After looking at the things they have in common, it becomes necessary to examine what makes the various Black Ops different from each other. And different they are.
The Widow is arguably one of the better Black Ops, my personal favourite, and one of the best-looking ships in the game. Its strengths are clear from the start: plenty of mid-slots and CPU. This lends well to an amazing shield tank or, more commonly, a large amount of ECM modules. Many people claim racial jammers are best to fit, but this comes from a long-standing predisposition of ECM pilots to flying Falcons, Rooks, and Scorpions. The Widow makes a great case for calling for multi-spectrum jammers for several reasons. Since the ships you will be jamming will largely be random, and range should not be an issue, the most obvious problems of jammers become irrelevant. Feel free to load on extra jams and fit a rudimentary armour tank in the low-slots, or a shield tank with a few jammers and signal distortion amplifiers. Don’t be afraid to forgo missiles and fill your high slots with utility modules either. Black Ops gangs tend to bring an amazing amount of missile DPS, and you might find it useful to load your highs with extra utility modules rather than try to do more than three things at once. That said, very few people would criticize you for fitting a rack of torpedoes to help with those ultra-tank mission boats you’ll be dropping.
Nearly equal to the Widow in terms of quality and general popularity, the turret DPS provided by a rack of megapulse lasers can often prove invaluable to a missile-based gang. The Redeemer has what is closest to a ‘standard fit" for Black Ops ships, and is very attractive to many pilots because of it. A strong armour tank, high turret DPS, and tracking mods are generally the order of the day, with some Black Ops-specific modules mixed in.
The Sin is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to Black Ops, and in many ways can be thought of as a jump-capable Dominix in a frigate gang. Common fits include large remote armour repairers for your cyno-pilot, a strong armour tank, and cap mods and EWAR in the mid slots. For something different, fit the Sin like a gank Dominix, and easily pass 1100 DPS with blasters and drones. If you can fit a Dominix, you can fit a Sin by just sprinkling in some of those Black Ops mods.
The Panther is a bit of an odd duck. Personally, I think it is the weakest of the Black Ops line up, but their owners swear by them. Where the Widow has EWAR, the Redeemer has “Tank’n’Gank,” and the Sin has utility, the Panther is... fast. Yes, you get one of the fastest battleships in the game with the Panther. Sadly this feature is rather ill-suited to the hot-dropping scene. While a fleet of similarly fit Panthers could prove to be a very formidable force, a lone panther will often find itself trying to emulate the success of at least one of the other hulls. I would argue that therein lies its greatest strength. Whether you fit RR’s and tank, autocannons and speed, or artillery and E-WAR, when a Panther shows up, you will at least retain a certain element of surprise.
Most of this of course assumes that you are planning on jumping your Black Ops into the fray after you have bridged your fleet. However if you are new, or more risk-averse, consider diversifying your capabilities to maximize your survivability and the support capabilities of your fleet. Fitting a cloak, portal generator, MWD, heavy energy neutralizer, MJD, ECM burst, cap booster, tank, and perhaps even a warp core stab makes even a clumsy pilot very difficult to catch. A single remote-LAR can serve to repair a bomber on the edge of a POS shield who takes a little too much damage. Just remember to tailor fit your ship to your fleet, and your own play-style.
Be on the look-out for the next article going over the changes, and what they mean for the other ships in your Black Ops fleet.