...Before you start flaming, the title of this thread is in no way an allusion to the idea of a Tier-5 Constitution. In fact it's quite the opposite.
I've started a new character today with the intention of speccing up a dedicated Engineer/Tanking Cruiser, and something is bothering me.
Every single Cruiser at Tier 2 looks like it's from the year 2300.
Granted, I do not expect a Sovereign or a Galaxy, or even an Ambassador. That said, I don't understand why "small" has to mean "backwards." The Nova class is a fantastic example of a well-designed, small, modern looking starship, and I kept my Science toon's Nova all the way up to Captain because of this.
Looking at the equivalent Tier 2 cruisers, however... We've basically got the Constitution, a 're-imagined' Constitution, and... an Excelsior kitbashed with a Constitution.
I know CptLogan has stated that new costumes are coming for the existing ship classes, and we've seen that Cryptic is capable of actually designing a proper 25th century ship. (star cruisers, being the prominent example)
Escorts and Science lines both have a consistent lineage of late-24th century or 25th century designs at every single tier, without exception. Cruisers, on the other hand, just feel wrong at the early levels. So, consider this a 'hand up' for wanting a modern Tier 2 cruiser class ship.
If you ask me, the ships system in STO doesn't make much sense anyway.
It's like someone just had some ships availlabel and put them where they looked best, without thinking about what makes sense in a Star Trek way.
each class of ships follows a basic design, thus the Tier 2 Cruisers all use designs similar to the constitution class. That's just how the tier system is designed. I doubt that will change any time soon. Why couldn't they be using ships with that design in 2409? The Excalibur is supposed to be the modern equivalent to the Constitution class. It's not like you're a LCDR for the whole game, it's not that big of a problem, maybe you can fly the Nova or the Saber for this rank if you don't like the cruiser choices
The later cruisers look pretty ugly, with the exception of the Sovereign class. Never liked the "sleek aerodynamic" look they took with cruisers, it just doesn't work with typical Federation cruisers configuration. Most of them end up looking like upside down spoons with warp engines.
The Excalibur class looks like it would make a proper 25th century explorer / frigate. But because it's tied to the Connie skin too many people would complain about it at T5. Hell, they could take the Excalibur's saucer and nacelles, give it an NX treatment and people would still complain.
I for one would love to see new ships with classic profiles but theres too much knee jerking on the forums.
I don't see the Tier 2 cruisers as looking that "backward". Yes, the Vesper looks like an Excelsior. But it is BASED on the Excelsior, it is not the same look using the same technology. And the Excalibur I think looks completely modern. It has definate signs of the Sovereign in its warp nacelles (not to mention the Nova) and its saucer is very reminiscent of the Majestic. (Or the Typhoon batteship, which is the same design enlarged)
If your complaint is that the Excelsior has the same saucer, secondary hull and two nacelles lines as the original Enterprise, well, that's kind of the point. This is a small, compact cruising vessel for running diplomatic missions and carrying cargo. It's a proven design. The bigger ships stretch out and flatten out to give more space and more curved, organic styling, but the basic cruiser is as simple and compact as possible. It's like a soap bubble, the sphere is the more efficient use of space. The saucer is completely round, the secondary hull is a cylinder or lozenge, and the nacelles form a triangle with the hull.
If what you're looking for is an organic, "flowing" Cruiser style, probably what you're looking for IS the Nova. That's what the Nova always reminded me of, a Voyager-style streamlining of the original Enterprise design.
I will add that while technically the ship model COULD be made more organic, removing the neck, for instance, in general you can't expect too much variation. Because of the way ship classes are designed, they must connect together in specific ways. Take the Heavy Cruiser for example, it has four nacelles. You could NOT substitute a design with only two nacelles, or with a hull hanging down below the saucer, because those nacelles are THERE and can only be nacelles. They can only be replaced with different designs and lengths of nacelles, not removed. And they must have the same mount point, the secondary hull is always mounted to the back of the saucer, not the underside of it, and the nacelles must always be mounted to the secondary hull. No variation can go outside of those limitations.
So while the nacelles of the Tier 2 Cruiser could be moved up or down, like the Star Cruiser, they would still have to mount to the topside of the hull. (So they would have to bend down, like wings, to have the nacelles below the hull) And you couldn't relocate the secondary hull on top of the saucer, or give it a "roll bar" like the Miranda or something.
Have you considered that the ships are in the same tier because the artists have to make their parts interchangeable? If your ship class is too different structurally from the others in its tier, you sacrifice a lot of your ability to customize each. Try thinking of this from a 3D modeler's perspective.