Timing & Remote Repairs in Fleet PvP

This article is a copy of my piece which is hosted on INN, which you can read directly here. Alternatively if you would like to watch a video version of this piece, click here!

In my previous article I went over a lot of basic concepts that should be familiar to anyone who’s played a lot of strategy games, with concepts such as range control, and applied DPS being fairly common parts of how most games are constructed. However, EVE PvP has a component that’s missing from most RTS style games, and that’s an active combat repair system that’s competitively viable.

For example, in Age of Empires 2 or Command & Conquer, the healing available to players is predominantly non-combat, being low impact on the battlefield and requiring the use of units which are either immobile or heavily vulnerable.

Even in a game where this ability does exist, it tends to be limited to one faction, and be a heavily emphasised factor of that faction. In Starcraft, the Terrans have access to the Medivac (or Dropship/Medic combo), which is limited to only being possible with a few units, but represents a cornerstone micro-focused strategy if it can be successfully pulled off.

By contrast, pretty much every serious fleet in EVE that’s above the ever nebulous descriptor of “Small Gang” will bring some form of remote repairs with them, typically in a pair in order to allow them to be mutually supporting. As such, understanding the time in which you have to act before Logistics can have an impact is crucial to being able to mitigate them on the battlefield, and the tool I’ve personally used to conceptualise this – especially in large fleets – is by trying to work out what “Kill Window” I have to work with.

What is a Kill Window?

One of the key things that is important to understand is that when repairs impact a targeted ship, your fleet’s effective DPS is going to be reduced, even if it isn’t completely nullified. This is because your DPS is now working against the active tank provided to it by the Logistics wing of the fleet. Whilst you might still be able to break the target during this state, it’s likely to be an inefficient use of your fleet’s DPS, unless you can secure the kill quickly.

To give this some context, let’s imagine you’re in a fleet that does 10,000 DPS and you’re shooting a ship with 200k EHP. If you are able to shoot at it for 10 seconds, it will be at half HP, with only 100k EHP left. However, if at this point reps start landing, and you are now fighting against a 7,500 DPS active tank, it will take you 40 seconds to kill the target, as you’re only doing an effective 2,500 DPS. If at this point you switched to the secondary target instead, you’d return to doing your full 10,000 DPS against the fleet until their logistics wing can react. Ideally, they are too busy repairing the previous target during this time, and you’re able to kill the other target in 20 seconds.

As such, I generally want to try and kill a ship before reps can land, or swap to a different target. As a result, it’s important to be able to estimate how much time you’ll have before an opposing fleet’s repairs will land, in order to allow you to prepare to pick another target, and that length of time is what I refer to as a “Kill Window”.

How Long Does it Take Reps to Land?

Let’s break the process of getting remote repairs in a fleet down into a series of discrete steps, so we can understand what causes the delay between someone being shot and them being saved by Logistics. It’s important to remember within this that EVE doesn’t care about fractional seconds (to some extent), so we’ll be counting ‘Ticks’ of delay, rather than seconds.

  • The ship being shot broadcasts. Ideally he will broadcast when yellow boxed, but equally you should (as an FC) be giving them as little time being yellow boxed prior to being shot as possible, so we will simply negate the two of these and assume that the ship broadcasts the instant it takes any damage.
  • Following this, Logistics have to receive the broadcast and start locking up the target. For the purposes of making this as simple as possible we will assume that the Logistics pilot takes one tick to notice this new broadcast.
  • The Logistics then must wait to lock the target, which is dependent on the signature of the ship broadcasting, which is something we’ll go into in a moment. However, it’s important to remember that it takes a minimum of 1 tick to lock a target.
  • Following this, the Logistics ships must activate their reps. This induces a tick of lag, for the same reason sub 2 second warp speed nullified interceptors are uncatchable, as the module can only activate the next tick after the lock completes.
  • If the fleet is shield, repairs will be effective instantly at this point, assuming they were decycled to begin with. By contrast, armor fleets will have to wait for the end of the cycle (15s for Capital reps, 6s for Large/Medium reps, 3s for Small reps) for their repairs to have an impact.

