I was looking for a way to increase the useful life of old ships.
Instead of refitting ships and increasing slots and weapons why not give Captains a different way of nominating Boffs and assignments.
I suggest that instead of giving ships higher up higher ranking Boffs capabilities, give the Captain themselves a limit on what staff they have under their command.
This would mean for example:
Lieutenants would get all Ensign slots regardless of what ship they're flying (this would make it easier to include extra ships at this tier)
Lt. Commanders would get 1 Lt. under their command and the rest as Ensigns. Whether this Lt would be Tac/Eng/Sci is up to the Captain.
Commanders would get 1 Lt. Commander Boff, 2 Lt. Boffs and the rest Ensigns.
And so on for all the ranks, with Admirals being able to have 1 Commander, 1 Lt. Commander, 2 Lieutenants, 1 Ensign assignments.
This would lead to many more combinations of ship powers.
Included in these might be a Lt. Commander Tactical Officer flying a Science ship with the engineer slot as Lt, but still have 1 Tac and 2 Science.
It would also mean
A Captain can command their Miranda, with a Commander and 2 Lt. Commander Boff Slots, but only 1 each of Tac/Eng/Sci
A Captain can go back and fly their Constitution with a Commander, 3 Lt. Commander slots, but with any of those in 2 engineer, 1 tac and 1 sci slot. Hope that makes sense.
I do have a problem with this though:
Would this be a total restriction, for example would a Captain be only able to have 1 Commander. If this is the case, would VA get a single extra rank (eg: 1 or 2xCmdr, 1 or 2xLt.Cmdr, 2 or 3xLt.) That solution would help with potentially higher ranks than VA.
Or would that Captain still be able to have as many Commanders as they wish and then nominate which slots are commander/lt. commander/lt. etc? This would be higher learning curve. How often would you be able to change them etc? Could possibly be annoying in PvP if someone is constantly changing their Boffs around, although this can happen now if you want to micromanage in between red alerts.
Combined with the above ideas ships could be given more specific abilities which make them more balanced. I don't want Mirandas to be able to be equal to a Sovereign. I just want them to be a viable part of a team and distinguish them more from each other. At the moment things like turning rates, shields, hull and speed aren't hugely different between the different tiers of escorts for example. Escorts are much smaller, but not much more maneuverable than Heavy Escorts. Theres +10 Inertia and +1deg/second turning rate. This isn't very substantial.
Other abilities might just be numbers like hull/shields etc but actual differences in capabilities like bigger cargo capacities in Cruisers compared to Escorts. Being able to store more anomaly data in Science ships or do (limted?) research there. There are many suggestions in other posts about this though, sure you can find them.
All of these would serve to balance it a bit more and because different ships would have abilities that even some higher tier ships wouldn't have would mean that there is more variety, especially in fleet events/larger pvp.
Hope this all makes sense. This is all opinion and suggestion, so if anyone would like to analyse, criticise or suggest anything please do.
To continue this i have this:
I think a possible idea to discourage people from upgrading ships straight away would be the use of merit points to get your new ship when you've been promoted. This would delay people from getting it straight away if they've chosen to improve their Boff skills etc. It would encourage people to get the most of their current ships too, and get more use of out merit points.
Remember you can always put higher Mk modules on to improve a ship.
Refits should be of your existing ships if you have them, which would reduce the cost. Seems odd to have an original defiant and a refit at the same time. Plus remember ships are scarce in this time of war, even ancient Mirandas, Constitutions and Romulan Warbirds are being taken out of mothballs.
Maybe not, but wouldn't that make programing for this tough, they'd have to figure for every class ship/every officer rank/every power possible for every officer/and every special power for certain ships and officers...the possible combination's would be huge to figure if they left all those combination's be possible . Might not be so bad but too me it seemed like it could be a problem.