This is partially a suggestion for new ship skins, and also a possible option for those that may not get the Galaxy X skin. I know no official word on the status of the Galaxy X has been made, so just consider this a suggestion/feedback thread.
A potential Galaxy X ship skin alternative could be the Niagara class ship. This ship was featured in the TNG episode "Best of Both Worlds", Part 2. It was a floating wreck in that episode, but later was listed in Star Trek Encyclopedia with a full schematic. The overal hull is a mix of two known ships, with some hybrid part that mix three ships. The Engineering section is from an Ambassador class ship, the nacelles are from the Galaxy class ship. The pylons, neck, and saucer section are a mix of Ambassador and Galaxy designs that show a progression from older to newer design. This class would be simular, but not quite as advanced as the Galaxy X. It could still be an option for those of us that would enjoy a three nacelle Tier 5 ship.
The Nebula class has been mentioned, though no official word has been made to my knowledge. I am not as interested in this class for the same reasons I do not want an Excelsior class. Both of these classes were go between designs that were generally not great sucesses. The Excelsior was not economically sound according to TNG Technical Manual. It is noted that the base hull did prove valuable in later years for other projects. The Nebula also was a go between to allow newer designs to be utilized while not quite completed. The Galaxy class saucer was ready before the engineering and neck sections. To help test the saucer design the Nebula class was made. It was hoped that this class would serve as a tactical and/or research variant. The ship saddly lacked in fire power due to energy output which was corrected in the Galaxy class design. The Nebula class was refitted and redsigned a few times after the Galaxy class had been put into production, but it never fully met expectations. Still the Nebula could be a decent T4 or T5 option, though I say more likely T4.
My only other suggestion is for those that might like a Federation Carrier. Two ship names, the 'Curry' and 'Raging Queen', are mentioned as official Fed Carrier designs. Simular to the Oberth class in looks, they had several launch bays in the saucer and engineering hull sections. Down side is that minimal energy weapons were used, and no mention of torpedoes was listed. I can only assume that these ship were support based ship, that required escorts to function. This would not make them equal to the Klingon carrier which can hold its own with ships launched. It does fit with Federation tactics though. Fed ships support each other, while klingons will work alone or in small group unless it is proven honorable. This could be an interesting Tactical/Science variant, so I still suggest it for consideration.
All three classes can be found at the Starship Schematic Database -http://www.shipschematics.net/startrek/index.php
I only suggest these ship classes due to their use in licensed CBS/Paramount material. I leave new designs up to Cryptic, though I hope they will allow players to 'comment' on designs. If the majority of players dislike a design, then Cryptic will not profit from it.
They may only be cosmetic, but how one looks in a game is just as important as what they can do. It is a social experience and allows personal connection, and if looks do not matter then why not just maike the game text only. Probably be hard to collect a monthly fee for that though.
So I hope my suggestions might spark some ideas, maybe some conversation. I do not expect these things to happen, but I look forward to what might come from them.
The Excelsior class was considered to be one of the most successful designs after the failed "transwarp" was replaced with a standard FTL drive and that ship was seen on screen more times than any other ship (Hero ships not included).
I don't know if you are quoting from the TNG technical guide but it isn't considered canon and a lot of the information in it isn't accurate.
Okay I have found another possible option for for an alternate C-Store purchaseable T5 Ship Skin so those that will never get 5 RAF might still have a cool looking ship to warp about with.
I recently was looking through my old software and came upon the 'Star Trek - Starship Creator' and 'Warp 2' update. This old program uses all the technical specs and star ship designs done up to around 2000 (2001 is the listed publish date on the discs). So there are most of our starship class favorites..... Sovereign, Galaxy, Excelsior. So I installed the program and started designing. This software uses all 'official' (information from Trek Gurus Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, Rick Sternbach, and Doug Drexler) information to allow you to build all sorts of star ship class variants. The Galaxy class can be designed to have 4 nacelles mounted on a split under/over pylon simluar to the TNG model. The overall size/mass is simular to a T5 Star Cruisers. I will break it down below.
- The Saucer is simular to the Galaxy, but has four recessed indents simular to the Noble variant saucer for the Soveriegn. An alternate is a curvy elongated trapazoid saucer that look like a mix of the oval Soveriegn and triangle like Intrepid saucer. An oval back swept mission module off the back of the saucer adds to the look. This module would house either forward and back firing torpedo tubes, or house an extra shuttle/cargo bay.
- The engineering hull and neck remain mostly the same. If the saucer mission pod is not used, an under belly oval mission pod can be mounted where the warp core and antimatter ejection port would be. This mission module is either forward/back firing torpedo tubes, or specialized sensor/secondary deflector/comm unit. Also looks rather nice.
- The over/under pylons maintain the same look as before. The nacelles are longer versions of the Galaxy X nacelles The ramsccoop is longer and a bit pointy. The nacelles do not push the ship past Warp 9.9, but rather reduce the stress and strain on the space frame during long high warp trips. Efficency is gained by split the work between the upper and lower nacelles. Also mentioned in the database was if maintence is required on a nacelle one pair can be powered down whie still maintainng moderate warp speed capacity.
The ship gains little in way of performance from this design. It would be on par with a Galaxy X, or the Soveriegn/Star Cruiser at T5. Weapons wise it had 6 Phaser Beam Arrays (upper and lower frame arrays are counted as 1 array on the saucer and pylons) , and 2 to 4 Torpedo tubes (2 in the hull, 2 in a mission module) that fire either Quantum or Photon torpedoes depending on the Threat. Fusion reactors provide nearly half the tactical power for weapons and shields, which allows the warp core to direct more power to Impulse and thrusters in a fight. Shields were still the same as listed for the standard Galaxy class. It would still not be a overly fast, or quick turning ship. Extra SIF and a double hull allow for surviablity. A fighter bay was listed, but only allowed 4 Impulse Tactical Runabouts to dock.
So as before I am merely posting this in the hopes that it will spark conversation, and maybe we might see something in game like it.
Oh and for the Excelsior fans.....
According to the database there were nearly 4 major refits to the Excelsior class. The Fourth refit was used as a testing platform for what became the Ambassador class. Also of note is that a 4 nacelle variant was made, and allowed for very long range mapping of several systems. Sounds like Cryptic might have over looked a good ship after all.