I start playing EVE exactly after the changes. then having some big three years of hiatus.
I dont know about high level plays of the rattle, but for me, a noob with low skills, Rattlesnake is the saving grace.
just need MJD, sentry, and thats it. No LV4 cant be done by a low skilled toon with her. Making me can do LV4 in couple of weeks without touching even a billion to make. Without even think about damage types on ammo or tank. Just accept the mission and come back easily, with full clear bounties.
(Disclaimer, im running SoE missions in Apanake. No ships in their mission can reach MJD. so I never meet guristas pirates. People said they can reach MJD range. though the dmg type still favor the RS.)
I even can take on Bonus rooms. Many battleship ambush are out of MJD range. I just need overheat my MWD after MJD to get 200km away from those sentries in Angel Extravaganza Bonus room, cooking some ramen while waiting those battleship coming to my range.
I have never using any damage type cheatsheet between mission runs. I dont know what tank type to use against serpentis because I never need them. Blood pirate ships kinda thick with my scourge and wardens, but I still dont have trouble from them enough to start switching dmg types.
I mean, look at the role bonus of RS. its basically access lv5 domi drone bonus the minute you get lv1 battleship skills. Not to mention, Alpha clone wont lose the bonus unlike domi.
my main dps comes from sentry. the cruise missiles just add some low damage and low applied damage. It cant reliably hit cruisers or smaller. cant use fury because T1 skills, and dont want to use navy ammo because too expensive considering how insignificant my missile skills are.
But the sentries, man THE sentries. Even with T1 warden, I instablap frigates and destroyers, simply because they coming straight head on to my position and my wardens doesnt need any tracking to molest them from 100km. making the shortwork of cruisers and battlecruisers, and hillariously kills slug moving battleships.
the ship is insanely flexible. You can build her anyway you like. Anyone can use her. Newb or vets, savvy pilots or drunk driver, intensive style playing or AFK dual monitor, etc.
newbie friendly? check
Alpha clone boat? check
Brick baiting ship? check
AFK FoF missile? check
Null ratting? check
C5 & C6 dual rep? check
Cheap AF MJD build? check
Bling-able tanker? Check
Thats my perspective about the ship as a low level player. Maybe some veteran here can help explain why she still getting used in higher lvl of PVE. Maybe multiboxing couple of them are much cheaper than risking a capital ship.
Soon, the newbie friendliness of RS gonna get a competition from Praxis battleship. You get almost the same drone bonus AND missile PLUS turrets bonuses.