A Ship leveling system/ mixing and matching parts.
I think it that just as you can mix and match your pirate with different pieces of clothing and level them up to become stronger, i think it should be the same for your ship.
You could mix and match parts such as sails, armor, rudders and other things to equip your ship with without having to worry about certain requirements such as place of origin. For example, outfit your monquistan ship with royal navy armor or sails. You know as i said, mix and match parts.
I love my bison galleon and wish i didn't have to switch to a new ship every time it proved to not be strong enough against stronger ships.
I also thing that leveling up your ship can help in broadside combat. You could also give your ship tune ups such as hull integrity, turn speed, durability, and other things just as your do your pirate or companions.
Re: A Ship leveling system/ mixing and matching parts.
Actually the system we have now is a lot better than it was about 2 to 3 updates back. Back then, you not only had to be concerned about the type of Ship (Raft, Pirate, Monquistan, Bison, etc.) but also about the style of Ship (Raft, Skiff, Frigate, Galleon). Also, things like Anchors, Cannons, Horns, and Wheels were related to the type of Ship and couldn't be used on just any Ship.
As it stands now, enough Gold can be obtained in quests or fights (either Land or Ship) for new Ships and Equipment and don't forget the new Companion orders for Plunderin' (which brings Gold in).
I make sure that my Ships are outfitted the best possible before I spend Gold on Housing Items or any Equipment with the exception of Weapons since, at the moment, we can't buy much (if any) equipment with either Powers or Talents at the Bazaar. And, because Ships cannot be traded to other Pirates (the ones on your account), I won't be spending Crowns on them nor make the Ship the reason for buying a Pack. We always seem to need a better Ship when we get to the next Skyway and/or World.
Part of the challenge in Pirate101 is to maximize your resources and that includes how to buy and outfit your Ships. Having all parts be interchangeable would not be realistic (a Bison Sail on a Pirate Ship - it wouldn't fit). Also, the new Ships which can take more damage need the better parts to function at their top level.
Now, maybe this could be a new type of stitching where you could take the part for the newer ships (the more powerful one) and stitch it to a lower part (ie Royal Navy Armor stitched to Monquistan Armor) or Ship. That way it would look like the old Part/Ship but act like the new one. What about this KI?