Since they’ve attained T6 in the last (last) update, Shield-type skills are one of the more useful items in this game as they offer greater guaranteed protection over the now-variable dodge value. When activated, shields also have a secondary offensive/defensive trait which essentially add to their usefulness as a dual-function skill.
As requested by Armin1978, this post will examine the different shield skills in detail (except the neglected fire shield), similar to the Legendary skill post. This will be topped off with a FAQ section at the end to answer some of the interesting questions related to shields.
If you’re interested in finding out more about other skills in specific, kindly let me know in the comments 🙂
*Edit (23/7/17): Bat Shield has been included in this post. Enjoy 🙂
Shields (except fire shield) perform just like their name suggests – as a protection against incoming damage through the creation of a virtual HP barrier during activation. This encases your character in a bubble for a good 6 seconds (with 12 secs cooldown), which allow you to take no damage when the skill is in effect.
This is unless the total incoming damage exceeds the amount of HP provided by the shield, depleting the shield’s effect before it expires naturally. You’ll notice this when you’re taking an odd value damage (ie. much less than the average damage) even when the shield animation is still on, since it takes about 1-2 seconds to properly fade away.
A shield at T6 level 125 offers a total of 2,100 HP. This can be boosted by superfusion points with +20 HP/SF pt, and achieve a whopping maximum total of 5,100 HP at +150SF(!).
When activated, shields also have an additional active property which is either passive or defensive. Thus, taking advantage of these properties (listed below) can help in turning the tide of the battle.
TL;DR: Defensive shield provides virtual HP for 6 secs that takes damage for you, also comes with an offensive/defensive skill when activated.
Why and When to use?
Shields are generally great in most game modes, and are particularly useful in Arena combat. This is due to the lower average damage dealt (<1,000 on average) when players of the same attack/armor stat attack one another. Since the damage is observed to be lower, the effect of shields is less likely to run out, allowing you to benefit from active properties longer.
Another advantage to shields (especially in Arena) is that dodge-piercing damage does not affect the user when activated as they directly damage the virtual HP. This is particularly so for Ray of Darkness, which can tear through an activated Smoke Veil.
However, shields are less useful in game modes where you take tons of concentrated damage (such as high ToE waypoints and tough strongholds). A few hits of 1,500 essentially destroys your active shield instantly.
The same can be said for Raiding as more powerful strongholds (ie. above 12k/12k stats) tend to have enemies which easily inflict a good deal of damage (>1,000). This is chance is increased with the presence of units with an elemental advantage, making shields less effective overall in this case.
In this scenarios, Smoke Veil is a much better choice since it increased dodge doesn’t deplete as fast under heavy enemy fire. Unlike shield, it does not get disabled after cast and this keeps the ‘reflect projectile’ property active throughout the full 6 seconds.
Nonetheless, Shields can be made effective in these two cases using SF points. As mentioned, shield HP can go up to +5,100 and that is equivalent to a few hits of 1,500 damage. Assuming that you’re actively avoiding the hits, that’s more than enough to keep yourself alive. 🙂
TL;DR: Best for Arena, bad for high waypoints in ToE or tough Strongholds. Can be improved greatly by SF points.
Shield are categorised according to their active secondary skills, whether they are defensive or offensive. Defensive shields include Healing Shield, Demonic Shield, while Offensive shields include Lightning Shield and Frost Shield. Fire Shield, though still technically a shield, won’t be covered here as it does not offer the same defensive capability as the other shields.
While it is possible to equip a different elemental shield for its active and passive properties, do note that you won’t benefit from its elemental advantage. This means if you’re a water type entering a light stronghold, damage will not be cut in half if you activate a Demonic (dark) shield. The elemental damage dealt will be made in reference to your armor’s element instead of the shield’s element.
On the flip side, this means that you probably only need one good shield at +150 SF to enjoy the maximum potential of the HP barrier. This is especially useful in higher waypoints in ToE since your one shield is applicable regardless of element…so long as you wear the right armor with relevant elemental advantage.
