Incentive of Shield Capacity

I’ve been thinking about shields recently; been running around with my (imperfect!) FotFH + Grog with Krieg, watching mobs kill themselves on me. I painstakingly reset for that shield too, and skipped a 1600 radius one like a fool, and ended up settling for a high 1400s days later…and I never once cared about how much shield durability it had. Which makes sense for that specific shield, but that mentality is one I’ve shared for most shields. Isn’t that odd?

I feel as if perhaps Gearbox has yet to create a scenario in which a player would sensibly consider how bulky their shield is, at least in terms of farmable legendary/unique shields. The effect shields bring tends to matter far more than their durability. Calculations for shield capacity boosts have level caps, lowering their effectiveness. Health gating exists as a mechanic, and is a much more controllable resource, what with the existence of Moxxi weapons. At lower levels, players typically don’t encounter these hurdles, and so having a strong shield can be desirable. But the stronger you get, the more likely your shield will be swiped or shot away, and so less concern is placed upon the durability of one’s shield.

Consider the Transformer. In theory, this should be a spectacular shield. If one could carefully manage their shock output with splash weapons, one should gain a hefty amount of durability. In theory, characters like Axton and Gaige can use this shield splendidly, what with the large amount of shield support and health management they possess. However, with the heavy focus on offense, and the (relative) ease with which health can be controlled, the Transformer doesn’t seem nearly as appealing. And even if it were, how many players would aim for a higher bullet absorption chance over the shield capacity?

I’m interested in hearing others’s thoughts about the place shield capacity has as a mechanic on its own, as opposed to it being simply a limiting/enabling factor for the shield’s effect. Do you believe more incentive could be placed on shields to encourage players to be bulkier? Or perhaps are certain conditions set up to make that sort of thing a non-issue?

I for one will take capacity into account in NVHM and TVHM, in UVHM it sadly becomes more about the effect.

However in TPS! Nisha speccd into law can effectively use a purple turtle shield, its just a shame the effect of the fabled tortoise is so bad or it would use it on her

T’is just another reason I choose not to use Moxxi. I like high capacity shields. Adaptive Shields, mmmmm.

It depends on the shield, it on shields without special effects I take all things into consideration, capacity, delay, and recharge rate.

Yeah, this is about right too. I have generic shields meant for about 90% of my gameplay that are usually really beefy shields. But I do have specialty items meant for very specific situations too. Right now, an Inflammable Turtle Shield comes to mind. Once I find something different for Inflammable I’ll probably swap.


Making it less and less of a concern as one increases in level. I get how a rechargeable resource isn’t supposed to replace heath per se, but I do believe there’s room to put more emphasis on a shield being tough over just its effect. Maybe with skills or effects tied to the current capacity of a shield?

Would you consider Moxxi weapons to be the issue then? Maybe their healing prowess is just too potent in BL2? I also enjoyed using Adaptive Shields, but the closer one moves to OP8, the harder it becomes to health gate with one. Maybe health gating is what keeps heavy shields from the limelight.

Yes, it’s almost as if high capacity shields are meant only to help you when you don’t have good access to your skills. Once you’re specced well and can grab good gear, the effect of a shield becomes the main priority. I wonder if there’s a way to shift attention to one’s capacity while still keeping effects in mind.

I haven’t played TPS, but that seems like an interesting gamble. Makes it easier to gain Order stacks with a lower max health, while risking an easy wipe if the shield falls. Sounds interesting, but if turtle shields scale in TPS the same way they do in BL2, then it sounds like a terrible idea the higher one gets in level.

I think they certainly hurt the game when people found out how to abuse them. I did write a slightly longer piece about why I choose to not use Moxxi weapons on the older forums that I’m sure I could find again. But TL;DR, I choose not to use them because it makes my game richer.

Along Snag_Lord’s line of thought, I believe the gameplay mechanics were initially balanced around Normal and True vault hunter modes, where a difference in capacity can be a big deal, and is something players may take into consideration depending on what they’re doing with the shield. I remember, for example, being nigh invulnerable with a good purple Turtle shield in Normal mode. If that was where I would be parking that character for end game play, I would certainly be farming for the burliest I could find. When UVHM and the OP levels came out, I believe they knowingly gave us an opportunity to step into an unbalanced arena of gameplay where all bets are off for previous balancing equations.

Outside of raids healthgatting isn’t an issue, you don’t need it for campaign and story missions. You don’t even need to abuse it for all the raids, there is a joke called pete.

I health stack on op8 and I have no issues playing that way.

Even in op8, adaptives, turtles, blockade, antagonist, there are plenty of beefy shields you can use that can take punishment. But when I say all stats, I mean all stats. Delay and Rate can be just as important to your total capacity. If you max your capacity with all pangolin your rate is very slow so with a turtle it can take forever to have it fill up, where if you go all bandit you still have a good capacity but the fastest rate. So while you have less capacity, you fill that capacity up more often.

It’s all stats like with guns, not just the damage/capacity.

That’s a good way of looking at it. The shields themselves aren’t the issue, the gap in gameplay is. Very interesting take.

It’s less about needing it, and more that it’s readily available. You don’t even need to go the -health gear route; you can just throw whatever you want down, switch to a Grog, and be on your merry way. Most characters don’t have that option with shields. Also be nice to poor Pete, it’s not his fault he doesn’t do much. :frowning:

I’m having a go with Krieg atm, and used Maya before him. I also stack health in OP levels (and all levels before that; I’m a defensive gamer in general). I would argue that Antagonists would focus more on their effect than their capacity, and I know you know that the Blockade doesn’t work as originally intended. I do agree about all stats being important on paper, but realistically speaking, I don’t know many who would take all of these into consideration, at least when min/maxing.

