Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday definition: Resistance

And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players.  You vets can move on to the next post.

The moment you start firing any weapon in EVE at another ship or structure, you'll need to think about resistance.  Resistance in EVE is defined as the percentage of your damage that is removed before it is actually applied to the target ship or structure.  There are four types of damage done in the game: kinetic, explosive, thermal, and EM.  Each ship or structure in the game has a resistance to each of the four types of damage.  Most player ships and structures have separate resistances, calculated separately, for their shields, armor, and structure.  Most NPC ships and structures have only one set of resistances for all three.

Each type of weapon in EVE Online does between one and three types of the four types of damage.  Therefore, to do maximum DPS to your target, you'll want to match the damage type that you are doing to the lowest resistance(s) of the target.

Determining the type of damage that you're doing is very easy: simply do a "Show Info" on the ammunition type that you are firing.  Select the Attributes tab.  Scroll until you see something like this:

This particular ammunition does 18 HP EM damage and 4 HP thermal damage, therefore the damage potential from this ammo is 82% EM, 18% thermal.  In some cases, the game will directly tell you the resistances of your target, for instance with this Amarr Control Tower:

In this case, the Control Tower (POS) has zero percent resistance to both EM and thermal, therefore the type of ammunition I chose is a good selection for attacking this particular target.  Had I chosen an ammo with a 18 HP explosive damage instead, that explosive damage would be cut by 50% before being applied to the POS.  That's resistance.

When attacking NPCs, each type of NPC has a set resistance to two types of damage.  You see this quite often in this sort of chart which lots of people post in their EVE biographies:
Angel Cartel: Explosive/Kinetic
Blood Raiders: EM/Thermal
Guristas: Kinetic/Thermal
Mercenaries: Kinetic/Thermal
Mordu's Legion: Kinetic/EM
Sanshas: EM/Thermal
Serpentis: Kinetic/Thermal
In the case of NPCs, you should both set your resistances to strongly resist the types of damage listed, and should also do damage based on those types.  For instance, if fighting Serpentis NPCs, you should both resist against kinetic and thermal damage and should do kinetic and thermal damage yourself.

Still, these are general statements.  Each type of NPC has very specific resistance profile and though they aren't provided in-game, there are ample locations where you can reference them.  I personally am a big fan of Chruker's website for this.  These tables are particularly helpful for attacking rogue drone NPCs, which are not consistent in the types of damage they have the lowest resistance to.

Using resistances yourself, you'll want to protect your shields or your armor against the specific types of damage being done to you.  If you are attacking NPCs, then the type of damage being done will be easy to determine using the data above.  During late 2011 and all of 2012, CCP went a long way toward renaming the various types of resistance modules so that it's much easier to find the proper module for the type of tanking you want to do.  Both armor and shield ships also have modules that protects against all four types of damage (the Adaptive Nano Plating and Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes for armor, the Adaptive Invulnerability Field for shields), though less efficiently than dedicated resistance modules against a specific type of damage.  These modules are referred to in game as "hardeners."  "Active hardeners" are those that consume capacitor to function.  "Passive hardeners" are ones that do not.  Variations of both exist for both shield- and armor-tanking.

One other thing to keep in mind: most resistance modules of the same type fitted to a ship grant decreasing resistance to that type of damage.  This is a factor with most modules in EVE no matter their function.  Diminishing returns takes its toll in these situations.  It's therefore usually not particularly useful to fit more than three modules that protect against all four types of damage, or more than two modules that protect against a single type of damage.

Finally, sooner or later, you will wish to attack another EVE player, or withstand an attack from another EVE player yourself.  Again, resistance to damage plays its part in this.  Because you usually can't predict what type of damage another EVE player will fire at you, virtually all PvP ships in EVE are "omni-tanked": that is, they are built from the ground up with the highest possible resistance to all four types of attacks.  Still, each type of ship in EVE has one type of damage that they are naturally vulnerable to.  This is called the ship's "resistance hole" and varies based on the race of the ship and whether it's T1 or T2:

Ship typeResistance hole     If hole patched
T1 shield tank     EMThermal
T1 armor tankExplosiveKinetic
Amarr T2ThermalEM
Caldari T2EMExplosive
Gallente T2ExplosiveEM
Minmatar T2KineticExplosive

By following the chart above, you'll have a pretty good idea of the type of damage that's most likely to go over well when attacking another player's ship.  Judge them based on their apparent experience, alliance, and potentially their character age.  If these things seem to indicate an experienced player, you can usually safely assume that player has patched the most glaring hole in their ship and you should fire damage consistent with their adjusted lowest resistance.  If the player attacker seems less experienced, you can sometimes go straight for the resistance hole...

I hope this basic guide to resistance in EVE has been helpful!

Occasionally on Sundays, I will be defining a common EVE term for those who might not have heard it.  If you have a suggestion for such a term, please drop it into the comments.


  1. One thing I find myself relating in the Incursion channels a LOT (due to the Incursion Sansha having completely even resist profiles) is that the Base Armor/Shield Damage attributes in ammo info windows mean absolutely nothing of import. Someone always says "Use EMP rounds instead of Fusion because it has a higher base shield damage," which is not actually the case.
    The Base Damage numbers are the average amount of damage that ammunition will do to a T1 player ship that has no resistance bonus of any kind applied to it. So, since most basic shields have EM holes and high EXP resists, EMP claims a higher Base Shield Damage than Fusion, but against a target with completely even resists, both will do exactly the same job.

  2. You know this resistances / ammo types thing was one of the very first things that really bugged me about EVE as a new player.

    I can remember running L1 missions and in one situation I would blaze through the enemy and the next I would struggle and couldn't understand the difference. When I read about the resistances of NPC ships and damage types to inflict it made life so much easier as a PvE player that it seems crazy that the information is essentially hidden to the player!

    I even asked a dev once on one of those 'ask me anything' threads and they gave some weak ass reply about "well pvp you won't know" and I can agree that its true but PvE is not PvP - in PvE the NPC doesn't change and once you KNOW the resistances and damage types to use then your life gets easier - if it doesn't change then why not just TELL us what they are and get it all out of the way?

    Hell, they can even put it as part of the mission profie:

    "Rumor has it the angel cartel ships are vulnerable to explosive damage"


    "It's recommended that your ship is configured to resist EMP damage"

    At least then its fairly in line with a little bit of story narrative and eventually new players would pick up the relationship for the NPC types.

    I think CCP needs to get a list of these types of things that players just seem to 'need to know' and figure out if they should become part of the game or tutorial as something as simple as changing ammo can be the difference between a new player getting frustated with consistant failure and quitting / not subbing or the CCP picking up another subscriber who enjoys the game.

    1. Yeah, this would be a good idea for L1 missions.

  3. T1 armor tank Resistance Hole: Explosive If hole patched: Thermal

    The second one should be Kin, right?

  4. Great artical Jester. I fly with a lot of young pilots in FW and this subject comes up at least once a week. Now I can just point them to this artical. Thanks.

  5. I think it would be good to mention that resistance has an exponential effect on your EHP, it's not intuitively obvious that 75% resistance is twice as good as 50%.

  6. Easier to explain that at 50 % half the damage gets through, at 75% resists, only 25% gets through, so twice as good. Look the non-resisted parts to compare relative strength.

  7. If your ammo is loaded, you can also hover over your gun to see exactly what proportion of damage is being done.

    I found this useful when I was learning the optimal/falloff ranges and damage types for various ammo.