Some brief notes about Rubicon from the perspective of a new-ish solo / small gang pilot. For the purposes of this post let's call small gang more like 3-5 pilots. I know that some of the big guys consider small gangs up to like 20 ships, but I'm drawing the line where you tend to not be able to afford a lot of specialized roles (unless that's the central conceit of the gang doctrine in question).
Warp Speed Changes - it's not all about the InterceptorSo for large gangs and major nullsec forces certainly the warp speed changes are all about the Interceptor. There certainly are people who can take on small targets solo with an interceptor, The Interceptor is getting even less tanky, but I'm not sure how much that matters given that they're all about speed tanking. In many Interceptors they're getting more CPU/PG so there may actually be more options there. So yes, I'll be queuing up the Interceptor skill along with much of the young pilot population of New Eden.
But for those of us in smaller operations I'd argue the warp speed change may really shine at the Assault Frigate level. It will be warping in faster and actually be beefy enough to take on the kind of target you'll find in belt or FW plex. Consider the chart posted by Fozzie - the Assault frigate can spot a target in a belt on D-scan 10 AU out and be on top of them in 15 seconds. A cruiser would be 30 seconds, an Interceptor 11 seconds. Yes, if you're paranoid and align as soon as you see local increase then anything short of a mining barge or battleship should be out of there before you can lock them, but we're down to a matter of seconds or fractions of a second.
Speaking of which, I'm not clear on whether system gates or acceleration gates are at all impacted by this. I tried going through the Feature thread but didn't see anything in there. I'll update if I find anything. That will be important for those who frequent the FW plexes to find their pew.
Edit: of course I find it right after posting. Yes, Acceleration Gates will be faster for small ships under these changes, as they trigger a warp behind the scenes.
Sisters of Eve shipsYes, these will be incredibly expensive for a while so I probably won't be getting into one until Spring. I know that people are grinding the LP like crazy now, but I expect there's going to be a lot of demand. Will the Stratios be the new wormhole-scout/diver of choice? Will it be the hunter of lowsec? All of the above? I'm sure we're going to see it all tries. Watch the killboards starting Nov 19th. There is a lot of back and forth on the fittings on the Feature thread. I'll be looking forward to hacked EFT and Pyfa databases.
Personal Mobile StructuresThe "yurt" for your own stuff could be interesting, but it's all going to boil down to how much cargo space the thing has. I believe it has been definitively said that it won't be able to swap out T3 subsystems, which is a real shame. That would have met the wormholers long-standing request and could have made for some interesting lowsec play too. I could see people hiding out and swapping in and out fits to scan down all of the signatures, then go cloaky-killer to look for people arriving at those signatures, or go PVE fit and run those signatures yourself. Someone comes into system - run back to your yurt and fit up to fight or hide. Find a target with an active shield tank, switch one of your ships over to have neuting power. All without making yourself seen at the local station, and risking getting jumped going in or out.
And expect to see lots of Stratios and Astero with Sisters Combat Probes looking for yurts. I'm sure we'll very quickly see people test out exactly what it takes to down whatever minimal defenses they have. That might be quite a fun side bonus for solo / small gang folks if there isn't a full timer and just requires a Battleship gang level of dps. You jump someone's yurt and then either get the goodies inside or they have to come fight you off.
In summary though I have to agree with a number of podcaster pundits I've heard - Rubicon sounds like a lot of fun stuff, but nothing as ground breaking as the title implies. On the other hand, the real action for Caesar didn't happen until after he'd crossed the Rubicon ...
Alea iacta est.