Heavens, this has been a difficult post to draft.
I mean, how could it not be? The very best thing about CCP Rise? He's willing to discuss and debate every little detail of his work with both CSM members and players, and make changes based on those discussions on a day-by-day, even minute-by-minute basis. The very worst thing about CCP Rise? The very same thing, heh. There are -- and I wish I was kidding -- 363 pages of discussion on the tech 1 battleships on the EVE Online forums. That's just the tech 1 BSs. Then there's a hundred or so more pages of discussion on FHC and kugu. The CSM has written hundreds of lines of suggested alterations and fixes. There's no possible way anyone could keep up with it all and yet somehow Rise is managing. I think. I hope.
So I want to write about battleships. But please do not operate under the illusion that I'm keeping track of every single solitary little change. I'm not. The battleships continue to evolve on a day-by-day basis. Just today, I learned about two more (admittedly very minor) changes to two faction battleships. But as I did with cruisers, and as I did with battle cruisers, I want to talk about winners and losers. And within that framework, I'm going to stay away from specifics and talk broad strokes: the role changes of these big, bad-ass ships. First, let's cover the tech1 BSs.
Typhoon. Or should I say Typhoon! I predicted this one was coming when I saw how the Cyclone was rebalanced and now that the day is fast approaching, I can't wait! Torpedo Typhoons are going to be incredible, but cruise missile Typhoons are going to be even better. Stupid fast, agile, and hard-hitting, expect to see a lot of MJD Typhoons land, start firing cruises, blink out 100km and keep firing without ever losing their locks. It's going to be fun in a way I can't possibly yet imagine. Needless to say, both Ripard and my combat alt are both in the midst of training Cruise Missiles V right now. Which brings me to...
Raven. Of the two, I like the Typhoon more. Partially, it's the explosion velocity bonus (this post from alliance-mate Namamai deftly explains why this bonus is important). The big thing the Raven picks up that's going to make this ship interesting is the great increases to speed and agility. I'm currently flying a lot of PODLA Drakes. I can very easily see myself flying some PODLA Ravens very soon. It looks like the Raven's going to be tougher, just as fast, and nearly as agile... while doing way more DPS. And not that the Raven needed any help on the PvE front, but the changes are going to make running L4 missions in this boat even easier -- and dare I say it -- slightly more fun!
Scorpion. There's only one small change, but it's huge: plus one low slot. If this change survives (and it should), it's going to change the Scorp a lot more than you would expect on the surface. Armor-tanked Scorps have indeed been a thing, but with only a four-slot tank, have been fragile easy primaries and have not benefitted from particularly exceptional jam strength to compensate. They've been used, but armor-tanked Falcons have been used more and have been more survivable. With a fifth low slot, this opens up a lot of new options for either tanking or that all-important jamming strength mod.
Megathron. This has been the subject of a lot of debate (it's no coincidence that the Gallente battleship thread is the second largest of the four). Let me just say it: I'm nearly totally on Rise's side on this one. I love these changes. They make the Mega fast and aggressive, which is just what an attack ship should be. I love the versatility this adds to the ship and you're going to see a dozen different fits come out for this monster, each better than the last. In particular, shield gank Megas are definitely gonna be a thing and I can't wait. The only thing I'm not a fan of? The ever-shrinking drone bay. That's why it falls behind the three ships above.
EDIT (17/May/2013): Fifth mid slot is off the Mega on Sisi. Boo. I still think we'll see shield Megas but they won't be nearly as much fun. Mega gets bumped down to "In the middle."
Armageddon. This was a close call. I almost put it into the "in the middle" group below but I'm going to err on the side of optimism. I wasn't initially a fan of the changes... in fact, when I first started playing with fittings for this boat, my first thought was to fit it like an armor Tempest! Complete with auto-cannons! But the more I play around with the options, the more this one is growing on me. Biggest plus continues to be versatility and that isn't changing. I don't much care for the increased cost, though...
Hyperion. Don't get me wrong: Rise is trying. But it's pretty clear that he doesn't have a clue what to do with this ship. If I had to guess (and it is a guess... I have no inside information on this), I'd say it'll be watched pretty closely throughout Odyssey, then receive a second rebalance later this year. I can't even keep track of what its slot layout is from week to week right now... let me go look. OK. I just checked Singularity and as of today, it's 7-5-7. Poor Rise. This ship is the other reason the Gallente thread is so monstrous.
Rokh. I'm sorry and I know this ship has a lot of fans in sniping fleets, but it's always felt like someone's abandoned little brother... unless you happen to be a sov alliance of thousands of pilots. In this case Rokhs take what should be a Minmatar role -- alpha strikes and blapping things off the field in one volley -- and do it better than the Minmatar can thanks to faster-cycling rail guns. I'm not a fan but hey, that's probably my prejudice showing. That said, the Rokh should have been given a slightly bigger drone bay and slightly better agility to make up for the resist bonus loss.
Small alliances in general. With tiericide in effect, the battleships that used to be relatively cheap will be no more. They are going to be much closer in price and as a result you're seeing a lot of speculation on the battleship markets just now. Sure, things will stabilize, but the small gangs that hardly ever use battleships certainly won't be inclined to start when they're more expensive! I'll have more to say about this in a later post.
Abaddon. Like the Rokh, this ship should have been given something to make up for the lost resistance bonus. Specifically, it should have been given either slightly higher base cap, or faster cap recharge. But that of course would have made it even more like the Apoc. The Amarr thread is the largest, and that comes down to how popular and iconic the Amarr BSs are.
The former tier 3 BSs in general. It's no coincidence that I consider three out of four of the former tier 3 BSs "losers" in this post. To a certain extent, Rise is doing to BSs the same thing that was done to BCs: make the good ones worse while raising up the poor ones. As I put it in the BC rebalance post: the fives and sixes out of ten become sevens. The nines, though... also become sevens. It's not as bad for the BSs, thankfully, but it's definitely on my mind.
In the middle
Maelstrom. For me, the Maelstrom is sort of the prototypical EVE battleship. I agree that its roles and purposes have suited it well and as a "control" battleship receiving no changes while the others are modified around it, you could definitely do much, much worse.
Tempest. Previously my favorite tech1 battleship, it will now be relegated to sixth or seventh. That makes me sad, but the Tempest has always been slightly over-powered (like its little brother, the Hurricane) and so the other battleships catching up was to be expected. I'm pleased it didn't lose a utility slot.
Dominix. This one really needs something to happen with the drone combat meta to really come into its own. I enjoy flying "herd Domis" from time to time, but it's not really a fleet meta that's gone anywhere in the last few years. Ironically, this ship's place has been taken over by sentry drone carriers for the big alliances, and the smaller alliances for the most part would rather have that than the flying running shoe.
Apocalypse. I alllllmost put this one in the "losers" category. I consider reducing both base cap and removing its cap bonuses near-fatal flaws. "There is some concern that the new Apoc will have a significant cap weakness, which will make it too similar to the Abaddon," says Rise. Yup. The initial very large nerf to cap has been adjusted to just a large nerf to cap, but I don't think it's going to be enough. I don't think there's enough difference between the "Apoc" and the "Baddon" now and I think it likely people will just go for the latter. On the positive end, I'm a huge fan of the new design. So again I'm going to err on the side of optimism though in my heart, I really wanted to class this one as a loser.
After a lot of thought on the matter, that's my current thinking on the tech1 battleships. In my opinion, Caldari battleships win overall. And that continues with the navy battleships, but more on that presently. In addition to training Cruise Missiles V, I'm also training up Caldari Battleships! For these, what did I get right? Where am I totally wrong?