DUST 514 Dropsuit Hitpoint Management Guide
DUST 514 Dropsuit Hitpoint Management Guide by Beren Hurin
I hear some commonly held vews about the costs and benefits of shield vs. armor tanking fits and I think that people don’t think too much deeper than some commonly stated views on these. I think the below thoughts will hold even when the new suits come along. I would like to summarize my thoughts in axioms backed up by illustrations that rebut some common beliefs which will serve as the TL;DR (all bold info) of this all. I’m not trying to establish any beliefs about whether armor or shields are better, but that they should be thought of more clearly in the form of the kind of playstyle that they allow.
Belief #1: Shields feel safer because they recharge faster than having armor repair modules.
“Subjectively maybe, but mathematically, only sometimes…” Recharge/repair should really be thought about in terms of liabilities and ‘cycle time’. BY cycle time I mean the amount of repiars done over the length of time it takes to perform a whole repair. With shields, you shouldn’t start to think of your repairs as starting the moment the shields come back. You can be shot at the entire time, you should be concerned about HP this entire time. So shield recharge rate starts ticking as soon as your shield stops dropping.
Example- I lost all of my shields on my assault suit. I had 2 complex extenders bringing my shield HP to 321 (with max shield skills). My shield recharge rate is 29 HP/s, but I have a 10 second SDD. This means that it will take 10 seconds for them to START, then an additional 11 seconds to fully recharge. Assuming I take no damage during the cycle. I’m repping 321HP in 21 seconds or 11.1 HP/s.
IMPORTANT POINT: 2 Complex armor repairer modules will rep 11.5 HP/s regardless of combat damage. Even militia armor repair tools outperform this. Non scout shield buffers have a hard time substantially outperforming just 2 lowslot modules.
AXIOM I: AVERAGE repair rates between armor repair and sheild repair CAN scale equally (but with some tradeoffs).
COROLLARY IA: If you are taking cover to recharge shield, you might as well be using that time to repair armor.
COROLALRY IB: If you aren’t taking cover to repair armor, your armor HP buffer either wasn’t efficientyly used, or is dangerously small.
Belief #2: I can be more aggressive as a shield tank because I can move faster than an armor tank and can KEEP getting shield.
“Sort of…but not totally“. This all depends on how you define aggression. The clearest way I can illustrate this is by again pointing at recharge times (and depleted shields). If a player with 2 complex armor reppers (player A) trades equal damage against another with none (player B), for the 15 or so seconds player B took cover to reposition/recharge shield, that’s nearly 170 armor A repped, while player A is repping shield at at least the same rate as player B (with no new armor).
AXIOM II: RELIABILE repair rates and buffer sizes are the most helpful determinants of aggression
COROLLARY IIA: Controlling YOUR OWN ‘repair liability’ will increase you aggression.
COROLLARY IIB: Controlling your ENEMY’s ‘repair liability’ will decrease their aggression.
I hope that the above information, so far clearly shows the following…
The buffer-shield tank’s biggest liability is that its depletion will drastically reduce its reliability and some weapons can quickly destroy it.
The buffer-armor tank’s biggest liability is that it’s probably sacrificing shield HP, and can’t be repaired, and is slower.
The active-tank’s (armor or shield) biggest liability is that it’s sacrificing some buffer for speed and reliable repair rates. However while the armor repair is constant, the shield repair can be interrupted.
This brings me to my last point…
Belief #3: You should fit the biggest tank that you can
“...Could you rephrase that please?” I don’t think this is an articulate way to put this point. Instead, think about what you need to do on the battlefield to accomplish your goals. If you are using an “in and out” weapon, you should have the kind of tank that lets you apply quick spurts of damage relatively quickly. You shouldn’t have to wait very long to completely heal. Otherwise, your tank isn’t really optimally matching your role. Similarly, if you are going to be engaging from far off, it is much easier to mitigate the danger of shields or of having a small HP buffer. Instead…
AXIOM III: You should have the tank that best fits your role.
COROLARRY IIIA: The faster you want to attack, the faster you should recharge.
COROLARRY IIIB: The harder/longer you want to attack/risk exposure, the bigger buffer you should have.
Once you start to understand the nuances of the different flavors of tank you can start to feel the ‘cadence’ that it allows you to attack in, how long they can take different weapons’ bursts for, the types of situations it can get into, and how to mitigate against its weaknesses.
I look forward to your additional thoughts and criticisms.