Passive shield tanking

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All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt

Passive shield tanking is using a ship's natural shield regeneration abilities to avoid destruction from hostile entities. Regenerative shield tanking is most commonly applied in player vs environment scenarios.

The three aspects of passive shield tanking are hitpoint regeneration rate, hitpoint pool size, and resistances. Different ship loadouts often place focus on a particular aspect. Finding the right balance is the key to successful passive shield tanking.


By using shield extenders, passive shield tanks gain a considerable hit point pool as well as additional regenerative abilities. Such bonuses are advantageous when an enemy player attempts a suicide gank or uses smartbombs to attempt to destroy a capsuleer's ship. Additionally, if your EVEOnline client crashes or if you have to leave the computer you will be more likely to survive hostile encounters. Passive tanks can also be made to be impervious to NPC attacks in PvE, especially level 3 or lower missions. Lag, which can be deadly for an active tank is no threat to a well made passive tank PvE loadout.

Passive tanking is also friendly to new pilots learning EVE as they don’t need to concentrate on module management.


Passive tanks are only effective on ships with several available mid-slots and a considerable amount of shield hit points. Since mid-slots are also used for utility modules, equipping shield modules may prevent you from equipping a Microwarpdrive, Warp Disruptors, Target Painters, Stasis Webifiers and many other myriad and useful modules.

The most efficient module for increasing raw shield hit points are shield extenders. However, these modules also increase the signature radius of the equipped vessel by several meters. In other words, a bigger shield buffer also makes you a bigger target.

Modules for Passive Shield Tanking[edit]

Shield Extenders[edit]

Large Shield Extenders are the most efficient boost to hit points available to you. These modules take a considerable amount of power grid and CPU to equip, but provide a solid buffer of hit points without decreasing the charge rate on the equipped ship. However, they also increase your signature radius, reducing your ability to use speed to avoid incoming damage.

Medium shield extenders can be used in place of Large Shield Extenders. They are easier to fit, but provide proportionately less protection. Small shield extenders provide little benefit, and the mid slot they occupy can often be better used with utility modules.

Shield Hardeners[edit]

Resistance modules increase your shield's resistance to incoming damage. Invulnerability Fields provide an equal percentile boost to your defenses, but take some CPU and power grid to fit. Shield Hardeners also consume capacitor to remain active.

Remember, each successive shield resistance module provides less protection than the previous module.

Resistance Amplifiers[edit]

These passive modules provide a permanent boost to one type of damage resistance. They are easier to fit than their active Shield Hardener counterparts and use no capacitor, but provide a smaller bonus than their active counterparts.

Remember, each successive shield resistance module provides less protection than the previous module!

Shield Power Relays[edit]

Shield power relays are potent modules which significantly increase your shield recharge rate. However, they dramatically decrease your capacitor recharge rate. Make sure you don't compromise your ability to run other modules by equipping too many!

Shield Flux Coils provide a similar function and increase shield recharge rate. However, they also decrease the amount of shield HP of your vessel. These modules are not recommended.

Recommended Skills[edit]

Must have passive shield tanking skills
Skill Multiplier Minimal level Benefit
Engineering 1 4 Needed for the Tactical Shield Manipulation skill
Science 1 1 Needed for other skills
Shield Operation 1 3 5% faster shield recharge rate per level
Shield Management 3 4 5% more shield hitpoints per level
Energy Grid Upgrades 2 2 Needed for Power Diagnostic System and Shield Relay modules
Shield Upgrades 2 2 Needed for Shield Extender and Shield Recharger modules
Tactical Shield Manipulation 4 1 Needed for Invulnerability Field modules
Jury Rigging 2 3 Needed for the Shield Rigging skill
Shield Rigging 3 1 Needed to fit Shield Rigs

Note: It is recommended to take Shield Operation & Shield Management to level 4 as soon as possible and make level 5 a priority after you get your other must-have skills.

Elite passive shield tanking skills
Skill Multiplier Minimal level Benefit
Engineering 1 4 Needed for the Tactical Shield Manipulation skill
Science 1 1 Needed for other skills
Shield Operation 1 5 Maximum shield recharge rate
Shield Management 3 5 Maximum shield hitpoints
Energy Grid Upgrades 2 4 Needed for T2 Power Diagnostic System and T2 Shield Relay modules
Shield Upgrades 2 4 Needed for T2 Shield Extender modules
Tactical Shield Manipulation 4 4 Needed for T2 Invulnerability Field modules
Jury Rigging 2 3 Needed for the Shield Rigging skill
Shield Rigging 3 4 Needed to fit T2 Shield Rigs

Formulas Simple[edit]

In short, the smaller your shields, the faster they regenerate - until you hit 25%, then the speed drops. X is your hit-point regeneration at peak regeneration which is at 25% shield strength, 8 to 52% shield strength are strong areas, 0 to 8% and 90%+ are very slow.

