Like most rational people I like free stuff. I especially like free stuff if it's AWESOME or truly makes my life better. The only down side of free stuff is it's typically something that is easy to give away for nothing and hence not that thrilling. Don't get me wrong in thinking everything has to be thrilling in life.
Here is a RL example of how a not very thrilling gift made a huge difference in my life. See right about 6 months before my first child was born my car decided to quit on me. This made getting to and from work VERY hard. The more round my wife got, the harder it was for her to drop me off at the train and pick me up. Winter hit and with snow storms and such it was not uncommon for me to make a 10 mile walk on snow covered streets home when it was simply too much for the Misses to make it out of the snowed in driveways at the end of the day. A friend of mine at the time had an old beat up '89 Subaru Gallant rusting in his yard. It had no back breaks, burnt as much oil as gas, was rust red-gray, and was missing the back seat. It was not thrilling to drive or look at but at the time as a gift it was a life changer. I spent $200 getting it on the road and I drove it for a year. I had very cheap insurance costs as well and frankly because it was "free" I could drive it care free. It spent the last 4 months of its life under my care in a snow bank before I passed it along to another friend who had no car. After that I am not sure where it went. However I digress. back to P.I. boats.
So the latest gift from CCP is the Primae which has the ORE pedigree banded on it. This made it easy to get overly excited about this dedicated P.I. industrial. Taking the wrapper off and opening the box the Primae is a stunning to look at like most ORE craft. It's got all kinds of protrusions and extensions that hint functional gathering of rocket cans and easy command center deployments. IT defiantly is a winner in the station spinning department. Sadly this is where the thrills end and the disappointment starts to settle in.
Opening the cargo hold reveals a 100m3 of space which frankly puts this industrial in the same cargo class as a noob ship. It's not all bad as we have 2 other holds dedicated to P.I. items. A 1600m3 command center hold which can hold 1 elite command center or 2 advanced command centers. Then there is a 1000m3 Planetary commodities hold for all your P0-P4 products. Frankly even a crappy highsec P.I. colony can churn out 1000-2000m3 of P1 products in a day and well you deploy command centers what 6 times a year on a max P.I. skilled avatar.
Opening the fitting screen we have 3788 EHP, 150m sig, and 240m/s top speed. Complimenting this are 4 low slots and nothing more. Dropping in 4 Expanded cargo hold II jacks the cargo space to 264.3 M3 but does not affect any of the dedicated holds and reduces the speed of the Prime to 180m/s. Fitting it with a SAR II, 100MM RTP, IS I, and NIS I. I got it to 3966 EHP and a 80/4.5 S armor repair. I boosted the top speed to 258m/s and dropped the inertia modifier 0.2 points at the small cost of 15M to the sig radius. Not thrilling at all for a dedicated ORE produced P.I. boat. With NO drone bay or other offensive ability this ship will see many kill mails from the loosing side and surly become a target for gankers and griefers.
Did I mention it's pretty and station spins really well?
The Humble Iteron MKI:
Lets stack this now next to a humble Iteron MKI. With skills that most industrial focused avatars have day 1 and for about 400K ISK you can begin your P.I. adventure. It's not much to look at resembling a plastic wrap tube with a storm trooper mask stuffed on one end. It's only got 1 bay to hold stuff in and well it's not made by ORE. Yet this little work horse has a 3000m3 (with my skills) cargo capacity stock. making it able to carry 3 advanced command centers and almost 2 elites. It's got more than enough raw cargo capacity for a highsec 5 planet farm. Not bad for 400K ISK.
Cracking the fitting window we have 1 high, 2 mids, and 2 lows with 3 rig slots. It's not high on hit points with 1918 EHP. It's got a 209M sig radius and a top speed of 186 m/s. You might be saying that the Primae has more EPH, a better sig radius, more speed and a better inertia modifier. Yes you would be correct but let's talk about some of the slots we have. So starting with a medium Cargo hold optimization rig I we jack the cargo hold to 3967M3 (with my skills). Add a nanofiber Internal structure I and Inertia stabilizer I to the lows. Then a 1MN AB (I use a Cold-Gas 1 Arcjet Thruster) to one of the mids. Round it out with a prototype cloaking device. Now you have a ship that pretty much warps when it aligns, can carry just shy of 4K m3, has a top speed of 218m/s, and can cloak. Sure it's not 400K anymore but most of these items are cheap or easy first build items for an industrial avatar.
So what would have made the Primae AWESOME!?:
It's not all bad in that it does align fast and enters warp might zippy. It can be armor tanked and it does offer a new player looking to start highsec P.I. a jump start on the past time. It saves them the initial cost of a basic hauler and has no requirements to be flown.
Yet to make it awesome you really need to take all the bays and combine them into a nice big fat 4Km3 + P.I. dedicated hold that can do both command centers and planetary commodities. A hold that can be influenced by cargo expansion mods and rigs.
If you want someone to actually fly this thing outside a 1.0 system it might be nice to have a few high slots and mid slots as well. Even giving it a 25M3 drone bay would improve its chances of making it past the first gate into lowsec. A high slot could be used for a tractor beam or a cloak. mid slots for speed or shields. A few rig slots would have gone a long way to making sure that these things actually get flown.
The ultimate awesomeness that could have been added to the Primae would have been the ability to act as a mobile customs center. You belly up to a planet and can interact with a launch pad on the surface. Transferring goods to and from the planet. Add the special ability to do this cloaked and lowsec P.I. just got a lot more lucrative and appealing to the masses.
If you don't have a basic industrial the Primae is a fine beginner P.I. ship. It's free and functional making it a great starter ship for highsec P.I. industrialists. Sadly though I can see it becoming the next Zephyr with a future of being the gank target of pirates and griefers or the next cool hanger trophy for ship collectors. IF CCP decides to add them for sale and perhaps makes a T2 variant with some/all of the suggestions above then they will become the next Hulk seen throughout New Eden as a standard for planetary material extraction.