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Healing and Repairing

            By Flammifer               1/7/06, AoE3 v1.06, Author's Rating: 2000+



Healing does not see a lot of use by most players. Okay it is virtually ignored. It does take a bit of time and a fair amount of resources to even have the ability to heal most units. But, understanding exactly how healing works is the first step in making a through analysis of it.


First up, those funny guys that walk around the map waving their hands and making everything better, Priests, Imams, Medicine Men and even a French explorer (with card upgrade) all heal in exactly the same fashion. For those that have not toyed around with healers this is how it works. Select your healer, click the heal button (just like the explorer's crackshot) and the cursor turns into a lighting bolt with a small circle around it. Click on the unit you want healed. The healer walks to within range of the unit and begins healing. All units in the circle receive an hp boost, and all the same amount of a boost. The magic number is 400 at a rate of 50 hp per second on each unit. The ability takes 120 seconds to recharge. This time appears to be a reasonable value if the expectation is that the ability will be used between battles. Now the only difference between all of those units and the surgeon is that the surgeon takes half as long to recharge, only 60 seconds. The healers have to be close, their max range is a puny 12. Should a unit run away after a healer has started healing it (any unit in the heal area) the healing will be completed. The healer will finish the heal animation and then walk towards the units.

Field Hospitals

One of the least built buildings is the field hospital. These funny things can only be built by surgeons for 400 wood, and the surgeons are only available via a home city shipment. Field hospitals heal one unit at a time within their range of 20, at a rate of 15 hp per second. The hospital will not start healing a unit until it stops inside the heal area. It will then continue to try and heal that unit until its health is maxed out. However, if the unit starts moving again the heal rate drops to 3 hp per second and the field hospital will not retask itself to another unit until the one it is healing either gets max hp or leaves the heal area. In terms of game files, units have a 5x heal bonus from buildings when they're idling. Healer units do not behave any differently when working on non-idle units.

Practical Healing

Given that the healer cap is hp based they will clearly have a larger benefit to early, small battles. Consider a Mayan spearman rush that is accompanied by a lone medicine man. The spearmen cost 75f and 25w with 200hp and the mm 200f. After just one complete 400hp healing completed the medicine man has paid for himself! Not considering what could have been done with the original food spent on him or the time spent by the trading post training him.

Focus fire is the reason healers have failed to become effective. Players simply do not have 400 hp of damaged units at a time when the gain would be most beneficial. It did seem a little funny to have a priest constantly healing a unit that was in combat in Age of Kings.

Taking all this into account it is easy enough to see which units will benefit the most from healers. At the top of the list are the artillery. A falconet is a huge investment but only has 200hp. In the colonial age, before veteran and other upgrades are available that reduce the effectiveness of healers, doppelsoldners look to be one of the top choices in terms of highest cost per hp, abus guns, longbows are other particularly good choices. At the bottom of the list are units that have a ton of hp but low cost. A war wagon would be a decent example, 500 hp, but proportionally a relatively low cost per hp at only 150f and 150g. In general, the better a unitís armor the more effective healers will be.

Docks and Ships

An often overlooked ability of docks is that to repair ships. Docks work a lot like field hospitals. One unit at a time, 10 hp per second and the ships have to be right next to the dock for it to work. Same issues happen with moving ships and docks as moving units and field hospitals.


Damaged buildings can be repaired by clicking the repair icon (a hammer) in the lower right hand corner. Buildings cannot be under attack and the player must front the resources necessary to repair the building. Once done the building starts repairing itself.

A Hammer Not for Smashing

The most important thing to know about repairing buildings is that it costs are proportional to the amount of damage the building has taken. You pay half as much to repair a building as it cost to build it in the first place. For example, a TC has 8000hp and costs 600w. If your TC loses half of its hp it will cost 150w to repair the damage. Moreover, an important side note is that the rate of repair is 40 hp per second. If the building comes under attack again, the building stops repairs and refunds the unused resources to your stockpile.

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            By Flammifer               1/7/06, AoE3 v1.06, Author's Rating: 2000+