JIFFY POP FAQ 6, or is it 7? I dunno, I lost count.
Here's the idea. You use the crafting system and an extensive, insane, ridiculous number of mats across various levels to craft your very own ship from nacelles up to the bridge. Now obviously the ship you craft has to match one of the current in game models, so you won't be crafting a Warbird of Scimitar but more like your very own Qin Raptor or Vorcha-R. Really any model available in game could be crafted by a player, including ships currently only obtained through the Cash Shop or Emblems. Even more though, crafting your own ship from the ground up would also allow a wider range of customization, players would be allowed to move a console spot around or maybe even make changes to their bridge officer station layout finally permitting, just as an example, a Guramba with a Commander Tactical station and a Lieutenant Commander Engineering station.
But even more than that, there will be a random element to each component crafted that can cause such components to come out either commonly, uncommonly, rarely or very rarely with appropriate buffs to each one. For example, a very rare 'light warp core' could give an overall power efficiency bonus and, being a 'light warp core' would be useable on Bird of Prey and Raptor class vessels.
Onto the questions!
Q1. What do you mean by "Really any model available in game could be crafted by a player, including ships currently only obtained through the Cash Shop or Emblems?"
Umm, merely that, given the power of futuristic computing and the thorough nature of futuristic scanning technology it's not unreasonable to assume working schematics for any ship in game would be available.
Q2. What are you hiding?
Nothing, nothing I swear!
Q3. "Any model available in game can be crafted by a player..." Wait, no, you couldn't mean "Any model available in game can be crafted by ANY player." can you?
Maybe I do!
Q4. So you'd let the spineless dogs of the Federation craft Klingon ships!
Ummm... that's not a question.
Q5. Pretend it's a question and explain yourself!
Okay, yes, that's right. I'd let ANY player craft ANY ship that's in game. That means a Gorn with a Deep Space Science vessel if he wants it, and that means a Vulcan with a Neghvar if that's what floats her boat. And why not? The technology is there, the resources are there and if the player base has the desire to make it happen, I say make it happen!
Q6. Homogenization will be the DEATH of ALL THAT IS TREK!
Lets agree to disagree.
Q7. But if everyone in Starfleet is flying around in a Bird of Prey then it won't be Starfleet anymore!
First off, not everyone in Starfleet even WANTS to fly in a Bird of Prey. Secondly, you saw where I said there would be a significant cost in time and resources to craft this, I'm talking REALLY significant, like, as long as it takes you to grind up 500 emblems. So this won't be a common sight by any means. I anticipate most people will be crafting their existing ships from the ground up and min/maxing very rare ship component bonuses. And if it becomes desirable we can add an additional hurdle to crafting cross-faction ships, possibly some sort of PVP cost where rare and hard to replicate bits of technology are taken from the wreckage of felled Federation vessels.
Q8. I will support NO attempts at homogenization, regardless of how awesome it may be otherwise.
Fine, have it your way. Assume there's an alternate proposal where a faction is restricted to crafting only their own ships.
Q9. Oh, that I'm okay with.
Are you sure?
Q10. Well, I mean, I suppose it might create a problem with Gold farmers, they're already screwing around with the crafting economy by exploiting certain easy to farm anomalies.
Yeah, but crafting goes on despite that game element leading to unfortunate side effects.
Q11. And then there are balance problems, I only play casually and really don't have the time to craft component after component in hopes of getting the five very rare ones necessary to craft a 'very rare' quality ship, will I still be competitive?
That's a good question. Obviously we run the risk of making the very rare ship powers too potent but that can be counter acted by putting diminishing returns on things like energy efficiency settings or power setting bonuses. Ideally, these would be no more effective than a set bonus or a long sought after bridge officer trait.
Q12. Could we take current ship exclusive powers, like saucer separation or advanced transwarp, and make them something that can be crafted into other types of ships?
That's interesting... maybe. I suppose where it seems relevant and feasible sure. Like only some ships can conceivably benefit from saucer separation and the Defiant-R and Voqov Carrier are not on that list.
Q13. And cloaking devices, we should be able to craft cloaking devices into ships?
Oh, that's a minefield I'm not sure I want to set foot in.
Q14. This from the guy who's proposing even more homogenization?
You know, you're right, I might as well go in for it all. I can't think of an in-game reason why a ship, built from the ground up and to the exact specifications of a given officer, could not be built with a cloaking device. However, there's never been a Science Vessel with a cloaking device in game for good reason so, where serious game balance issues arise, arbitrary and completely unexplained restrictions against certain ship and ability combinations should be enforced.
Q15. What about canon argument A, B, or C?
Against Federation cloaking devices? Well, The Romulans are in no position to enforce canon argument A, the use of the Defiant in the Gamma Quadrant shows the Federation is at least flexible about argument B, and argument C may have held water 200 years ago in Kirk's time, but now it's just silly.
Q16. Do you really believe that Cryptic has the manpower to be constantly rebalancing around user modified ships?
Hrmm, maybe not. But this is a task that becomes easier with time.