Friday, January 28, 2011

Energy Drain: Rise of the Passive Tank

Who would of thought one simple fix would have caused so much anguish?

I'm talking of course about the Energy Drain fix to the sleepers. People living in wormholes trying to make it with significantly less (read: solo or multiple toons) are finding their ships being blown up at a medium pace. Mostly, those packing shield tanks seem to be the worst off. Armor tanks seem to be working just fine with just a few modifications, provided you aren't tanking locally.

The difficulty ramps up with each progressive level in. C3's are becoming difficult to solo with active local tanks, C4's are becoming unmanageable with conventional setups, C5's are potential deathtraps, and C6's carry the ability to wipe out carriers and dreads.

So the question becomes how can the content be put back on farm?

The answer lies in the passive tank and a slight change in fleet setups.

First, lets analyze the drain. For most sleeper farming ships, frigates that drain are not going to cause a huge problem for you unless you flirt too low with max recharge. Pretty much anything but a passive shield setup here is potentially going to have cap problems. Sleeper cruisers that drain will cause problems for anyone, provided there are enough of them. And sleeper battleships? Enough of these bad boys will drain a carrier or dread in an alarming short amount of time. Imagine what they can do to a cruiser or battleship.

This calls into fleet tactics. No longer can we expect to just primary the remote rep sleepers and expect to plow through any longer. FC's will need to intelligently call targets, focusing on taking out just enough RR ships to be able to primary the true threats, the sleeper neuts. And those must be primaried in the order of BS, Cruiser, then finally Frigates.

No shit, Shadai. But how are we do stand up when our tanks are failing when they've never failed before?

That answer lies in how we tank. For the majority of people in wormholes, we have long used hardeners to make up the majority of our tank. The problem with those is they use cap. When the sleepers suck you dry, its not like you can keep them running. If they stay on you long enough, the cap dries up, the hardeners turn off and the ship explodes under the pressure of sleeper omni damage.

Therefore, a move to passive resists is the better way to go.

The way we currently tank logi's is what we need to move to. Using the T2 resists of the native ship for shield or armor combined with passive mods will yield the resists that, although admittedly lower, will work just fine. You will remember a few weeks ago when I spoke about guardians I advised you need to use them in pairs. I have found with the energy drain fix that number has increased to using 3. The guardians (or basilisks) can daisy chain the energy reps until one gets targeted with the drains. Then the two logi's not targeted will redirect the energy reps to each other and continue the repair while the third one waits until his ride is over. Good team communication is key here. The reason the logi's survive though is their passive tank. Most logi setups don't use hardeners, making them ideal as the resist tank stays the same even when completely drained of cap.

For ships other then Logistics, I feel I have to slide in some bad news. No longer will it really be possible to Solo much of this content with active, local tanks. So armor and shield repairing tanks will be out for C3 and above except in rare occurrences. Theoretically it is possible to do it with an armor tank since the mid slots will be free for things like cap boosters, but expect to spend a small fortune on said cap boosters and be sure you have the cargo room. I suspect passive shield tanks may still be a go, provided the prop, weapons systems, and hardeners don't drop your overall cap too low. Be exceedingly careful with such a system, however, as if you are completely drained you can't warp out anytime soon and it would be as bad as being scrambled.

Because of this, expect the prices of T3s to move up because of a sudden drop in supply. I also expect nano ribbons to make a sharp uptick as well.

If you already fleet tank armor with logistic support, congratulate yourself on a job well done. High meta 11 passive resist mods for armor can be had for a small pittance, provided it isn't an adaptive nano. And for the most part, replacing the hardeners for those same C-type energized plating will put the resists pretty close to what it was before the hardener was removed. The best part? The T2 components use less CPU compared to T2 hardeners, making them easy to fit. If you haven't trained the various armor compensation skills yet, now is the time. Each of those skills adds a very nice 5% per level to each resist, and they add to not just the specific mod but to the adaptive nanos as well.

Except for that very minor change, expect that armor tanks will continue business as usual.

Shield tanks however, have problems.

Shield tanks are already heavily restricted by the number of mid slots a particular ship has. They are further restricted as the main mod most people use to create a decent shield tank is a hardener with no passive version; the Invulnerability Field. Where as armor doesn't have an equivalent hardener, they have an equivalent passive mod in Adaptive Nanos. Shield tanks are screwed in that their multi-resist mod is a hardener that uses cap.

This problem is complicated by the limited number of slots. Shield ships usually need at least one if not two Large Shield Extenders. If the ship needs a prop mod, subtract another. Typically this leaves a ship with only 2 maybe 3 slots left to put passive resist mods. For anything with T1 shield resists, this puts it pretty much out of reach. Generally you want 70% resists at least before trying to take out sleepers. Of course of you have 3 logistics, a lower total could be theoretically tanked just fine, but remember if one logi is sucked dry its going to be out of commission for at least a few minutes before it can rejoin the daisy chain.

Shield fleet setups will look a bit more Drake and Tengu heavy with perhaps a few Loki's tossed in. HAC's like the Caldari Cerberus could make an appearance due to T2 resists and Drake like damage. Any ship rocking T1 resists will quickly find itself with an inadequate tank to take on the sleepers. The Drake will most likely be the only T1 resist ship to find its way into fleets due to the ship bonus of 5% per level to resists; which doesn't make them as good as the Caldari T2 resists, but makes them manageable enough with passive mods to be fleetable.

For those of you who shield tank only, there is a set of shield compensation skills that will add to the resists just like the armor ones. No shield tanker really trains them, however, as prior to this they were terrible since everyone could just use Invulnerability Fields. Now might be the time to pick some up and dust 'em off.

Because of these changes, expect the new people to struggle in wormhole unless they are armor tanks. Where as any T1 armor resist ship can be quickly modified to adapt, T1 shield ships will struggle due to the loss of invulnerability fields. Those who can fly T2 or T3 ships should be just fine, provided they make the necessary tweaks to the ships and the fleet makeup.


  1. Well informed post. We're applying many of the same techniques in Incursion sites. Two logis just don't cut it anymore.

  2. Great post mate. I'm looking forward to trying out my new passive armor tank fits.