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Regenerating Shield, Static Health

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Regenerating Health is great from a designer's perspective, because they don't need to worry about players screwing themselves over by draining their health and being unable to handle the next challenge. The downside is some players and designers complain it makes things too homogeneous. What to do? Why not have both regular Hit Points and Regenerating Health?

Enter the Regenerating Shield, Static Health system. In addition to your health, you have some kind of regenerating shield that protects you from a certain amount of damage. When the shield is drained, your health becomes vulnerable.

Especially common in Space Sims, since the obvious implementation of Deflector Shields in game terms requires it.

Sub-Trope of both Regenerating Health and Multiple Life Bars. Contrast Mana Shield, where the shield's power source usually regenerates more slowly than health does.


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    Spaceflight Video Games 
  • Endless Sky mostly follows the EV Nova formula, but streamlines it by making regeneration the only parameters you can modify with upgrades. By default, ships have a static amount of shields and hull which are both restored when you land on a friendly planet, and shield generators are only needed to recharge mid-flight. In practice, though, a shield that regenerates quickly is effectively a stronger shield overall. There are also some alien outfits* that regenerate your hull, but not as fast as shields.
  • Averted in Escape Velocity and EV Override, where both armor and shields regenerated. Once armor was done regenerating, then the shields started to recharge. Played straight in EV Nova (with the exception of Polaris ships and Vell-os mental projections, who regenerate both), which keeps track of shields and armor separately.
  • Evochron. However, it's possible to get full-on Regenerating Health (albeit very slow regeneration) by installing a repair system onto your ship's equipment slots.
  • Ships and stations in Star Ruler have up to three health bars: health, armor, and shields. The first two do not regenerate, while shields do regenerate, though health and armor can be regenerated by installing certain subsystems or repaired by nearby allied ships mounting repair equipment.
  • Freelancer. Note, however, that there are hazards such as radiation or corrosive Space Clouds that can attack your hull through your shield.
  • FreeSpace. Neither the Terrans nor the Vasudans start out with shields in the first game, however; they're eventually reverse-engineered from Shivan technology.
  • Galaxy on Fire, although in the second game you can obtain equipment that can slowly repair your ship's hull.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles has a few variations, and also distinguishes between absorbed attacks (which do damage) and reflected attacks (which do no damage) for both shields and armor. Some shields and armor are better or worse at reflection or absorption at the cost or benefit to some other quality. All shields have the innate ability to regenerate, but there is an item that allows armor to regenerate as well.
  • Independence War is more of an aversion compared to the above examples, because the Deflector Shields are very limited (one on top and one on bottom, each can only track one ship, both leave the ship's rear exposed to prevent interference with the engines) and hull integrity has Gradual Regeneration.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light. While hull health can only be repaired at stores and by certain events, shields are regenerated every few seconds. Zoltan Shields provide a middle ground, adding an extra 5 hitpoints on top of your regular shields, but they can only regenerate during jumps.
  • The Last Federation. Like in FTL: Faster Than Light, player can divert more energy to the ships shields.
  • Sierra Ops. You can divert power to a ship’s Field Output to make its vector fields regenerate faster. If the field goes down it will recharge after a short delay, though you’ll need to manually switch it back on. You can also allocate power to Repairs to restore your ship’s health, which is otherwise static.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies, though armor can also recover, but that requires surplus crew members and is generally slower.
  • Stellaris, though special components can be equipped to also allow hull and armor to regenerate like shields.
  • In Tyrian, the player's ship determines the amount of non-regenerating armor, while the type of shield generator installed determines the strength of regenerating shields.
  • X-Universe - Shields regenerate fairly quickly on small craft, slowly on large craft. The ship's hull does not regenerate, and the only way to repair it is to dock at a shipyard and pay loads of money to get it fixed - or in Terran Conflict and later games, climb out and use your spacesuit's repair laser to fix it up. In X: Rebirth, capital ships also have Subsystem Damage with individual shields and health; destroying shield projectors will drop the shields for all surrounding parts.
