Horde energy tap behavior and statistics compilation

This is an attempt to build an informational companion to Dr. Shwazz’s tap location guide because that made me realize that while everyone “knows” what taps are and do, nobody seems to have actually compiled the details in one location with the final game tuning. Please expand with what I’m missing.

“Capturing” a tap entails one or more human or A.I. players standing in a corresponding silver (near one shown turning blue) circle(s) for 15 seconds for one player (human or A.I.), or a faster 12 seconds if two players are in the ring. I wasn’t able to wrangle repeatable timing for additional players lol, but more players speed it further.

If all players leave the ring before it’s fully captured, the percentage you’d captured up to that point decays at the same rate as single player acquires it (i.e., after ~15 seconds if it had almost been completely captured), but you can step back in to start acquiring from the current percentage again. If an enemy enters the ring while capturing, progress is immediately reset to 0 and won’t increase until the enemy has left/died.

When you first capture a tap in any Horde mode, all players:

  1. get instantly healed if injured, regardless of where they are on the map. I unfortunately don’t know numerically how much health is provided, but it’s substantial.
  2. get a 10% max health bonus (note: I haven’t confirmed this UI number or how exactly it stacks with other buffs). This bonus will exist until the tap is destroyed; until then it doesn’t matter if the tap is less than full health. Each tap cumulatively provides this bonus, so starting Horde Frenzy by capturing the 2 initial taps means 20% max health bonus, 3 taps would grant 30%, and so on.

Thereafter, every time a wave is completed, rotating energy icons will appear above each undestroyed tap, and energy can be collected from it by any player holding one of the tap’s activation buttons continuously for 3 seconds. The energy will be given to every player regardless of who interacted with the tap. Once the end-of-wave energy has appeared above the tap, it can be collected at any time thereafter, between waves or during any subsequent wave, as the energy will not disappear unless the tap is destroyed. But once collected it can’t be consumed again from a given tap until the end of the wave provides the next cycle of energy.

Collecting energy also upgrades the tap to the next level, up to 3 times (max level 4). Immediately upon collection the upgrade grants an additional 5% player max health bonus, and thereafter makes increasing amounts of energy collectable starting at the end of the wave.

The number of rotating energy icons that appear above it equals the level of the tap as shown above. You can also tell the tap’s current upgrade level from the number of cylinders that protrude from the top (in a fixed position when there’s energy to collect, or animated by periodically extending & retracting at other times).

If a tap is destroyed, then recapturing it starts it again at upgrade level 1.

Here’s a table showing the upgrade level of the tap, the health that level provides players, and the energy it will offer at the end of waves:

Level Team max health bonus Energy provided - Horde Frenzy Energy provided - all other modes
1 10% 1500 300
2 15% 1800 600
3 20% 2100 900
4 25% 2400 1500

Note that the more human players you have, the more energy the taps effectively provide, since each player is given the above amounts. A.I. players do not get tap energy or have their share of tap energy distributed to the team.

Difficulty level and the Power Drain modifier have no direct effect on tap bonuses or the energy the provide.

Periodically (nominally after “boss waves”), an additional tap location will appear. Here’s a table showing the initial and maximum number of taps for each Horde mode with taps, as well as the “schedule” for when they appear.

Mode # of Wave 1 tap locations Additional tap added Maximum # of taps
Boss Rush 3 initial taps Every 5 waves Maximum 4 taps
Escape From Kadar 3 initial taps Every 5 waves Maximum 4 taps
Horde 1 initial tap Every 10 waves Maximum 4 taps
Horde Frenzy 2 initial taps Every 4 waves Maximum 4 taps
Horde Mania 1 initial tap Every 5 waves Maximum 4 taps
Horde Roulette 2 initial taps Every 2 waves Maximum 5* taps
Jingle Juvies 1 initial tap Every 10 waves Maximum 2 taps
Mad Man’s Monsters 1 initial tap Every 10 waves Maximum 2 taps

( * except on the 5 out of 6 tile maps that have only 4 total tap locations - Abyss, Command, Overload, Rail Line, and Turbine )

I don’t have numbers for how much fortification health a tap has. Operation 4/Title Update 5.2 notes indicated that it “Increased Energy Tap health from 4500 to 9000. (Level 4)”, That also seems to imply they have different health at different levels, but I’m unable to measure any such differences in the current game. All tap levels appear to have the same health when controlled damage is done to them.

Engineer perk & card fortification health bonuses do not benefit taps. Similarly, taps aren’t included in the fortifications repaired by Combat Medic’s Team Repair or Robotics Expert’s Precision Repairs. They can only be repaired by a repair tool or Jack’s healing beam.

Other miscellaneous notes:

  • When within 10 in-game meters of a tap, Blademaster’s Energy Surge card at level 6 gives her 6 stim every half second, and Robotics Expert’s L6 Homebody card gives him 32% damage resistance.
  • If the team wipes on Wave 1 and restarts, any captured taps are destroyed and the initial locations are re-randomized.
  • The more taps you capture, the more health bonus given to the team, and the more energy that can be collected. If you’re playing a mode that supports 4 taps, for example, and you’ve captured + maximally upgraded them all, then the team has a 100% (double) maximum health bonus (e.g., considerably more than the 60% of Anchor’s Crazy Tough or Brawler’s Perk Up cards at level 6), and for Horde Frenzy can pull in 9600 energy per wave per player from them (e.g., more than the price of 3 barriers built by a non-engineer under the Power Drain modifier, for each person).
  • Conversely, having a level 4 tap destroyed will instantly deprive every player of its 25% max health bonus, which anecdotally can make it seem like enemies suddenly “hit harder” and lead to quickly escalating downs/team wipes.

