At end game, I understand it's best to use a end game ship correct? I assumed by picking a captain ship or lower rank whatever your limiting the number of bridge officers, their rank, and consoles so in short, your bringing less to a fight.
I've read threads that sort of contradict this when suggestions are thrown out about using a older ship because the BO layout is better (fewer BOs but higher ranked). But wouldn't that mean you have less hull, stats, and consoles or have I missed something in my time away?
Is there a point where all the ships are just as viable like around captain or lower rear admiral?
If you used a t4 ship, you would have less health, consoles, etc.
Within a ship type (Escort, Cruiser, or Science) there is no captain level (T4) ships with a higher ranked bridge officer than on its successor. The c-store variants of the captain ships have an extra ensign bridge officer slots, but they are still captain level T4 stats with bridge officer layouts that are copied from T5 ships.
Now Rear Admiral ships can be just as useable as Vice Admiral ships, but that is because they are the same tier of ship. Tier 5.
The only real reason to use a ship lower than T5 is to make things more challenging.
Of course none of this applies to shuttle missions, which do require ships classified as shuttle craft.
So T5 and 5.5 are both just as capable for end game with the same stats, they just shuffle around the BO and consoles a bit? T5.5 is not clearly better - just alternative. I think the threads were confusing me a bit as I thought they were referring to T4 vs T5 when they most likely discussing T5 vs T5.5.
For the most part yes 5 and and 5.5 can be viewed as alternatives. All T5 and 5.5 ships within a category (so far) have the same number of weapons, and same number of console slots. And all T5/5.5 ships follow the pattern of 1 Commander, 1 Lt Commander, 2 Lieutenants, and 1 Ensign. The .5's all come with special consoles, which are removable if you do not want that power. Without a console the ship has the same number of console slots as the T5 ships.
There will be some differences in stats at times depending on some of the other factors on the ships. For example the T5 Recon science vessel has the same health as the T5.5 Long Range Science Refit. They other T5/5.5 science ships have more health, but they pay for it with slower turn rates.