A Case for Retrofit of Tier 2 Modern Vessels by C_Carmichael
I have taken it upon myself to do some research regarding differences between ships within STO and the canon of Star Trek, and what I feel are fundamental flaws in how some lower tier ships are presented. Flaws, which I might add, prevent these ships from having a Retrofit counterpart at Tier 5.
The ships I wish to address specifically are the Nova class and the Sabre class, and thereby, indirectly, the Excalibur / Vesper class.
For my analysis, I will be examining 4 ships built within a 2-3 year span of Trek canon, which have all been seen on screen. The ships are:
- Sovereign (2372)
- Intrepid (2370)
- Nova (2370)
- Defiant (2371)
All these ships were considered "state of the art" during the timeframe of 2370-2375, as noted in the launch dates above.
First, I will be analyzing weapon loadouts based on web available blueprints, as well as canon information available.
As we can see from the breakdown, there is very little difference in the general armament of these 4 ships. Certainly, the Nova is slightly less armed, as is the Defiant, but that is very understandable considering the size of the vessel. Vessel size determines phaser count, as the phasers are installed to provide coverage of the vessel's firing arcs, rather than to provide sheer weapon power. Torpedo tube counts are also comparable, although the Sovereign has a substantially higher number, though for what reason, we don't know. We rarely, if ever, saw multiple tubes utilized.
That being said, looking at the 4 ships in STO, it seems reasonable that the Sovereign, Intrepid and Defiant occupy Tiers 4 and 5 in game, with 6-8 weapon slots, based on the game mechanics.
However, having the Nova with only 4 weapon slots, seems contradictory. We see in both the blueprints and canon that the Intrepid and Nova classes are nearly identically armed. The Nova has only 2 fewer strips, and 1-2 fewer torpedo tubes, but as we established above, torpedo tubes were rarely if ever seen fired simultaneously.
We should also look at the T5 B'Rel in the KDF, which sets a precedent for upgrading a lower tier ship to an upper tier configuration, in that the T1 B'Rel hosts a mere 3 weapon slots, but it's T5 counterpart hosts 6 weapon slots, with no increase in size and no decrease in hull, or turn rate.
I believe, based on this analysis, that the case can be made for the Nova to recieve at the minimum, 1 additional weapon slot, located Fore, if not 2 additional weapon slots, 1 Fore and 1 Aft. This would bring the Nova's combat ability close to par with the Intrepid, as it appears to be in canon.
Now, looking at the other tangible items of "combat effectiveness" in STO, we should be examining Consoles and BOFF Stations.
As the Intrepid and the Nova are the most closely tied in combat armaments, we'll stick with them for the comparison.
While the Intrepid is certainly a larger ship than the Nova, STO has set a precedent for size having no effect on console alotment. This precedent can be seen in both the Intrepid Retrofit and the Defiant Retrofit, which both recieved increased consoles when moving from T4 to T5, without any penalty added to the ship in terms of size increase, turn speed decrease, etc.
Using that precedent, and the exact number of consoles increased on the Defiant-R and Intrepid-R, the conclusion is that the Nova could have it's consoles increased by at least 1 to 3 consoles, without a penalty on size and effectiveness. Addtionally, the T5 B'Rel has it's console count increased from 3 to 9 between T1 and T5, with no impact on size or turnrate.
With consoles and weapons covered, we now turn to Bridge Officers.
Here, we will look at the Intrepid and Nova again. The crew count of the USS Voyager was 150. The crew count for the USS Equinox was 80. Both ships were commanded by a Captain, both had a Commander as an XO, and the remaining command staff consisted of at minimum, Lieutenants.
That being said, I see no reason why the Nova would be incapable of hosting a similar accoutrement of officers as the Intrepid hosts. That being said, I understand that BOFF slots in STO are meant to reflect the capabilites of the ship, however, in a buff or retrofit to the Nova class, it is reasonable to assume that at the very least, the Nova could host a compliment of the following:
Lt. Cmdr. Sci
and still be within the parameters of being a "less capable" ship than the Intrepid, even though the Intrepid and the Nova have very few differences in terms of armaments, crew, etc.
All this being said, similar justification can be made for retrofit of the Sabre class to match the Defiant's spec. Both ships were designed at the same time period, both were designed in the efforts to "combat the Borg", both ships are comparable in size, and yet, the Defiant has a sizeable gap between it at Tier 4, and the Sabre at Tier 2.
The problem child in looking at Tier 2 vessels for Retrofit, is the Cruiser line. This is a problem because the Cruiser line seems to grow in size, exponentially from Tier 2 onward, while the Escort and Science lines remain similar in size and scope. Additionally, the Tier 2 Excalibur and Vesper, are inexplicably tied to the Constitution Refit, even though the Excalibur and Vesper were designed in the 2400's, and their only similarity with the Constitution Refit, is in the ship siloutte.
Based on the analysis I have conducted, I have reached the following conclusions:
1. There is no justifiable reason in either canon, or in STO, as to why the Nova couldn't have a T5 Retrofit, under the caveat that the T5 version would be less effective of a ship, in the vein of the T5 B'Rel.
2. There is no justifiable reason in either canon, or in STO, as to why the Sabre is locked to Tier 2, while the Defiant is at Tier 4 and 5, even though the ships are virtually identical, in size, shape, mission profile and age. The Sabre could be Retrofit to Tier 5 just as well as the Defiant.
3. If both the Nova and Sabre can be retrofit to Tier 5, based on the above analysis and conclusions, the Excalibur and Vesper could be retrofit to Tier 5 as well, with the caveat that they would not be serving in a Cruiser capacity at Tier 5 like their Galaxy and Sovereign successors, but rather as a smaller jack of all trades ship, like the T5 B'Rel. I would note however, that it is only because I feel the Excalibur and the Vesper are technologically more advanced that they should be considered for Retrofit, and should a T5 Retrofit be made, the Constitution Refit skin should not be available, reflecting their newer age and capability, rather than hindering them based on an aged and outdated vessel.
I would ask that Cryptic consider this analysis, and in evaluating the evidence, consider offering T5 Retrofits of the Tier 2 ships, in the manner suggested here, which would not only give them additional revenue, offering the ships via the C-Store, but would also give the players something that has been asked for during the majority of the time STO has been Live.