Sure this is a variant? It looks just like a stock Akira-class cruiser.
Well, one of the previous Akira I've seen had a more spherical-looking under-saucer module housing the navigational deflector.
* * *
Some hungered for a friday screenshot and they've had it. The crickets are silent now, hopefully. ^_^;
It's a beautiful picture, but my opinion that the Akira is overpresented for Star Trek Online remains. It's like eating your favorite cereals over and over - eventually, you get sick of eating them and yearn for something different.
Nice picture although I can't help but feel there is a little favoritism in showing the Akira Class. Especially since Klingon fans have been waiting well.... forever for new Klingon updates. Heh, not sure why they have been giving the Akira all the attention particularly when they seem to only have given it a Tier 2 slot position.
I've never been a fan of the Akira class. I find the Intrepid design vastly more attractive (except for its too-stubby warp nacelles).
Even so, I agree; this is quite a nice image. The dynamic lighting just keeps getting better. I'm still not sure that ship hulls are picking up enough of the color of the ambient light, but the dynamic range of lights and darks is much, much more exciting than in the early ship images -- kudos to the art team.
That said... asteroids (or planetary rings) again?
Alot of the space effects have looked good although they need to cut down on the reflect on planet surfaces. In some of the screen shots the planets are practically like a mirror with the way they reflect light. Heh, maybe the planets were entirely made of metal or were polished.