Battlecruisers are larger, slower and have more slots than cruisers, but they're smaller than battleships and fit the same medium-sized weapons that cruisers use. They occupy a position between cruisers and battleships analogous to destroyers' position between frigates and cruisers, although battlecruisers are much more versatile and widely-used than destroyers.
In PvP Tech 1 battlecruisers represent a good balance between DPS, tanking, agility, speed and cost (they cost much less to lose than a battleship). Battlecruisers can be fitted for long or short range pvp combat. In large-scale alliance battles in nullsec they are often part of each side's 'support fleet', defending the main battleship fleet from attack.
In PvE Tech 1 battlecruisers are the standard tool for completing Level 3 combat missions. Several battlecruisers can mount passive shield tanks ideal for PvE combat; the Caldari Drake can mount an absolutely exceptional passive shield tank. Battlecruisers are also suitable salvage ships for the large amount of loot produced by Level 4 missions.
Battlecruisers also have the ability to fit a single warfare link, which can give extra bonuses to your gang. Warfare links will be described in more detail in the section below on command ships.
- Prophecy: Can tank better than some BSs. Usually bait. Low DPS.
- Harbinger: High DPS, can tank well. Can be fast when it isn't loaded down with armor plates. Very cap-dependant, since it uses lasers.
- Oracle: Able to fit Battleship-sized lasers. Most often used as snipers fit for amazing alpha. A bit slower compared to the other Tier 3's.
- Ferox: Hybrid turret gunboat. Not very popular.
- Drake: Amazing passive shield tank for pve combat (with low DPS). Alternatively, good pvp DPS when fitted with Heavy Assault Missiles. Drakes are often bait in pvp.
- Naga: Battleship-sized hybrid turret platform, favoring railguns, forgoing the normally impressive tank of it's brethren. Easiest battlecruiser to fit for sniper combat.
- Brutix: Blaster gunboat, high point-blank dps, usually not well tanked. Sometimes mounts a pvp shield buffer tank for speed and to clear lowslots for damage mods.
- Myrmidon: Versatile drone boat. Usually mounts an active armor tank. Can also mount a passive shield tank.
- Talos: Blasterboat toating Battleship grade guns. Next to no tank, making it very risky to fly into close quarters combat that blasters normally favor.
- Cyclone: Respectable DPS, bonuses for active shield tanking.
- Hurricane: High DPS and high speed. Can mount an active armor tank, buffer armor or shield tanks, or even a passive shield tank.
- Tornado: Minmatar's Battleship gun toter. Fastest of the Tier 3's, usually fit with high alpha artillery racks.
These come in two classes, field command ships, which are basically just stronger versions of the original Tech 1 battlecruiser hull with a bit more DPS, more tank, and better resists; and fleet command ships. Fleet command ships get a bonus to their racial warfare links, and in general have extremely good tanks with great resists. The racial links are: Armor for Amarr, Shield for Caldari, Skirmish for Minmatar and Information for Gallente, and there are three types of links in each class. If the command ship's pilot is in a leadership position in the fleet, everyone below him in the command chain (including normal members) get bonuses, assuming the command chain is complete.
- Armor/shield resist bonus (stacking penalized with resist mods on the ship)
- Armor/shield repper (both local and remote) cycle time reduction
- Armor/shield repper (both local and remote) cap use reduction (combine 2 and 3 to get RRs with lower cycle time, but same cap use/second as before)
- Increase speed mod of afterburners and MWDs, so you go faster with them activated.
- Increase the range of warp disruptors/scramblers and webs. HIC points do not receive this bonus.
- Lower signature radius of all ships in gang, making them harder to hit and lock.
- Boost the strength of EW mods, like ecm and damps
- Increase range of EW mods
- Increase sensor strength (possibly stacking penalized with ECCM)
The warfare links themselves only give a 2% or 3% boost, but that can be increased a lot by training relevant skills, fitting the links on a fleet command ship (or a Tech 3 strategic cruiser with the proper subsystems), and by using the racial mind link implant. With all that taken into account, a 2% bonus is increased to 26%, and a 3% bonus become a 39% bonus. Fleet command ships can therefore have a huge impact on the outcome of a battle, despite doing very low DPS.