You are between 2.0 and 2.5 regen at 8% to about 52% You are between 2.3 and 2.5 regen at 13% to about 41%

To work out peak regeneration

  1. The multiplier is to represent average regeneration in shorter and longer fights. You don't sit in the whole fight at peak regen so the multiplier is a rough estimate of your average regeneration over a fight. If your tank holds don't use the lower numbers stick to 2.5. In PvP I find working out regeneration with a 2.0 multiplier is far more realistic of what you will see in a fight.
  1. Some people use 2.4 to be extra safe. The real number is between 2.4 and 2.5 but closer to 2.5. If the enemy cannot break your tank for a long battle use 2.5 instead of 2.0.

Tankable DPS Simple[edit]

To work out tankable DPS using two resistance types look at the Italic line and replace A with Hit-point regeneration, B with resistance, C with resistance. Copy and paste Italic line part into windows calculator and press equal’s. Alternatively just load up EFT and set it to two resistance types.

'2*A/((1-0.B)+(1-0.C))=xxx dps' To work out DPS tankable with one resistance type, replace B and C with the same number.

To work out tankable DPS using 4 resistance types. Copy and paste Italic line into windows calculator and press equal’s and use B, C, D, E as your resistance. From March 10th 2009 you can use the new fitting screen from Eve. 4*A/((1-0B)+(1-0.C)+(1-0.D)+(1-0.E))=

Formulas Complicated and Tankable DPS Complicated[edit]

For reference: skip to the line Random pilot: if this is your first read though the guide

The correct formula for passive tanking is

20% to 50% are strong areas, 0% to 15% and 90%+ are very slow.

Some pilots like to use 2.4 to be safe.

Random pilot: Passive tanking sucks. I calculated shield recharge/hitpoints and all I got are 30 HP/s The above pilot is wrong for many reasons and it used to be a common mistake, but thankfully most people now realise the truth. Shields are non-linear and a shield recharge/hitpoints calculation does not give you a meaningful number; it's not a true average. The best way to think of it is that the lower your shields get the faster they charge up until you've hit 25%, then the shields recharge more slowly above 25%. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it really is a case of the lower you shields get, the stronger they get.

If you don't believe me get a friend to shoot you down to 50% shield (make sure it's a friend in your corp, we don't want to upset Concord). Then watch your shields charge up. They will recharge increasingly more slowly as they approach 100%. You will notice that recharging from 98% to 100% takes longer than 95% to 98%. In fact, if I recall right, 50% to 80% is faster than 90% to 100%. The same thing happens at the bottom end of the shields. Recharging from 0% to 5% take ages and the shield recharge increasingly quickly as they approach 25%.

So why not use shield recharge/hitpoints=x? Well, it's misleading. First of all that's not how you work out averages for non-linear numbers, and secondly it makes passive tanks look much weaker than they really are. For example, if I have 8000 hitpoints and 300 second recharge, the above average (which is wrong) makes it look like I have 26.6 HP regeneration with 50% resistance so I could tank 39.9 DPS and never die until someone did more than 39.9 DPS. In fact the shields would be (8000/300)*2.5=66.6. Accounting for 50% resistance , you can tank 99.9 DPS before dying. A lot of people used to look at the 39.9 dps number and say that passive tanking sucks it will never work. Now, for PvE (and to a lesser extent PvP), what matters is the peak regeneration. If it's high enough, your shields will never drop below 25% and you won't die. By working out how much damage the enemies deal, you can make yourself invincible in missions. As a very general rule, 650 DPS tankable will be enough for all level 4 missions, 1000 to 1500 dps tankable will be sufficient for the bonus areas/gate in level 4 missions and let you aggro whole rooms at once.

The 2.5 modifier for shields is what we call peak regeneration. This is very important. It lets you know how much you can tank without dying. The above numbers let me know my made-up ship has a peak of 66.6 HP/s regen so it can tank 99 DPS all day long, once I factor in resistance. (How to factor in resistance is explained later on). For PvP, average regeneration is more important than peak. So, how do you work out average regeneration for a non-linear number? Well, it's long and boring so, for now, just use the modifiers below as estimates based on what type of battle you're expecting.

  • 2.5 for peak when you know your tanks will hold
  • 2.4 for peak when you know your tanks will hold but you want to be extra safe.
  • 2.2 for medium to long battle where you tank will break over time
  • 2.0 for a short battle where the enemy DPS is far higher than your tankable amount
  • 1.5 At this point it is better use a hit point (buffer) setup or active tanking as this is too low to be an effective passive setup.

As most of you have worked out by now the correct formula for passive tanking is (shield cap / shield recharge rate)*2.5, only you replace 2.5 with one of the above numbers. Some people by now will be a little bit panicky at the sight of math, but it really is easy. Just take it one step at a time or use a tool like EFT.

