Short Version of Story
Foundry authors need ships that can feel "alien" and diverse and not look like the exact same ship other authors used before them. Making customizable alien ships only for the Foundry is expensive and probably not worth it. So we can make these ships also into player ships and sell them in lockboxes.
The Background For the Idea
One of my favorite pet ideas is an NPC vessel that Foundry authors can customize similar to Federation players or KDF players can customize their own ships. The challenge of this is that such a thing would require a tremendous amount of work and it would only really benefit Foundry authors in giving them a ship they can make aliens that feel truely alien.
So, my idea is now to fund this via the lockbox "scheme". On the one hand, lockboxes guarantee that this ship will remain rare (it would be weird if every Starfleet and KDF officer could fly around with an alien ship), on the other hand, lockboxes presumable generate money and thus help funding the game features - in this case the ship itself.
So, this "generic alien vessel" would consist of about 4 individual parts (e.g. the alien equivalent of saucer, hull, engineering section and nacelles) and maybe 3 different custom options for each of these parts. In addition, it may have multiple hull material choices (possibly, already existing materials could be re-used, if that makes any sense).
A special twist of this lockbox could be that you generally "just" unlock one costume variant for the alien vessel each, so you'd need to get lucky 3 times to have all options. To compensate, the chance for getting one of these vessels could be higher than for previous ships.
Maybe costumes as well as the special console could also drop separately and be sold or traded separately between players.
Story-wise, these ships would be ships Starfleet or the Empire has requisitioned on the free market from friendly alien races or captured from hostile aliens and refitted for their purpose.
My idea for stats is that it would be a versatile ship, similar to the BoP, but more in the middle of the spectrum of ships - something that can be flown like a Cruiser, Science Vessel or Escort depending on your build choices. A major component here would be the "alien module" that will alter the ship in a way to become closer to one of these 3 ship types. (Maybe this part of the idea isn't so great, since it makes the console mandatory.)
Weapon Slots: 4 Front, 3 Aft. Can use Dual Cannons
Console Slots: 3 Engineering, 3 Science, 3 Tactical
Device Slots: 3
Bridge Officer Slots: Universal Commander, Universal Lt.Commander, Universal Lieutenant, Universal Lieutenant
Turn Rate: 11
Shield Modifier: +0 %
Innate Modifiers: +5 to all power levels
Standard Equipment: 2 Polaron Dual Heavy Cannon, 1 Polaron Dual Beam Bank, 1 Transphasic Torpedo Launcher; 3 Polaron Beam Arrays; Regenerative Shield, Hyper-Impulse Engine, Tachyon Deflector
Special Equipment: Alien Module.
Only one of these Universal Consoles can be equipped at any time. Each drop of the ship contains one of these consoles, and these consoles only can be equipped on this ship. Optionally, the console can be equipped on any ship, but it only grants one power of its repertoire to such ships. The console can be sold separately, though it binds on equip.)
Alien Engineering Module:
This effectively turns the ship into a Cruiser-Type ship.
+5 to all Power Levels
+20 % Hull Points
+30 % Hull Resistance against Energy Weapons
Alien Energy Shockwave Generator: Generates a shockwave that lasts 5 seconds and repels and damages (energy damage) all enemies within 10 km.
Alien Science Module:
This effectively turns the ship into a Science Vessel (but without target subsystems and sensor analysis - on a ship with potentially DHCs, that seems too much or contra productive)
+5 and to Auxiliary and Shield Power
+10 to all Science Space Skills
+20 % Shields
Alien Scanning Beam: A single target in 10 km suffers a hull resistance and a significant stealth debuff, and all drains against that target are increased in magnitude. The debuff lasts 10 seconds.
Alien Tactical Module:
This effectively turns the ship into a Tactical Vessel
+5 to Weapon and Engine Power
+5 Bonus to Base Turn Rate
+10 % to all weapon damage.
Alien Sensor Mask: Similar to Battle Cloak, but animates as Mask Energy Signature and has a slightly lower stealth rating.
Obvious Critique Points "How unique will these alien craft really feel if players will also fly around with it? "
Well, it's not as good as it would be NPC only, but given the possible combinations, it should be fairly unique.
"The stats are ridiculous! Totally under/overpowered!"
Sorry about that. But I doubt the devs would use my exact ideas - if at all.
"I hate lockboxes"
So do I. But they may not be going away, so better put something in it that will benefit the game as a whole. And I think stuff that's cool for players in general and cool for Foundry authors specifically fits the bill.
"Whoa, pretty complicated idea, with all the costumes and drops and all that.."
Maybe it's too complicated indeed. The basic idea, I think, is still interesting. (Which isn't the same as feasible, unfortunately.
"Meh - I don't think people will buy lockboxes for a ship that they don't know how it will look like ,regardless the stats."
That's definitely a risk, and it may be part of the concept that may only sound good on paper but not work in practice. In that case, maybe players can really get all costumes in one go - or there could be a way to ensure that you get exactly the costume variant you want. Maybe the variants are released over time, each in a separate lockbox? Or you get to choose when you pick it up which one you get.
Lol@ completely OP stats. +20% shields? +20% hull hp? +30% resists? +10% damage? +10 Science Space skills? Seriously? Why don't you just sell a invulnerability module in lockbox and call it a day.
Read the fineprint. Or rather, the entire text, since there isn't any fineprint.
Only one console applies and only to this ship.
The bases stats of the ship have 30000 hit points. That's exactlyt he amount of hit pints a Tier 5 Escort has. A Tier 5 Cruiser has 39000 hit points or more. If you equip this console, you are effectively losing one console slot compared to other Tier 5 ships (
Tier 5 Cruisers normally have 39,000 hit points minimum as base. +20 % to a ship with 30,000 hit points base means 36,000 hit points only. Hence an additional special hull resist to compensate that difference, and the loss of an engineering console compared to another cruiser - a console that could give you something like +20% resistance to all types of damage, or +35 % to a select few.
All Science Vessels gain +20 % shields, subsystem targeting and sensor analysis. The console doesn't give all of that, since the ship, unlike science vessels, has one weapon slot more, and can also equip DHCs. It has a slightly lower turn rate though then many (but not all) Science Vessels. Also, you're compensating the loss of a science console for a Science Vessel, which gives a bonus significantly higher than +10 to some science skills.
Tier 5 Escorts have 4 tactical consoles, which can give you something like +35 % to the damage to one energy type of weapon. This ship only gets a +10 % damage bonus, but to all types of weapons.
And, I repeat, you can equip only one console, and only on the alien vessel.
But I take from this that it may go over the head of some players and the actual solution for Cryptic should probably look simpler.