  • The X-Wing and Tie Fighter series, though you have to manage power between shield regeneration, laser recharge, and engine thrust. On top of that, even with shields, you can get hit hard enough that something might break - including the shield generator - requiring you to wait for your astromech droid to repair the system in question. Playing as the Empire makes it better and worse, as most of their craft don't get shields - so, tough luck if you get hit - but the ones that do usually also have an extra beam of some variety, which comes with its own power supply that you can dump into the other systems, allowing for increased shield and laser recharge without impacting your normal top speed.

    Non-Space Sim Video Game examples 
  • 20 Minutes Till Dawn has the Holy Shield upgrade, which absorbs one hit and regenerates in 2 minutes. Other than that, health is impossible to recover by default, and the few upgrades that do allow healing don't do so often.
  • Ace Online plays this perfectly straight. Left alone, shields will eventually regenerate enough. Energy however, will not. That being said, Shield regeneration is slow enough such that immediately replenishing it with kits or heals is preferable than sitting it out, especially in wars.
  • Alpha Protocol called this Endurance; better armor added only to your Endurance, not to your Health.
  • Anno 2070: Shields work like this, but the only way to get a shield is to equip a unit with an appropriate item, which has to charge itself up after activation. At the same time, you could equip them with self-repair items, which repair at about the same rate. And the shields are rather small, too (standard shield items have a value of 50 or 80, compared to 350 to 800 HP on ships).
  • Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: For Answer play with this, in that the shield (called Primal Armor) is not perfect: i.e. even at full strength, taking a hit will still soak some damage into your non-replenishing AP. You'll just take a lot more damage if your shield breaks under sustained fire, or if the mission parameters say that you can't use PA due to its negative environmental impacts. For Answer also introduces Assault Armor, which lets you emit a powerful Sphere of Destruction at the cost of draining your shield completely. Better hope that was enough to take out whatever you were fighting before they can shoot back.
  • Armory & Machine: Shielding regenerates over time unless it's depleted to zero, after which it will stay down for a downtime period before it starts regenerating again. Health does not regenerate, but both the player and enemies have skills that can heal themselves. Of course, both player and enemies have attacks that can completely bypass shield to damage health.
  • The majority of the playable Battleborn characters have shields that passively regenerate while their health remains static and requires other means such as healing and Life Drain to be restored. Eldrid Battleborn don't use shields though and instead rely on Regenerating Health.
  • Shortly into BioShock Infinite, Booker drinks a tonic that gives him a regenerating magnetic shield that at the start can protect him from about half as much damage as he can take without it. When you grab an upgrade infusion, you have a choice of increasing it, your actual health, or your maximum Salts.
  • Borderlands plays this straight: shields regenerate over time, but health does not recover on its own outside of character skills or special equipment. If you have none of these, you have to find or buy health pickups to restore your health.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Inverted in the final level of Call of Duty: Black Ops, where you have a Hazmat suit on to protect yourself from a bioweapon. Your health regenerates over time, but your shield (gas mask, in this case) can get cracked and eventually break, which will kill you.
    • Warzone adds a similar inversion with the introduction of armor plates. It takes a moment to put on an armor plate and they don't regenerate once they're damaged, but in turn you can have three of them equipped at once, which effectively comes out an extra 150 health, more than doubling the amount of damage you can take. They return in Zombies mode for Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard, and in Modern Warfare II during one campaign mission and as a purchaseable asset in Spec Ops.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade inverts this with the Mammoth tank, which has armor points that take all initial damage and can only be repaired by outside sources, with a health bar underneath that slowly regenerates, mimicking its ability in the original game to self-repair half of its health.
  • Conqueror's Blade has a block mechanic whereby shields will degenerate as they are attacked. However, shields' blocking value will regenerate automatically if left alone for long enough, whereas neither heroes nor units will automatically self-heal.
  • The Wizards from Cursed Treasure have a regenerating forcefield that soaks up damage.
