Since there’s just two of them in the game (USS Vestal, IJN Akashi), there’s little point in tiering them; there is, however, a point in dispelling some misconceptions about their supposed value.
(1). Repair Ships make for poor healers.
– Yes, they do have a heal over time, but it’s small (35HP/5s on a maxed Vestal, 42HP/5s on a maxed Akashi), you don’t get to pick who will be healed and it’s single-target;
– Yes, they do have toolkits that heal the entire fleet by 10%, but you only have three per sortie (on a maxed AR);
– Yes, they have a healing skill, but Vestal’s is a rescue (that can actually save a ship in danger, once per battle) and Akashi’s is only ever helpful on DDs (since the heal power depends on her own low HP: higher than that a DD’s, lower than anything else’s).
– No, their heals will still lose against those of a Healer CVL or Arizona; as every node lasts usually around 40-45s later on, by the time either AR will have healed around 300 HP a Healer would’ve restored over twice that amount to the entire frontline.
– No, the backline heal isn’t really useful as the backline should not be taking damage in the first place.
Fireboats laying on the hurt? Pack BB/Cs. Planes incoming? You have Carriers for a reason. Battleships got you down? Time an airstrike to go off when the enemy’s about to fire, bring your own BB/C or torpedo the offending warship to death.
(2). Repair Ships can’t really contribute to the fight.
– While ARs do have AA guns (and lots of them, ironically making them better as AAA than actual healers), that’s all the support they can actually give your front and back; as usual, the best way to prevent incoming damage is to destroy what can damage you, and healer CVL like Unicorn or Shouhou not only do that better but can also clear the screen from bullets when launching.
– Also worth mentioning is that if your AR dies, the repair kits sink with her. The game never tells you, so this guide will.
(3). Repair Ships’ extra ammo isn’t very useful.
– One extra ammo equals to one extra fight. That is kind of helpful on maps which need more than 5 fights to spawn the boss, but you’re sacrifing a combat-worthy ship to do so, which means you’ll clear slower, you’ll take more damage in the process and you will get screwed over if the fleet runs into an ambush.
Just bring an actual combat-worthy vessel and you’ll be able to sustain three and more nodes without too much of an effort.
(4). So what are they good for?
– Anti Air Artillery, as mentioned. In that capacity they are really good, surprisingly so; but beyond that, the two repair ships have only extremely niche purposes:
– Vestal is an ideal 0LB flagship for farming, as she’s very cheap and can rescue herself from the inevitable plane/fireboats hits she’ll take when using a 0LB frontline.
– Akashi’s timed heal skill works decently well with DDs, as Healers work with the healed’s health pool rather than their own: this means that a small health pool won’t be restored quite as much as she would, but all the other caveats still apply. Not to mention, you can’t use her with Unicorn as they share the passive frontline Reload buff.
(5). I don’t believe it, Akashi can’t be that bad! Show me the maths!
– Alright then, let’s bring in the maths.
— Step one, let’s take a common DD you’ll want to see healed, Ayanami Kai. Let us then take a common CL you’ll also want to see healed, Cleveland.
— Step two, let’s assume you’re playing her properly: said Ayanami is lv120 and equipped with the BiS auxiliaries, a +10 Toolbox (+500HP) and a +10 Oxytorp (doesn’t give her HP so w/e). This gets her a grand total of 2463HP.
Our Cleveland is also lv120 and equipped with her BiS auxiliaries, a +10 Toolbox (+500HP) and a +10 (+350HP) Torpedo Bulge. This nets her a quite remarkable 5157HP.
— Step three, let us then assume YOU are playing properly and your battles end at around the 40-50s mark against enemies of same or similar level.
— Step four, THE MATHS for Ayanami.
A lv120 Akashi w/ double +10 Toolboxes, +10 Gold Crane and a +10 Paw has 5424HP; 3.6% of 5424 is 195HP/35s, while 42HP x 8 (no. of healing ticks if the crane is healing only her) is 336HP, meaning that Ayanami is healed over a period of 40s by 531HP. This while Akashi is gunning planes down.
A lv120 Unicorn w/ speed loadout (+10 Zero, +10 Cuda) launches in roughly 18s; 8% of 2463 is 197HP/18s, meaning that Ayanami is healed over a period of 40s for a total of 394HP. This while Unicorn is gunning planes down better with AA+Fighters, bombing/torping things, canceling incoming damage sources AND healing your other frontliners at the same time (so it’s at least thrice the total amount of healing overall; how much depends on who those other fronts are, with CL and CA benefitting more than other DDs would)
— Step four pt.2, THE MATHS for Cleveland.
A lv120 Akashi w/ double +10 Toolboxes, +10 Gold Crane and a +10 Paw has 5424HP; 3.6% of 5424 is 195HP/35s, while 42HP x 8 (no. of healing ticks if the crane is healing only her) is 336HP, meaning that Cleveland is still healed over a period of 40s by 531HP. This while Akashi is gunning planes down.
A lv120 Unicorn w/ speed loadout (+10 Zero, +10 Cuda) launches in roughly 18s; 8% of 5157 is 413HP/18s, meaning that Cleveland is healed over a period of 40s for a total of 826HP. This while Unicorn is gunning planes down better with AA+Fighters, bombing/torping things, canceling incoming damage sources AND healing your other frontliners at the same time.
— Step five, Conclusions.
The only situation in which Akashi heals more than a Healer is when you have a single DD frontline; if you have someone who’s not a DD or even just one more unit, Unicorn/Shouhou/Arizona would heal more than she does in the same amount of time WHILE actually contributing to the fight in a significant fashion.
(6). So how do we fix this?
As is clear, a Repair Ship’s sole job is to heal. As is also clear, their heal is nowhere near good enough to make up for the lack of damage output, fighter support, self-defence capabilities and screen clears a CVL or BB could bring.
Now, adding guns to a Repair Ship – a unit devoted to supporting other units – makes little to no sense, so the obvious solution would be to drastically consider their healing capabilities. Some ways to go about this could be:
– keep fixed healing amounts, but considerably increase (eg. doubling) the heal; this would benefit lower HP pools more than it would larger ones, as is currently is the case for repair boats.
– switch over to percentile healing amounts, keeping the 5s ticks; this would benefit larger HP pools more than it would smaller ones, which goes contrary to the current healing style of the repair ships (and would therefore be unadvisable).
– accelerate the healing ticks; this would allow the ARs to be more responsive in their healing and heal more in the same amount of time.
– a combination of the above.