This means that there are 3 main components that cause delay: Broadcast Time, Locking Time & Module Delay. All of these are things that are relatively static, with only Locking Time changing depending on the ships being used.

As the partial seconds of lock time do not matter and the locking time formula is static, we can therefore calculate the breakpoints at which signature radius’ cross over between ticks on each individual ship.

For the record, targeting time is calculated using the following formula;

What Does This All Add Up To?

As you can see what this roughly equates to is that armour ships have to wait half as long as shield ships to receive repairs, which means that any armour ship has to be able to survive for a longer period of time under fire before it can stabilise. This contributes to armour doctrines having a much larger kill window to try and take advantage of, as a result of the delay in armor repairs applying to the target, which is compensated for by the addition of greater buffer tank and the freeing up of mid slots with which to further mitigate damage through E-War.

Overall the actual delays here are optimistic as well, as each factor in this equation is reliant on perfect piloting, which is unlikely in any combat situation. However what it should do is serve to make it clear when the hard cutoffs land, and illustrate that if, after 10-15 ticks of shooting a subcap, if it’s not dead or in the process of very quickly dying – It probably isn’t going to die. This is because at this point the advantage in time your fleet has to shoot at a target whilst the fleet’s logistics are unable to support him has passed, and they should have locked and be working to keep the target alive, which maximises their effective usefulness on the battlefield. I will however note that this is a rule of thumb and WILL NOT BE CORRECT IN ALL CASES.

I hope this has helped you understand a little more about the limitations of logistics, and give you some ideas of how you might use this delay to your advantage in fights, or how to make sure you keep that window as short as possible for yourself as a line member. If you’d like to see a deeper explanation on how to impact these kill windows and reduce the efficacy of remote repairs as an FC, let me know in the comments.

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So what are you proposing?

Nothing I’m just breaking down how it works for people who might not know! I don’t have a problem with it, but I feel like digging into the theory behind how logistics work in a fleet fight is an interesting topic to write and read about! Not everything in EVE is unbalanced, shockingly enough, and this aspect of the game is one I quite like :slight_smile:

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Ouuh okay coolio!

Being a logi pilot myself, I did have an idea on how much time will pass until my reps de-cycle and I can re-focus them again.
If you check out my table of logi values, I even added the reduced cycle times for linked remote reps and your capital reps are off - it’s 6 seconds in triage.

I have a feeling that there is no point speaking about this now as CCP are more than likely already adding some type of -rep received % e-war of some kind I can feel it in my bone’s.

There is probably a reason combat Inti’s havn’t been balanced yet :stuck_out_tongue: mechanics are probably still in production.

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I loved reading this, so let me ask:

Why doesn’t a fleet “actively” rep all the time? And is there a way to mitigate the lagtime by spreading-out active repping (think of it as a passive aura provided by I dunno…armor repair drones?), so every hull gets say…250dps reps? But then when someone is yellow boxed, they get the bulk of the reps?

If you’re partially through a rep cycle you have to de-cycle in order to add reps to the primary target, this means that you induce a much larger module lag. Pre-reps are typically used in this fashion however on key targets in large fights where Logistics can be spared, and many times targets of that nature are pre-locked at the very least, taking out an entire 2 parts of the delay!

Has anyone had success with rep drone’s btw, I’ve tried to use small t2 rep drones on inti’s and af’s to keep them alive but when they are moving the same speed as the ship they are repairing they often don’t rep for like 70% of the time its weird.

The Exequror, scythe, Rovida and all 5 logi cruisers have a logi drone bonus and whenever I can, I make use of that bonus - it’s a 4th remote rep for the Exequror and scythe, a second for the Rovida, a 5th for the Oneiros and scimitar.

But I haven’t seen that behavior. Did you notice that recently?

Logi drones have always been very daft and have Alsheimer’s Disease, so they forget that they were doing after 1 or 2 minutes.

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OK, so it seems there’s generally just a dearth of repping and it has to be used wisely. Well that’s pretty good game balance!