Starwalker had seen the question in many guises and it was a common question but not the right question, as the correct answer to that question was "it depends". Given any solo ship, it depended on what ships were fighting, how they were fit and the situation such as range and speed. Also, theoretical numbers for damage or tank (optimal and falloff damage, repair, resistance, boost...) from modules could be misleading as they were modified by skills and bonuses, and more importantly they needed to be applied.
Applied damage or actual repair might be less than the theoretical expectation for a host of reasons such as:
- Actual DPS was reduced because of speed or range tracking limitations or the target's damage resistance profile
- Active tank (repair or boost) might be overwhelmed by incoming damage and consequently the ship was destroyed quickly
- Module (blasters, repairers...) operation might be halted because the capacitor had been drained
- And so on
Given the same target and situation, which would be the better fit either more damage or more tank? Again it depended - on the specifics. As a general rule for solo PvP Starwalker favoured damage over tank on the basis that he needed to kill the target and escape quickly before others arrived to kill him. The assumption was that he had enough tank to perform the gank. If not enough buffer tank or active tank then he had a way to mitigate the incoming damage via range, speed or tracking disruption.
The ratio of gank to tank was determined primarily by the target's expected ability to apply their damage and the range (brawl, scram, point), with the idea that generally the fighting was at the ideal range for Starwalker. Asymmetric fights (kiter versus brawler) were determined by who could keep the fight at their ideal range. Symmetric fights (brawler versus brawler...) would be determined by who could apply their damage better and survive long enough to get the kill.
Starwalker mainly flew frigates, fighting in brawler or scram range and his experience was that having a good tank relative to the damage was important. He had flown some ships fit entirely for gank (Merlin and Daredevil) with no real tank and whilst they did have the ability to overwhelm a target tank it didn't always happen - it depended on the target.
As a general rule Starwalker considered:
- Target envelope of ships he wanted to fight/destroy
- Ship (traits and bonuses), tank (shield or armour, buffer or active) and weapon system (range) based on its ideal range to kill those targets - his preference was to target brawlers and scram range kiters
- Ship's strengths/bonuses, fit to complement those bonuses and (typically) enhance either the damage or tank
Using those general rules would tend to drive the fit and whilst Starwalker did work out his own fits he also used other people's fits. He would look at ships and fits that select Battleclinic top 1,000 pilots used, based on where they fought and how they were fit, especially low security space pilots like Miura Bull and Patrick Kasper. Those ships were an excellent exemplar or a template that he then used to "improve" them based on either experience or the desire for experimentation.