For the past 2 or 2.5 years there's been a nebulous coalition of shitpoasters and theorycraft wizard adepts on the EVE-O forums who've been running with a bunch of zany ideas. One is an escort carrier based on the Orca, the other has been mini-dreads.
As a w-space denizen, both are attractive possibilities. Escort carriers would allow smaller triage-capable reps, Orca refitting, small-scale ship hangar and the like. Mini-dreads are attractive for w-space for the interminably boring POS sieges which we get subjected to in lower-end space where you cannot feasibly import a dread. Having something tanky which can siege up and blat guns or RF the stick has been pushed for a while.
Marauders are being buffed and at least the theorycraft adepts pushing for mini-dreads have been satisfied. There are, however, some other ramifications which a mate and I have been discussing which should see Marauders turn from a third-rate PVE boat into a top rate PVE boat, and no doubt, soon see some pretty epic videos drop on YouTube.
The resist and rep bonus (coupled with another 15% buff to local reps coming with Odyssey 1.1) will see marauders used to bust lowsec gate camps. I don't have EFT or Pyfa, but it's obvious that with a free EANM or 1.5 Invuls worth of resists in Bastion Mode and insane tank, you'll be pulling around 3500 DPS tank, EWAR immunity and ZOMG falloff. Vargurs can already fire capless guns to 120km with Falloff and pull close to 1,000 DPS. There's going to be some pirates for the first week or so who really, really wish they had read the patch notes. Epic.
Undock games, I hope, will forever be ruined by the bastion module. A 3500 DPS active tank and ridicu-mass for hard bumps, and you can play docking games all day long and make everything stupidly boring. I suspect, in this case, the king will be the Paladon or Kronos, who can fit up se-bos to catch stuff on undock, turtle up, gank the enemy and then dock in utter safety. Not so epic, but I won't miss station gaymes.
One further point to note is that this will result in some pretty stupid stuff for FW griefers in, eg, Hek. I wouldn't be surprised to see marauders on undock tanking the Police and the hapless players trying to GTFO station. Not so epic.
PVE-ness Mega Penis
Right now the kings of missioning are Machariels, Rattlers, Scorp Navy Issue and Caldari Navy Ravens. The Macha in particular can perform as well as the Vargur in most situations, although you do have to typically drop twice the ISK to make it work. For people who like to kite, the Macha will stilll be favoured. But why would you, when you can MJD mission more efficiently with a Marauder or any flavour, and get an easy permatank justby clicking on your Bastion module?
It will take a little while for people who do missions to move over; after all they've probably got pimped CNRs with A-type boosters and other bling. They also have to train into Marauders, which isn't as simple as getting racial battleship 5. But it won't be more than a month and a half before Marauders really squeeze out their competitors in the Level 4 mission scene.
Similarly, Marauders will have plenty of use in Incursions, assuming they don't get neuted to hell and back and fail to tank.
We should also see Marauders soloing C3's easily, and probably also C4 sites in wormholes. Which is great news for people wanting to hunt them. Being stuck in the same spot for 80 seconds will make them horribly vulnerable...but busting a 3500 DPS tank isn't going to be easy, either. You will also need scrams to stop them blinking away and EWAR immunity means no TD's to keep you safe from their guns, no Falcon jams...it's going to be brutal. Epic.
You'll also start seeing a lot of shit fit small POSs in w-space come under threat from Marauders. Without the need for logi, and with total EWAR immunity from the typical temporary camping dickstar small Caldari tower, your options in w-space for safe POS fits which will deter attacks have narrowed significantly. Given enough time a gang of Marauders could...well, maraud all sorts of POSs.
The initial theorycraft idea of mini-dreads saw the solution as a 500% damage modifier so that POSs could be dropped faster. What we got, however, was something that is immune to shit fit smaller POSs and their ECM batteries. You only need watch out for the neut, and you're fine. Epic.
It will be interesting to see the way the MJD bonus pans out. I've got ideas, and certainly they should be relatively obvious to most people, but it will be interesting to see what, eg, RnK, Shadow Cartel and AHARM do with Marauders and their MJD. I expect some niche adept epicness.
The metagame had been shaken up by a magnitude 8.0 epic drop. I admit I read the stats on the Bastion mode and bought 2 hulls immediately. The price went up 30% inside 4 hours. People are speculating wildly, as they do, but in my opinion this is just the beginning. What impresses me is that these ships have exceeded their prior role as PVE chariots and expanded into all forms of PVP as well. That's a neat trick.
Next stop? Black Ops, or maybe the escort carrier. Cloaky-warping HICs, I think, might be a little ways off as a solution to supercap proliferation...