So, Star Trek Online has changed hands again, and there's a trailer out for the newest version, which has dropped a lot of the ideas from previous incarnations, including the silly New Modern FPS uniforms. Which I did think were dumb, although certain boys thought they were kind of cool.
Supposedly, they've also dropped the idea of player-crewed ships. Instead, everyone is a captain. Not totally sure how that works, since the trailer released shows landing parties and on-bridge combat, so you obviously have a crew of some sort. Do you control them all together, like in Sword of the New World? Do they just vaguely follow you around being friendly NPCs?
One possibility I thought of, although I doubt they'll do it this way, is that you start with a tiny, tiny ship and just your commander (not a captain yet). As you do quests and level up, you recruit more crew. You design these new crewmembers just as you designed your captain character, although with different skills for different roles, obviously, and assign them a name and a background. As you go on more quests, you may find that you see a quest that requires character skills that aren't currently in your crew. At which point you could request a transfer and trade one of your crew members for some other player's crew member, or some generic NPCs as well.
In this way, characters created by players get passed around and develop their own unique histories and service records to fill out the world. You might someday manage to recruit your character back again, newly upgraded!
... Of course, the actual game looks like it's nothing but Combat Combat Combat (at least, that's all they promote in the sales text) so varied skills will be completely useless and the game will feel nothing like Star Trek and be boring. :)