  • The Darkness 2 used this in a manner similar to Mass Effect 3. You had 4 segments of health, and damage would only regenerate up to the end of the last segment. To restore the depleted segments, you needed to eat the hearts of dead enemies.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: All dwarves are issued a standard overshield which has about a fifth of a dwarf's max HP.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II uses a Body Armor as Hit Points system where the physical and magical Armor Meters quickly regenerate outside of combat. Hit Points, meanwhile, require a Resting Recovery or Healing Potion.
  • DUST 514, like its parent game EVE Online, plays this straight normally with both dropsuits and vehicles. It's also possible to equip modules to allow armor to regenerate, but it still won't regenerate as fast as your shields.
  • Emperor: Battle for Dune: House Ordos' vehicles have awesome regenerative shielding but otherwise static health, leading to One-Hit-Point Wonder shenanigans.
  • EndWar: Each unit has a Health meter, representing the unit's actual damage level; and a Shield meter, which represents a combination of the unit's ability to evade attacks and whatever measures they are equipped with to disrupt/intercept enemy attacks before they hit the unit (smoke grenades, ECM suites, active protection systems, etc); the former only regenerates outside of battle, while the latter will regenerate on the field once the unit is no longer being attacked. The European and Russian Engineer infantry (Grenadiers and Bears respectively) can also receive the Combat Support upgrade at Veteran rank, allowing them to restore the shields of friendly units.
  • The monsters in Evolve have this. Their health is fixed, but their armor can be regenerated over time or by eating wildlife.
  • Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, being set in reasonably realistic settings, invert this with body armor, which is depleted as the player takes damage and is eventually discarded, versus health, which is divided into multiple segments that will regenerate up to the highest non-depleted segment.
  • The two Red Steel games, by the same publisher as Far Cry, use a similar inversion. Body armor is a static pickup that depletes and is discarded as you take damage. In the first game, health regenerates to full when not injured for a long enough time, except during sword duels, since those are slow enough that one could otherwise fully heal after every attack; the player instead has to defeat their opponent to regenerate. For Red Steel 2, as the sword-fighting and gun-slinging portions of the game were integrated with each other, so too was their treatment of the health bar - your health will only regenerate once every enemy in the area is dead.
  • Goldeneye 1997 was arguably the Trope Codifier, though through its use of Body Armor as Hit Points rather than actual regeneration; your health was fixed and could never be replenished throughout the level, but you could always replenish your armor by picking up vests strewn throughout the levels. The 2010 remake switched to regular regenerating health as per its main inspiration, but "007 Classic" difficulty brings back the static healthbar and armor pickups, which was later made into a separate "Classic" mode available on any difficulty in 007 Legends.
  • Gungrave uses a shield and health gauge. A little variation is that there are no health packs in a stage. Healing consumes a stock from the same bar that is used to activate Demolition Shots.
  • Every Halo game has two bars: one for health, and the other for shields. How closely it fits the trope depends on the game:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved was one of this trope's main popularizers, with health only restorable by grabbing health packs. This is switched to full-on Regenerating Health, just with multiple health bars, in Halo 2 and subsequent mainline games, though it took until Halo 5: Guardians for players to be able to see the actual health bar again.
    • Halo 3: ODST switches back to Combat Evolved's system (except shields have been replaced with "Stamina"), as you're playing a normal human instead of a Super-Soldier.
    • Prequel Halo: Reach zig-zags this: Health is a separate, visible bar again, and it can regenerate, but only up to the nearest third; if your health is almost gone, you're gonna need a health pack. Elites in multiplayer get full-on health regeneration, but at a somewhat slow rate.
  • The Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death first person shooter by Rebellion used a regenerating shield over static health system, although it's hard to notice because your shield is actually very weak and only protects against 2 or 3 bullet hits; fortunately, your health is very robust and can take quite a lot of hits before you die.
  • Left 4 Dead has a weird sort of inverted example, assuming you read "temporary health" as "shields". Health comes in two forms, regular health that stays static but can only be regained by using medkits, and the aforementioned temporary health, which is gained from quickly popping pain pills or the sequel's adrenaline injectors but slowly ticks down on its own. It's inverted in that the "shield" degenerates, and also that, when you do take damage, it's prioritized to your regular health rather than the temp health.
