|Hint: these ships are pictured in order of desirability|
Let's start with the Hurricane, and in particular with this text from the Chaos CCP internal test server...
In YC 115, after much heated discussion, CONCORD issued a decree stating the Hurricane-Class Battlecruiser was far too effective to stay under its current technological label, and demanded the Minmatar Republic to either cease production or sort it as a more technologically advanced craft. The Tribal Council grudgingly complied by releasing a simplified version of the Hurricane, then quickly exploited a loophole in the legislation and began using the original overpowered hull as part of its active fleet force. And that is how, after a new paint coat and renaming fees that the Hurricane Fleet Issue came to be.and this text from today's dev-blog:
Hurricane Fleet Issue: over its regular version, this ship has 8 high slots, two utility slots, slightly more mobility and fittings, while the role itself doesn’t change. Kind of reminds us of something, but what could that be? Memory must be playing tricks on us.Uh huh. CCP Troll, best troll, I guess. If you're not getting the joke, the Hurricane Fleet Issue is... the Hurricane, circa early 2012. Sure, it's upgraded slightly here and there (notably sensor strength and shields) but it's essentially the old Cane we used to love, previously the gold standard of PvP battle cruisers, now returning for a limited engagement at what will probably settle in to about three times the old Hurricane price.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Again, Amarr victor.
That doesn't apply to the Harbinger Navy Issue, though. It's going to be quite a nice looking ship... but kind of a nice looking ship looking for a role. It's getting a fairly significant buff to EHP and an additional mid-slot, so I think we'll mostly see these boats acting as shield skirmishers. That said, they're going to suffer significantly in this role compared to the Oracle so it remains to be seen how much they'll get used. Overall, it's the faction BC I'm least impressed with.
The changes to the Drake Navy Issue, on the other hand, are just plain strange. The current Drake has six launchers with a 50% kinetic damage bonus at Battlecrusier V skill, resulting in nine effective launchers. The DNI will have eight unbonused launchers, resulting in an 11% damage reduction for kinetic missiles and a 33% damage increase for other types of missiles. In addition, it will have a significant explosion radius bonus and a missile velocity bonus. Finally, it gains a significant mass decrease (resulting in greater speed and agility), but also loses its legendary shield resistance bonus. All of this points to the return of an old favorite, the 80km HML skirmish Drake... except that I thought CCP hated those! Another CCP troll? Regardless, we're going to see a goodly number of these on the battlefield acting as screening ships for skirmish and sniper fleets, clearing frigate tackle with Mjolnir and Nova missiles.
Best of the new bunch, by far? The new Navy Brutix. Combining its existing damage bonus with an additional low slot, the Talos tracking bonus, and greatly expanded EHP is going to make this thing a monster. In particular, watch for a lot of shield gank versions of this thing plying the space lanes. The only thing that's been preventing shield gank Brutixes from using Void ammo against equal size targets has been the tracking issue... which this ship is going to easily solve. It should do particularly horrible things to attack BCs such as its brother the Talos.
So, sign me up for a couple of Brutix Navy Issues and one Drake Navy Issue. No thank you on the Hurricane: the memories will just cause too much pain. ;-)
I don't have too much to say about the navy frigates. I've actually never been all that much of a fan of them, though I respect what others have done with the Slicer in particular. God knows that ship needed a CPU buff. I joke sometimes that Amarr ships don't have enough processor power to run the warp drive and the ship's coffee maker at the same time, but the Slicer took it to extremes. Most fits I saw for that boat required a Co-Processor... on a frigate. I do like the Comet and it's getting very small buffs, but nothing too revolutionary (or really needed, to be honest). I am also pleased to see the Firetail is getting a significant buff!
Ditto the navy cruisers. Other than playing with the Stabber Fleet Issue from time to time, they've always struck me as kind of goofy one-offs not really worthy of serious consideration. Cruisers typically have to operate so close to their targets and are so fragile anyway that I don't think I'm going to use even these new ones very much, with a couple of exceptions. The new Caracal Navy Issue and Exequror Navy Issue are lovely examples: faction brawlers? In fights that I'm in, that sounds like an expensive loss-mail waiting to happen. ;-) SFIs have been popular due to the fact that they're relatively good targets for reps and work at the edge of point range.
In addition to the SFI, that's also now going to describe the Omen Navy Issue, which I like best of the new faction cruisers. The speed and optimal range bonuses should make it an exceptional skirmisher. I can also see the Vexor Navy Issue working well as "Ishtar light" in the same kinds of comps where an Ishtar would be welcome but the player involved doesn't have the SP to fly that. My least favorite is the Scythe Fleet Issue. I get the dual weapon bonus thing. But in practice this is going to mean that in a lot of cases while all the other faction cruisers get two bonuses, your ship is only using one at any given time. That in itself will serve to put you at a disadvantage.
So, to sum up. The good:
- Imperial Navy Slicer: some great, much-needed buffs.
- Republic Fleet Firetail: likewise.
- Omen Navy Issue: becomes a terrific screening and skirmishing ship.
- Vexor Navy Issue: "Ishtar light" will gain a lot of fans.
- Brutix Navy Issue: an awesome face-melting machine.
- Drake Navy Issue: the 80+km skirmish Drake returns.
- Caldari Navy Hookbill: does so little DPS I don't think it deserved to be nerfed.
- Scythe Fleet Issue: I get the idea behind the dual weapon bonuses, but no.
- Caracal Navy Issue: an expensive loss-mail waiting to happen.
- Exequror Navy Issue: ditto, though it will look really good doing it.
- Harbinger Navy Issue: I'm not sure what the goal here was.
- Federation Navy Comet: I'd like my old paint job back, please. ;-)
- Caldari digital camouflage: the DNI is the closest this look comes to being appealing.
- Hurricane Fleet Issue: CCP Troll, simultaneously best troll and worst troll.