Speculation has been rampant. Okay, maybe not. There are one or two threads on the forums, but that’s about it. Of course, for the 2nd year anniversary and F2P transition, the new Enterprise, the Odyssey Class cruiser was given as a gift (I missed that one by just a few weeks). Last year, the speculation and push was for the old Ambassador class, which was the model for the Enterprise-C that showed up in the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” This was a good fit – a nostalgic ship that people appreciated but that more than likely the player base was not going to pay good money for. A win-win for everyone to have this request fulfilled. I personally appreciated it a lot since I am a huge fan of the ship and had wanted one since launch.
So I have been curious as to whether or not Cryptic would follow the same paradigm this year, and I think they will. A ship that is evocative of Trek without being very marketable to the playerbase. Other hints have abounded. A few days ago we found out that Tim Russ will be making his STO debut in the Anniversary Episode. We also know that there have been escorts and science escorts and cruiser escorts all released, but it has been awhile since we have had a pure science or cruiser vessel released. OR a science cruiser hybrid like the Nebula. People have been clamoring for the New Orleans class frigate but since it is a cruiser escort hybrid that will sell in game like hotcakes, I am excluding that from my guessing. I could be way off base on that, but I just can’t believe that Cryptic would pass over monetizing such a sought after and valuable (from a gameplay mechanics standpoint) vessel.
With all that in mind, I present to you, after some research on Memory Alpha and some other site that doesn’t want to be recognized, five possibilities for the anniversary ship (in no particular order.
While the Yeager appears to be, for all intensive purposes, more of an escort class, I consider it a possibility for two reasons. One, it gives the Voyager tie in to go along with Tim Russ’s appearance. Two, it would be hard to monetize because it is a reviled kitbash that is apparently considered ugly as sin. There are a couple of good tie-in dates as well: the anniversary is nestled between the anniversary of Yeager’s final combat mission (1/15) and his birthday (2/13).
The Sydney is also ugly. But its a good multipurpose ship that would in no way be considered overpowering. In canon it was a transport ship, and so would fit in with the aid being given to the Romulans and allow for a variety of fittings. On the other hand, this was supposedly a precursor model of the runabouts. A little wink and nod to the script and you could give this away as a small craft for the new PvP arena just added to the game. But still, this is a long shot.
A prototype for the Voyager, this also nods to Tim’s cast arrival, and it is a pure science vessel, so it fits all sorts of ways. Modeling wise it would be cheap, given the Voyager and Prometheus cues that would simply need to be edited and not built from scratch. Not to mention that the loss of Bradbury 18 months ago still stings a bit for those of us who are fans of the old school of science fiction. Let me just say this: if I were in charge of STO, this is the way I would go.
Harkening to the Nebula class a bit, this Wolf 359 kitbash would make another good science or multipurpose vehicle. While ugly, it is a nod to the Galaxy, and that’s never a bad thing for a playerbase that is very much in love with the old Ent-D.
#5. The U.S.S. Curry
AKA the Shelley-Class, as a nod to the author of Frankenstein for this obviously kitbashed ship. Still, its not all that bad, I think, and has a certain charm to it. You can see additional pictures of the model straight from its creator if you like. Another good candidate, I think, because it comes across as the Oberth’s big brother, as a science vessel, and, again, cost very little to model as a kitbash.
Of course…Cryptic may be deciding to go a whole different route – they may go back to original ships (despite the additional modeling cost) as a celebration and promotion. In fact, somebody pulled these images from one of the new missions showing some alternate ship plans. I think they are ugly as some of the ships I’ve listed here, if not more so, but beauty is often in the eye of the beholder.
In any case, I’m excited to see what Cryptic reveals, and what new ship is coming to us this year. Now I just have to go buy some more ship slots…