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How should I tank my ship?

Asked by [ Moderator ]

How should I go about tanking my ship? How do I know what kind of tank to fit on a certain ship? Are there any dos and don'ts?

Is it always a bad idea to mix tanking types (armor/shield/structure/passive/active/buffer)?

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4 answers


gah'matar [ Moderator ]

Tank is by far the most situational part of ship fitting. The big question is: What are you going to do with the ship?

PVE: "predictable" steady damage.

Shield would either be active (Shield Booster) with resistance (Shield Hardeners, Resistance Amps) and enough capacitor modules to be able to run the booster often enough. Capacitor management is key as it can be very hard to have enough capacitor to run the shield booster continuously. As the shield dip, they provide some extra recharge. As such it's good to pulse the booster when shield hits 25% or so.

Shield can also be passive with shield extenders, resistance, Core Defence Shield Purger rigs and Shield Power Relays. This kind of tank works best on battlecruisers. It's a bit unnerving, but you reach your maximum tank when the shield is at 30% or so. If it stays above you're doing great, if it dips below it's time to bail.

Armor will always be active (Armor Repairer). It's key to maximize armor resistance (Armor Hardeners) as the armor repairers are pretty slow acting. Normally, you should be able to permanently run 1 armor repairer or so in PVE. Two can be useful. There is no passive regeneration of armor so the repairer is the only thing keeping you alive.

PVP: Either you have a specific scenario in mind or you assume overwhelming DPS.

If you don't know what you'll face, a buffer is best. Either armor plate(s) + resistance or shield extenders + resistance. Rigs (shield resist, shield extender, armor resistance pumps or trimark armor pumps mostly) can boost the tank further. Unlike active tanking, there is no point where incoming damage overwhelms the repair rate.

Active tanks in PvP tend to be very specialized. The need for speed and tackle module means that the capacitor will be provided by cap booster in anything larger then a frigate. This in turns will use up cargo room.

Let's consider two hypothetical ships, Brick a buffer tanked battlecruiser with 75000 effective hit point (ehp) and Boost an active tanked battlecruiser with 35000 ehp and a 500 dps (3 minutes of cap charges) tank.

  • With 500 incoming dps, Brick lasts 150 seconds and Boost lasts 250 seconds.
  • With 1000 incoming dps, Brick lasts 75 seconds and Boost lasts 70 seconds.
  • With 2000 incoming dps, Brick lasts 37.5 seconds and Boost lasts 23.3 seconds.
  • With 4000 incoming dps, Brick lasts 18.75 seconds and Boost lasts 10 seconds.

4000 dps sounds crazy but it's basically the equivalent of a large-ish 0.0 gate camp and 18.75 seconds might be enough to crawl back to the gate. 500 dps is the output of a good skilled T2-fit battlecruiser. So in anything greater then a 1v1, buffer is usually better.

NN comments

I also ignored Energy Neutralizer which are hell for active tanks.

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yuripup [ Editor ]

The short answer (as a proper one is probably too long for me to write up here at work) is: it depends.

There are 3 big factors in deciding on a tank: use, slots and skills.

If your skills heavily favor one type of tanking over another, you should look to ships complement your skills. And early on you should specialize your tanking skills--at 42M SP I am still a better armor tanker than shield.

Ship bonuses are another obvious indicator for tanking type. If its Amarrian, it probably wants to armor tank (many Amarr ships get resist bonuses for pilot skill). Another example, the Maelstrom gets a 7.5% bonus to shield repping amount per level of Minmatar Battleship--37.5% at V.

In cases where you don't have an obvious answer, look at the slots: active shield tanks need mid slots, armor tanks need lows. Passive shield (where you are relying on your shield recharge rate) use both.

As a note a tackling set up uses 3 mid slots: 1 speed mod (AB/MWD), 1 propulsion jammer, and a webber. This would imply that tacklers are something other than active shield tanked (if you even bother to tank you tackler, their lives can be short.)

NN comments

Bad math! No biscuit! (Fixed, thank you)

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canhasgank [ Moderator ]

It's usually a bad idea to mix tanking types.

If you are actively tanked, meaning you have a shield booster or armor repairer fitted, stick to either shield or armor. Never try to do both. An active tank will break due to one of only two possible reasons:

  • You run out of cap
  • Incoming DPS is greater than your repping power

Lets assume you have fitted both an active shield tank and an active armor tank. Your armor and shield tank will never be equal in repping power. Some ships will have a stronger armor tanks, some a stronger shield tank. Lets consider some examples:

  • Your shield tank is stronger and breaks due to cap issues. Your armor tank will not help you.
  • Your armor tank is stronger and breaks due to cap issues. If you had not wasted cap on your shield tank your stronger armor tank would have lasted longer.

In the instances where your tank breaks due to overwhelming incoming DPS, your extra layer of tank may buy you some additional time, but at what cost. You have likely dedicated most of your mid and low slots to tank and can not fit much else. No EWAR, no damage mods, no propulsion mods. You would likely have been better of fitting a strong armor or shield buffer instead.

When talking of buffer we arrive at the one exception where mixing tank can work, the so-called hero tank. If you are playing bait you will want as many hit points as absolutely possible. In this case fitting both a shield buffer and an armor buffer may prove to keep you alive significantly longer.

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do won [ Editor ]

For a new player looking at the recommended certificates for a ship is the easiest/most straight forward indicator, once they're a little more experienced browsing fits at Battleclinic and the comments on them is a good way of getting ship specific dos and don'ts.

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