  • The space-sim/FPS hybrid Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter used a regenerating shield static health system very similar to Halo. The shield is rather weak, while your health can take a reasonable number of hits.
  • MADNESS: Project Nexus 2 plays with this - Corpus segments regenerate unless they're fully depleted, whilst TAC-Bar regenerates upon killing enemies.
  • Mass Effect plays this straight, though with certain armor upgrades you can regenerate health over time as well. Additionally, a Soldier-class Shepard, Ashley, and Wrex all have passive health regeneration from the start. Certain ammo upgrades and powers can also bypass shields.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard and company regenerate both shields and health. Enemies can have some combination of armor, shield, or barriers (each affected by different abilities) protecting a bar of health. For most enemies, the shields and barriers don't regenerate.
    • Mass Effect 3 plays this trope straight. Your health is segmented into five parts, and damage to your health will only regenerate up to the last un-depleted part. You need to use Medi-Gel to restore the depleted segments.
      • The trope is also played straight for the enemies. Armor bars replace health bars, while shields or barriers protect health or armor and can partially regenerate if the enemy doesn't get hit for a while.
  • Master of Orion 2: Ships' shields regenerate in a few combat rounds, while armor and hull do not - unless you're the Meklars, who can repair their ships in combat.
  • Played straight in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident with most ships. However, once Angel absorbs a Mechanoid, the Angelwing can slowly regenerate armor.
  • No One Lives Forever has a variant similar to GoldenEye: body armor does not repair itself (the game is set in the 1960s), but damaged armor can be replaced. Damaged bodies can only be healed at the end of the mission.
  • ORION: Prelude is an odd example where your regenerative shield won't regenerate unless you're at full health. Unless you have a medic or the regenerative health upgrade, you have to either get a second wind or buy a health kit at the end of the wave.
  • Overwatch has shields (represented by light-blue health pips) that regenerate after avoiding damage for a few seconds. Symmetra, Zenyatta, and Zarya all have shields that make up at least half of their total health, and Symmetra used to be able to give allies a large amount of shield while they're in a fixed area.
  • Path of Exile: Health does not regenerate without certain passives or equipped items. Energy shield, the defense provided by Intelligence-based armors, acts like an extra layer of health and fully regenerates over a few seconds when the character has gone six seconds (or less depending on skill choices) without taking damage.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist
    • The first game uses this, with the caveat that losing health also causes your armor to lose effectiveness, though there are bonuses you can unlock that increase how much protection armor offers.
    • PAYDAY 2 uses conventional regenerating armor and static health, without your armor becoming less effective as your health is taken away, though it also has a 'dodge' mechanic where shots that do hit you have a chance of being ignored anyway. You essentially have two options - light armor that lets you run really fast, be less noticeable in stealth, and even dodge a few bullets (both from the dodge mechanic and actually dodging bullets, since enemies are less accurate at low detection ratings), but you're essentially dead if you stop moving, if someone sneaks up on you, or you get attacked by a large firing squad, which is a frequent occurrence; or heavy armor, which gives you noticeably better protection, but makes you a slower, more easily-spotted tank who can't dodge at all and can't move quickly to keep ahead of large groups of enemies or close to the team. However, the skillsets can change this up - there are skills that regenerate health (either passively or as a result of making kills), skills that increase the speed of the regenerating shields, skills that restore some shields with a headshot, perks that make your shield even faster at regenerating but weaker overall, perks that sacrifice total health to make your armor stronger, etc.
    • PAYDAY 3 applies this to a downplayed extent - like previous games, health will not regenerate, but unlike previous games, armor will only partially regenerate, and only for partially full armor bars - empty armor bars must be replenished via an Armor Bag.
