Some possibilities for fixing the "Tier" problem.
People have been complaining about the Tier system for awhile. Some, for canon reasons, don't know why the Nova or Akira languish at lower tiers while the Intrepid or Defiant, designed and manufactured earlier, are refit all the way to Tier-5. Some, for personal reasons, want to fly a favorite ship at end game. Some, for game play reasons, see the possibility of such a boost in end game play diversity and salivate like Bolian Schoolgirls at a buffet. So what's the solution? Well, in this post I present four possible solutions and my own personal views about them. If you like one option ove the other three, let me know. If you have another solution, let me know in the comments below! If you think I'm wrong, tell me why.
Proposal one, eliminate tiers entirely by making every ship tier-5 and viable.
The Good: This is probably the most canon authentic solution to the problem. A ship is capable of what it is capable of and neither side is wasting industrial resources producing a ship that is entirely outdated and useless. It comes with the premise that the Marandas and T1 B'Rel's we see today were manufactured with modern technology, they are every bit as powerful and sophisticated as their formerly higher tier counterparts. This provides a maximum number of end game options.
The Bad: This runs the risk of hitting TL;DR territory. First, and I think this is a fatal flaw, it would create a very uneven leveling experience. You'd obtain most of your bridge officer powers between at Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander, you'd have all of them by Captain. When you did advance it would be less significant as any new ship you take would be a side-grade. Even if they keep geared restricted by rank it just wouldn't be as cool. Secondly, and nearly as fatally, Cryptic would have to redesign every lower level encounter around the new ship hull stats and the number of guns. I want end game options as much as the next guy, but having them do that would be too much effort for too little reward. Lastly, this would be creating 'end game variants' for a lot of the lower tier ships in the game. Some, like the Vorcha or Galaxy are already at end game, others, like the Somraw Raptor can probably find their way into the game comfortably as alternate skins, others like the K'Tinga, K'Tanco or Maranda will need to be entirely separate ships. That's going to be a lot of work.
Proposal two, have the ships level through the tiers like players.
The Good: This fixes just about every game play problem with proposal one as the leveling experience would be improved in fact by the option of 'upgrading' a ship that had won your affections rather than dry docking it into oblivion just for the fast charms of a shiny new model. It also provides a maximum number of end game options.
The Bad: Cryptic would have to design higher tier versions of alot of lower tier ships in the game. They could probably get away with having tier upgrades be identical to their later tier counterparts when turn radius doesn't change, but that isn't common enough to change the fact that this would be the most labor intensive option, even more so than the first suggestion.
Proposal three, keep the tier system but rework it per my own individual preferences and views regarding the Trek IP.
The Good: This also would not effect the flow of leveling. If there is a large consensus about a change, it may satisfy more people than it upsets.
The Bad: This wouldn't solve any existing problems except in the individual cases of small groups having ships placed where they'd prefer them. It would require retooling an undetermined number of ships to either make them higher or lower tier, less work than either of the previous two suggestions but certainly not an inconsequential amount of work. It does nothing to increase end game options or diversity. It will give rise to even more complaints and discussions than we see now regarding where individual ships should be in the Tier system, not just because there are always two sides to an argument, but also because once people realize the Tier system can be modified, everyone will have suggestions.
Proposal four, take ships on a case by case basis and refit them into Tier-5 options, otherwise known as the status quo.
The Good: It requires only as much or as little work into fixing the 'Tier problem" as Cryptic is willing to invest. It will leave the leveling experience unaffected. It does increase end game options. It allows them to avoid sticky T5 Constitution issues or any other situations regarding gameplay or game balance that we're not aware of simply but not putting a ship in the end game tier.
The Bad: It won't increase end game options as much as either of the first two suggestions. It will also increase end game options in a haphazard, popularity driven way, leading fans of the Nova to be serviced eventually, while those of us interested in flying a ShiKahr at end game will probably never be serviced at all. It opens the forum up to constant posts from various blocks of players asking that they be the next group of fans to have their personal choice moved into end game.
Now personally, I'd prefer option 2 in a perfect world, but since we live in this one and fixing the 'tiers' is a small enough issue, I actually prefer option 4.
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