First, the Prowler. I love my Prowlers so much my two main pilots both own one. Except for the increase in mass, I don't see a downside. The change of the useless shield booster bonus to a 5% warp speed bonus per level of Transport Ships will boost the warp speed from 6 AU up to 7.5 AU if the skill is trained to 5. With 2 Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I rigs and a 15% warp speed implant, the warp speed of a Prowler will increase from 9.9 AU to 12.4 AU with Transport Ships trained to 5.
At the same time, the cargo capacity of the Prowler is raised tremendously. Not only will I no longer need cargo rigs to do all the distribution missions, but with cargo rigs the Prowler can now transport packaged cruisers. One of the changes for all blockade runners is they will all have 2 high slots and over 10,000 m3 in cargo capacity when using tech 1 rigs. This should help transporting cargo in wormholes, as all blockade runners can fit a cloak and probes. But the Prowler, with gaining a third low slot, will see the maximum cargo capacity jump from 6604 m3 up to 9068 m3 without using cargo rigs in Kronos. Exceeding the 9000 m3 threshold is important, because that means the Prowler will have the ability to carry a third giant secure cargo container. When including the cargo containers, that boosts the maximum cargo capacity from 8404 m3 to 11,768 m3. That last is important because often the storyline missions ask for kernite to complete. Moving the ore around just got in exchange for a +4 learning implant just got easier.
The point where everyone thinks the Prowler is nerfed is with the alignment time. The alignment time actually goes down slightly with the change, from the current base of 7.62 seconds down to 7.57 seconds. In basic terms, the changes to mass and alignment cancel each other out. But Minmatar pilots are used to having the most agile ships around, but that is no longer the case. The Gallente Viator is receiving a big buff, with the align time dropping from 8.5 seconds down to 7.49 seconds. I'm not sure how much that difference makes in reality, but even parity between the two ships makes a lot of pilots angry.
The deep space transports, on the other hand, needed a lot of love. CCP Fozzie explained the plan for the class.
"These ships have been largely overshadowed by Orcas and high capacity T1 haulers for heavy duty hauling, and of course they cannot compete with the amazing evasion abilities of Blockade Runners.For me, the big change is the fleet hangar. With Transport Ships trained to 5, deep space transports have as much cargo capacity as the specialized tech 1 industrials Epithal (PI), Kryos (minerals), Miasmos (ore), and Hoarder (ammunition and charges). So in addition to the greater survivability, the deep space transports can do the work of 4 tech 1 specialized ships. How about the align time? My math isn't solid, but I think with max skills, 2 Inertia Stabilizers II and 2 Nanofiber Internal Structure II along with a 5% agility implant that the Mastodon will have similar (10-11 second) align times as the Miasmos fit I came up with to move ore around low sec (8-9 seconds). I am not planning on filling the lows with warp core stabilizers because any serious gate camp will have plenty of points, if not a HIC with an infinite point. Since the Mastodon can also do the MWD+Cloak trick after the second high slot is added, the big concern for me is whether the value of the cargo is worth the risk of a tech 2 ship.
"So our plan for revamping them is to give them a strong and stable carrying capacity in the form of a large fleet hangar. Besides creating interesting options for group play, this fleet hangar does not pressure a pilot into fitting rigs or expanded cargoholds for max carrying capacity.
"The fleet hangar is intended to make DSTs a viable choice for many hauling situations, and allowed us to then add a series of options to the DST defensive toolbox. We know that once people start using a ship it will be inevitable that they get into bad situations with them and that it can be immensely fun gameplay to escape a dangerous situation when you have no guarantee of survival. For this purpose we have provided the Deep Space Transports with defensive tools that are much less consistent than the covert cloak on the Blockade Runners but that are powerful nonetheless.
"The key new addition is a role bonus that doubles the benefits from overheating tanking modules and propulsion modules. This means that Deep Space Transports can have obscene tanks for short periods of time and gain strong bursts of mobility, especially useful for fighting your way back to a stargate (or for playing bait).
"They are also gaining the ability to use the new Medium Micro Jump Drive modules for extra escape and bubble evasion options."
Overall, I'm happy with the changes to the Prowler. Not only don't I have to worry about cargo sizes for distribution missions, but I can complete the missions much faster. Also, making runs back and forth to Bosena, Hek, and Rens won't take as long. The Mastodon? The ship is undoubtedly improved, but I don't know if the improvement will lure me to take the ship into low sec. But if I have any runs to make in high sec, I'll definitely use the Mastodon over a tech 1 industrial.