There are a couple things about the ships in game and how they are aligned in the Tier format that frustrates me. 1st, the constant changing of ships and the inability to keep my favorite ship for my whole career. 2nd, why do BOffs control my ships abilities?
I know it's been suggested a thousand times and will likely get suggested a thousand more and that is because it makes sense. Of the type of ships we have in game currently only 4 have service from the 23rd century and almost all the rest initiated service around 2370. The only exceptions are the Cryptic designs and the NX.
Light Cruisers, Miranda (2280) and Centaur (2370) are more than capable of service in the Tier 5 role as in canon they were still in service. While the Argument remains verses a Sovereign, it would not be an optimal engagement, however that is not to say that a Miranda could not find the chinks in the armor to win the day. Reference Picard vs Riker, Galaxy vs Constellation. TNG: "Peak Performance"
However, the way that the tiers are set is a defining line between ship makes and this in and of itself is good. But if we make all ships essentially T5 from the start then getting to you personal favorite becomes a goal for play. We know that all ships serve a function and most ships are well armed and kept up to date with refits. Why is this not so in game?
What I propose is that ships have set hard points for weapons. Ships be given special function but your BOffs are simply improvement tools to increase overall effectiveness for your ship.
Ships would essentially stay as they are currently with turn, inertia and crew(Repair Efficiency). The number of weapon systems should change as well as making them by type. (Energy or Launcher) Hull should be tweaked a bit to bring all ships more on par with each other but still defining lines based on size and functions. BOff Slots would not play a factor into what powers you slot, however, the ranks of your BOffs increase the Skill level. Ship Abilities would be the powers you slot for your ship to function(current BOff role.) The way I see abilities working out is that when you slot a skill you get it at rank 1. The ship type makes it rank 2. Thus escorts would get Rank 2 Tactical abilities while Cruisers get Rank 2 Engineering abilities. Then by adding a commander ranked BOff to a station increases your abilities again. I would have this tied into the upcoming Department heads.
Separation of type of ship functions should be key to the Department heads. While Beam Fire at Will would be a weapons officer ability Tactical Team would be a Security ability. Then change BOff skills to something more like the captain. Kits for ground skills and skills that increase space abilities. Then as you assign your ships chain of command you are increasing its effectiveness. This could all be achieved through the DOff system setup and department heads.
Hulls would need to be tweaked a bit for the starter and low level ships. There should always be a payoff with the ships. A smaller hull rating improves mobility. This means better defence efficiency. However, less hull means less weapon hard points and less crew (Repair Efficiency.) Every Ship should have access to 9 console slots. These consoles are set by a ship function selector. Selecting a Combat role for your ship would set it to have 4 Tactical Console slots While a research function would set it to 4 Science Stations. This would also be a factor in active ship abilities as well. So Combat role sets you with more Tactical abilities while a research function sets more Science.
Weapons get a big change. Ships would have hard points for weapon systems. This means that Only an energy weapon can fit into an energy weapon slot and a launcher goes into a launcher slot.
Light Cruisers: 3 Fore and 1 aft energy weapons and 1 Fore and 1 Aft launcher weapon system.
(LtC) Cruisers: 3 Fore and 3 Aft energy weapons and 2 Fore and 1 Aft launcher system.
Assault Cruisers: 4 Fore and 4 Aft energy weapons and 3 Fore and 2 Aft launcher systems.
(I took weapon sytems from Memory Alpha and halfed) http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Starship_classification
While this may sound like the obvious advantage is to the higher ranked ship 2 key things balance this. Ship Size (maneuverability=defense) and system energy drain.
This is also an area I would modify. Instead of each weapon draining 10 power when it is fired and resetting, such that if weapon power was set at 100 it would take 10 energy weapons before one deals 0 damage. What I would suggest that the abilities you use drains power from your subsystems.
Certain abilities would cost energy. Attack Patterns and evasive maneuvers cost engine power. Extend Shields and transfer shield cost shield energy. Gravity Well or Tractor Beam cost Auxiliary power. Weapons cost power too. Energy recharge should be something like 1/sec (normalized.) Cool downs would be set to offset the drain on the system. Emergency Power to "X" would reset your power level in the type you use as well as boosting the system for a short period (current.) So I see that I am overusing my Aux system and power is low I use an EPtA and I reset my power possibly at a slight cost to other systems.
