Standard ship classes:
- Assault Ship: This title should go to the Amarr, where both options need some love. Of the two, I think the Amarr/Retribution is the weaker one. You have to do some fitting tricks to get it to actually be able to apply its on-paper DPS and even with that it has some major cap issues...
- Battle Cruiser: In a class with a lot of really good ships, the Caldari/Ferox lags behind the rest. Its two fitting choices have a ton of competition pushing on their niche. I hear the Goons will be doing interesting things with it this year. We'll see.
- Battleship: CCP Rise will yell at me for saying so, but this one goes to the Gallente/Hyperion. It only has a limited set of use cases. I'm also not a fan of the Amarr/Apocalypse, though at least that one is pretty easy to get into as a PvE boat.
- Black Ops: The Caldari/Widow kind of epitomizes all of the problems with Caldari PvP just now, the high CPU for missiles, the mixed-bag fitting options in the mids, the limited versatility, and the slllooowww... oh my Heavens, the slow.
- Carrier: Some of the same problems plague the Caldari/Chimera. I don't know whose bright idea making Capital Shield Boosters need 300 CPU was, but they need to be beaten. The Chimera also lacks a solid fleet meta to form up around it.
- Command Ship: This one's a tricky choice, but I think I would give it to the Caldari/Nighthawk right now. It's hard to judge what this ship is supposed to be good at. The Vulture has all its advantages and applies them better.
- Covert Ops: This one goes to the Minmatar/Cheetah, but only just. The Amarr/Anathema is nearly as bad, but that one at least looks bad-ass, has slightly better fitting options, and aligns just as fast.
- Cruiser: There's 16 of these right now and none of them are bad! They all have distinct strong points and there's really terrific balance between them. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Caldari/Osprey. Still, this has more to do with the Scythe's strengths than the Osprey's weaknesses.
- Destroyer: The Caldari/Cormorant edges out the Amarr/Coercer for this spot. It still makes an OK salvage destroyer, and is still fine for long-range pod-sniping, but it's not good for much else.
- Dreadnought: Caldari/Phoenix. It's so much worse than the other three it's basically EVE's flying joke.
- EAF: The Gallente/Keres takes this one at the moment mostly because the others have such obvious strengths.
- Frigate: The Minmatar/Vigil is currently the least useful, though the Amarr/Inquisitor and Gallente/Navitas are both amusingly pointless as well.
- HAC: I'm going to keep standing on my soap-box saying Caldari/Eagle until such time as someone actually listens. Why oh why was its utility high removed?
- HIC: This definitely goes to a shield hictor, but which one? I lean Minmatar/Broadsword, mostly because if its ridiculously lacking CPU and the fact the Onyx can match it for agility.
- Interceptor: Until November 19, this one's a toss-up between the Amarr/Crusader and the Caldari/Raptor. The "Craptor" at least has the tackle range bonus, so I'll give this pedestal to the Crusader.
- Interdictor: This title goes to the Gallente/Eris, mostly because it's lacking any sort of fleet role. It's a decent combat dictor, but is outmatched by the much superior Sabre. As with the interceptors, the order is getting shuffled around in a few weeks.
- Logistics: It's tough to find a good role for the Caldari/Basilisk right now that the Scimitar can't perform better in. I'll grant it's quite good in PvE but you have to make a number of fitting compromises to make it work properly. Still, the Basi gets the title mostly because the other three are better.
- Marauder: Is there anything the Amarr/Paladin is really really good at? OK, I can think of one thing: botters like it. This is hardly a ringing endorsement.
- Recon: I really like the concept of the Amarr/Pilgrim, but the execution is sub-standard at best. It got some help this year with some interesting shield-based DDA comps but an ideal way of dealing with this ship's deficiencies this was not. The Caldari/Rook also needs some help. "It's a good tournament ship" is about the only nice thing you can say about that one.
- Rookie Ship: The Amarr/Impairor takes this title, mostly because of the extra mod needed to use it as a free cyno ship.
- Stealth Bomber: It's a close thing, but I think the Gallente/Nemesis takes this position, mostly because it's main advantage is looking bad-ass. To actually fit the thing needs more compromises than even a bomber should demand.
- Strat Cruiser: Tough one! Not the Proteus. Not the Tengu. The Loki is too darned valuable. Which gives this title to the Amarr/Legion by process of elimination. Though various neut fits are really fun, the Legion suffers from being only a marginal improvement on the Sac/Zealot model out of proportion with its much greater expense. It's also not as versatile as the other three.
- Super Carrier: The Caldari/Wyvern suffers from a lot of the same drawbacks as its little brother and just doesn't bring any compelling advantages to the party. When fit properly, it tanks like crazy I guess but that turns its advantage to "dying slow."
- Titan: Similarly, the Caldari/Leviathan gets this title by process of elimination.
As with the "best of list" for faction ships, I'm going to split this into categories for Empire and non-Empire factions:
- Empire Faction Battleship: Tough call! Probably the Gallente/Megathron Navy Issue, but only just. The Kronos and the Vindicator are so exceptional that it's hard for the Navy Mega to compete. Still, the Amarr/Armageddon Navy Issue needs some improving, too.
- Non-Empire Faction Battleship: The Guristas/Rattlesnake is the only battleship class ship in EVE I have never flown. And for now I can't think of a reason I ever will.
- Faction Battle Cruiser: Easy call: the Minmatar/Hurricane Fleet Issue. The ship's entire existence is a troll perpetrated by CCP Fozzie.
- Empire Faction Cruiser: Like many categories, this one comes down to Amarr and Caldari entries, specifically the Amarr/Augoror Navy Issue and the Caldari/Osprey Navy Issue. I'm going to give it to the Caldari ship; having both Caldari faction cruisers firing missiles was probably a mistake.
- Non-Empire Faction Cruiser: My poor Sansha's Nation/Phantasm. It's not that it's bad. It's just that there are T1 cruisers that are better.
- Empire Faction Frigate: As I said in the "Best of", I'd be hard-pressed to choose one of these that's bad, but if forced I'd probably choose the Caldari/Caldari Navy Hookbill. It's both nicely tanky and nicely kitey, but doesn't put out a lot of damage.
- Non-Empire Faction Frigate: Does anyone even own a Sansha's Nation/Succubus? I literally cannot remember ever seeing one in space, and with good reason. The Guristas/Worm is nearly as bad.
- Exhumer: Kind of a tricky category, but the on that probably deserves this spot is the ORE/Hulk. The Skiff at least has its enormous tank and quickness going for it.
- Freighter: This one's a toss-up between the various ships that aren't Fenrirs. I'm going to give it to the Gallente/Obelisk. It's ugly, slow, and is tied for the Charon for the lowest align time, but at least the Charon holds 50k m3 more.
- Industrial: The Gallente/Kryos is so useless as to be almost amusing... well, that's not fair. It hauls tritanium like nobody's business.(1) Put anything worth more into it though and you risk being ganked by a noobship. I guess it's useful if you get a lot of null-sec hauler spawns... maybe?
- Transport: Gallente/Occator. When you first hear about this ship, you might be inclined to want one... until you sit in it and try to fly it somewhere. An Orca aligns faster, warps nearly as fast, holds three times as much, and can tank harder. And now the Orca is a hell of a lot easier to get into, too.
A little meaner than my "best of" list, but those are my choices for 2013. It does kind of highlight some problem areas for the Caldari, with me picking thirteen of their ships for "worst of" in their class...
Anyone want to stand up for the rights of any of the ships I'm picking on?
(1) I wanted a POS fuel hauler that could also haul JB fuel. Denied.