What is tanking?
Damage to your ship is represented by the Ship Status Panel - the three rings on the top of the status panel represent, from outermost to the inner ring, your ship's shield, armor and structure. As you incur damage, each ring will fill with red coloring, starting with your shields, then your armor, and finally, your structure. When the structure ring is completely red, that means your hull has been breached, and your ship is destroyed - and you'll find yourself floating in space in a pod.
Tanking refers to improving your ship's defensive capabilities to resist or absorb incoming damage, thus preventing or delaying your ship's destruction, and there are several different tanking strategies. Each tanking strategy uses different modules and methods to maximize hit points, improve resistance to incoming damage, and increase the speed of repairing damage taken.
The most common types of tanking strategies are:
- Shield tanking focuses on maximizing your shields' ability to withstand and/or repair damage. This is the most common type of defense for ships with larger numbers of mid-slots, where most shield modules are fitted.
- Hull tanking focuses on reinforcing the structure of your ship to withstand and/or repair damage. Generally, hull tanking is not considered to be very viable, as hull repairers are relatively inefficient.
- Speed tanking is a strategy which maximizes the velocity of your ship, in order to avoid damage. This approach can be effective for some extremely fast ships, though it requires a highly skilled pilot to execute.
- EW tanking refers to relying on electronic warfare modules to make it difficult for enemies to inflict damage. This approach is generally difficult to execute without the support of other ships.
- Armor tanking focuses on maximizing your size and effectiveness of your armor to withstand and/or repair damage. This is the most common type of defense for ships with larger number of low-slots, where most armor-related modules are fitted.
Disadvantages of armor tanking
- Unlike shields, there is no inherent regeneration rate to armor.
- When your armor tank fails, you have less buffer before your ship is destroyed than a shield tank.
- It takes more skill points to mount an effective Tech II armor tank.
Advantages of armor tanking
- Passive armor damage resistance modules are more effective than the shield equivalents.
- Active armor damage resistance modules consume less energy than the shield equivalents.
- Armor repair modules are generally more efficient than the shield equivalents.
- Midslots are left free for afterburners, tackling modules, etc.
Armor Tanking Skills
- The primary armor tanking skill is Hull Upgrades, which grants a 5% bonus to armor hit points per skill level. Hull Upgrades V is the prerequisite for the most useful Tech II armor resistance modules.
- Repair Systems is required to operate armor repair-units effectively - each level reduces repair systems duration by 5%. Tech II units are available at skill level IV, though training to level V is recommended to minimize the length of repair unit cycles.
- Mechanic is also required to fit armor repairers, and should be trained up to level V to fit Tech II equipment and operate it effectively. Mechanic also provides a 5% bonus to structure hit points per skill level.
- Training the four armor-compensation skills is also important, since most of the commonly-used armor hardener modules will benefit significantly from them. These skills increase resistance to specific types of damage by 5% per skill level for passive armor hardeners - they also help increase resistance levels for active modules to a lesser degree. For armor tankers, each of these skills should be trained to at least level III or higher, and levels IV or V are highly recommended:
- EM Armor Compensation
- Explosive Armor Compensation
- Kinetic Armor Compensation
- Thermic Armor Compensation
- For armor rigs, Jury Rigging III and Armor Rigging I are required to fit the Tech I rigs.
Common Armor Tanking Ships
- Because they generally have more low slots, and therefore can fit more armor-tanking modules, Gallente and Amarr ships are usually armor tanked. The Gallente Hyperion and Proteus, and the Amarr Abaddon and Legion, have the strongest sub-capital armor tanks in the game - and can exceed 60,000 hit points in armor protection, and over 200,000 effective hit points in total, with the right skills, modules and implants.
- Many Minmatar ships can also be armor tanked, as they typically have a more balanced distribution of low, mid and high slots.
- Very few Caldari ships armor tank, with the exception of the Scorpion and Blackbird. These are sometimes (and in the Scorpion's case, usually) armor-tanked so that they can keep as many midslots as possible free for ECM.
