Okay, this might turn into a huge debate I'm not entirely sure. I've been looking around on the forums about this subject. I have been coming across conflicting and (sometimes) reasonable conclusions about this Starship Engineering Skill. Some of these I think are hearsay or are based entirely in conjecture based on minimal observations in the game.
On multiple threads I read they said that it does absolutely nothing for you in game or only has intangible effect. See Here from MustrumRidcully* and also Here from BigRedJedi*
On another thread it was speculated that it offers a minor counter against Viral Matrix and the Target Subsystems line of abilities based on available crew.
Originally Posted by BigBadB
There have been reports that it reduces the duration of 'disable subsystem' effects (such as the special effect of phasers, or the Target Subsystem abilities), but I haven't seen any proper testing to back this up (although it would be quite hard to test properly).
To be honest after several hours of digging through the forum and asking around in game; only finding conflicting results I figured it was time to post my questions and I hope this is the proper venue for this.
1. Lets be honest does anyone actually know what Subsystem Repair actually does outside of sheer speculation from the tool tip?
2. If it does offer a minor counter to Subsystem shut down components of the target subsystem XYZ and other such skills and abilities; does it scale with the amount of alive crew?
Note: Now I'm guilty of such speculation however if the answer to number two us "yes" then it would be reasonable to speculate that cruisers, and other crew heavy ships, would benefit the most from this skill. For testing purposes these ships would be the most ideal prospect for any noticeable differences from this skill. That's assuming the authors in the first two referenced threads are correct that the effects are almost intangible.
3. Has anyone, to date, tried to test this skill and have, unbiased, results and data to show? If so and there is already a thread that I've missed I do apologize and kindly ask to be pointed to that thread.
4. After all is said and done I refer to the title of this thread. Is it useful or is it fluff? before answering this ask yourself "every time I was killed in PvP was it because my systems were shut down and I couldn't fire off <name of life saving skill here>?"**
Currently I do happen to have Subsystem Repair at 9 and yes I do notice a reduction in the time that my subsystems are down... ~ 3 seconds as opposed to 10. I captain a Star Cruiser 1000 crew. Should someone, who understands the math involved, decide to test this ability I am willing to be a test subject if only to shed some light on this matter. I can be contacted in game as Lazarus@Benjamin.Lederman or simply reply to this thread. I would test this myself however I do not fully understand the mathematical intricacies or the formulas that would be involved in such an undertaking.
*Note: I am only referencing material and hold no opinions as to the authors statements or claims.
** Yes! I have had this happen to me many times.