Recently Pandemic Horde had a nice fight with Test Alliance in Perimeter at the Test Keepstar. Horde brought the usual Ferox + Osprey fleet, while Test had their Dominix + Nestors deployed and ready. If you just look at the ISK brought to the field Test should have the upper hand, but actually Horde wiped the floor with them. After round one they reshipped, came back, got destroyed again, went back to Jita and reshipped for round three. And at this point something happened that made me write this post: they copied our Ferox fit 1:1 and suddenly they started winning. In this now mirror battle it clearly showed that it wasn’t bad FC-ing on Test side or being at a fitting/skill disadvantage, no, the deciding factor in this fight was solely the Ferox. Something that shouldn’t be too surprising in a game where 99% of all alliances use Ferox Doctrine for fleet fights.
So let’s compare the insta-applying ships (Harbinger vs Ferox vs Brutix vs Hurricane) in similar PvP fleet fittings:
DPS (guns): Brutix (621) > Harbinger (601) > Ferox (445) > Hurricane (437)
Range: Ferox (122) > Brutix (89) > Harbinger/Hurricane (74)
EHP: Ferox (80k) > Brutix/Hurricane (58k) > Harbinger (56k)
Speed: Hurricane (1422) > Brutix (1327) > Harbinger (1229) > Ferox (1160)
In fleet battles you need two things: EHP and range, because if you manage to out-range the enemy you can shoot and the enemy cannot, and ehp make sure your remote repair has time to react. The Ferox wins in both categories by a huge margin.
DPS doesn’t really matter, because you can easily supplement lower DPS with more people. And speed doesn’t matter (much) either, because while you try to get in range the enemy is already sniping your ships to Valhalla, and once you are finally in range they just warp to a new ping, rinse, repeat.
I would personally love to see more diverse fights than the thousandst Ferox fleet doctrine meeting somewhere, but for this the Ferox needs to be brought down in line with the other ships. First of all turn the Ferox into a 4 med/6 low slots like the other three. This would reduce the Ferox-EHP to 63k, still a first place but no longer at an overwhelming distance. Secondly remove the range bonus/level, which - when using the new low slots for tracking enhancers - would bring the range down to 100 km, again still first place, but much closer to the others now. As an alternate secondary bonus I would suggest 5% cap recharge/level, which would help the Ferox a lot.
For the Hurricane I would suggest to merge the shooting speed bonus into a 10% damage bonus, then add a 5% range bonus/level as secondary, and increase power grid by 15% to free the currently mandatory Reactor Control Unit, so the ship can actually fit it’s weapons.
This would give us two ranged options and two dps options, with all ships having their own moment to shine but none of them being completely out of line as right now. Brutix would then be the high dps ship with good speed and range to actually apply that, but lacks the endurance in both cap and EHP, yet can be fitted with self-rep for small fleets. Harbinger follows with slightly lower dps but the ability to quickly adapt to changes in range, while being more enduring on cap and the option to bash structures without ammunition. Ferox would still be the enduring long range sniper ship (but no longer outperforms too much), and the Hurricane would be an enduring long range sniper with lower dps but significantly higher alpha strikes and better maneuverability than the Ferox.