Efficiency would increase the recharge and/or decrease power drains on the systems. Setting your Power levels will further determine your role and effectiveness of the system being used. Energy weapons would drain 2 energy each while launchers use 5 energy each use. Additionally the abilities that we have, most would cost you energy to use from one (or more) of the four subsystems.
I know many feel very committed to being able to fly their favorite ship without being gimped trying to compete at end game. And although this does not mean that a Miranda would be an equal match against a Sovereign, it would give a Miranda the right to be competative.
Additionally this opens up all the ships on the Klingon side to give more variation in models and customization with those models.
Sorry if this seems like a WoT but hopefully you can read and understand my view on this.
I would actually prefer having a holographic skin that you can put on your ship. Kind of like those latinum bar rewards. The problem is that a Light Cruiser can never do as much a Star Cruiser. Weapons and other equipment take space. A Light Cruiser would have only room for essential equipment while a Star Cruiser has room for the equipment necessary for Rear and Vice Admirals like fully equipped science labs.
Didn't Dhstahl say something about a console that would level as you do allowing you to place it in a lower tier ship and confer the bonuses of you rank to a lower tier ship. I couldn't find it but I could of swore I saw it somewhere. What your proposing is a total revamp of our current system. While I understand it and would love to see it I don't think they are going to scrap what we already have in favor for something completely different. But lets face it I have been wrong many many times and I could very well be wrong again. I love my Akira I would be ecstatic if it were viable at T5.
With pools and stuff. working from the current system simply leaves not enough wiggle room - as is evident by the power interactions we have currently (aka it sucks).
Even more importantly since many powers and weapon damage is directly affected by powerlevels, adding a bunch of stuff that messes with power levels on a rapid pace simply is detrimental to the gameplay.
Heck, i'm all for "manabars" if you wanna call them that.
Limited healing, limited spike damage, limited aux stuff....
So even if your team is good and you are rolling on you still have to be prepared for fatigue setting in.... giving the other guys a comeback chance perhaps....
+ introduces the whole attrition thing to the gameplay....
The question I keep asking myself is, "Would any lower-tier ship be befitting of an Admiral?"
During peacetime, most navies (and the Federation) designate one "flagship" as the "pride of the fleet", so to speak, since most Admirals only see the inside of a ship in wartime. In Star Trek, this role is usually filled by the Enterprise.
In wartime, however, when an Admiral or Flag Officer boards a ship, that ship becomes a flagship, which usually lead ship groups captained by Captains.
So if I were an Admiral of the Federation, leading a group of ships in wartime, would I want my flagship to be a Centaur-class? Almost certainly not. I'd want to be in a Sovereign-class, or a Prometheus-class ship.
Certainly, some ships fit a refit role well (like the Defiant class), presumably for Flag Officers to lead Special Operations. There are other ships, however, like the Centaur class, that are simply out-performed by almost any other ship in the fleet, and therefor not fit to be a flagship.
Would Nimitz have lead the Pacific Campaign from a frigate or PT boat? Nope.
That's my 2 ECs. Of course, having been in the military, I'm biased by my experiences.
Meh...personally I think it is silly to put a Miranda in T5, but due to low budgets the series used old ships in "modern" timelines, so from a "canon" perspective you probably could beat a Sovereign with a Miranda. It's stupid, but that's what the shows did whenever they were too rushed/lazy/poor to make new models.
From a "does it make sense?" standpoint, if Miranda's and Excelsiors were actually competitive then why would Starfleet keep making new ship frames?
If you take away the "story" elements though, newer ships are always superior, even in the series. When the Defiant fought that Excelsior there was a plot point to be made. When Picard fought Riker, there was a plot point to be made. Everyone in the episode knew the older ship was outclassed.
(Just like, when the plot point is 'this ship is badass' you see the Defiant wiping out four or five top end cruisers at a time, then the next episode when the plot point is *oh noes!* you see it get shot up by one or two Dominion attack ships.)
I'd wouldn't mind seeing things like the Akira be made into T5 and limit it to that, but honestly when there are already BoPs and Execlsiors and ancient Vulcan ships in T5 there isn't any reason to limit anything else. Go nuts, I'll just die a little inside every time I see them blow up a Star Cruiser.