In Star Trek Online players start with one of four different ships. Klingon players always start with the B’Rel Bird of Prey class ship. Federation players on the other hand get a random Light Cruiser ship: RTP Live Miranda, Centaur or Soyuz.
First, let’s talk about Federation ships. Each of the three light cruisers have identical stats. The only differences are in appearance, which can also be customized. Regardless of your class choice you can get any ship and customize it both visually and functionally however you like. Well, almost. Light cruiser, being a basic ship, has limited upgrade capability. For weapons you have only two forward slots available, and one rear weapon slot. You will start with two phazer arrays (one aft, one rear), but it is recommended to put a turret type weapon into the rear slot as soon as possible since they can fire in all directions. Light cruiser ships also have only three slots for your Bridge Officers: one for Tactical, one for Engineering and one for Science. That makes this ship very limited and I recommend you try and level up to grade 11 as soon as possible since you get to pick a new ship then.
Klingons on the other hand get only one ship, B’Rel. It’s a Bird of Prey, a very well-known type of ship from Star Trek TV series and movies. Much like its Federation counterpart B’Rel is also a ship with limited upgrade options. It does indeed pack more firepower but instead has weaker hull. The shield strength is the same between B’Rel and Light Cruiser. The most prominent difference is a much better maneuverability found in Klingon B’Rel, which enables you to almost always have your aft weapons faced at your opponents rear. By continuously firing at your enemies rear shield you will quickly burn them and be able to fire torpedoes on the exposed hull which can quickly dispose of any enemy. Since your rear side will almost never face your opponent it’s wise to equip a turret in that weapon slot since, as we already established, it can fire in a 360 degree arc. One other significant difference between the light cruiser and Klingon B’Rel ship is that B’Rel has a cloak which allows you to remain unseen until you begin firing. By using the cloak you can easily sneak behind your opponent and hit him before he even realizes what’s going on.
No matter which side you choose, both have ships of almost equal strength each with their own pros and cons. The biggest difference and the most important factor in Player vs. Player battles is the Captain — you. PvP requires not only a different set of ship equipment and Bridge Officers, but also a different set of player skills. Klingon players are typically more inclined to PvP and their core gameplay even revolves around it meaning they have a lot more experience in it than Federation players. Federation players in most cases don’t win such battles exactly because of their lack of experience. As you can see, the ship stats are nearly identical and which one is better boils down to player skills, both in game and real life skills.