So CCP Fozzie responded in his thread on battlecruiser changes and I am not going to go over everything he said but focus on the topic near and dear to my heart. The Ferox. He said:
Why is the Ferox keeping the optimal range bonus? A damage bonus would be stronger for blasters and nobody snipes with a Ferox!
There's a couple of things going on here. I completely think that PVP Ferox fits will continue to be mostly blaster fit after these changes, I want to be clear that we are not trying to force people into rails with the optimal bonus. However there are a few reasons we decided on keeping the optimal bonus:
1) The Blaster Ferox works quite well with the current stats, and the optimal bonus is in fact useful with blasters (especially with Null or Void ammo, as well as alongside a TE module) and creates a nice (if subtle) gameplay distinction between the Ferox and other blaster ships. We were weighing the option of switching the bonus to damage, but chose to add the extra turret instead. This way the blaster Ferox fits get more DPS while also keeping their range benefit (at the expense of tighter fittings).
2) We have metrics on how people are fitting their ships, and many of you may be surprised to know that the most common highslot modules fit to Ferox in the game are named 250mm rails. There is actually a significant number of people using the Ferox for turret based PVE that many veteran players can easily overlook.
3) The issue of balance between long range fit Combat BCs and Tier 3 BCs is an important one. In the end the solution will likely revolve around making sniping with medium weapons and sniping with large weapons more distinct. I'm not expecting people to use RailFerox fleets in pvp after this point release, but while also keeping a strong BlasterFerox alive I want to put the ship in a place where it can benefit from any changes we make to both help medium rails specifically, and the balance between medium and large long-range weapons in general.
I can agree that the current blaster Ferox has a decent performance curve going for it in various situations, primarily due to a big tank that does not require low slots. I can also see the point on 250mm rails being the most common fitting due to I remember mission running in the Ferox with rails back when I was a newbie (and it only had 5 turrets, take that youngsters!). So simply choosing to tweak the current fit to make both camps happier with just a 7th turret is an obvious path to take.
Point 3 is where it gets interesting. He says "[i]n the end the solution will likely revolve around making sniping with medium weapons and sniping with large weapons more distinct." That is interesting. What I expect this means is that right now there is no real attractive reason to choose medium railguns for a particular range when large rails on the "Attack Battlecruisers"; for most use cases the large guns will always do more damage and the edge cases where they don't are not plentiful enough to call for medium guns.
However, if things can be tweaked such that the large sniping guns have more trouble hitting targets, just enough to make FCs consider reshipping to BCs with medium sniping setups, than keeping the optimal range bonus on the Ferox will be a good option to take to make both Rail-rox and Blasterox setups viable.