  • PlanetSide 2 has all the foot soldiers wearing personal energy shields. Health has 500 hitpoints, and shields likewise have 500 hitpoints, though the shields can be disabled by EMP. Shields regenerate after 10 seconds outside of combat, while health regeneration requires either a Combat Medic's medapp or healing aura, single-use medkits, or gradual healing from base benefits or the Regeneration Implant. The Heavy Assault trooper has a heavy-duty shield that can be activated on demand, granting increased durability for a short duration before it must recharge. The MAX Powered Armor and vehicles do not have any self-healing outside of the agonizingly slow Nanite Autorepair upgrades, forcing MAXes to rely on allied Engineers to repair their armor and for vehicle crews to climb out to repair the vehicle.
    • The original Planetside has shields on its vehicles, but they only regenerate (extremely slowly) when in a facility's sphere of influence. Soldiers could install the Personal Shield implant, which did grant a sort of regenerating shield - albeit extremely slowly, as the shield was powered by the soldier's stamina and thus the only way to regenerate it was to shut down the shield entirely.
    • The sequel, Overdose, changes the mechanic. Using a Demolition Shot restores your shields depending on the technique's level (which also determines the amount of Demolition bars it consumes); but it also restores your health by a certain amount depending to the amount of destruction ("Jackpot") that you managed to rack out from said Shot.
  • Perfect Dark uses the same system as GoldenEye did, with health that couldn't be replenished mid-mission and armor (personal Deflector Shields in Joanna's case) that could be replenished by finding pickups - with the caveat that the highest difficulty, Perfect Agent, doesn't spawn shields for you. Prequel Zero inverts the system, with health that regenerates, so long as the damage to it is "shock damage", underneath static armor that requires pickups to replenish.
  • In the Programming Game RoboWar, shields don't actually regenerate; in fact, they deteriorate, at a rate depending on the robot's shield hardware. However, shields can be replenished from energy, which regenerates at a constant rate, unlike damage, which can not be restored at all.
  • SCPs in SCP: Secret Laboratory have this, via the Hume Shield mechanic. They slowly regenerate over time after a period of taking no damage.
  • The first Section 8 game had regenerating shields and static health which could only be restored by manually using the repair tool (which used up an equipment slot), or relying on teammates or supply depots to heal you. The sequel switched to a simpler system with both regenerating shields and regenerating health.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire actually gives you regenerating shields on top of regenerating health, although the rate of self-repair on your ships is much slower than the shield regeneration.
  • Spider-Man 2099's suit in Spider-Man: Edge of Time uses this system. The shield restores after a few seconds without getting hit, but health doesn't regenerate until you find the right pick-up. He also has less maximum health than Amazing Spider-Man.
  • The 2012 SSX game inverts this any time you wear power armor. Your armor's durability doesn't regenerate, but once it's depleted, damage goes to your health, which does regenerate.
  • In StarCraft, the Protoss units have shields, but no way of recovering health unless you have friendly Terran medics heal your troops. StarCraft II adds the ability for Terran Worker Units to repair friendly Protoss mechanical units.
  • Starship Troopers: Your armor regenerates over time, but you still need medkits to restore your health.
  • Most characters in Star Renegades have regenerating shields; shields are generally the first line of defense, fully replenish after each battle, and are fairly easy to refill. However, any damage that makes it through to a character's health will stick around until you get a chance to heal them, whether by spending resources while camping, using a single-use medstation, or defeating the planetary boss. The Guardian is the sole exception; he can never have any shields, but has a Healing Factor that fully restores his health after battles instead.
  • Star Siege and its predecessor, EarthSiege, feature HERCULAN mechs which carry regenerating shields. Punching through the shields allows you to target specific subsystems, such as the hips or arms.
  • Star Trek Online features ships with an upgrade option of regenerative shields, a concept burrowed from the television series.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds has yellow self-restoring shields and red health that usually won't recover without the help of a medic if organic or a repair worker if mechanical (although heroes and certain rare units and buildings can regenerate naturally). It's why, for example, attacking a heavily shielded base generally starts with destroying the power cores: drop the shields, and the buildings will be left unprotected.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando had this. The shield was pretty weak and could only block a few hits before failing, while your health likewise could be completely drained by a handful of blaster bolts and required a bacta dispenser to recharge. Fortunately, your squadmates could revive you back to half health whenever you were downed, and bacta dispensers to fully heal were both infinite-use and reasonably common, in return for requiring you to stop whatever else you're doing to use them.
