(05 June 2012 Edit: I did some testing last night, and my opinions on some of these have changed. Those changes will be done in italics)
I haven’t given up on Ancillary Shield Boosters quite yet. Though I was disappointed with the results of my initial testing using a Cyclone, there may be a use for it still. One of the biggest problems I ran into with the Cyclone was that they resists simply weren’t good enough to handle an onslaught for very long and even using four midslots for tanking, the resists still weren’t anything to write home about. Nonetheless, there are some possibilities that could still be had.
Dual ASB Configurations – This involves using two ASB (duh) and staggering their output. The downside is two-fold. The first being that the combined boost power doesn’t match that of the a single X-large ASB (However, it might be a possible option because if you stagger them correctly, the first Large ASB will begin pulling from the Cap, while you start the second ASB and the second ASB will cover you until you make it past the sixty second reload time for the first ASB). And the second is that while the 150 or 200 cap charges are small, they are still quite large and a second round for both will take up the majority of your cargo hold. This is something I will be testing soon.
Combo ASB/Booster Configurations – This is similar to the D-ASB setup, but you use a standard Shield booster to keep you going while you are in the reload phase. The downside is that the standard shield booster pulls from cap and reps at a lower rate than an ASB.
It also may be the ship type that could be a more serious contender than what I originally thought. You see, there are several Tech 2 ships that have a very limited ability to tank for themselves, namely ships like the Muninn or Vagabond, where they only have two slots that can be used for tanking in total. Their benefit is that they have better resists, and so when used in conjuction with Tech 2 Adaptive Invulnerability Fields, the ASB might be ideal in those situations. Here are some prelimiary tests that I am thinking of running:
- Vagabond – Current configurations of Vagabonds revolve around two options. Either a.) Dual LSEs or b.) an LSE with an Adaptive Invulnerability Field. In the B.) version, replacing the LSE with an ASB would reduce the ship’s sig radius by 20%. And nearly 40% if the Dual LSEs are changed out for an ASB and T2 Invuln. Considering that both MWDs and Shield Rigs penalties are increased by a percentage, then you should see some appreciable differences in damage taken. The only downside is that you’ll need to find an extra 50 CPU to cover the change. (05 June 2012 edit: After testing this last night, replacing the LSE with a Large ASB, that fitting-wise the configuration is reasonably easy. I did have to switch out a Nanofiber for a PDU, but I was able to retain everything else. I will try combat trials in the next day or so.)
- Muninn – Another Minmatar ship that only gets a couple midslots for tank, this ship would get a 20% decrease in sig radius for switching over. If I remember right too, this ship also has plenty of unused CPU that this can make use of (no one really uses those last two highslots anyways).
- Huginn/Rapier/Rook/Falcon – These are still in my “maybe” category simply because while having a lower sig radius is nice, I must test to see if the midslot tank can actually be reduced and still maintain effectiveness because you want these ships to be able maximize their E-War attributes.
- Any Tech 2 Frigate/Destroyer – Definately of significant use because higher sig radii = doom for these ships. (05 June 2012 edit: I started out trying to put an ASB on both a Tech 2 Jaguar and a Republic Fleet Firetail. Both attempts turned out disappointing. I tried to put on a Medium ASB on the Jag because the Small ASB just seemed too anemic for a Tech 2 ship, but the fitting requirements were excessive for the small ship. On the Republic Fleet Firetail, the prognosis was even worse. The Small ASB could not be successfully installed on that frigate without severely gimping its effectiveness. Overall, I think this bodes poorly for ASBs on Frigate class ships. The resource requirements are just too high for what little there is to go around.)
- Broadsword/Onyx – These are on my “Maybe” list as well, but I am not as encouraged by their possible success. These might benefit here because these ships often use more than one LSE, and while those buffers do increase the shield recharge rate, they also increase their sig radii making them much easier to hit. Still not sure if the ASB will improve that situation however. On top of that, Heavy dictors don’t get any speed bonuses that could help mitigate damage.
I’m sure that there are other ships we can test to see how effective they are, probably even some nice Faction ships as well. If you can think of anything (and why) drop me a line. I am probably going to be doing various checks on it for a while.