Copy and paste the following italic text into a program like notepad:

2.5x(A/b)= Now, in notepad, replace A with your shield hit points. Replace B with your shield recharge. Now highlight the formula and press copy. Load up Windows calculator and press paste. The answer is your shield regeneration at peak. For example, let's say my ship has 6000 hit points and a shield recharge of 300 seconds. The above formula turns into 2.5*(6000/300)=, so I highlight the italic bit, copy and paste into Windows calculator, and get my answer.

Alternatively, replace 2.5 with 2.2 or whichever is best for your situation.

Now we'll discuss resistances. Keep note of your HP regeneration. You're going to need it. The formula to work out DPS tankable for two resistance types is 2*A/((1-0.B)+(1-0.C))= xxx dps. As before, copy and paste the italic bit into notepad. Replace A with hit point regeneration, B with resistance, C with resistance. Copy and paste italic line into Windows calculator and press equals.

For example, using my up ship stats from early on, I have 50% thermal, 55% kinetic resistance and 66.6HP/s regeneration. This means 2*A/((1-0.B)+(1-0.C))= becomes 2*66.6/((1-0.55)+(1-0.50))=140.2 So you just copy and paste 2*66.6/((1-0.55)+(1-0.50))= into Windows calculator.

Please note that B and C can be swapped for any resistance and if your resistance is 57.8888767857 do not add an extra point into the formula. For B you would put 578888767857.


To work out tankable DPS using 4 resistance types, copy and paste italic line into Windows calculator and press equals. Using the above rules: 4*A/((1-0B)+(1-0.C)+(1-0.D)+(1-0.E))=

So you're ready to try passive tanking? Before you do, don't worry if the first 30% or even 50% of your shields go down somewhat quickly. It's from 14% to 41% when your shields are strongest. Many active tank pilots are used to a constant HP regeneration and worry if they shields get to 50% or lower. For them, if their shields hit 50% their tank will not hold so they have to bail out. For passive tankers it's the other way around. You don't expect your shield to hold until you get below 50%. As a passive tanker you have to remember the lower your shields get the stronger they get until one of two things happen, either your shields stabilize or your shields drop to 15%. Once the shields get lower than approximately 15% it's time to plan to warp out as you've hit the point of no return. Many pilots start to warp out once shields drop to 30%, but for me it's 10% to 20% that's the key because at that point the shield's recharge rate slows down so much that it's not worth hanging about any longer unless the last enemy is about to die.

Above is why for many years people thought passive tanks were rubbish. They calculated shield recharge/hit points and watched as the first 50% of the shields went quickly and they warped out. It's important to remember your shields are between five and ten times stronger at 30% than at 99%. After a while you get a feel for how it works and you get used to your shields dropping fast from 50 to 100%. The rate at which the shield drops slows down more and more. Somewhere between 30% and 50% the shields stabilize. Shield stability is the point at which HP regeneration matches incoming DPS. In some cases your shields stabilize at 80% or higher. That means your tank is vastly superior to the enemy damage output. If this is a mission, chances are you're over-tanking and should fit damage mods or something else.

Quick Facts[edit]

  • Passive tanks can use active modules. There is no point wasting cap, unless you need to be cap drain immune think about active hardeners.
  • It’s a myth battleships cannot passive tank well. Not all of them can but many make good passive tanks.
  • Do not overtank. Just because you can use up all your slots doesn’t mean you should. Think about fitting a target painter, damage mods or other useful modules. For level 4 missions I like to aim for a 650dps tank sometimes 350dps if I can get my damage output high enough.
  • The first HP regen passive tankers where mostly if not all Gallente please don’t act like it belongs to Caldari and have a go at passive tanking Gallente pilots. Caldari didn’t join in the fun until years after Gallente had been passive tanking. Interesting note: Caldari ships tend to have higher resistance and higher hitpoints, while Gallante ships tend to get higher HP regen with lower resistance. [1]
  • If PG or cap is a problem don’t forget about replacing 1 or 2 Shield Power Relays with Power Diagnostic Systems.
  • Never, ever, not even if you're drunk on Jove wine fit shield flux modules for combat. There is no excuse to use these in combat, they are always bad. (Not as true now with T2 Flux modules but still pretty bad as lowering HP regen means you're more likely to go under the peak point in one hit)
  • For PvP consider using PDS and Energy Neutralizers over Nos. 1 Neat module drain 2.5 times more 1 Nos module and you can knock the enemy down to 0% cap unlike Nos.
  • Don’t overlook the hitpoint pool with resistance over HP regeneration. 30k Hit-points with 50% resistance means without factoring in regeneration you can tank 60,000 hit-points worth of damage without taking into account regen. I often use the hit-point pool to kill rats so by the time I hit peak shields the rats DPS is less then my tankable DPS.
  • The Original passive tank thread from all those years back [2]