Viral Matrix was repeatedly nerfed, this is true. Boarding Party was also effected by this, since it does basically the same thing. Even Beam: Target Subsystem X is effected, though it doesn't seem to have been hit as hard as the others.
[quote=Benjamin.Lederman]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.
1. It reduces the amount of time needed to repair and bring online any "disabled system" - i.e. phaser, polaron, and tetryon proc debuff, target X system debuf, chroniton and tricobolt torpedo proc debuf. It does not protect against skills such as viral matrix, boarding party, etc - those have to be countered with science, engineering, or tactical team.
2. It offers more than just a minor counter to to procs and a minor counter to skills/abilities and is affected by the percentage of your alive, uninjured crew (based upon my testing.) It is based on the percentage, but a ship with a larger crew can take more crew damage before losing as much percentage. Also keep in mind many weapons, skills/abilities, procs, etc damage crew and a ship with a small crew can lose percentages quicker (i.e. torpedo kills 10 crew on a ship of 1000 (1%)versus 10 dead crew on a ship of 100 (10%).)
3. Have tested it extensively in my playtime but have too much of a real life to dedicate time beyond testing to compiling data, reports, creating charts, etc to prove what I've learned.
The math, according to my testing, is close to the following:
(Percentage Subsystem Repair Spec * Percentage Alive Crew) = Percentage Reduction in Subsystem Disable
(i.e. (0.9 * 0.9) = 0.71 or (1 * 0.9) = 0.8 or (1 * 0.5) = 0.4 or (0.25 * 0.25) = 0.0625)
At 1/4th Spec and 1/4th Alive Crew, you'd only see a 0.625 second reduction in a 10 second tricobolt stun (for example), which is just barely longer than 1/2 of a second - and hardly noticable. But, at full spec and full crew, you'd shake that tricobolt off like it was nothing (but you'd lose crew, and the crew death would apply before Subsystems Repair was checked - which is why you'd almost never see a perfect negation of Subsystems Disable.)
4. It is a HIGHLY useful skill but only if you max the skill (or at least have >=50% of the skill specced.) It is most potent in situations where, for example, you are directly struck by a tricobolt - which disables your entire ship and shields, prevents you from using skills (like eng or sci team), etc - the "uber stun"- speccing max in the skill will reduce the amount of time you're stunned (max spec and max alive crew would reduce a 10 second tricobolt stun down to 1 second after the obligatory pre-repair crew death from the torpedo.)
A big however is that 1) most "Disable Subsystem" effects in the game last such a short time the effect can be nearly unnoticable; and 2) unless you max spec and do have 90-100% of your crew alive, there is the dimishing effect just like every other spec, skill, and power in the game. Anything less than a full spec in the skill does make the skill more worthless and having your entire crew dead negates speccing in the skill.
Edit: Also to add, those that may dispute some of what I've said concerning crew, etc - the type of ship you're flying does not have any effect, but the type of captain you are can and does I believe. As I've mentioned, I've not got the real-life time to delve way deeper into this beyond testing, so my interest was never in uncovering every little variable and detail in the formulas, etc. But, if anyone catches me in game and would like to test, feel free to message me there (and remind me of my offer to help test the theories.)