I would hope that there could be away to make the lower tier ships viable at higher levels, even with out a major refit.
For example, the Defiant and Nova could get a major evasion bonus and the Galaxy could have extra hull points. The Olympic could get a massive shield boost and the heavy cruiser could get a bonus when healing allies.
This would allow lower tier ships to fit into niche roles during endgame or PvP.
Granted a bit of refitting might be necessary once you hit RA but it should be practical (not just possible) to actually fly one of these ships all the way to RA5 with out having to refit them every level.
That's my idea. Basically I don't want them refitted so they're just like their end game counterparts. I want there to have advantages and disadvantages to flying them, I don't want them to become ascetic choices.
God I wish Cryptic would do this. So many awesome ship designs are practically never seen because of them being in the lower tiers. I really, really hope that the devs will consider this in coming updates. I know for a fact I and most people I know would sink credits into it!
Your idea of using the token for ship class level upgrades for new or upgraded current ship is a good idea. I also think that if u use the token to get the new design u should then be able to use merit and credits to upgrade/refit the lower tier designs. This will make a good sink for them since they aren't being used for much now anyhow.
The Miranda is, for alot of us raised on the TOS movies, the second most iconic design in trek. The connie would be first. there are ways to make the upgrading tiers work even for this ship. seems to me a good upgrade would be the following
as for powers, give it the same BO positions as a current assault cruiser. it certainly wouldn't be as powerful as a sovereign BUT would still be viable for RA5 content (maybe)
The Miranda is my favorite ship and I would love to be able to use it at endgame. what I think people are missing is perspective as far as cannon goes. The ships represented at the different tiers are already out of whack. in cannon the Miranda as of DS9 was still a useful front line light cruiser and was deployed on very important tasks regularly during the dominion war.
Just seems to me that the current distribution of ships throughout the tiers is pretty random (Akira is a cruiser after all not an escort) and wasn't very well thought out. and while it is fine as a way of offering people new ships as they level I feel that forcing people to upgrade ships arbitrarily and offering NO option to keep your current and upgrade it is the wrong way to go.
Seems as though a lot of people are getting onto this bandwagon of begging to only be allowed to upgrade T4 ships into T5. why limit our options? if we are going to revamp the system lets do it all the way and not beg for crumbs.