It’s funny that you bring up shield delay and recharge rate, as it was Claptrap’s kit that got me thinking about this in the first place. I was thinking about how hilarious it’d be to load up on nova effects and go to town, while still playing defensively. “Abusing” It’s a Trap…Card would be best with a Tediore shield, or at least I assume so, since I don’t own the game. In which case balancing rate and delay to get the speediest full recharge is key, and not the capacity itself; i.e. a shield seems more like a way to use other effects optimally, with the actual durability of the shield itself rarely being considered.

Also realistically speaking, I don’t know how many players make it to 72 or OP8 without duping, cheating, exploiting and complaining about UVHM the whole way anyway. If the general player base is anything to go from. =P

I find switching to the grog and tossing a chain limits me more than it helps, slows down the flow. I would rather just spec so I don’t need it and I can keep going without stopping to heal, heal in combat instead of leaving combat to heal.

and I’ll never be nice to pete because he is an insult as a raid

I’ll agree that the Antag focuses on its abilities but it has good capacity, delay, and rate and can tank quite well. The blockade works amazing, I don’t know what you are talking about with it, its a massive tank, hell it can even tank some of hyperious’ novas. Stats are not just important on paper, they are in game play and if people don’t consider them while min/maxing, well they suck at min/maxing.

I’ll give you that, though I can understand the complaining bit. The jump from TVHM to UVHM is not a friendly one, and it’s almost like a different game entirely. You go from mucking about to having to be sensible and careful, which can be a jarring experience. Also death to everything that’s immune to status effects.

That’s fair. I think that it’s a shame that I can light myself on fire and read a book while mobs kill themselves on me. Won’t stop me from using it, but I do think it’s a shame. I agree that it isn’t a necessity, but I do think its availability detracts from other ways of survivability.

Hey, Pete’s a great raid boss! He has a good shield, good health, uh…

Oh I agree, I’m not saying it doesn’t; I’m thinking more along the lines of how capacity itself is rarely a priority. It almost feels like the least important part of a shield in higher levels. Unless they patched it, the Blockade’s damage reduction is constant. It’s supposed to drop based on the shield’s current capacity, but I don’t think that was fixed, I honestly haven’t checked. I agree that stats are most important in gameplay, which is why I think it’s a shame that a shield’s capacity feels more like an afterthought than a key component in later levels.

In fact, the intended Blockade is exactly the sort of thing I’m referring to. If it operated as intended, it would be a shield that prioritized capacity, since you’d last longer with it up. Of course, it might not be used if that were the case, but whatever.

Part of that is they did such a good job on red text shields in bl2, that few people don’t use them.

  • The Bee
  • The Sham
  • The Antagonist

To name a few, so many builds focus around red text shields and the abilities are the important thing to them. You don’t want to add capacity to a sham and give up the 94% absorb chance.

If people used more regular shields you would see more of it, you are right on the blockade I thought you meant it didn’t get the damage reduction at all. What I love about it is the fact it is a shield where all the parts matter because you have the flat reduction, you can play with capacity, rate, and delay to get the perfect one.

I like to play with Adaptives, Turtles, Tediore quick shields, all kinds of purple shields. Capacity is important but so are the other stats just like guns and thats how I look at them.

  • Capacity = Damage
  • Rate = Fire Rate
  • Delay = Reload Speed/Mag size

It’s a balance of those that makes the gun/shield the best. Depending on your spec certain stats are more important than others.


The unique / legendary shields are definitely wildly superior to their general counterparts. And I can’t fault Gearbox or players for wanting the best effect they can find. I do, however, wish that there were more incentive to desire greater shield capacity.

Consider Gaige’s Blood Soaked Shields, a ridiculous defensive mobbing skill. She should be a prime candidate for tanky shields, since she can gain so much mileage out of them. On the other hand, you could also go for, say, a max damage / radius Black Hole and become a crowd control god(dess). Don’t even get me started on Axton, who should be the shield master of BL2.

Yes, the Blockade is a versatile shield, statwise. But if it worked as originally intended, I believe it would both have a shift toward higher capacities and be less used. Which is a shame. I believe it’d be interesting - and maybe even useful - to insert some sort of incentive for desiring shield capacity in the Borderlands franchise. Right now I don’t believe there’s much of that in the game, though I would love to hear otherwise.

I believe you need to play TPS!

The scaling is much kinder in that game so even in UVHM max level a purple turtle shield is viable.

TPS! I find is much more about the skills and how you use them than having OP gear.

Are you saying a max level turtle shield wasn’t viable in bl2? If so its odd because I used one quite a bit and it was much more than Viable.

I would love to, but unfortunately, laid off -> unemployment == no new games for me.

I don’t want to presume, but he might be referring to how turtle shields virtually kill you if your health doesn’t outpace it. Of course, they’re still useful for health gating.

I should clarify, I meant with every Vault Hunter a purple turtle shield can work in any situation, without the need for a grog nozzle/rubi/probe/whatever, just relying purely on skills to regen health (or transfusions for miss baroness)

My personal experience with BL2 is vastly different than that, with a Maya on the team it is not problem with mobs but raids get very tricky, now obviously I’m not as good a player as @Derch and many others on this forum, but I like to think I’m average…

Only 2 red text ones did that, purple ones did not