Well, we're Lieutenant Generals, an entire 11 levels and an entire rank above when we started using our Tier 5 ships so I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed that we should have Tier 6 ships already. But unlike many, I'm dreading the introduction of Tier 6 ships. We have it pretty good right now, there are alot of options for end game ships that allow a lot of variety for end game play with more constantly being added. The three iconic ships of the 'modern era' series are in game as end game options. A few fan favorite and player requested ships are available for both sides, admittedly the Varanus is not perfect but it IS a science vessel in the purest sense, and I had no idea Sulu was so popular but the Excelsior refit seems to prove me wrong. New ships are developing in an interesting 'hybrid classification' way that I'm really excited about and really wish to see brought over to the Klingon side.
This could all change when Tier 6 ships get rolled out. Based on the way the game was developed I see them rolling out tier 6 ships as follows. They will add six different tier 6 variants to the Federation side and four different tier 6 variants to the Klingon side, the same number of end game options we saw when this game first rolled out.* The Federation players will have the standard three different ship classes and a choice between two slightly different and more versatile bridge officer layouts, the Klingon players will have examples of two highly specialized bridge officer layouts for their Cruiser and Raptor, their Tier 6 Bird of Prey will have universal slots and their carrier will follow the Voqov model of being mixed between science and engineering. And I don't like it.
So here are my three proposals for making sure Tier 6 doesn't suck, if you agree or disagree with any of these, feel free to respond, if you have your own ideas I'd love to see them.
1. Don't do it. If everyone stays in Tier 5 ships then they can focus on making game progression about ship gearing and the 'next rank' need not be anything more than deeper more versatile captain point builds and rank XII weapons and equipment. Of course the downside here is that it does nothing to break up the 'end game grind.'
2. Allow ship upgrading. If they can work out a way to allow current Tier 5 ships to be 'refit' into Tier 6 then we don't lose any of the existing in game versatility. This idea is my personal favorite because it also does not invalidate the cash shop purchase I made to fly my Guramba. Of course the downside here is that it may mean alot of work balancing and rebalancing the refit process for a limited reward.
3. Create a highly immersive and rewarding game environment centered around 'locking' a characters rank progression to a certain level. This could be awesome, people who choose it need not leave the highly variable environment of the RA/LG rank or, for the purists, they could lock themselves at Captain with their Intrepid or Galaxy. The down side here is that this would be a huge change to game play and game design philosophy and it would take alot of work. FE's and remastered missions are made to be 'level agnostic' already, could STF's and fleet actions be made level agnostic too? Then you have end game rewards, there would need to be something equivalent to emblems for each rank and purple rewards to gind for. Another down side is that this will further fracture the game population and that would mean longer queue times and a harder time finding STF teams.
*I'm perfectly aware the Neghvar was introduced after launch and that cruiser captains were initially expected to fly a Carrier. But I operate under the belief that this was not intentional and the Neghvar was always an anticipated addition that they just didn't have time to finish.