I'm a big fan of Eve going free to play. They've got a tremendous mechanism in place to sustain their income over and above that of subscriptions and considering how many of the long term players can sustain themselves without paying a subscription, anything that brings more people to the universe is a good thing.
If you've been reading my blog a while you know I play World of Warships quite a lot, too. My affection for it has a lot to do with my time in the Navy but had it not been free to play I probably would never have tried it. Since being cast under its spell I've spent money on it for several premium ships and I'll continue to do so as long as War Gaming continue to deliver a great product. There are those in the community that are proud of the fact that they haven't spent a dollar on it and I understand there are circumstances where it might be difficult for some, but really, I see them as free loaders. If the developer has made something you enjoy, the honourable thing to do would be to reward them for it. That said, it's a reality in World of Warships and it will no doubt be a reality in Eve, too. The question is, how do you get the most out of your F2P members?
A well put together fleet has several arms. You have your scouts, followed by your damage dealers who are ably backed up by the logistics wing; but all of those are jobs for well skilled pilots. What remains is fast tackle and eWar. I'll save the eWar discussion for another time as it's significantly more involved than fast tackle. So let's talk Tier 1 interceptors.
Survivability isn't high on the agenda here. It's more about landing on the target your scout has found, tackling it so it can't warp away and lasting long enoough for the heavy hitters to land on field, secure secondary tackle and maybe just warp out before being popped. You can't disregard tank, of course, but with limited skill points to play with it's more about speed and evasive maneuvering. As your survival rate isn't high, you must keep the fittings very cost effective also.
The obvious choice, for me at least, is the Condor. It has long been one of my favourite T1 frigates for it's outrageous speed and ability to apply its damage at long ranges. It is the poor man's interceptor and, I believe, fills the role as Alpha Tackle better than any other race.
Very fast, able to reach 4,400 m/s with overheat, able to apply [miserly] damage to target whilst kiting, a 24 km point, and nimble enough to chase down almost anything that isn't an Interceptor. You could of course swap out the Thermal Amplifier for a Target Painter, but it's a drain on Capacitor and you really don't want your foot off the throttle in this ship. Importantly, it's also entirely disposable, you could have a hundred of these occupying your shared ships hangar and not even give a damn. Now the several Alpha clone pilots in your fleet are no longer a liability, but an integral part of the success of your gang. Keep pilots engaged with roles like that and you never know, they might even pony up for a subscription.