So you may have heard about the new battlecruiser rebalancing that has been proposed. There are posts about it on Eve Altruist, Jester’s Trek, Noisy Gamer, and probably lots more. There is a massive threadnaught on the Eve Online forums of course.
TL;DR version of my opinion: Too many people think of their ship like a WOW character class, when in reality they can easily cross-train (and in the cases of most bittervets, already have). As a result the tears and whines are really overstated. If people free themselves from the “I am my ship” self-image they may well find even more to love about the game.
Since when I’m PVE-ing I am currently a Gallente Battlecruiser pilot my first reaction is “Woo Brutix low slot!” I hear Jester’s point that making all of the ships have an equal number of slots seems a bit arbitrary - though it does seem like a pretty good starting point. I could how people might consider a massive drone bay to be as good as another slot. And does it make sense that ships that fire cap-less weapons have as much capacitor as those which are capacitor thirsty? But how do you balance something as complicated as a Eve warship, anyway? (This post is getting long enough that I think that will have to be a separate post)
We’re probably all used to the metaphor that ships are like character classes in other MMOs. In your typical fantasy MMO designers balance off five or six character classes, with the additional twist of a handful of races. Let’s call the modules similar to powers: are you going to punch the button that fires the 425mm Railgun or the Divine Fireball? You can’t compare levels to ship classes, as you won’t ever see a level 2 fighter doing anything worth mentioning to impede a level 20 fighter: they might as well be in different worlds. But a fast tackler frigate may be exactly what brings down a battleship in Eve. So what CCP Fozzie and team is facing is pretty monumental compared to what his peers in WoW or GW2 have to look at. On the other side is that players can pretty smoothly move from ship to ship if they get nerfed, unlike in your typical MMO where your character is fundamentally and irretrievably their class.
I think this attitude is carrying over to Eve players, as much as they want to think of themselves as very different from WOW players. Too many think of their characters as being “the PVP Hurricane pilot” or the “the Nyx pilot.” They lock themselves into a class like they were in WOW, even when so many have multiple races and weapon systems trained to V.
If anything, I ought to be ones of the most concerned about changes. I’m a new pilot only trained on Gallente ships, hybrid guns, and drones. If the new Meta shifted strongly away from Gallente then I’d have a training slog to get there. But I’m not even a year old year and I’m already heading in that direction anyway. CCP Fozzie is clearly communicating his ideas now for something that we probably won’t see until late Summer. By that time even I could pick another faction - as an example let's just hypothetically say that the new Meta was going to make Gallente suck and Minmatar rule (again). Looking at NeoCom I see that I’m only 18 days away from having the skills to fit and use 720mm Autocannon IIs plus another 19 days to get up to Minmatar Cruiser V. I have minimal shield skills now (as I discussed in my 2013 plan) but that’s only another 17 days. So I could do that multiple times over between now and Summer if I was really worried about rebalancing. It does assume that you’ve already done the faction skill prep that CCP has warned already about - which everyone paying attention has already done, right?
I get that the skill queues are worse as you go up - I’ve got a long slog in front of me for Battleship level skills which I’ll probably put off in favor of more flexibility. If you have a character you spun up to fly a Titan of one faction then if that Titan was nerfed compared to others then it might be truly painful. But I also don't have as much sympathy for the people who have so much ISK and longevity in game that they're using PLEX to keep four concurrent accounts maxed to twelve pilots that specialize in all sorts of arcane things. You built yourself into that corner.
I don’t buy any argument for financial strain either. I've heard newbs get advice that they aren't serious players until they have a billion ISK in cash, but here we have people complaining that their favorite 50M ISK hull might need swapping. I can understand that when Hurricane and Drake were clearly overpowered compared to other BCs many people did nothing but those two, but you can afford to try something new if it means that now we'll have eight worthwhile BCs. The success of Retribution's frigates and cruiser rebalancing prove this is the right move for Eve.