TL;DR: Shield provides a straight virtual HP, but the element of the shield does not influence the damage you take, only the element of your armor.
Passive Traits: HP – 8%; Critical Hit Chance – 15%
Active Traits: Heals an extremely small value of HP per hit (ie HP/Hit)
Healing shield is one of those shields where it’s great to have….only because of its virtual HP barrier.
On paper, HP/Hit is great but it is unfortunate that this value even for an activated T6 Healing shield is way too insignificant to be useful within the short time span of 6 seconds. The only way one is able to see the effect of HP/Hit is to cast Entangling Vines on a group of monsters (eg. in ToE or in daily dungeon). Assuming you do not get hit, you’ll be able to see a sliver of health being restored.
Thankfully, we just got confirmation that this value is being looked into by the devs and hopefully we might just get a raise (sometime soon?).
+/- Decent passive properties
– Insignificant HP/Hit values
Passive Traits: HP/Kill – 246, Critical Hit Chance – 15%
Active Traits: Heals upon every kill (ie HP/Kill)
Demonic shield performs slightly better over the Healing shield as it gains both HP/Kill (HPK) both in passive traits and whenever it is activated, raising the overall effect of HPK. Thus, this makes it useful for most game modes with plenty of monsters (eg. ToE), allowing you to regain significant amount of HP by activating the shield before going for the kill.
Ironically, it falls short in Arena because HP is restored automatically upon winning (or losing) each match. This essentially negates the benefits of HP/Kill, leaving the shield without a nice secondary property.
Well, at least you can count on the critical hit chance of 15% still serves as a great addition if you have high accompanying crit hit damage.
+ Has great HPK values due to active and passive properties
+ HP/Kill in areas with many monsters
+/- Decent passive and active properties
– HP/Kill bad in Arena
Passive Traits: HP bonus – 8%, HP/Kill – 246
Active Skills: Lightning Bolt strikes any enemy in the vicinity with chance of knockdown and stun
Personally, Lightning shield is one of my favourite skill and (I daresay) the only good light-based shield gear in the game at the moment.
Casting the skill results in enemies in the vicinity to be struck by lightning and this can be up to 4-5 strikes if the opponent is constantly nearby when the skill is active. Against arena opponents, this lightning bolt known to knockdown and stun the enemy, making it a rather useful disabling move. This also can pierce cyclone users, leading to them taking damage while they are spinning.
As opposed to Demonic Shield, the downside is that Lightning only affects one monster/opponent at a time, which means that it is much less useful in ToE due to the large number of spawned monsters.
+ Good offensive and disabling capability
+ Lightning pierces cyclone users
+/- Moderately decent passive traits
– Lightning only strikes one monster at a time
Passive Traits: Dodge – 10%, Run speed – 13.1%
Active Skills: Whirlpool effect fixed at the casting area that inflicts constant damage and slow
Frost shield is one of those few all-rounded skills with good defensive passives and decent offensive capabilities.
While the active skill is fixed in place, it is useful if paired up with stun/slow builds to keep the opponent locked within the whirlpool range. This shield can also be combined with cyclone to a good effect: Cyclone deflects incoming projectiles and the frost shield protects the caster from melee damage – a strategy constantly used by the AI in the arena.
Annoying as it seems, this move is far from being invulnerable and can be countered easily by human players. For this, be sure to have your melee weapon for the attack and activate your own shield when the opponent starts spinning to block out incoming damage. Having haste is also great since it allows you to rip through the enemy shield faster so you can get in tons of damage without being injured.
+ Great passive traits and active properties
+ Whirlpool effect deals damage and slows
– Whirlpool is fixed to where the skill is casted
+/- Cyclone & Frost Shield helps against ranged users, but not melee users
Passive Traits: HPH – 25, HPK – 232
Active Skills: Bats attack monsters/opponents one-by-one in vicinity (within a relatively large range)
Bat Shield was revealed during the A7X event as a legendary difficulty drop and is now probably my new (second) favourite shield skill. Unlike the other shields, the activated Bat Shield surrounds your character with swirling bats instead and bestows both offensive and defensive effects.