  • In Sundered, the player character quickly unlocks a regenerating shield to shore up their static health. The shield regenerates at a fixed rate after a short delay, and the player can spend Shards to both reduce that delay and improve the shield’s durability and regeneration rate. Certain enemies have their own regenerating shields that must be broken before their health can be depleted.
  • Sword of the Stars uses this — damaged or destroyed sections and turrets can't be repaired until combat is over, but shields can recover when knocked out.
  • Syphon Filter franchise offer a variation of this trope. All of your characters wear flak jackets (most of the time), and taking damage actually strips off "armor bar" (which does not regenerate by itself, but you can always find a spare). When it's gone, however, it's your health that starts taking damage - and keeping with the somewhat realistic style of the game, it won't regenerate or be replenished in any way, at least until you finish the mission.
  • TimeShift has this feature similar to Halo; shields regenerate once you're not taking hits and are behind suitable cover. Given that the game is rather fast-paced and the AI is quite aggressive, it's essential to use your time-bending powers to help you recharge your depleted shields. It's also a unusual example since taking any kind of damage when your shields are down will kill you instantly, making it closer to a straight Regenerating Health example that happens to signpost when you're about to die more specifically than bloody screens tend to.
  • Titans in Titanfall have shields, that regenerate over time without being hit, on top of armor hitpoints, that never regenerate at all, so even the best players will have to eventually abandon their Titan and wait for the next one. The shield also protects friendly pilots riding on the Titan's shoulder so long as it's up. A Pilot Rodeoing a Titan bypasses its shield entirely. Titanfall 2 changed shields to be finite and only gained from a Pilot inserting a battery, usually one stolen from an enemy Titan — except in the singleplayer, where BT's shield works as in the first game (and a battery is a Healing Potion the Titan itself can pick up). Pilots in both games have straight-up Regenerating Health.
  • Veigues: Tactical Gladiator has a shield that regenerates quite steadily, and, when shields run out, Subsystem Damage that does not.
  • Warframe has two types of health value used by most Warframes and many enemies, mostly of the Corpus faction: Shields, which begin to recover after a short time without taking damage, and Health, which does not regenerate by default. Shields, however, do not receive damage reduction from the unit's Armor, unlike Health.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has the same, with regenerating 'armour' and non-regenerating health.
  • X-Men: Destiny: The enemy bosses Cameron Hodge and Bastion have regenerating shields.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth. When force fields took more damage than they could resist they lost a level of effect. The damage was regenerated at a rate of 1 level per round, but only while the field was turned off.
  • In the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (which was based on Gamma World), the police robots' force shields regenerate at a rate of 1 Hit Point per combat round.
  • The 1st Edition of Gamma World had technological force shields that could absorb a specific amount of damage before going down, and whatever they were protecting took no damage until this happened. They returned to full strength at the beginning of the next melee turn.
  • Pre-Saga Edition Star Wars d20 RPG had it in form of Vitality (quickly regenerating, representing the character's ability to avoid severe injury) and Wounds (the character's real meaty hit points, hard to restore).
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • The Imperial Titans, Ork Gargants and Eldar Revenants of have power fields that must be removed by anti-tank weapons before the walker itself can be damaged. Each turn, there is a chance that some or all of the power fields are restored.
    • In Battlefleet Gothic, most ships have a number of shields that must be disabled before the hull can be damaged. Notably, the current number of shields left is not recorded mathematically - special markers are placed for every shield dropped, and each reduces the shields of ships it's touching. You regenerate your shields by... moving away from them. Even more, the markers persist for a time, making them a hazard for the shields of any ship that enters them.

Alternative Title(s): Regenerating Shields Static Health