Shields are a big part of the Star Trek Universe. They protect the ship from incoming damage that would other wise breach the hull. A hull breach in the vacuum of space is never a good thing. So needless to say shields are important in STO as well.
Ship Shields have two primary stats that help you determine how they work and how effective they are. The first stat is the shield capacity (cap). This is measure how much damage one of the four shield facings can absorb before allowing direct hull damage. So a shield with a capacity of 5000 actually has a total of 20,000 since there is 5000 per side and four sides. This is why turning away from your enemy when a shield facing is low can save your neck.
The second stat is regeneration (reg). This tells you how fast each shield facing will regenerate capacity. The shields apply a regenerative charge once every 6 seconds. If the shield has a regenerate stat of 150 then that indicates that once every 6 seconds each shield facing will add 150 points to the capacity until it is full. The higher this number the faster your shields will recover from taking damage.
There are modifiers, console boosts, skills and abilities that can increase these stats. Your captain can take skill points in science that will boost the base capacity and regenerative qualities of whatever shield is equipped. These boosts will only show up when your ship is in system space (not sector space). Bare in mind that your ship also has a shield modifier that will increase or decrease the capacity of the shield. Shuttles typically have .50 (1/2 capacity) and Science ships typically have a 1.3 (130% capacity)
As with most equip-able items in STO there are different Mark levels between Mk I and Mk XII. The higher the mark value the stronger the item. Additionally there are some items with a modifier. Modifiers are boosts to a particular stat or ability for the item. These modifiers on shields are generally one of the following:
- [Cap] increases Maximum Capacity by 10%
- [Reg] increases Shield Regeneration by 10%
- [Dis] reduces Disruptor Damage by 20%
- [Pha] reduces Phaser Damage by 20%
- [Pla] reduces Plasma Damage by 20%
- [Pol] reduces Polaron Damage by 20%
- [Tet] reduces Tetryon Damage by 20%
- [Ap] reduces Antiproton Damage by 20%
Sometimes a shield may have a special modifier that modifies a unique feature to that shield or as is often the case it may have the same modifier more than once. For example a very rare shield (purple) may have a [cap]x3 modifier which means it has 30% additional capacity instead of 10% additional as is the case with the [cap] modifier.
Of course”rarity” will add these modifier(s) to the various incarnations. There are five basic rarity levels. The standard issue common items are white and have no modifier. The ‘Uncommon’ items are green tinged and offer one modifier, ‘Rare’ items are bluish tinged and have two modifiers, ‘Very Rare’ items are purple tinged and offer three modifiers and ‘Ultra Rare’ are magenta tinged and offer four modifiers. Some special items including certain shields may be purple tinged but only offer one or two modifiers because the item may have a passive special ability or multiple instances of the same modifier.
Shields come in five basic types:
Most shields will soak up 90% of incoming damage and ten percent will pass through to the hull. (some weapons and special attacks may bypass shields altogether). Regenerative shields offer a very fast regeneration but at the expense of lower capacity. Resilient shields have more capacity but less regeneration and they absorb 5% of the damage that normally leeches through the shields to the hull. Standard shields regenerate faster than resilient but slower than regenerative, they have more capacity than both of those. Covariant shields give up regeneration speed for massive capacity and the Paratrinic shield is available as a mission completion reward and offers the most capacity of any shield in the game but also regenerates the slowest.
In general large ships that do not turn well need a high-capacity shield since it is difficult for those ships maneuver away from fire. Agile ships can utilize the fast regenerative ability of the regenerative shields by turning away from fire and watching the shields heal quickly. In general I feel like the Covariant shields superior capacity seems to out weigh the lack of regeneration. I would like to see Cryptic increase the regeneration rate of those regen shield arrays by another ten percent so they would be a little more resilient in battle.
Some shields have a special “look”. When equipped they may change the nacelle glow or completely overwrite the look of your ship. Sometimes this is really cool, but it also gives PVP enemies a heads up as to what kind of shield you are running. Fortunately you can disable the visuals if you don’t like them.
The Paratrinic Shield Array is a possible reward from the Federation mission “Past Imperfect”, the Klingon mission “Test of Mettle” or the Romulan mission “Tradecraft”.
You can also get a Mk XI Reman shield in the mission “Coliseum”. It is equal to a Covariant [cap]x2 and is part of the Reman Protoype set. It is a very good shield and has one of the coolest ship appearance packages in the game. Be sure to complete that mission at level 50 so you get the Mk XI version. The Reman set including the shield is also available as part of the Romulan Reputation system up to Mk XII.
I think my favorite shields are still the Adapted MACO Covariant and the Klingon Honor Guard Covariant with at least one of the other set pieces (deflector or engines). The new Dyson shield is also quite amazing when equipped with the full Dyson Command set from the reputation system.
When considering special shields be sure to check the set bonuses and see if those items offer the best “package” of abilities for you play style. Sometime the coolest shield comes in a set that has engines or a deflector that you can’t take full advantage of. This is where you have to make a decision on how bad you want it.
If you want to avoid the sets you can always join a fleet and build up enough credit to by a Fleet Elite shield or Fleet advanced shield. These are Ultra Rare items. The Advanced offers four modifiers and the Elite have a series of powerful passive stats. Check them out.
Now get out there and kick some alien tail.