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Guides: Shield Tanking vs. Armor Tanking

By joanie spalletta on December 30, 2008

Shield Tanking vs. Armor Tanking

To keep your ship alive in EVE, you must have a tank. You can do this two different ways. You can shield tank, or you can armor tank. To decide which one is right for you, take a look at your character’s skills. The two categories you’re going to want to look at are Engineering and Mechanics. If you have more skill points in Engineering, shield tanking is probably best for you. If you have more skill points in Mechanics, go with armor tanking.

When dealing with shield tanking, there are some skills to pay attention to. Every ship has resistances to the four damage types dealt in the Eve universe. There’s EM, Kinetic, Explosive, and Thermal. So, the four most important skills to have for shield tanking are: EM Shield Compensation, Kinetic Shield Compensation, Explosive Shield Compensation, and Thermic Shield Compensation. These skills boost your resistances to each type of damage. Some other important skills to have are: Shield Compensation, Shield Management, Shield Operation, Shield Upgrades, and Tactical Shield Manipulation.

Shield Compensation reduces the capacitor need for shield boosters, which is important because shield boosters take up a lot of capacitor power. Shield Management gives a bonus to your shield capacity, meaning more shield strength. Shield Operation is a crucial skill to have because it allows you to use shield boosters and other basic shield modules. It also gives you a bonus to shield recharge rate. Shield Upgrades allow you to use modules like shield extenders and rechargers.

Tactical Shield Manipulation is another very important skill to have because it allows you to use shield hardeners and it reduces the chance of damage penetrating the shield when it falls below 25%. Some other skills that will help you are: Energy Management and Energy Systems Operation.

Energy Management regulates your ship's overall capacity and gives a bonus to the capacitor's capacity. Energy Systems Operation allows you to operate your ship's capacitor, including the use of capacitor boosters. This skill also reduces your capacitor's recharge time.

EVE Online Screenshot

Another important aspect of shield tanking is what modules you use. Each ship has a certain number of high power, medium power, and low power slots. When it comes to shield tanking, concentrate on the medium power slots. Modules such as shield hardeners, extenders, shield booster, boost amplifiers, and resist amplifiers are all modules that will be fitted on a medium power slot.  Which ones you use are the key. You have to find a balance between how much your resistances are and how fast your shield recharges. Here is a list of all shield modules that will be useful to you:

  • Shield boosters convert energy from your capacitor into shield power, meaning it gives you more shield while taking from your capacitor power.
  • Shield extenders boost the strength of the shield.
  • Shield flux coils increase the shield recharge rate but lowers your maximum shield capacity.
  • Shield hardeners, are in my opinion, the best to use. They give increase to damage resistances.
  • Shield power relays increase the shield recharge rate by diverting power from the ship's core, meaning it takes from your capacitor power.
  • Shield rechargers give an increase to the shield recharge rate. And Shield resistance amplifiers strengthens damage resistances.


Armor tanking is a bit different. Instead of focusing so much on shield strength and resistances, you look at armor strength and resistances. While shield tankers have shield boosters and boost amplifiers, armor tankers have armor repairers, but one thing both shield and armor tankers have in common is the need for CPU!

While shield tankers focus on Engineering, armor tankers are all about Mechanics. This is the skill category to take a look at when armor tanking. The most important skills to have for armor tanking are: EM Armor Compensation, Explosive Armor Compensation, Kinetic Armor Compensation, Thermic Armor Compensation, Hull Upgrades, and Repair Systems.

The first four are pretty self explanatory. They give damage resistance to each type of damage, just like in shield tanking. Hull Upgrades allows you to maintain your ship’s armor and install hull upgrades such as cargo expanders and inertial stabilizers. It also gives a bonus to your armor strength. Repair Systems is very important because it allows you to operate armor or hull repair modules. It also gives a reduction in repair systems duration.

Some other skills to have for armor tanking are: Energy Grid Upgrades, Energy Management, and Energy Systems Operation.

Energy Grid Upgrades allows you to install power upgrades such as capacitor batteries and power diagnostic units. It also gives a reduction in CPU needs of modules requiring the skill.

Energy Management and Energy Systems Operation are also used in shield tanking. Energy Management gives a bonus to your capacitor’s capacity and Energy Systems Operation allows you to use modules such as capacitor boosters.

Once you have the right skills, you need the right modules. This is where armor tanking differs greatly from shield tanking. Before we talked about different powered slots on your ship. Shield tankers concentrate on medium power slots. Well, armor tankers concentrate on low power slots. Here is a list of the most important modules in armor tanking. Armor hardeners, Energized plating, and resistance plating all give a bonus to damage resistance. Armor plates give an increase to your armor strength. Armor repair systems, are in my opinion the most important module in armor tanking. It allows you to repair your armor. Damage Controls give a bonus to resistances for shield, armor and hull.

Other important modules to use for armor tanking are: Capacitor batteries, capacitor boosters, capacitor power relays, capacitor rechargers, and power diagnostic units.

Capacitor batteries and capacitor boosters both give a bonus to your ship’s capacitor capacity. Capacitor power relays increase your capacitor recharge time at the expense of your shield boosting capabilities. But no worries, if you are armor tanking, you have no need for shield boosters. Capacitor rechargers boost your capacitor recharge rate and power diagnostic units give a bonus to your shield and capacitor.

So, as you can see, whether you’re shield tanking or armor tanking, you need skills and modules. Also, you need a strategy. There’s a way to defeat everything, and a way to protect yourself from everything. But, you can’t protect yourself from everything all at once. Modules and skills can provide a good tank but having a strategy can keep you alive when your tank might not. Always stay one step ahead of your opponent. But, with the skills and modules we’ve talked about, you have a good start on becoming an excellent shield or armor tanker. Fly safe!