Drakes. Lots of Drakes.
It seems that the topic of Drakes has been pretty popular this week (and I shall make it even more popular).
Having said that, I know why the Drake gets such a bad rap. It is one of the easiest ships to get into in Eve, thousands of young Caldari pilots wizzing around the universe in the darn things, badly fitted, inexperienced and ready to be popped by the first thing that comes along.
Rixx is correct about a properly-skilled Drake having an incredibly tough tank; my lowsec stationcamping Drake perma tanks sentries at 70% shield. However, I disagree about the primary reason why Drakes are hated in fleets. It is not because Drake pilots are inexperienced. It is not because there are too many of them. It is not because they are slow, have less DPS than other battlecruisers, or use missiles.
Drakes are hated because they are not team players. The majority of Drake pilots beef up their tank instead of fitting modules to help the fleet – even though the Drakes will be among the last to be primaried. What good does a 100k EHP buffer do if you don’t help your fleet tackle, don’t provide ewar support, and don’t pump out lots of DPS? Drakes are hated for the same reason that snipers in FPSes are hated: they stay far away from danger, whore kills, and don’t help the rest of the team achieve objectives.
With that said, Drakes can be effective in the right hands (notice how I repeatedly said “the majority of Drake pilots”?). Last week the Python Cartel had a 100% Drake roam (along with one Scorpion and two stealth bombers who fail at following the OP’s instructions). And we did quite well; in one epic battle, our 11-man DrakeSwarm fought 46 Gallente and Caldari militia pilots (and they even had sentry guns on their side) and still managed to get equal kills and 72.9% ISK efficiency (you can see Spectre’s pretty pictures of the event here).
How did we manage to achieve this? By working together. By being team players. Good FCing and individual pilot skill certainly played a part, but without a coordinated spider tank and distributed ewar, we would have been crushed far more easily. Of course, we did make some costly mistakes with our first iteration of DrakeSwarm (I won’t tell you what those mistakes were :P). But fear not, DrakeSwarm Mk. II is coming soon to a bad neighborhood near you.