CZ Minutes: Armour vs. Shields

In this week’s CZ Minutes we take it back to a question that is as old as EVE Online itself. It’s the Superman vs. Batman of New Eden: armour vs. shields. Simply, which do you prefer to fly and why? How do you view the current state of each type of tank in the game today? What would you change? Tarek: I like armor fleets. There is something atavistically romantic about clenching your teeth and soaking the incoming fire while systematically reducing your enemies to space dust with heavy blows. It is the equivalent of the medieval battles with heavy armour, war-horses fitted with barding and bludgeoning the enemy to death with longsword, battleaxe or morningstar. Brutal and unrelenting. Shield fleets, on the other hand have their historical equivalent in the mongol riders on their light fast horses wielding composite bows and running circles around the enemy while raining death upon their ranks. Come to think of it, I like that too. There are ships which are great to fly on both sides of that divide, and some which can work well in either role. As to what I would change, I am not sure, but there is one particular thing that annoys me: ancillary shield boosters do not use capacitor, but their armor equivalent does. Combined with the fact that armor repair becomes effective at the end of the cycle I feel that the armor burst-tank is at an unfair disadvantage especially since active armour tanking usually already requires more micro-management due to the delayed reps. Dunk Dinkle: Shield fleets are best.  Why?  Because shield reps land at the beginning of the repair cycle. Either you save the ship immediately or it pops.  With Armor fleets, logi have the agony of locking up the primary, starting the rep cycle, and then helplessly watching as the ship pops before the reps land. It’s demoralizing to watch it happen one after another. As for other reasons, something something signature radius, something something resists… Obviously, I would like to a see a ship with bonus to hull repair arrive on the scene. Then the dream of a Hull Tanking Doctrine would be a reality. Niden: I’ve always been an armour guy (yes armoUr, sod off). My quintessential ship in EVE is the heavy armour battleship, it’s just glorious and I miss the time before T3 cruisers killed them. Shields are great for fast ships, but in small gang I still prefer a smartly fit armour fit to a shield fit. Part of that has to do with the much more (to me) agreeable resist profile, and part of it is having mid slots to do interesting stuff with your fit. Because, let’s face it, all the most creative stuff is in the mid slots. That’s not to say that it’s easier, as Tarek points out, running an active armour tank (very common in small gang and solo) requires foresight, meaning you have to be one step ahead of what’s going on. With shield reps you just hit the button and the HP is there, not to mention that ancillary shield reppers don’t kill your capacitor. Real men armour tank however. On a side note, much like plenty of other lowsec residents I’ve found myself flying a lot more hull tank lately and, like Dunk, I’d love to see it developed into a doctrine feasible for fleets. Real hull logi anyone? Not that it’s my sec or my tank of choice, but I really feel sorry for nullsec since bombers pretty much killed shield tank BS. That’s one ship module that’s killed an entire style of doctrine for nullsec. Not cool. Georgik Sojik: Amarr Victor. Never not fly shiny golden ships of justice.  Sure you can go faster in shield ships and dart around like a crazy person, but the slow glacial speed of Amarrian steel is what will truly win any fight.  Apocalypses, Armageddons, Abaddons, these are the battleships that people desire to fly into combat.  You will rarely see Ravens take the field. Also, Khanid ships are the best looking ones in the game, and are all armor. Lillik Eoner: I’m pretty easy; I’ve trained both to T2 and can fly most fleet doctrines. I like the look and sturdiness of armor tanking ships—my heavily armor-tanked HFI comes to mind. I definitely like the shield zippiness of a properly fit Vaga. To me, it’s all about matching the ship to the application. Of course, there’s only one kind of tank for a mining barge, missioner or freighter: Permit tank.
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12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.