Armor (SEIV)

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Armor is a type of component that you can add in order to help protect a ship. It does so in three ways:

  1. Armor is tougher than most components, so adding it increases the total amount of damage it takes to destroy the ship.
  2. Armor is damaged before any other components, meaning that once the ship's shields are battered down or bypassed, its "vital" components - such as engines and weapons - will still remain untouched until the armor is destroyed. This will let a ship stay combat effective for a longer time once it comes under enemy fire.
  3. Armor protects against non-combat hazards, such as Mines and Storms, while shields do not. Even a ship with 20 Shield Generators can be devastated by Mines if it doesn't have any Armor to go with them!

As with every rule, there are some exceptions to this. Some weapons skip Armor entirely, some skip both Armor and shields, and some damage only selected components (skipping Armor as they do so). See Section 21 of this FAQ for more details on these exceptions.


To decide whether you should install the armor in place of some of your shields, do the following:

  1. Take the shield points currently generated by your ship.
  2. Estimate the typical hit rate that your enemy has against that ship.
  3. Divide your answer from (1) by your answer from (2), then multiply by 100. This is the average amount of damage the enemy will have to fire at you in order to get a kill (including misses)
  4. Find the break-even point:
    • a) A= [Size of armor] / [ECM bonus of armor]
    • b) B= [shield points per generator] / [size of generator]
    • c) C= [hitpoints of armor] / [size of armor]
    • d) Calculate (B - C) * A
    • e) At max tech in unmodded SE4, you will get roughly:
    • - 1200 for stealth armor.
    • - 1670 for stealth + scattering armor
    • - 2125 for scattering armor alone.
  5. If the value from (3) is larger than the break-even point calculated in (4), your ship will survive longer in combat if you replace some shields with the given armor.

NOTE: this does not apply if the enemy is using religious talisman, missiles, ramming ships or anything else with a guaranteed 100% chance to hit. (Suicide Junkie)

For figuring out if you should use stealth/scattering armor:

Originally posted by Suicide Junkie:

  1. Take the shield points currently generated.
  2. Estimate the typical hit rate that your enemy has against your ship.
  3. Multiply your answers from (1) and (2), then divide by 100.
  4. If the answer you get is:
    • less than 1200 : Do not bother with Stealth or Scattering armor.
    • from 1200 to 1670 : Add a Stealth armor only.
    • 1670 or higher : Add both Stealth and Scattering armor.

1200 - comes from: 30 x (9.375 -3.333)/.15 1670 - comes from (80 x (9.375 - [3.333*30 + 3*50]/80) ) /.3 = 80 x (9.375 - 3.125)/.3 Which, again is: Size * (shields/kt - armor/kt) And then divided by the ECM power to get us up to effective hitpoints.

Specialty Armor

Several types of Armor do more than simply soak up enemy fire: Stealth and Scattering Armor improve elusiveness and protect against enemy sensors, Emissive Armor partially cancels out incoming damage, and the Organic and Crystallurgy racial tech areas each provide armor with their own benefits

Stealth Armor and Scattering Armor

Stealth Armor and Scattering Armor, being Armor, absorb damage that gets past the shields, though they are slightly less effective at absorbing punishment than "regular" Armor. Each one also provides other special abilities to their ship that last for as long as they Armor are not destroyed:

  • Both Stealth Armor and Scattering Armor provide a defensive bonus, similar to the way an ECM does. All three of these bonuses stack with each other, so a ship with Stealth Armor, Scattering Armor, and an ECM will be getting three defensive boosts all adding together.
  • Stealth Armor gives the ship a Level 1 Cloak.
  • Scattering Armor gives the ship the "Scanner Jammer" ability, preventing enemies from seeing its design or cargo.

Emissive Armor

Emissive Armor, being Armor, absorbs damage that gets past the shields, though it is slightly less effective at absorbing punishment than "regular" Armor. It also cancells out part of the damage of weapons fire that gets past the ship's shields. Should a ship's Armor start taking hits, the Emissive Armor will "emiss" an amount of damage depending on its level. This ability does not stack, and instead only uses the ability of the highest-level Emissive Armor on the ship, regardless of how many Emissive Armor components that ship has.

Organic Armor

Organic Armor, being Armor, absorbs damage that gets past the shields, and is actually somewhat more effective than "normal" Armor at doing so. Additionally, if an Organic Armor component is destroyed, as long as at least one Organic Armor component remains intact, the remaining ones will generate repair points that are used to repair the missing one. When enough of these points are generated, the destroyed components will be repaired, even in the middle of a battle.

While this repair ability will work outside of battle, repairing damaged Organic Armor components (as long as at least 1 remains intact), it will not activate until after combat. This means that damage from Mines, Storms, etc. has to either be repaired the old-fashioned way or else will have to wait until the damaged ship is in a battle.

Finally, Organic Armor only costs Organics, lowering the Minerals needed to build a ship as compared to using any other type of Armor.

Crystalline Armor

Crystalline Armor, being Armor, absorbs damage that gets past the shields, and is actually somewhat more effective than "normal" Armor at doing so. Additionally, when armor on a ship takes damage, all undestroyed Crystalline Armor components work together to use that damage to regenerate the ship's shields, with the amount of regeneration depending on the Crystalline Armor's level and remaining number. These new shield points are applied against future volleys, though the shields cannot be regenerated past maximum.

In practice, Crystalline Armor works like a beefed-up version of Emissive Armor. With 10 Crystalline Armor III components and at least 150 points of shielding, weapons dealing 149 damage or less will be negated, with more Crystalline Armor only increasing the durability of the ship (but not the damage negation). So even fairly powerful weapons can wind up having literally no effect on a Crystalline warship.

Preceded by:
Manual (SEIV)
Section 2.5
Followed by: