Orb Shields or simply Shields are rechargeable shield generators that prevent characters from receiving damage to their health, including projectile weapon damage, elemental, melee or even damage from falling, until a shield's charge is depleted.
Shields are invisible when not active, however once a character takes damage a colored hexagonal grid contours to the character's figure as the bullets are blocked. The color of the shield (as it takes damage) denotes what kind of shield it is and what kind of special ability it has. Shields with fire resistance will be red, shields with shock resistance will be purplish-blue, shields with corrosive resistance will be green, non-elemental shields will be white. There are only a few shields that offer protection from explosive damage.
Shields are essential to any player as they recharge much faster than conventional health regeneration. An equipped shield will gradually recharge to full power during periods when the wearer is not sustaining damage. It does however take a slight delay after the last time damage was taken to initiate the recharge effect. When mostly depleted, a blue exclamation alert flashes above a character's Health bar to warn the player.
- Shields are acquired in the same manner as all other loot: dropped by enemies and chests, purchased at vending machines or rewarded by missions.
- Shield rarity is similar to that of all weapons, except that the rarity found among shields goes from purple to pearlescent with no yellow or orange rarity in between.
- Shield capacity can be increased by some character skills or COMs.
- Shield recharge rates (energy recharged per second) directly affect the time it takes to recharge to 100% capacity - the higher the recharge rate, the faster the shield recharges to full.
- Shield recharge delay is a hidden value that determines the number of seconds after taking damage that the shield begins to recharge. This delay is not directly related to the recharge rate. The only way of finding this rate is either through the debug info for PC users, or timing with a grenade. A bit of reverse engineering with gear-calc can also help.
- Shield recharge delay may simply be a dividend of capacity divided by recharge rate with the result measured in seconds.
- Shields with elemental resistances reduce damage taken by that element. 66% damage received for regular resistant Shields, 50% damage received for high resistant Shields & 33% damage received for extreme resistant Shields. For example, if a shock bullet were to hit a character for 120 damage (100%), then they would only receive 80 damage (66%) with a regular shock resistant shield, 60 damage (50%) for a high shock resistant shield, and 40 damage (33%) for an extreme shock resistant Shield. (Note that different elements naturally have different affinity for shields, for example, shock is 200% effective against shields, thus a shock bullet will actually do 33% x 2 = 66% damage to an extreme shock resistant shield)
- Shields which create elemental bursts when depleted will do so only if the shield was recharging or full before being depleted. However the skills Quick Charge, Girl Power and Unbreakable will not cause such shields to continuously emit elemental bursts if they are repeatedly depleted when the skill is active.
Shields are an effective defense against projectile attacks like bullets and rockets and will also protect against any melee attack. They are, however, extremely vulnerable to shock attacks and will diminish quickly if under constant fire.
- Ironclad - "I stand unvanquished!" - Boosted Shield capacity.
- Omega - "The alpha and that other thing" - High recharge rate, buffed capacity.
- Rose - "Beauty and life" - Gives massive health regeneration when depleted, super fast recharge rate.
All shields1 in Borderlands are outfitted with special modules, giving them various effects, from offensive elemental properties to extra health or healing. The effects are chosen by the manufacturer, and the intensity of the effect by the Material Grade. As a general rule, effects or higher quality effects do not come at any trade-off to Shield stats. You do not "pay" to have the effect (unlike, for example, weapons that "pay" reduced damage, to have elemental ability).
Finally, note that this effect (material grade) is responsible for the Shield's name. Torgue will share several Titles for the same effect.