To see all possible locations and permitted arrangements of energy taps on every map, see the previously linked excellent guide:


Note that the Silverback can cap taps too. So you can get out of it and leave it in a tap to let it cap it or have it help you.


Pretty sure taps take 15 seconds regardless of players in it. But I could be wrong - haven’t tested it in a while.

It’s definitely faster with multiple players, even if only slightly.

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I don’t know if anyone actually tested it but when I’m any type of engie or Jack, I use repair tool/healing with Jack when capturing taps and it always feels like it helps to capture the taps faster.

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Jack (while ulting) also caps tabs (without standing in the tab as the hijacked unit) but its hard to do that on purpose.

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Damn it now I gotta test it (I believe you) - bc for the longest time it wasn’t.

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Yes, please double check my work but I definitely measured the indicated 3 second difference for 1 vs. 2 people stepping in the ring at the same time (so presumably a 20% boost for the amount of time the second player is present if it’s less than the full time). 3 people is faster still, but I couldn’t get reliable numbers to know exactly how much (I’m fairly sure it’s at least another second shaved off).

I hadn’t thought to test this lol, but it was easy enough and I found that with either it still takes the same 15 seconds. But don’t let that stop you if you personally feel a time dilation effect. I’m not surprised if it passes quicker while having fun being distracted by the repair tool… everybody loves playing with sparklers/fireworks. :slight_smile:

I did not know these things! Those tidbits sound cool and weird-- and seem hard to actually put to good use reliably. :slight_smile:

Speaking of oddities, I remembered another tap behavior I often run into but forgot to mention, and then discovered yet another strange facet of it while explicitly re-checking it.

After you complete the tap capture time, if someone is standing in the center where the actual tap object will appear, the tap will remain translucent red, and can’t spawn until the person stops obstructing. I’ve run into this a disturbing number of times where we just barely manage to capture the tap before the round ends, or someone was waiting to kill the last enemy in the wave, but because someone was still in the center, the tap didn’t actually appear in time and so we didn’t get the energy that wave.

You can plant grenades there, though, without blocking the tap spawn. The grenades appear to function normally just as if the tap isn’t there.

The goofy thing I just noticed is that you can actually place fortifications there and block the tap spawn. The game tries to prevent you from putting things there since it turns your carried fortification red, and you really can’t put a barrier through the tap location (until after the tap has spawned, when it apparently decides that’s now OK). However decoys, sentries, weapon lockers, and forges have locations just outside the ring center where those carried fortifications are blue/placeable and aren’t blocked themselves, yet are too overlapping/close to the tap such that it won’t spawn.

No idea why you’d do this, but it apparently exists. :slight_smile:

I’ve encountered another visual glitch. I was capturing a tap and at the moment I did it, Boomshot Scion fired and destroyed it so you can actually see the tap being whole and captured but there is also a blue ring around it. Which meant the tap is not captured.
My teammates and I were very confused at first. Then figured we better stay until the ring disappears.

It was basically Schrödinger Tap - it’s there and it’s not at the same time lol

I think I’ve seen that before, and I feel like I vaguely recall there was some join-after-wave-1 bug or something where the spawn state could also get confused. It might have been the opposite, though… like all the uncaptured taps looked like they had no ring, but they actually still needed to be captured, and you had to guess how long to stand there (don’t recall checking TacCom). Haven’t seen that in a long time, so my memory is very hazy. It might have even been PvP… :slight_smile: I just remember running into messed up hidden ring state more than once.

And of course, we’ll refrain from commenting on the fact that 1 Boomshot destroys a fully healthy tap…

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My favorite thing about taps is how you use them as jack to launch the fabricator to the moon.

Another bizarre bit of utterly useless tap trivia I just learned this weekend: apparently if you’re in the center, capturing one or obstructing it from spawning, you can’t successfully skip waves. At least not in the default controller scheme I use (I’m not going to try anything else… :slight_smile: like all things tribal/religious/anything in this Internet age, changing one’s worldview seems near impossible).

That double-bumper skip sequence has always been really touchy, and also causes reloads most of the time for me. But if you’re capturing and wondering why it’s repeatedly not recognizing your skip request, try stepping a little outside that tap “hologram” because… reasons.

Granted, this is about two kinda opposing actions no one’s probably doing (speeding up enemy appearance while doing something that mandates 15 seconds with no nearby enemies), but it definitely was repeatable.

During other testing, I subsequently observed additional behavior that if you restart (with the Survivor modifier off, obviously) on the specific waves where a new tap appeared at the start (e.g., Waves 11 or 21 for Horde, Waves 5 or 9 for Horde Frenzy), you’ll always have that most-recently-appearing tap destroyed, but still keep the earlier ones in the sequence you’d captured as-is. Above I’d only mentioned where if you wipe on Wave 1 where you lose all the initial taps and a new random sequence is chosen.

Also, I did a quick check with the Super Energy modifier to confirm as expected that the amount of energy provided by taps doesn’t get any bonus from that modifier.