Healing in missions and exploration sites is a largely passive affair, with the healer permanently locked to the main tank. NPCs in these sites never switch targets but the same can't be said for players or the advanced Sleeper AI that roam wormhole systems. Repairing your gang-mates in PvP or a wormhole operation is a completely different affair, made all the more complicated by the fact that the dedicated medic ship is sure to come under fire.
In this article, I look at capital ships and the remote assistance strategies players use in PvP or wormhole operations.
While battleships and logistics ships make great medics, nothing matches the raw healing power of a carrier. These capital behemoths have the powergrid and capacitor required to run massive capital-sized remote armour repairers and shield transporters. Both modules repair 1500 hitpoints every 5 seconds and with a high enough capacitor recharge rate, a carrier can sustain two or more running permanently.
The carrier's main trick is "triage" mode, a deployed state similar to a dreadnought's siege mode. This doubles the hitpoints repaired by capital remote armour repairers and shield transporters while halving the cycle time. This effectively multiplies the damage per second each module repairs by four but also doubles capacitor usage. When in triage mode, lock speed also dramatically increases to help you respond quickly to calls to repair gang-mates.
When the Rorqual capital industrial ship was first conceived, it was intended to be a platform to support mining operations. With its ore compression ability and built-in jump drive, it could store a huge amount of ore and deliver it to a nearby station in one trip. To protect miners, one of the ideas being thrown around was to give the ship a shield bubble. When it was released, however, the Rorqual simply got a bonus to the range of capital shield transporters. Although not as good as a carrier, the Rorqual can still sustain two capital remote armour repairers or shield transporters. Both ships can only enter systems of security rating 0.4 or below and are unable to use the acceleration gates on missions but they can help with any site or mission without a gate.
Almost any PvP gang can be enhanced with the addition of a few medic ships. In faction warfare, Tech 1 cruisers can sometimes be found repairing gang-mates in the size-restricted territorial complexes. On the opposite end of the scale, massive carriers serve as impressive remote repairing platforms in large-scale conflicts. For most purposes, however, the ship of choice will be the Tech 2 logistics cruiser. Using their huge range bonuses, logistics cruisers can repair from over 70km away and so outrange many of the enemy gang's damage-dealers and tacklers.
Since everyone knows how effective logistics ships can be at keeping a gang alive, they're almost always attacked first in any engagement and are usually target-jammed quickly. It's always advisable to bring more than one logistics ship so that they can repair each other when they come under fire. As most PvP ships are armour tanked rather than shield tanked, The Guardian and Oneiros are the preferred ships for PvP gangs. The Guardian in particular is used for its additional bonuses to energy transfer modules. Although it's always advisable to bring more than one logistics cruiser, two Guardians paired together can perform an additional trick. By transferring capacitor between each other, they will actually generate enough excess energy to power their remote armour repairers.
As the medic ship, your job will be to lock anyone that needs repaired and fix them up as quickly as possible. Add everyone in your gang to your watch list by right clicking their name and selecting "Fleet" then "Add to watch list". This useful little window displays a list of the gang-mates you want to keep an eye on with their hitpoint totals next to them. Another important tool for healers is the fleet broadcast system. Members of your fleet can press the "Need Armour", "Need Shield" or "Need Capacitor" buttons on their fleet interface, which will then appear in your fleet broadcast list. An icon will also appear over the pilot in need of assistance and next to their name on your watch list, making it easy to spot who needs repaired and respond in a timely manner.
Although Sleepers are NPCs, the strategies used to fight them are closer to PvP strategies than PvE. Unlike normal NPCs, the Sleeper AI will occasionally reselect a new target, sometimes splitting fire between multiple pilots and sometimes focusing it all on one ship. A group of ships executing a spider tank will be highly effective at tanking the Sleepers but they can also be slow at taking them down. A group with more damage-dealing potential supported by one or more medic ships, on the other hand, can make light work of even the toughest wormhole sites.
This is made a little more difficult by the fact that Sleepers seem to like shooting at dedicated remote repair ships more than other ship types. Using its inherently small signature radius and an afterburner to stay mobile, a logistics ship can evade most of the damage from Sleeper battleships. As with PvP, it's also advisable to field more than one logistics cruiser with a gang so that if one is attacked, the other can repair it.
Carriers are extremely effective remote repair platforms for use in Sleeper sites, especially with triage mode. Warping a carrier into a Sleeper site causes an additional 6 advanced Sleeper battleships to spawn but with the added remote repairers from the carrier, this isn't a very big deal. As long as your team consists of battleships with a reasonable hitpoint buffer and resistances over 70%, a carrier with two or three remote repairers should be more than capable of keeping them repaired against the spawn.
A second carrier warping in causes an additional 8 Sleeper battleships to spawn. At this point you'll have two carriers repairing gang members, making it feasible to tank the 8 battleships. Just make sure to kill the first wave of 6 battleships before warping in the second carrier and you should be fine. After some testing, we found that the Rorqual didn't cause an additional capital ship escalation. This potentially makes the Rorqual a powerful remote repair platform for groups tackling challenging Sleeper sites who aren't interested in causing additional battleships to spawn. The Rorqual's slot layout restricts it to a shield based tank, making it particularly useful in shield-boosting pulsar systems but not so good in armour-boosting systems with a Wolf Rayett star.
Pilots trained in the art of healing in EVE are a valuable asset to any corporation. Although spider-tanking battleship gangs are a common choice for medium-scale PvP or wormhole sites, using dedicated healers frees up ships to maximise their damage without worrying about tanking. Whether you're engaging in faction warfare PvP, flying in a roaming pirate gang or tackling the Sleeper AI in wormholes, a dedicated remote repair ship or two can make a huge difference.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com.