Before i start, let me just say that although this is an idea i just had, i know full well that it is heavily influenced by the thoughts and ideas of you, my fellow STO players and forumites. Sometimes i just love brainstorming with you guys.
Anyway, we can all agree, i'm sure, that it seems wrong that there is so many Admirals flying around the STO universe. And worse, they're doing Captain-y stuff like scanning artifacts and fungi, and fossilized poop and whichever else. Likewise, it always struck me (and others i'm sure) as wrong that officers from Lt. all the way to Commander rank, are also flying about in command of their own ships! My idea is an attempt to solve those issues, and others as well.
This idea has two ranks: Captain and Admiral and thats it. Perhaps there can be further ranks of Admiral (like we already have) i don't see a problem with that, but i'll discuss that later. First let me describe the Captain tier.
My proposal is that new players, thru the duration of their tutorial (or starter) missions have a rank of Commander, and following the completion of those missions, is promoted to Captain and given command of their first ship (the other ranks, Lt, Lt. Commander and such are used for your Boffs only). The only differences to the actual game is that instead of going up ranks as one plays the game, they garner command experience instead. This experience is given for each exploration, aid, diplomacy, combat etc, mission a Captain undertakes thru the course of his/her career. Doing so does give the Captain grades (as it does now) which gives them new skills and abilities and eventually command of a new and better ship. The difference here is that when a player selects a new ship, they lose their old one. (you've never seen Picard pull the Stargazer out of mothballs for a boot around the Galaxy and why would he? ) I have this idea that when you are contacted by Admiral Quinn to receive your new commission, something happens to your present vessel, which instigates the switch. For instance, perhaps Quinn informs you that your first vessel (Miranda class) is to be decomissioned and you are to be given a new ship. Higher up, maybe you are given a mandatory combat mission that you CAN NOT WIN, which results in the destruction of your ship. (but not before you and your crew make good your escape) I dont know, ideas would be welcome here.
All players would be Captains (of different grades and ship tiers) and thus things would make more sense. This also works for the up and coming Boff promoted to playable alt Captain that Cryptic is working on. It never made sense to me that i would promote my boff to Captain, then he/she would suddenly be a Lt. again in command of their first ship, and once again working their way up the ranks. This solves that.
Now on to the Admiral rank. At some point, your Captain will garner enough experience that they will be given the option of being promoted to Admiral. I say 'option' here, because with this promotion, the game play dynamics change considerably. That is, Admirals start doing Admirally stuff.
I have this thought, and i think many probably won't like it, but what if the upcoming UGC was an Admiral only ability? Maybe this isn't a new idea, if someone else had it already, my apologies. But when you think about it, Admirals delegate missions to Captains right? So it makes sense that Admirals should have the ability to make missions via UGC and then post them (after Cryptic approval of course) for the Captains to peruse and accept. Thats not an entirely unconventional idea considering many or most players have Admirals by now anyway. Other aspects of Admiral gameplay could be STF participation, as well as taking part in different, more important missions. For instance, perhaps the admiral has to attend peace talks between the federation and KDF. And perform diplomacy in an attempt to make peace. Or an Admiral could be given command of a fleet (npc or player Captains, or a mixture of the two) and they have to battle a Klingon or Borg incursion. You guys probably have lots of great ideas of things Admirals can do that does involve fossilized poop.
As for a vessel, an Admiral would be able to choose the ship he/she wished to command (retrofitted of course, but only slightly improved)
Now as i mentioned, Admiral promotion would be optional, a player could decide to remain a Captain and continue his game experience that way ('cause as long as you're in that chair, you can make a difference.' - J.T. Kirk - Generations). I suppose when you think about, you might need endgame content for both ranks then, Admirals and Captains. But when you consider the ongoing weeklies and the upcoming UGC (Admiral posted ) missions, Captains would not be lacking for things to do.
This is my idea, sorry its so long winded. I think it would solve a lot of the canon (or is it continuity?) problems we have presently with the abundance of Admirals ingame, as well as non-Captains in command of their own vessels.
I'm really tired, and i needed to write this down so i can get some sleep. Its probably full of holes or problems but whadda you guys think? Thoughts/Opinions?