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Join Date: Jun 2012
11-08-2012, 10:11 AM
Long read alert:
This is just my own justification here, and feel free to take it or leave it.
I always rationalized the way STO Transwarp engines work as enhanced warp field dynamics that actually create wormholes, similar to what happened accidentally in the first ST Movie to the Enterprise. Any ship can send their engines into a controlled imbalance that produces transwarp spacetime wormholing, but controlling the other end and making it stable enough to transit safely is the trouble.
The way Starfleet and the Empire solved this were transwarp beacons, very large subspace units that ships using transwarp distortions could 'lock onto' and make stable exit-points. With the power and tech requirements, however, such beacons require the kind of powerplant only found on the largest of starbases. Thus, all KDF and Starfleet ships are programmed to be able to transwarp to the strongest beacons, the ones in each of their HQ stations (the highest priority, since the Borg assault on Terra in 'First Contact' made clear the need to be able to bring every ship to the HQ in the event they attempt it again). Other, weaker beacons throughout space can become usable as commanders' crews become proficient with doing transwarp imbalances.
Only the Excelsior has a true Transwarp Drive engine, able to produce its own entry and exit points through subspace wormholes. Built around the drives, these ships don't need beacons (though they can use them), and their drives include special computer systems needed to compensate for subspace currents. However, the calculations needed for such real-time flux are enormous, and so only transwarps to areas carefully scouted and catalogued on a regular basis are safe to use this system for. Which is why the Excelsior's drives only transwarp to areas the Federation has substantial influence and forces within.
Needless to say, true Transwarp Drive engines are the ultimate in stardrives, able to instantly take a ship anywhere, and such drives are also hideously expensive in resources to build. This is why Excelsior-class ships remain single-project builds and not regular forces in Starfleet. For duties not requiring very quick reactions to situations a far distance away, the conventional warp driven classes of assault cruiser do the job as well for considerably less effort to build. The advances in slipstream drives also have lightened the need for this class of ship.
Sorry for the long read, but thought others might find this helpful in accepting the way Transwarp is handled in STO, even if it's just one player's attempt at justification.
Last edited by danqueller; 11-08-2012 at