|Anshin||Guerrilla||Fast Recharge||Recharge Delay -30%,|
Recharge Rate +20%
|Skirmisher||Very Fast Recharge||Recharge Delay -40%,|
Recharge Rate +27%
|Ambush||Super Fast Recharge!||Recharge Delay -60%,|
Recharge Rate +54%
|Atlas||Grounded||Shock Resistance||Only 66% of shock damage taken|
|Anionic||High Shock Resistance||Only 50% of shock damage taken|
|Cationic||Extreme Shock Resistance!||Only 33% of shock damage taken|
|Dahl||Neutralizing||Corrosive Resistance||Only 66% of corrosive damage taken|
|Dilution||High Corrosive Resistance||Only 50% of corrosive damage taken|
|Hazmat||Extreme Corrosive Resistance!||Only 33% of corrosive damage taken|
|Hyperion||Thermal||Fire Resistance||Only 66% of fire damage taken|
|Asbestic||High Fire Resistance||Only 55% of fire damage taken|
|Endothermic||Extreme Fire Resistance!||Only 33% of fire damage taken|
|Maliwan||Shock Burst||Creates a small Shock Burst
|Shock Burst radius 256|
|Shock Wave||Creates a Shock Wave
|Shock Wave radius 384|
|Shock Nova||Creates a large Shock Nova
|Shock Nova radius 512|
|Pangolin||Unyielding||High Capacity||+30% Capacity,|
+30% Recharge Delay
|Enduring||Very High Capacity||+40% Capacity,|
+20% Recharge Delay
|Fortified||Overcharge Capacity!||+60% Capacity,|
+10% Recharge Delay
|S&S Munitions||Acid Burst||Creates a small Acid Burst
|Acid Burst radius 256|
|Acid Wave||Creates an Acid Wave
|Acid Wave radius 384|
|Acid Nova||Creates a large Acid Nova
|Acid Nova radius 512|
|Tediore||Healing||Very slow health regeneration||+(0.4 Base + 0.04 per Shield Lvl)|
|Restorative||Slow health regeneration||+(1.0 Base + 0.08 per Shield Lvl)|
|Panacea||Quick Health Regeneration!||+(2.4 Base + 0.2 per Shield Lvl)|
|Torgue||Tough Guy||Health Boost 30%||Health Boost 30%|
|Tough Guy or
|Health Boost 40%||Health Boost 40%|
|Health Boost 60%||Health Boost 60%|
|Vladof||Fire Burst||Creates a small Fire Burst
|Fire Burst radius 256|
|Fire Wave||Creates a Fire Wave
|Fire Wave radius 384|
|Fire Nova||Creates a large Fire
Nova when depleted
|Fire Nova radius 512|
1With the exception of Tediore Standard Shields found in the very first Med Vendor in Playthrough 1 Fyrestone.
2This Shield's name is bugged, in-game it will be only called a Shield instead of a Fire Burst Shield (e.g. VDF-10FRR Quick Charge Shield). Vladof's other shields are named correctly.
All shields have the same base stats that are entirely determined only by their level. The recharge rate is always 15% of the capacity, and the Recharge Delay is of 7 seconds.
Shields are constituted of 4 parts: The body, the left side, the right side and the manufacturer material. The shield stats are then modified by its parts. Shield effects have no effect on shield stats, apart from Anshin and Pangolin shields. Notice that part modifiers stack additively.
The left side and right side of the shield improves the shield's speed and capacity respectively. There is no trade-off: Higher quality is better.
- Note: the parts of the shield known as "left" and "right" are relative to the shield's point of view. This means that on screen, the shield's "left part" appears on the right, and the "right part" appears on the left.
The body is the most defining feature of the shield. The parts come in three categories: Balanced, High Capacity, and Fast Recharge. There is a choice to be made, as each have their ups and down:
- body1 and body1_balanced are of type rounded balance, with body1_balanced substantially better than body1.
- body2 and body4 are of type fast recharge, with body4 substantially better than body2.
- body3 and body3b_power are of type high capacity, with body3b_power being substantially better than body 3.
- Note: The only way to tell apart two shields with the same body type is to use the shield code
Unlike weapons, the name of the shield has no incidence on the stats of the Shield. An Alacritous Shield will recharge quite fast, but this is just an indication, not an extra effect.
The shield's name is determined by the manufacturer and material quality. The shield's prefix is determined by the body type and the quality/rarity of the shield (and not by any actual stats):
|All body types||Standard||No Particular Quality||Rarity <= 4|
|body1 or body1_balanced||Balanced||Good Quality||Rarity > 4|
|Symmetrical||High Quality||Rarity > 7|
|Sterling||Higher Quality||Rarity > 10|
|Harmonious||Highest Quality||Rarity > 14|
|body3 or body3b_power||Reinforced||Good Max Capacity||Rarity > 4|
|Hardened||High Max Capacity||Rarity > 7|
|Unbreakable||Higher Max Capacity||Rarity > 10|
|Impenetrable||Highest Max Capacity||Rarity > 14|
|body2 or body4||Quick Charge||Good Recharge Speed||Rarity > 4|
|Accelerated||High Recharge Speed||Rarity > 7|
|Rapid||Higher Recharge Speed||Rarity > 10|
|Alacritous||Highest Recharge Speed||Rarity > 14|
The shield code is determined by all of the above. It starts with manufacturer code, an hyphen, then the sum of the left and right side code3, and finally body code, as follows:
|Manufact.||Prefix||Left Side||Prefix||Right Side||Prefix||Body||Prefix|
3When the rightside is rightside1, or the leftside is leftside1, a 0 is removed from the code. For example, rightside1+leftside3 becomes 40.
4When material2 or material3 is used, Anshin shields are promoted to ANS2.
5When material3 is used, Pangolin shields are promoted to PNG2.
Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
In Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel a shield's effects are determined by its manufacturer, while its stats are determined by its rarity and combination of parts.
|Anshin||Adaptive||Increases maximum health. Temporary resistance to elemental damage based on the last type taken.|
|Bandit / Scav||Roid||Bonus melee damage while depleted.|
|Dahl||Booster||Chance to drop shield booster when hit.|
|Hyperion||Amplify||Partially drains shield (if fully charged) to empower a shot.|
|Jakobs||None||See The Rough Rider|
|Maliwan||Elemental Spike||Melee attackers take elemental damage when hitting the shield. May reduce or negate corresponding elemental damage (burn, corrode, shock).|
|Maliwan||Elemental Nova||Elemental area damage when depleted; must fully recharge between novas. May reduce or negate corresponding elemental damage (burn, corrode, shock).|
|Pangolin||Turtle||Significantly increased shield capacity, but lowers maximum health.|
|Tediore||Shield||Lower capacity, higher recharge rates, shorter recharge delays.|
|Torgue||Explosive Spike||Melee attackers take explosive damage when hitting the shield. May reduce or negate explosive damage.|
|Torgue||Explosive Nova||Explosive area damage when depleted; must fully recharge between novas. May reduce or negate explosive damage.|
|Vladof||Absorb||Chance to absorb bullets that hit the shield. Damage is negated and the bullet is added to the character's stock.|
|Manufacturer||Body||Battery||Capacitor||Capacity||Recharge Delay||Recharge Rate||Special 01||Special 02|
|Vladof||Decrease||Increase||Increase||No change||No change|
This is a table of shield components and their stats modifiers. All three parts of the shield from the same manufacturer have the same stats modifier. Special 01 and 02 are the special effects of the shield, e.g.: on an adaptive shield, the elemental resistance is "Special01" and the boost of maximum health is "Special02".
Certain skills, abilities, relics, class mods, or other effects are percentage-based, calculated off the capacity of the currently worn shield. In most cases the percentage is calculated as would be expected, but shield-based calculations in Borderlands 2 have a maximum allowed value based on the level requirement of the shield in question. The specific formula is 1.13L × 64, where L is the shield's level. If a shield's capacity exceeds this value, then all percentage calculations based on the shield's capacity will use this maximum allowed value instead.
As an example, a Maya character has five points in the Ward skill and is wearing a level 50 Turtle Shield with a capacity of 50,482. Ward will provide a 25% bonus to shield capacity; however, the maximum calculation value for a level 50 shield is 28,847. Because of this, Ward will only increase Maya's shield capacity by 7,212 - 25% of 28,847 - rather than the expected 12,621 - 25% of 50,482.
A small number of class skills and other effects are exempt from this calculation cap. This is typically limited to effects which require an accurate measure of current shield capacity, such as Axton's Quick Charge or Gaige's Blood Soaked Shields.
In Borderlands 3 shields can appear with multiple different effects, while the shield's manufacturer only determines its base stats. There are only three shield manufacturers in Borderlands 3: Anshin shields have average capacity, average recharge delay, and low recharge rate; Hyperion shields have high capacity, long recharge delay, and average recharge rate; Pangolin shields have low capacity, short recharge delay, and high recharge rate.
A shield's additional properties are determined by its parts, and the number of parts is determined by a shield's rarity. It is possible for a shield to have multiples of a part, in which case the effect will stack, although some effects experience diminishing returns.
- Common: None
- Uncommon: 1 part
- Rare: 2 parts
- Very Rare: 3 parts
- Legendary and Unique: One or two unique parts conferring a special effect, with a chance for additional parts up to a maximum of three total.
Additionally, shields of Uncommon rarity and higher can spawn with an element, which grants resistance to that element and determines the damage type of effects such as Nova or Spike.
|Absorb||While shielded, chance to absorb incoming bullets as ammo.|
|Adaptive||Increases Max Health and grants resistance to the last damage type received for a few seconds.|
|Adrenaline||Increases Reload Speed while depleted.|
|Amp||While full, shots drain shields for increased Weapon Damage.|
|Booster||When damaged, chance to drop a Booster which restores shields.|
|Brimming||Restores Health while full.|
|Capacity||Increases maximum Capacity.|
|Delay||Decreases Recharge Delay.|
|Fleet||Increased Movement Speed while depleted.|
|Fortify Charge||When damaged, chance to drop a Fortify Charge which provides Damage Reduction.|
|Health||Increases Max Health.|
|Health Charge||When damaged, chance to drop a Health Charge which restores Health.|
|Nova||On break, triggers a damaging Nova.|
|Power Charge||When damaged, chance to drop a Power Charge which increases Weapon Damage.|
|Projected||Crouching projects shield forward, granting Damage Reduction.|
|Recharge||Increases Recharge Rate.|
|Reflect||Chance to reflect projectiles while shielded.|
|Resistant||Increases elemental resistance.|
|Roid||Increases Melee Damage while depleted.|
|Spike||Damages enemy melee attackers while shielded.|
|Safe-Space||On break, knocks back enemies.|
|Trigger Happy||Increases Fire Rate while depleted.|
|Turtle||Increases Capacity, slightly lowers Max Health.|
|Vagabond||Increases Movement Speed while full.|