Its active effect, though hard to see under certain instances, has bats attacking the opponents or monsters within a relatively large range. This triggers under 2 instances in the duration your shield is activated:
(a) when your opponent begins attacking you;
(b) when you start attacking your opponent.
Once either of the above situations occur, this results in continuous DOT-like damage every 1-2 seconds for as long as the shield is activated, and sticks to the opponent even if they run away – as indicated by bats flying out from your opponent.
In the context of the Arena, this is certainly a great skill to have since you can easily initiate a hit-and-run DOT strategy whenever the skill is activated since once triggered, the range is relatively large. However, this is less effective when there are multiple monsters around you (eg. ToE, missions etc.) as the bats only target one monster/opponent at a time.
Another interesting observation is that the Bats do destroy nearby items when you get within melee striking range of these break-able objects. While I still prefer my predatory instinct in armory raids, the bat shield could be used as an autonomous source of damage if you lack the former.
In addition to its offensive ability, its defensive properties of active shield protection and traits offer a great boost to any gear setup. It essentially is a Healing and Demonic shield rolled up in one…just that you don’t have to activate it for the traits to function.
+ Great defensive passive traits and offensive active properties
+ Has great range and allows you to hit-and-run
+ Can destroy breakable objects in your vicinity
– Bats only damage one monster/opponent at a time
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does increasing skill damage raise the HP shield values or the offensive damage done by Lightning/Frost shields?
While I would like to say yes, there is no quantifiable manner to test this within the game now that the equipment guy in ToE has been taken out.
The other matter is that even if these values are indeed raised, they might be rather insignificant for non-SF shields. A 10-15% increase of 2,100 makes for an additional 315 HP, and since you cannot tell how much damage is actually being dealt to the shield when the opponent attacks, there’s no way to test this for sure unless you get the figures.
The same can be said for the offensive damage since lightning bolts and the whirlpools deal minute amounts of damage. Thus, the increase of damage would not be very significant.
TL;DR: Supposedly not much, but difficult to test properly
Q: DOT damage seems to be negated entirely using shields?
This is a tricky question and I would to suggest that the DOT damage is not entirely negated, but is deducted from the virtual shield HP itself.
This means that if you get DOT on your character and you turn on your shield, the damage received from DOT is subtracted from the shield. It does not show because you’re not actually taking damage, but it is the shield that is taking it for you.
However, as like the first question, testing this is more challenging than it seems since it is very tricky to keep DOT constantly going without taking additional larger amounts of damage in the process. Although I did experiment with this hypothesis, the case was that either the shield ran out after its intended duration or a larger one-time damage caused the shield to dissipate earlier than usual…leading to inconclusive results.
TL;DR: Proposed that DOT is deducted from virtual HP instead, but no way to properly test it out
Q: Why do I still take damage when my shield is activated?
This could be a problem in the animation since the bubble does not disappear immediately when the HP gets depleted before the 6 seconds runs out.
This is evident whenever your shield gets broken instantly upon casting, since it takes about 2 seconds for animation to register and fizzle out. Thus, I would advise observing the visual damage since it is a clearer indication to start physically avoiding damage.
TL;DR: Animation is slower than the effect, thus watch the damage instead!
Q: Does Dodge reduce even with Shield on?
Now that it is a variable value, Dodge does get degraded when opponents are hitting you with shield activated. Do take care as you might have reduced dodge by the time your shield expires, even if all the damage is absorbed by the shield. Thus, do observe the little icon below your HP bar before you rush into the fray.
TL;DR: Dodge does get degraded as you get hit when shields are activated.
Yep, that’s about it for Shields.
I wonder when the Summer event is coming….hmmm….