When new players start playing Path of Exile, they usually play life based. When they finally see energy shield builds, they are entranced by it. Everyone considers energy shield overpowered but not many people recognize the downsides. Everyone wants to use it because all the wealthy players do. Energy Shield had a higher power ceiling and a lower floor. This is because your gear singlehandedly decides how much EHP you have. Below I have a short list of benefits of using energy shield.
- Can reach amounts of energy shield impossible to reach as life.
- Nodes can be picked up in the Witch/Shadow area of the tree, where life nodes are rare.
- Scaling energy shield with intelligence can also benefit your spell damage
- Possible to run auras on life.
- No use of life flasks.
- Vulnerable to chaos damage.
- Vulnerable to freeze and stun
- Hard to stack defenses like armor and evasion.
- Cannot use blood rage.
- Harder to cap resistances.
In essence, energy shield is much harder to play. You will never understand this fully until you play an energy shield build and it would be fruitless for me to try to explain further. If you have any questions about ES or life comment here and I will get back to you in a timely manner.