EVE Evolved: The art of tanking - Shield tanking

In part 1 of this series on the world of tanking in EVE Online, I introduced the concept of tanking as it applies to EVE and explained how to select which type of tank to use with your ship. I then went on to give a complete overview of armour tanking, including the equipment and skills you'll need to succeed. In this second part of the guide, I explore the art of shield tanking.

Shield tanking:
In addition to the differences mentioned in the previous article, shield tanking differs significantly from armour tanking. Shield boosters can repair damage a lot faster than armour repairers due to their faster cycle time but are less efficient and will use up a lot more capacitor. An active shield tank is characterised by the use of hardeners to resist damage and a shield booster to repair damage that makes it through. However, since shield naturally recharges over time, it's possible to make a completely passive shield tank that relies on a high recharge rate rather than a shield booster. Different sets of equipment are used for these two different types of shield tank.

Read on and find out all you ever wanted to know about shield tanking, including what modules and skills you can use to boost your combat performance.

Active shield tanking equipment:
The most important part of an active shield tank is the shield booster. These come in a range of sizes from small to extra large and require significantly less powergrid to fit than an armour repairer of equivalent size. Frigates are best off using small or medium shield boosters, cruisers best using large versions and most shield tanking battleships will use an x-large booster. Shield boosters repair less damage per unit of capacitor used than armour repairers but can repair much faster. To compensate, shield boost amplifiers like the "Shield Boost Amplifier I" can be used to increase the amount of damage each cycle of your shield booster repairs, thereby making it more efficient.

Of course your shield booster is useless without the capacitor to use it. Since your mid slots will be best used for shield modules, you will have no free mid slots to fit capacitor rechargers in. Instead, shield tanks tend to use a low slot module called the "Power Diagnostic System I". This gives small increases to a wide variety of ship stats, most notably increasing shield hitpoints, shield recharge rate, capacitor capacity and capacitor recharge rate. Capacitor power relays are unsuitable for active shield tanks as they give a large penalty to shield boost amount.

If you have enough isk to buy expensive rigs for your ship, it's important to choose the right rigs to get the most out of your purchase. Since active shield tanks are very capacitor hungry and you're rarely running the shield booster constantly, you'll benefit most from installing a few "Capacitor Control Circuit I" rigs to your ship. These increase the recharge rate of your capacitor by 15% each, giving you a lot more capacitor to use with your shield booster.

Both active and passive shield tanks require resistances to reduce the incoming damage to manageable levels. Resistances boost the amount of incoming damage you can absorb to each hitpoint, making your tank all round more effective. Like armour hardeners, shield hardeners come in active and passive forms. Active forms such as the "Ballistic Deflection Field I" consume capacitor and boost your shield's resistance to a specific damage type by 50%, halving the damage you take from that damage type. Passive shield membranes like the "Kinetic Deflection Amplifier I" don't use capacitor but give a lower bonus to shield resistance.

Finally, the "Invulnerability Field I" line of modules increases resistance to all four damage types. These are popular in all setups, especially those for mission-running if the enemy's damage type is not known or in PvP setups. The low slot module "Damage Control I" also gives some shield resistances. Due to the fact that bonuses from damage control modules are not stacking penalised, it has become commonplace to fit one on almost any shield tanking ship.

Passive tanking:
It's possible to shield tank a ship without using a shield booster to repair damage. Instead, a "passive" tank relies on having a large hitpoint pool, good resistances and fast shield recharge rate. There's nothing wrong with putting active hardeners on a passive tanked ship because even a passive tanked ship will have enough capacitor to run at least one active hardener or invulnerability field. The increased resistances over using passive hardeners will strengthen your tank considerably.

Your shield recharges faster as your hitpoints decrease just as your capacitor does. The peak recharge rate is achieved at around 33% shield and should your hitpoints drop below this, the recharge rate decreases sharply and your shield tank will soon fail. Caldari ships like the Drake and Caracal can be passive tanked very well due to their high shield reserves and ample mid slots. Some Gallente ships like the Myrmidon and Dominix can also be passive tanked due to having a high shield recharge rate and sufficient mid slots.

Continue to part 2 where I continue talking about passive shield tanking and look at the skills you'll need to boost any shield tank's effectiveness.

This article was originally published on Massively.