--So I have taken a lot of time to think about this and I have read a great many posts pertaining to it and I thought I would post about this particular issue since it's been bothering me a little bit. Ever since we lost /powerhugh, I have been thinking a lot about what Star Trek is all about and what is considered canon, and after reading about some people complaining about it and others embracing it, I've got several points to try to make here. And it all begins with this:
--The game is not canon to the series. Period. That was already established some time ago when Gene flat out told people that unless it's in an episode or a movie, it doesn't count. Now there's been elements from the animated series that are considered part of the canon, seeing as those have been integrated into the live series. But a majority of it doesn't count for squat. This isn't George Lucas we're dealing with. He doesn't care what it is, as long as everything is cohesive, it counts. All the books, games, comics, movies (but not the Christmas Special, I don't think), everything of that accord counts. I think a total of two books count in Star Trek canon, and they were written by Voyager series creator Jeri Taylor.
--Why do I bring this up anyway? Am I getting close to a point? Maybe not. But I think I have it here. People have been a little ornery about the game's details, such as the Victoria's Secret-colored phasers. Now I've heard people having problems of it not being canon to the series. But you know what? Technically, and in the most literal sense of it, nothing that's in this game is. There are elements that correspond to places, people, objects, technology, even the damned tribbles, that have their place in the Star Trek universe, but essentially, it doesn't matter, because unlike the Matrix Online or Star Wars Galaxies/The Old Republic, this doesn't continue the story of Trek. It merely gives us a "what if" scenario. One possible future. That's what Trek is good at... postulating the future. They did it all throughout the series. So to say anything is right or wrong is simply a case of opinion rather than fact. The people who made this game can do what they want with it.
--The ships in particular don't follow canon. Now yes, time has passed and new technologies have arisen. But nothing would ever make Starfleet bring back the Constitution-Class vessel. they were decommissioned around 2293 in favor of the Excelsior. That was, in my humble opinion, the spiritual successor to that class. And the Excelsior endured for a very long time afterward appearing all the way up through the Dominion War. In all reasonable thinking, Starfleet would not resurrect that ship design. Progress is moving forward, not looking backward. Obviously something about the class was not apt for continuing past a certain point, otherwise those ships would have stayed in service for far longer. The Excalibur-class, however, would seem like a logical step forward from the constitution. But to be able to have your ship look like a vessel that was decommissioned over a century before the present in-game time? That's why this game is here, to allow us to run around feeling all nostalgic. The customization of ship patterns, colors, and clan symbols, to me, is also as ridiculous as being able to retrofit a ship with any parts from the same class and tier. If they wanted to stick to canon, they wouldn't let you do ANY of that at all. And while there's some merit to giving your ship a slightly unique look, Starfleet wouldn't honestly let a buncha folks run around in a starship with pinstripes and a black/red UFP symbol on the primary hull. Starfleet doesn't submit to cosmetics, only practicality. This is why we must say "hooray" to the game, because it rips itself away from the series and does something different with it, even if not all the choices make sense or follow canon.
Underneath This Uniform, I'm Naked
--So I've been thinking about the uniforms as well. The default design for those is simple enough, although it's not my favorite. But it seems like a more practical design, hearkening back to the earlier days of the NX-class vessels and their zipper-laiden jumpsuits. Starfleet would not sanction customizable uniforms. They never did, even from the founding of the UFP. All officers were required to wear the same thing, unless they were some special dignitary or from another time frame. Our online counterpart seems to think Starfleet will lax in their rules and let officers go bananas on their outfits, making it however they like. That to me doesn't seem reasonable, because as far as I can tell, you can turn the whole damn outfit one color, that has nothing to do with the department you're in, you can take off the rank and badge, and suddenly it's just a single color jumpsuit and you look like either a tech or a civilian. I don't think Starfleet would allow their officers to not properly represent their organization. The militaries of the word don't let us do that... why would Starfleet? We must be so lucky this is taking place outside of the continuity of the show, because I would probably start questioning what's going on. Personally, I just go with the First Contact/ "Rapture" uniforms with the gray tops and department colors with the Generations combadge. If they had the "All Good Things..." uniforms, I would probably do that seeing as I think that would have been the next step in uniform design, given that TNG, DS9, and Voyager all displayed those exact outfits in the near future.
I'm Firin' Mah Laz0rz
--My last section is going to be regarding the weapon colors. Now no, I don't think phasers should be anything other than what they are in the show. Different eras had different colors. TOS had blue phasers, the movies (Well, Wrath of Khan, since it was the only movie to depict phaser fire) had red pulse beams, and everything thereafter had orangeish. So the customization of phaser color seems kinda stupid. Why would a Defiant-class vessel be firing anything other than orange? At the time of this post, however, the ability to change weapons' colors is not available in the game. But when it was there, it was another element of the game you could mess with. Being able to suit your starship with disruptor or tetryon weapons seems a little odd, as well. Starfleet has always used phasers (The Aeon from "Future's End" in Voyager used a disruptor-type weapon, however.) since they were able to invent them somewhere between 2161 and 2263. Torpedoes are pretty standard, however, save for the Plasmas, which are decidedly Romulan in origin, Chronitons, which are Krenim ("Year of Hell", Voyager) and Quantums/Transphasic, which are Federation in origin. Somehow I don't think that technology sharing would be something the Federation would be doing unless there's a serious case of technology espionage, which would explain it. However, since in the shows we have not seen weapons trading like in the game, we can only assume that spies are everywhere and you can't trust your own grandmother. Thusly, only in this game will a Sovereign-class starship be firing three different beam weapons simultaneously, whilst firing two different types of torpedoes.
--In closing, people who complain about the game either not sticking to Canon, or sticking to it enough to satisfy their universe all need to remember that it doesn't matter. This game is outside of continuity, so it isn't going to make a damn difference. We can do whatever we want here because it's a game. Nothing more and nothing less. I know hardcore trekkies might argue and whine, but honestly, there's a question that one needs to ask themselves: why? Is it that important. For the love of Cod, just play the game, enjoy it, and quit nitpicking it. It's the first major Online game for the franchise.
--Now, if you don't mind, I would like to get back to Captain Folgers Coffee, of the USS X-Play. I've just outfitted my constitution-refit with some disco ball phaser arrays. It's time to dance.