The Excelsior is my favorite Starfleet Cruiser; I figured I would go ahead and get this out of the way. Since learning the Excelsior will be released sometime soon-ish... I have become excited that our game will finally be graced with such a lovely ship, but also disheartened to learn that it will become a C-Store item. I will not take credit for this idea, it is not mine-- but I feel it has a lot of merit considering the situation of such an iconic ship, and will post my spin on this idea. Hopefully we can have more discussion on the topic.
In my opinion, the Excelsior is too iconic of a ship not be added to the core game as a free item -- this ship was seen in the TOS Movies and even carried the name Enterprise. What more pedigree could a starship ever need? I offer and suggest that the Excelsior be added to the game, for free, as either a tier2 or tier3 ship. It would fit easiest into the tier2 model, but power-wise and canon-wise, I believe it has more of a home as a tier3 vessel. But the problem is that the Excelsior wouldn't blend well with the customization options available in that tier -- Heavy Cruisers are four-nacelled and drastically different than the Excelsior.
The easiest solution to that dilemma would be to give the Excelsior its own class, not Heavy Warship, so the Excelsior would not be customizable with the other Heavy Cruisers. Allow the Excelsior to be boosted by the Heavy Cruiser command skill, however, instead of adding a new Command skill just for the Excelsior.
My other suggestion is to introduce the refit Excelsior (such as seen in DS9) as a ship costume for T5 Assault Cruisers.
Another idea is to release the refit Excelsior as its own independent ship. My suggestion is to give it equivalent hull and shield strength as other Tier5 Cruisers, but the Ensign slot could be Universal. It would have no other special powers, like the currently slated refits. I'd suggest it having a lesser crew compliment, around 500 personnel, and only 3 aft weapons. Increase it's turn rate by 1 or 2 over Assault/Star Cruisers, and I believe it would be a balanced ship -- no better than other T5 ships. It would run either the Assault or Star Cruiser command skill.
This will allow the Excelsior to be enjoyed by everyone in the leveling process, and also provide a unique and interesting alternative to allow it to be usable at a competitive playing field and thus a very hot C-Store item, one I would be willing to purchase.
Thoughts? I ask to please keep the discussion civil, and not turn this thread into a war over C-Store policies or debating why people like the Excelsior. Thank you.