I hope your going to read this cryptic cause this could be really useful inspiration.
Ok, so Star Trek online is set in the year 2409 right, that's 30 years after the events of Nemesis. That's pretty much the difference between the Enterprise C being constructed and Voyager being constructed. So why is it that STO's Federation looks like it's still set in the 24th century.
Come on Cryptic, up your game!
Now don't get me mistaken, the Klingon side I don't have too many quarrels over because their ship designs stay almost the same decades later, and so many new Klingon ships have been developed that look friggin awesome that have never before been seen in the films and series so they already look like they belong in the 25th century. The federation however has a very expressive design to their ships and so the designs change and become more advanced every decade. Take the Enterprise D as an example to Voyager and the Enterprise E; they were all constructed within a decade of each other in the years 2362, 2371 and 2372 yet they look so different to each other.
STO however has left behind the 24th Century and a continuing trend in modernizing the federation starships is by making them more sleeker more or less; and because Cryptic wanted players to be able to customize the looks of their ships they created sister classes to existing designs such as the Sabre, Intrepid and Galaxy classes.
So why don't these newly developed classes of ships look more sleek or more advanced. The Sabre class's sister designs I don't have a problem with. The Intrepid however, what were you thinking? After Voyager discovered the Slipstream drive and it was the first to test it out, you'd think they would create a much more sleek design to work with the next generations of starfleet's slipstream drives. The Cochrane however looks like an ugly whale which can't even exceed warp 9, let alone use slipstream; and the discovery, while it fits the advanced view it just doesn't look that futuristic or federation for a ship designed in the 2400s with slipstream tech.
The galaxy class's sister designs have also never before been seen in the TV or film series so you would expect them to be futuristic. Disappointment again from the developers at Cryptic. They pretty much copied the design and changed very little parameters of the original design and kept its sister designs looking like mid 24th century explorers.
Now I know that many old ships such as the Excelsior have been in service for over a century, a bit like the Ambassador and not so much the Miranda but in STO there are way too many 'old' ships active. It's alright to have one class looking like its a mid 24th century ship in a category such as a reconnaissance category, but having three ships in a category which look like they belong in the mid 24th century such as the cruiser category is not a good look.
The attempts at creating 25th century refits do look relatively good, but there are only a handful of them, mostly I believe because it's only the dawn of the 25th century. What STO needs though is ships that look like they were designed at the end of the 24th century, the very end that is, not whole categories of ships such as the heavy escort, reconnaissance and science vessel categories.
While it has been great for players to use the multi-mission Vesta class and her sister designs; it was a seriously late add-on to the game. The first Vesta class starship was constructed around the time of nemesis, 30 years before STO. It was designed solely for the testing of slipstream technology so why does it only have the ability to make its turn rate 4 times faster in slipstream and nothing else 30 years later? At least have it so it's in slipstream for a minute or decrease its recharge to 30 seconds, something like that.
The vesta is also a ship ahead of its time, meaning its design and technology is before its prime time. You can tell because it is way too advanced for a ship designed a decade after the Enterprise E. For example compare the Enterprise E to its precursor ship the Enterprise D. Relatively good advancement in design, but not extreme. Now this isn't a problem because things like this have happened many times before in human history. What the problem is, is that it is the only ship that looks like it belongs in the 25th century. Extremely sleek, advanced looking with a brilliant paint job. Designed to grab the attention of a trekkie. This, along with the current white refits is almost exactly what the 25th century star ships should look like for the fed.
Now if I have angered the STO team, fans or trolls, I apologize cause this was not what I intended to do. STO needs more of a futuristic theme to it, yet retain some of its originality. Divide the ships perhaps to be TNG themed, while the other half be proper futuristic themed around 2409. It isn't difficult either. The tng ships are already there. The inspiration for future designs is on the internet. For example here are some inspiring designs I found. Reload them if they don't work cause they seem to have a dodgy server:
Hopefully these ships should provide some insight on what future 24/25th century ships should look like. I don't expect any of these to go into the game, but it would be awesome if similar ships appeared around season 9 or something.