The upcoming rebalance to small projectiles is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg in rebalancing of projectile weapons in general, but this will go no way towards refactoring the balance between drones, turrets (of all kinds) and missiles.
The problem with drones is that their weaknesses (abandonment of sentries, delayed damage application of mobile drones) are insignificant compared to their strengths at the moment in a post drone buff modules EVE.
You remember that time, a few years ago, when the only drone buff modules were the Omnidirectional Tracking Computer and the Drone Link Augmenter (DLA)? Yeah, good times, it was all Hurricanes, Harbingers and Drakes, the odd Brutix (hybrids sucked) and HACs were Zealots, Munnins and Vagabonds. Ahhh....nostalgia for an era when it wasn't Gilas, Ishtars, Myrms, Rattlers, Domis, Worms....Deimos, Eagles, etc.
The problem isn't, as CCP Fozzie keeps saying with his 'metrics', that there are no drawbacks to drone boats from their use of drones. There are, the drawbacks exist, but they are outweighed by the buffs to drones to such an extent that drone power creep...well it hasn't crept, it has rocketed forward.
The three major mistakes which have allowed this power creep are primarily a game mechanic one you may not have realised, and two ship based ones.
Firstly, the Guristas ships got uber drones. Not only are their drones 500% more powerful in the DPS department, but also in the tank department. The ships themselves are also incredibly powerful, with stonking shield tanks countermanded (slightly) by somewhat limited fitting capacity. Limited by comparison to, eg, a Deimos which is the most luxobarge fitting out there. But suffice to sayyou can get 65K EHP and 820 DPS out of a Gila. Is this a cruiser or a battleship?
The supposed drawback of the drones is completely eliminated by the EHP buff given to them. Killing a Rattlesnake's Geckos is almost an exercise in futility. When we've engaged them, the whole gang can be consumed with an attempt to blap the Gecko and wipe out 1000 DPS of threat, and often fails. Trying to blap a Gila's hammerheads is even more futile, and we won't even get into the Worm.
So that's the Guristas ship problem - uber drones which are (practically) unkillable and (practically) immune to EWAR. More on this later.
The second ship based problem is obviously the Ishtar, and you should all be familiar with why - uber range, uber tracking sentries coupled with a perma-MWD cruiser hull with a low sig and 2300m/s maneuverability creates a huge problem. You can't attack a gang of Ishtars drones, you can't EWAR the ship (it's drones are likely assigned), you can't easily catch the ship, it can perfectly hit you across any field of engagement at reasonable range (Lachesis point range, basically) and you can't run the ishtar down (practically speaking) because if you MWD around in range of the sentries, you're toast. Fun times!
The third, but most important problem relates to drones and their practical immunity to EWAR. They can be affected by it, but to all intents and purposes the only one vulnerable to ECM is the Gecko because so few can be fielded. For example, a sole Rattler gets one Gecko which has a lower sensor strength than the controlling ship, so you ECM the drone and it is in fact better than ECMing the Rattler itself, because even if the Rattler's lock is broken it's Gecko keeps shooting.
beyond this edge case, the power of drone meta comes back to the immunity of the drones to any EWAR directed onto the ship. This stands opposed to the fact you put rigs on your ship, put modules on your ship in low, high and mid slots all of which remotely buff your drones (and in the case of Skynet carriers, drones assigned to other people!).
The problem with this from a balance perspective is that this is a measure with no practical countermeasure (especially Skynet). There has been a proliferation of drone buff modules and no debuff module. The buff modules work on the drones even when the host ship is ECM'd, off grid, out of control range of it's own drones, everything. This means the power of drones only ever goes up, be it tracking, optimal, DPS, speed, hitpoints, etcetera. This is the basic but generally unacknowledged theoretical basis behind the drone doctrine - that you get a solid one way bet on drones and your power cannot be pegged back.
Let's take a ship known to be a useless punching bag unless you really pick and choose your targets, one you almost never see - the Pilgrim. It gets horrendously powerful neuts, a middling tank (lol by today's meta), and tracking disruptors (remote debuff). Against turret ships with active (non-ASB) tanks, it is lethal. Like, say, nothing flown today.
Against anything flown today, which generally are ASB shield ships, missile-tossing Tengus, and drone boats, it is a victim waiting to happen. Lets say it gets ahold of a Gila. Its neuts do not turn off the drones, it's DPS is unspectacular (enough, certainly to wear an opponent down one it's neuted out) and it's TD's generally useless versus the Hammerheads.
I argue we will not see the death of Drone meta until there is a way to break a ship's connection with it's drones, or until there is a way of applying the debuff to the hull and have that spread to the drones, or until there's a projected drone debuff module itself.
In a way it's ridiculous that debuffs projected against the hull do not affect the drones already. You have midslot tracking computers to buff turrets, and TD's to debuff them. You then get Omni links to buff drones, but nothing to debuff them. The Omnis are an active midslot module which magically project tracking to the drones but somehow nothing can be done to interrupt that tenuous telecommunication link to the drones - including ECMing the mothership?
CCP needs to look at this problem. As i said, it's a one way bet and it's always going to win, so why wouldn't you go for drone meta? Good luck, Fozzie, with trying to make projectiles look sexy with 25% more optimal added to 1.5km for medium AC's when cruiser hulls like the Gila and Ishtar exist.