Now first just to get this out of the way, I wanted to say that this blog does a pretty good job of giving a high level overview of the changes they will be making to the ships in question and it even directly states that we are going to be getting a second set of destroyer hulls come winter. Now the consensus prior to this dev blog was that the winter expansion didn't have "a lot of stuff about internet spaceships" or "primarily focused on DUST514." Well looks like CCP was ahead of the game already.
Ytter did a nice job with the "Starship Troopers" movie tie in's and leads directly to specifics posts that detail each change.
FrigatesThe missile based Frigates are going to improve their roles as brawlers;
- The Breacher who's shield boost amount coupled with the most likely newly rebalanced ASB's will make it a strong contender.
- The Kestrel, the long time king amongst missile Frigates retains it's crown, fielding 4 5% bonused missile launcher slots to the Breachers 3 5% bonused launchers.
- The Tristan aka the fat man, gets a boost to hybrid damage and loses it's missile launchers replacing them with a spread of drones in their place, and associated drone tracking bonuses. So that's a little different from the usual drone ship, giving it tracking bonuses instead of damage bonuses, but they still get a hitpoint buff on their drones, so it should be quite the change for the fat man and a change that will make it an effective frigate killer from any range.
- The Griffin is a little terrifying, as the description says something along the lines of "unchanged, except we gave it a better slot loadout." SERIOUSLY? It's slot loadout was already pretty pimp for what it did, what did they do, give it another mid and another low? Hopefully after some of these changes the other ewar t1 frigs will get some use, but why would anyone do that with the griffin out there?
- The Crucifier is a distant second, getting another mid (4) and tracking disruption bonuses that could make it actually useful as well as fitting an armor tank in it's 3 lows.
- The Maulus and the Vigil are basically pointless at the time of this writing because their "EWAR" is so underpowered in comparison that their bonuses amount to pretty insignificant gains. The Vigil will have 5 mids, so that will be pretty nice... if you're minmatar and want to use Jammers....
DestroyersWell looks like the ever intrepid Ytterteam is going to be throwing up a new class of destroyers more focused on longer ranged damage, with the Minmatar and Caldari versions fielding missiles and the Amarr and Gallente side fielding what sounds like a full bonused rack of light drones! Could be a pretty exciting change, and always nice to see new combat hulls out there.
Meanwhile the older Destroyers will get a little more love, but not much as the recent buffs to destroyers put them about where they needed to be, but importantly the Coercer is going to finally get it's second midslot, so no more choosing between tackle OR speed, you can have BOTH! The cost for this change is losing a low slot for that mid, but overall, worth it. The Corm is gaining a midslot at the cost of a mid.
The Thrasher and Catalyst are largely unchanged with some slight adjustments to HP, and speed stats. Mostly unmodified.
CruisersNow here is where it starts to get scary and thus far still not a whole lot of specifics on WHAT exactly the plan is for these ships besides very high level talks about "roles." Now looking at the Frigate balance, the basic idea was changed a bit by the time the newest line of missile frig, EWAR frig etc changes came down the pipe, so what type of changes can we expect?
Luckily CCP Fozzy has delivered with some details about the support cruiser changes, so at least we have that to dissect beyond the vague mentions of changes to the Maller.
- Similar to the small modules, medium sized remote repair modules are getting a facelift for the winter expansion. Reducing fitting requirements across the board.
- Augoror and the Osprey get the energy transport and repair amount bonuses similar to their t2 variants. To the tune of 15% bonus per level, 5% cap use per level, 1000% Bonus to range of remote repair modules and energy transfer range, and a 200% bonus to the amount of energy transferred. That's a lot of bonuses for tech 1, that makes their medium reps on par with a base large rep with a much larger range.
- The Scythe and the Exequror both get similar bonuses to their t2 variants, obviously the Scythe focuses on shield and the Exeq on armor. 15% bonus to repair amount per level and 5% reduction in cap use, along with 1000% range bonus and a 100% logistic drone bonus to rep amount, both shield and armor.
- Logistics t1 cruisers will be come very powerful and viable with this change, having both long range and effective reps, as well as the ability to spider tank similar to their t2 counterparts. Hell they might even be viable as cap chain brothers for their t2 friends.