I have always had an idea of how the game could Evolve, once a player reaches lieutenant they can choose ANY starship they want, buyt that ship would be rank according, and rank up with them e.g. BO slots, Console and Weapon slots etc
With the possible introduction of Utopia Planitia Captains can modify their ships accordingly, the ship rankings would be the same Tactical Engineering and Science but Captains can have greater control over them
for example, if a Lieutenant went for a Defiant, as they ranked up they went to Utopia Planitia yards and modified their consoles, 1 science, 4 tactical 4 engineering
Each vessels weapons could stay the same rank according and each vessel e.g. if it Tactical MUST have a minimum of 3 tactical console slots and other according personnel.
Please post opinions/questions on this idea as it is theoretical but i believe would draw a wider STO audience
I, for one, think it's a splendid idea to upgrade the ships this way. I've read some similar musings on the topic here and people seem to poo poo the idea because of game balance. But I think that they're just assuming that there wouldn't be restrictions and you would be able to upgrade your forward weapon slots to some grotesque number.
At any rate, I think your idea is swell. That people would be able to have some modability in what their ship can do while sticking to the restrictions of whatever class they've chosen to play is super interesting. I think that many people will still object to the idea because of what they perceive to be balance in PvP. Essentially though, they are arguing for predictability. They want to know exactly what they're facing when they see it rather than having to adjust their own strategy for the skills and abilities of the individual behind the ship. I think it would make the game more challenging and more interesting. I also like the idea of being able to mold something to be exactly (or at least nearly so) the way I want it to be.
I suggested in another thread the idea of having a points system (much the same as the skill tree) to expend on our ships. Every time you rank up, you'd be able to outfit your ship with something new. But the limitations of that would be based on how you choose to allocate the points. For instance, more weapon slots would probably need to be more expensive than more console slots. And obviously there should be a cap for what you can do. Across the board caps based on character class, not caps based on ship design.
The real thing that this would have to do, though, is open up the game to using more systems. Because there are not really many combinations of the way that people would be able to put together by building their own vessel under the current system. This could be with engines of different sorts, all of them with their various pluses and minuses. For instance, a conventional warp core is a cleaner, more efficient engine and therefore able to sustain maximum speeds for longer and sustain shorter cool-down periods; while a coaxial drive propels the ship at a 150% the velocity of the conventional drive but has twice the cool-down. You can purchase upgrades to these systems from vendors on different stations, just like you can purchase impulse drives now, but your ship has to be outfitted to use them by Utopia Planitia. Conceivably, you could have both on your ship but you'd have to pay tons of ship respec points in order to get the additional drive, meaning that you'd sacrifice weapons, shields, consoles, etc.
Another place for modability would be to add a special offensive or defensive item slot that's purchasable. These could be fun things such as an expanding sphere generator (from the old Starfleet Battles board game) or a grappler device or a permanent fighter bay with souped up fighters that you'd have to pay to replace if they're destroyed but that have a considerably better shot at surviving a battle than the scorpion fighters that are currently in the game have. Or maybe even some kind of cool armor like we saw in the finale of Voyager.
Tactical players could have up to ten weapons slots, two special systems (like the ESG or grappler) and can only use three engine slots and six console slots. Engineering players could have up to six engine systems, three special systems, and eight weapons slots, and only six console slots. Science players could have up to ten console slots, four engine slots, seven weapons slots, and only one special system that must be defensive in nature. Players would have to upgrade the consoles slots according to their class. They would always have to have a greater or equal number of their class console. (IE - Tactical players could have two tactical consoles and one of each of the others but could not have two of either the engineering or science consoles and only one tactical console.)
This is one option for a direction. The argument against it would be that we get the modability through the choices we make in our purchases from the vendors. In this case, I'd say let's have the ability to take a ship with six weapon slots (three each fore and aft) and move one of them forward. Or even better yet, put one on each side of the ship. Again, it would eliminate the safety of seeing a ship and knowing exactly what it can do. But I say bring it on.