Now, with that in mind, do you think a Nova's dinky little warpcore could recharge phasers as rapidly as an Intrepid's?
I do believe the argument can be made, at least in the "modern" generation starships. Warp Core size, became relatively meaningless, once the Defiant uncloaked off the DS9 docking ring.
To an extent, yes, you would need a larger warp core to power massive yield phasers like would be mounted aboard a Sovereign or Galaxy. There is no disputing that.
But, the difference in Voyager's warp core size and the Equinox's warp core size, I would chalk up more to space efficiency, and my theory is somewhat backed up by the Defiant. If you look at the Defiant's warp core, it's only 2-3 decks tall, fairly squat and wide. Meanwhile, Voyager's warp core is tall and slender.
Yet, both ships (according to Cryptic and CBS) are "equal" in they both appear in Tier 4, and both appear in Tier 5, with equal weapon slots.
To date, I have not seen a convincing argument in these forums, to suggest that there is anything "special" about the Defiant's warp core, that it could only be used in the Defiant class ships, and why a similar core couldn't be used in the retrofit of a Nova class ship.
Another point to consider, if we assume a Nova can be dragged up to that standard, the same technology would be applicable to the Intrepid as well, bear in mind the Intrepid's not more advanced, it's just got more of what's there, as they're roughly contemorary. Thus if you improve the Nova by 50% to reach Intrepid standard (arbitary number), you could improve the rather larger Intrepid by the same ammount, logically, the disparity between the two would likely remain the same. This applies more to small ships than ships past a certain size, since I think past a point you can fit anything into a ship.
To this, I somewhat agree. However, the Intrepid has already had this done, in the form of the Bellephron, and recieved it's upgrades in consoles, BOFF stations, etc.
If anything, I would go so far as to say that the Bellephron represents the max potential for a small-mid sized ship, and the Nova, using similar technology upgrades, as well as advantages developed in the Defiant class, could easily close the gap on the Intrepid.
But, as you will note, in my conclusion on this matter, I did make the caveat that a retrofit Nova would be slightly less effective than an Intrepid, and reflected as much in my BOFF loadout, and in my suggestions regarding consoles, hull, etc.
I don't intend for a Retrofit Nova to be EXACTLY the same as an Intrepid, just less of a gap in difference.
The B'rel is anomolous and there was no real explaination for it's existance, I will admit this freely. However, the Bird of Prey has been many, many different strengths and sizes in it's long career and is possibly the least consistant ship in all of Star Trek, as such, it's also impossible to do "wrong" so to speak. I'll also point out that unless anyone has hoarded their tier 1 B'rel from way back in the day, they no longer exist in game due to the KDF starting at commander, so in essense, the whole "it's the same ship as the tier 1 B'rel" has been effectively retconned out of the game.
It might have been retconned, but it certainly isn't forgotten.
And I might add, it still represents a good template for T5 ships that are small in size.
Personally, I'd like to see the T2 ships get turned into T5 B'Rel style ships, with all the flexibility of Universal stations and such.
It would give some added life to fan favorites like the Nova, without unbalancing against the Sovereign, Galaxy, Odyssey, Defiant, Prometheus and all others.
That was the general point of my analysis, that the "modern" ships in T2, are closer in capability to some of the T4 and T5 ships, than the current Tier structure represents. Not equal, but certainly not as much disparity either.