Which Shield Combinations Work Best

I’ve been doing some spreadsheet number crunching on different shield combinations and I thought I would share some of my results. The optimum shield combination depends on three factors: the shield penetration strength of the opposing weapons, the expected DPS of the opposing weapons and your resource budget (cost, power, crew, weight, etc.).

One rule of thumb is that mixing shield types is almost always a bad idea. Resources spent on the more expensive shield types in a mixed combination are just being wasted. The one exception that I have found is that it is sometimes advantageous to mix Reflectives and Multiphasics depending on which resource you need to conserve most.

Against low penetration weapons (less than 24) either Reflectives or Fast Rechargers will reflect everything. Reflectives are cheaper. They are cheaper than Shield II’s also.

Against mid penetration weapons (24, 25 and 26) such as Proton beams and Fed Fusion beams it’s best to have at least one Reflective. Adding Fast Rechargers to a Reflective is a waste of resources. It’s better to combine the Reflective with some mix of Reflectives and Multiphasics depending on which resource is most limiting. For example, if you are most limited by cost then you would use all Reflectives. If you need to conserve crew, you would want to use one Reflective and the rest Multiphasic.

Against high penetration weapons such as CL, missiles or Plasma, Reflectives are not good and Multiphasics are not disadvantaged by their low resistance levels. Against low to moderate DPS levels straight Fast Recharge works best. Against very high DPS/high Penetration weapons (think of a swarm of CL cruisers attacking) Multiphasics are best. Of course, in this situation all shields fail quickly, Multiphasics just fail a little less quickly.

Another thing, while increasing the number of shield modules you quickly run into diminishing returns. The total shield strengths maxes out at 9 or 10 modules and then starts to go down. However, increasing the number of shield modules continues to provide diminishingly better protection as high as I’ve tested it. You will run out of module slots before you run into a situation where more shield modules are worse. In practice though I don’t think I would go above 4 shield modules.

Thanks to Outlander78 for providing module stats in spreadsheet form. That was helpful.

Why do you say a reflective/fast recharge combination is bad? I always use it if the dps is not going to be very high, but If he ship might be fired upon by fighters or mid penatration weapons.

Because if there is sufficient enemy DPS at a high enough penetration to degrade the shields then the Reflective shield will almost always fail first and your cruiser is likely to be destroyed very quickly after that. So a cruiser with a cheaper all Reflective combination will last just about as long in this environment as one with a more expensive Reflective/Fast Recharge combination. It’s much better to spend your resources on something else.

Please note however that I was just examining shield-only combinations. If you were to have multiple shields as well as armor and repair modules on the same cruiser, the numbers might come out differently. The armor/repair might keep the ship alive long enough for the Fast Recharge superiority to come into play.

the point of the reflective is just to bounce the beams, if you have taken enough shield damage for the reflective to go down then your shields are in imminent collapse from non beam damage anyway. If the enemy even has beams.

In this case at least having the FRs means your shields last that many more hits from the non-beams. Certainly having a reflective is a liability vs plasma and missile bombardment.

you dont have to use FRs anyway, you can use IIs. Or MPs if resources are tight. point is, no real reason to use more than one reflective, cuz the only things they help against are beams. well, beams and phasor cannons. (As if Phasors wernt already hard up vs Ion Cannons…)

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d make all hits on shields look at individual shields reflectivity rather than the highest. then all-reflective would make more sense and shield design would be more interesting. as it is, you always slap on 1 reflective and then whatever else you want to use.