Armor Tanking Math
- Resistance percentages are calculated in a way that many people find confusing. A module may list itself as having a 30% bonus to resistances -- but you won't usually see a 30% increase in resistance when using it. The way the calculations work is that the percentage is applied to the remaining vulnerability. If things didn't work this way, you'd easily get resistances above 100%, and shooting you would cause armor to grow on your ship.
- Example: Your ship has a 40% EM resistance in armor. You fit an active hardener with a 30% bonus to EM resists. The EM resistance of your ship with the hardener activated will be 58%, not the 70% many people assume. The bonus calculation is 30% of the remaining vulnerability: (1-0.4)* 0.3, or 18%.
Armor Tanking Modules
There are two main ways to armor tank: active, or buffer.
- Active tanking is generally necessary in PvE to maintain tank and capacitor over a relatively long time.
- For example: Imagine you have an armor repper that repairs 100 points per cycle. If someone deals you 1000 points of explosive damage, to which you have a 0% resistance, your armor repairer will repair this in 10 cycles. If you have 90% resistance, you'll only sustain 100 points of armor damage, which the repper will fix in one cycle. However, to get this level of resistance you need to know the specific type(s) of damage that will be dealt, which is generally not possible in PvP.
- "Passive armor tanking" doesn't exist in the same sense as in shield tanking, since armor doesn't repair itself, but we can use "passive" modules when armor tanking. Active armor tanking, used mostly in PvE, focuses on repairing damage over an indefinite period of time, while using resistance modules to reduce the incoming damage to manageable levels. Buffer tanking, used in PvP, focuses on having as many total effective hit points as possible, so that the ship can survive large quantities of damage over a short time.
- General active and buffer tanking fitting approaches - in both cases, Eve Fitting Tool (a.k.a, EFT) is strongly recommended to create and compare fits:
- For PvP, fit the largest single plate you can, and then play around with EANMs (Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes), ERNMs (Energized Regenerative Nano Membranes), or more plates to get the largest total effective hit points.
- For PvE, fit one or two repair modules (depending on how much cap you have available), and then fit as many armor damage resistance modules of the appropriate damage types for the expected enemy.
- A Damage Control module gives a significant boost to any ship's durability by giving resistance bonuses to armor, shields and hull. This is the only module to increase hull resistances, which makes it very valuable in most ships, as it gives you a larger buffer before your ship is destroyed, buying you more time to escape if necessary.
- It is an active module, but it is easy to fit and uses very little energy (less energy than the base cap recharge at 0% cap).
- These resistance bonuses don't incur stacking penalties with other tanking modules, but only one Damage Control can be active in a ship at a time.
- If you fit only one tanking module to your ship, the DC is the module to use. Just don't forget to turn it on.
- Armor plates are the simplest armor module; they add a flat amount of armor to ship. These can be a excellent way of adding buffer to your tank, but they will only make reppers' jobs harder so they are uncommon in PvE.
- They also add a large amount of mass to your ship, reducing its agility, and so are less used on faster ships.
- While 1600mm plates are the largest size, they can often be fitted to cruisers, giving a big boost to their EHP.
- Note: the Rolled Tungsten plates are the best in any category, adding more armor and less mass than other plates, and are relatively inexpensive compared to the Tech I/II (Steel) versions.
Membranes are passive modules that boost armor attributes.
- EANM (Adaptive) -- The energized adaptive nanomembrane gives a boost to all 4 resistances. Very popular, and with good reason.
- ERNM (Regenerative) -- this module gives your ship a percentage bonus to armor, using very little powergrid. If you'd like to fit an armor plate, or an additional armor plate, consider this module instead. Because it's a percentage bonus, you get more benefit on larger ships, or on T2 ships with high resistances.
- Specific hardeners (Thermic/Magnetic/Reflective/Reactive) -- these are used to boost one of the four resistances. Explosive hardeners are the most popular, because most ships have very low explosive resistances. In a ship with lots of tanking slots, you may do better to have these modules than multiple ENAMs.
