One of the biggest issues was deciding the ship classes for each of the ships to fall into. Obviously, the Federation ship needed to be an Escort and the Romulans had the advantage of the anything-goes Warbirds, but it wasn’t immediately obvious whether the Klingon ship should be a Raptor or a Bird-of-Prey. For more details on the design process and the cross-faction differences for all three ships, check out the full diary.
Star Trek Online are all based around making players feel like that piloting specialization was a good expenditure of time and effort. Also being cool ships in their own rights, obviously. So how do you design a new pilot ship? We’re not going to speculate because we don’t have to; the latest development diary on the official site outlines how pilot ships went from a concept to a reality.
Source: Making of the pilot ships