At least, any ship I put armor on instead of shields does. I thought that nano repair units + heavy armor would provide me with as much survivability as a couple of shield units would but no matter how much armor I put onto my ships, they just don’t take damage well. Usually all the armor is blown off in the first 20 seconds of an engagement and the length of time a ship stays up after that is directly proportional to how lucky I am with various hull modules taking hits and their subsequent repair by the nanobots. I’m not talking 1 repair unit and a few plates either, I’m talking 4-8 ultraheavy armors with 2-3 nano repair units, average armor usually in the 55 range.
I get better performance by slapping on a whole lot of engines and not bothering with armor or sometimes even shields …
So put shields on them, as well? You get diminishing returns off of stacked armor or stacked shields- using a balanced mix of both will give you the best results.
Also, shields are a better bet for regeneration. As long as they don’t collapse, they will regenerate indefinitely. If you can get your enemy to split up his fire, it will allow your shields to regenerate more effectively.
Last, Armor is expensive- the more plates of it you have on your ships, the fewer ships you’re going to be able to field.
And the slower you’ll be…unless you devote cash to more powerful drive modules, the cost of which (or need to fill more module space with drives) can be very undesirable. I’d settle for somewhat less armor and the presence of greater shielding.
Thanks for both of your help, I’ve already seen some great improvement. I was trying to get armor tanking to work because browsing through the forum threads, it seemed like it was the way to go for survival and general meatshield. With the map with -25% speed, I figured slower ships wouldn’t be a problem but my ships were so slow that the lead ones were getting chewed up by half a dozen enemy ships before their escorts could even bring their weapons to bear.
I made some cheaper, lighter cruisers with a little more emphasis on speed and with enough armor to repel those pesky fighters that performed much better – especially with a dozen missile-spewing EMP frigates behind them, just out of enemy reach
I dare you to try and do a frigate stuffed only with armor, crew, missiles, and engines. I tried and failed miserably
I’m not sure if I have all the numbers right, but I think the fastest that you can repair an armor module is 0.11 with Nano Repair. Shields can regenerate at a rate of 7 for most of the good shields or 8 if you are using the shield generator that regenerates faster. Assuming the numbers scale the same way, there’s no way that armor repair can keep up with shield regeneration.
In terms of resistance though, the highest resistance you can get your shields up to is 27, where as you can get armor thickness up to 70 or 80 if you fill a ship with armor modules. If your armor thickness can beat your enemy’s highest penetration weapon by 5-10 points or more and you have a repair module to fix up any critical hits, then you should be fairly safe.
Also notice that Ultraheavy Armor can only absorb 126 units of armor damage, while Fast Recharge Shields will absorb 262 units of shield damage. Assuming that damage to armor and damage to shields use the same integer, you will get more bang to the buck with shields even after paying the power bill, especially when you take into account the shield recharge rate. Unless your armor resistance is so high that most enemy shots bounce off without doing damage that is.
By the way, heavily armored frigates do work well against other frigates since most frigate weapons except beam lasers don’t penetrate armor well. So if your enemy doesn’t have beam lasers (i.e. he’s spamming Ion Cannons), they should work.
There’s a discussion of armor-only ships http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3644&start=15
The executive summary: Armor was nerfed in the beta because it was possible to build an unkillable ship with armor. Armor tanks are therefore best built as cheap as possible, something like 1 engine, 1 weapon (powered only by the hull if possible), 1 micro-crew and 4 ultra-heavy armors, leave the other slots empty.
Because of diminishing returns, the best balance for cruisers is to use both shields and armor. Frigates are still an open question, where the intended use of the frigate is key. Personally, I find frigates in the rear need armor far more than shields, since enemy fighters can just fly over your fleet and start pummeling the ships to the rear.
I can see why armor costs are so high as a necessary balancing measure to ensure that armor tanks will be expensive. I think it makes it difficult to justify using armor for cruiser vs cruiser battles however, if you are customizing your fleet for a challenge. No armor or minimal armor makes more sense in these situations because cruiser weapons make short work of armor unless it is in the 70-80 range. Shields are vastly more cost effective the way things are balanced right now. More cost effective ships means you can field more ships that will last longer and have more DPS as a group. At least that’s my current theory-craft on the subject.
For a generalist fleet though, yes you need an armor rating of at least 9-12 and repair to make sure you’re not eaten by laser fighters.