Reading through the blogs linked on the left resulted in a huge release of information when the test server was uploaded with a data packet detailing future changes to ships, weapons, and modules. The best review I saw was from Azual at The Altruist. I'm not going to rehash all of the changes, but I did want to post about some of the things I'm looking forward to or concerned about.
Hybrid changes: This is one I've been looking forward to since the initial dev blog saying changes were a coming. The reason for my excitement is two fold. First will be improving some neglected Caldari ships. I love the look of the Ferox and have a couple in my hangar with missile fits, but I want a rail gun fit and now I'll be able to build one and feel happy about it. The second part I'm looking forward to is rail guns being viable for the first time since I've been playing. The first time I heard about a rail gun was from Battletech and the Gauss rifle. When I started Eve the rail gun was the weapon I was most looking forward to using but after reading the forums and making a few builds in EHQ I quickly gave up on rail's being a useful weapon system. Now I've started training rails on my two Caldari pilots and I'm back to building fits with shiny magnetic mass drivers.
Destroyer changes: My first Cormorant came from completing the training missions but when I put it to use in the Sister's arc I was quickly underwhelmed. Part of the problem was I didn't really understand how weapons worked, part was the lack of missiles, and part was the limited slots which I found hard to fit properly. I gave up on dessie's and have only used them as salvage ships since. Now though with the change to hybrids combined with making destroyers have a more defined role I think we might see the emergence of a decent fleet support ship. A Cormorant fit with rails and some tracking enhancers seems like a pretty good anti-tackle ship. I just wish the Corm had the option of missile/rocket fit as well.
Heavy Battlecruisers: The addition of BC's mounting BS weapons has made a lot of people happy. One point brought up is the gankiness of high dps builds with low cost and I have to admit as a high sec player I really don't like the idea of cheap, high dps ships being allowed to gank in high sec, but I doubt CCP is ready to make adjustments to game play. Even if making high sec safer will probably make Eve appeal to a lot more of the MMO community and increase total subscribers. However that's a post for a different time.
Back to the BC's. The current stats release is not necessarily the final stats and I'm sure some adjustment to reduce the damage will be made. However in the end I think we'll see a ship class very adept at engaging capital ships. My main concern is how will these new ships stack up against current BC's in a fight. Will BS size weapons negate the higher tank of the original BC's or will the smaller weapons prove deadlier to the glass cannons? Also, will sniper fleets be more popular with the increased speed of the BC compared to the BS? Finally, one blogger mentioned the possible return of the cavalry ship and I'm greatly intrigued by the idea. I missed the days of the cavalry Raven but perhaps we'll see the cavalry Naga. While of limited use the concept seems like a lot of fun.
All in all there are some much welcome changes being made to the game which brings hope, a feeling that's been missing for awhile. Hopefully this is merely the beginning of routine adjustments to existing ships, regular infusion of new hulls, and continued balance for underused modules. A great step forward but only the first step down a path of constant change.