May 31, 2012

Question From a Newbie: "How does overheating work?"

Today's question comes from Navani Shahni of Rifterlings.

Ever been in a fight and hear your FC order something like "overheat and get him down quick!" or "heat your webs and points for tackle"? Ever wonder what they meant, and why this "heat" thing is so important? I will tell you!


Or, as known in official terms, "overloading", is when you super-charge your modules to juice them for more efficiency, at the expense of them taking damage from being overworked. Some modules have different effects when overheated than others, and there is a whole art to how to do it right, but first...

What do I train?

There is only one skill required: Thermodynamics. It's that simple. Thermodynamics is one of the single best skills ever. Even better, it "gives you the ability to frown in annoyance whenever you hear someone mention a perpetual motion unit".

Just look at that face. You just know someone mentioned  perpetual motion in the vicinity.
Only Thermodynamics I is strictly necessary. Every successive level reduces damage taken by your modules by 5% when they take damage. It helps with overheating for very long periods of time, but for short bursts it's largely irrelevant.

So how do I do it?

Modules that can be overheated have a small section at the top of their button show up as green. To overheat a module, simply click on the green part of its button, and its next cycle will be overheated.

This thing, here.
You can also overheat by adding Shift to your hotkey for activating the module. In this case, Shift-F4 toggles overheating on my microwarpdrive.

But, you said it damages my stuff. How does it damage my stuff?

Note that I am going 3700 m/s compared to my non-overheated speed of 2800 m/s.
Above, you can see an actively overheating microwarpdrive. Its top section glows yellow, and as it has been running for a cycle or two, there is now a partial red ring around it. The more red, the more damage the module took. You can also mouse over it to see the exact percentage it has left. 

Also, note that the warp scrambler and the tracking disruptor are also damaged. Overheated modules do not always take damage. Instead, they have a chance to damage themselves, and other chances to possibly damage modules on the same rack. I have had instances where I have burnt out modules that weren't even related to the module being overheated -- like breaking my shield extender because I overheated by afterburner and my scram.

So we're... burning out modules now?

Yep. See how the microwarpdrive has a full red circle, and turned itself offline? It burnt out. Also note how my ship is now lacking an usable propulsion mod. Lesson to be learned? Don't burn out your modules. Bad things happen when you do. Just remember to stop overheating once in a while.

How do I repair this?

The simplest way is to just dock and use a station's repair service. If your mod isn't completely burnt out, there is also another way: nanite repair paste.
It allows you to repair your modules while you're still in space, by just right clicking them and picking the option to. The mods are not usable while the paste is active, and doing this requires some extra skills. This is usually not worth it unless you do not foresee being able to dock (on a nullsec roam, for example).

Can I lessen or prevent damage somehow?

Yes. Both offline modules and empty slots contribute to your ship being more heat-resilient. Empty slots contribute a bit more, but you can't online them to do cool things like you can offline modules. T3 cruisers also have a subsystem to reduce heat damage, but that's an entirely different story.
Curse you, T3s. *shakes fist*

Any last tips?

  • In a frigate, never not overheat. You need every force multiplier to win a fight, and often your modules don't even have a chance to burn out before the fight is over.
  • Microwarpdrives kill themselves in two or three cycles. Be careful.
  • T1/deadspace/faction modules take less damage than T2 modules do from overheating. If you plan to rely on a lot of overheating, consider not using T2 modules.
  • Know what overheating each of your modules does in advance, so you know when it's appropriate to  do so.
  • Remember to stop overheating if you don't need to. No need to overheat a web if your target is at 2 km.
  • Heat damage is very random. I have out-performed someone with Thermodynamics V with my measly Thermodynamics II in the past. It's really weird. Any lack of exact details or numbers in this post is partly due to it being so random.

The Bottom Line

Overheat overheat overheat! That will be all.


  1. Very nice blog. Added to favorites.
    I can learn a lot from it.
    Keep it up guys
    Nice pictures :)

  2. How the heck did you get that MWD in a high slot? :)

    1. You can drag around the modules when you're in space. Since the top row of modules shown is mapped to the F1-8 keys, I like putting the main functional parts of my ship there so I can easily activate them. My guns are usually F1, while my tackle is F2 and F3, my prop mod is F4, etc.

      So, it's not really in my high slot, it's just there so it's mapped to the key I like it to be mapped to.

  3. Unless they have changed something in the last few patches, nanite repair paste won't repair a completely burnt out mod, you have to dock for that.

    1. You're right. I will modify the post to better reflect that.

  4. Empty slots or offline modules do not prolong overheat time, that is a myth that has been shattered ages ago. It's a bug in EFT.