim, with nothing being wasted on pointless modules (that won’t help with your “plan” for combat).


Sorry, heh.

Maybe a moderator will take one look at my double wall-of-text and feel a sudden urge to move this :slight_smile: .

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No worries, good to see some still bother

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I wish they had that back in Dust, CCP believed that one shot to the toe could kill a “9 foot super soldier” :stuck_out_tongue:


Wrong. They use mid-slots. It’s not wrong to be wrong about this one though :slight_smile:
Great posts, kudos!

They do not share everything, at least not in regards to game mechanics.

Let’s look at…

… Buffer:

  • Armor needs Plates to increase Buffer and they give you a Fix value of Armor HP, while increasing your ships Weight and thereby lowering your speed and align time; how drastically depends on your Points in certain Skills and the Hull Weight vs. Plate Weight ratio. Armor Plates can use a considerable part of your ships powergrid
  • Armor Buffer also usually needs rigs (Trimarks), which decrease your ships speed by 5-10% depending on your rigging skill. There is also a module that gives you +15% Armor, but it is the worst option in most cases.
  • In order for your Buffer Tank to be effective you need some decent Armor Resistances. Most ships have unequal resistances and you usually need at least 1-2 Lowslots to get somewhere, on some ships you can get Resis of 80-90% consistently.
  • Remote Armor Reps are a thing, they do work.

In short: Armor Buffer tanks make your ship slower and less agile, are Powergrid-hungry but can have a high resistance profile and they only need the rigs + 2 plates for a very hefty base HP in Armor

  • Hull Buffer tanks come with only one option: fit a Damage Control and get your resistances to 60% around the bank. Then fit as many Bulkheads in the Lowslots as you can and finally Hull rigs as well. Hull base HP is not increased in absolute numbers as Plates do it for Armor, but rather in %. Bulkheads take a lot of CPU, since you need a whole bunch of them to increase the base HP enough to make it count.They have a slightly negative effect on your align-time, but they don’t decrease your ships speed.
  • Hull Buffer cannot effectively receive Remote Reps on Hull, because any kind of active Hull repper is very very ineffective
  • as Bulkheads increase base hull HP in %, a ship with very low base Hull HP will not be a good choice for it

In short: CPU-intensive, needs almost all lowslots and the rigs, you have a perfectly even resistance profile, but limited to 60%. No remote reps.

If you compare the two you will find that Armor can be flown in many different ways, while Hull is pretty limited to the buffer scenario. For ships that have a lot of Powergrid, not so much CPU and you don’t need them to be fast, Armor Buffer can be a good choice. For ships that need their Powergrid in the Midslots or Highslots (higher grade weapons), a Hull Buffer can be the smart way to go. It usually means that you run into CPU-issues though. Hull buffer are not as fast as Shield ships, but much faster than the same ship with Armor buffer and their tank never runs them into Cap issues.

If you’d take away Hull tanking, you would force some ships into being slow Armor Buffers with limited Damage output, Active Armor tankers with cap issues (and sometimes Powergrid issues too, due to rigs) or paper-thin shield versions which can only be used in certain fleet setups.

There are also Hybrids.

In Frigate PVP it is quite common to go for one active armor repper and instead of lowering your powergrid output by using Active Armor Rigs, you fit Hull Buffer rigs, which have no negative effect at all and give you some room to “bleed into hull”, should your armor reppor temporarily not be able to hold up with incoming DPS.

There is also the case where you pretend to be Active Armor tanked, but actually just running one Repper and the rest is hull tanked. It could make enemies think they’ve broken you and get them close enough, to hard tackle/web and/or light a cyno.

Personally, I like the many different defensive options, be it armor, shield or hull, be it defensive scram or web, energy warfare, tracking disruption, transversal velocity, speed in general, low sig radius, the good old attack-is-the-best-defense-tank or whatever.

Taking options away makes PVP less complex and that would be a shame.


Unless you’re part of the RLML Orthrus plague. Then you don’t have to cut anything, you can just throw on a 500MN MWD and not get caught by pretty much anything. And, if something does catch you, it pretty much has to be bigger, or something with really long point and some kind of ewar to mess with your missiles. Or someone who figures out your ship likes to warp to things at 50km and lands on top of you.

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Walls of text are one thing. Walls of text of good player knowledge are another. Well done @Memphis_Baas :wink:


Interesting. Weren’t they low before? It’s been a while. Thanks for pointing it out,


Hulltanking also drastically reduces your cargo capacity. This is a prime reason freighter pilots choose not to tank their ships, leading to obvious consequences…


The good/important stuff has all already been excellently covered, so I’ll just add (or repeat, if I missed another such comment) - at the very least, having an extra onion-layer adds granularity to the aspect of defense. This adds a little “complexity”, another decision for the player to make, and thus deepens that aspect of the game (slightly) - games in general, and good games in particular, are primarily about decision-making, be it split-second reactions or deeply-pondered strategic planning, or anything in between. It also gives the player (as no doubt noted elsewhere) the option to not tank “at all” (sort-of!) and still be able to use a ship.