- These modules are similar to the energized membranes, but use no CPU and are less effective.
- They are useful if you're short of CPU, and the faction variants approach the effectiveness of the energized modules, but they are not widely used.
- Armor Hardeners are active modules that boost one of the four armor resistances: EM, Thermic, Kinetic or Explosive.
- Compared to membranes, they use some cap and slightly more CPU but offer a large boost in effectiveness.
- Adaptive/Regenerative armor hardeners are not available.
There are a few commonly used armor rigs (all armor rigs reduce your top speed):
- Trimark -- The Tech I version gives a 15% boost to total armor, at the cost of some ship speed. It's the rig equivalent of the Regenerative Nanomembrane. Trimark rigs do not stack - their bonus is applied on top of the previous armor+rigs, making successive Trimarks more effective.
- Auxiliary Nano Pump -- Increases a ship's armor repairer repair amount per cycle by 15% at the expense of max velocity
- Nanobot Accelerator -- this rig speeds up armor repair module cycle times by 15%, again at the cost of some ship speed.
- There are also damage-specific resistance improvement rigs. The most commonly used is the Anti-Explosive Pump, since armor tanks are generally weakest to explosive damage.
- These modules repair your ship's armor, just as you'd expect. The better modules are more efficient, and may cycle somewhat faster.
- Armor reppers are not usually recommended in PvP, because they cycle fairly slowly. If your ship is called primary, it's likely that the repper won't have time to cycle before your ship explodes. Fitting a buffer tank, and warping out when you're targeted, is recommended instead.
- Reppers are, however, very useful in PvE activities, since NPC ships don't typically deal damage as quickly.
- For ships with armor repairer bonuses, such as the Gallente battlecruisers and battleships, two armor repairers can be very effective for mission runners, if cap stability can be maintained.
Remote Armor Repair Systems
- Remote repair modules repair armor on other pilots' ships. Note that you must target the ship to be repaired, and that your cannot repair your own ship with a remote repper. They are more useful in fleet operations than regular reppers, for a couple of reasons. First, one repper can repair many ships, given time. Second, the repper cycles more quickly than an onboard repper does. Third, if several ships have them, they can focus their repair power on whatever ship in the fleet is being attacked, giving that ship a great deal of armor repair capability.
- Note that remote repair modules take a significant amount of capacitor to run -- non-logistics ships will probably need a cap booster module to use it for any length of time.
Armor Tank Implants
- There are several useful implants that focus on armor tank improvement, all from the Inherent Implants "Noble" series:
- ZET 10/100/1000 - Slot 6 - reduces armor and hull repair systems duration by 1%/3%/5%, respectively
- ZET 20/200/2000 - Slot 7 - reduces capacitor need for remote armor repair modules by 1%/3%/5%, respectively
- ZET 40/400/4000 - Slot 9 - increases armor repair system amount by 1%/3%/5%, respectively
- Inherent Implants Noble ZET 50/500/5000 - Slot 10 - Increases armor hit points by 1%/3%/5%, respectively
- There is also the incredible Slave set of pirate implants.
- This is a series of implants that fit into slots 1-6. Each provides a bonus to armor hit points, but when you fit the entire set, it provides a multiplicative total bonus of 53.63%. Unfortunately, a complete Slave set cost about 1.8 billion ISK or more.
- There is a less expensive low-grade Slave set, which provides an aggregate bonus of 33.83% to armor hit points. These are a relative bargain at "only" 1.5 billion ISK or so.
(Ranges are for tech1 – tech2 versions)
||Also adds 7.5-12.5% shield and 50-60% structure resists
||Damage-type specific, can be overloaded for 20% more resist
||Repairers can be overloaded for 10% more repair and 15% increased speed
||While the T2 versions use less cap per activation, the shorter cycle time means they still use more cap overall.
Remote reppers can be overloaded for 15% increased speed
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