Most of the legitimate complaints I have heard about the patch, deal with the ship tree among other things. The way the ship tree works right now, there is no way for a pilot to make their way to the higher Tier ships without using all the previous ships long enough to reach the ship they want.
My suggestion is “Tier Tests”. Basically, create pve tests of a sort to calculate whether the player is skillfull enough with the lower tiered ship to rank up to the next tier. It would be a solo battle and the player would have to complete all the goals to win. The tests would be hard enough so that the average pilot would have trouble with them, but skilled pilots would be able to complete the test successfully.
The tests would not replace the current system of working your way up the ship tree, but would merely allow experienced pilots an alternate way to get to the ships they wanted. Since they would have to use that particular type of ship in the test, if someone wanted to get all the higher tier ships, they would have to be experienced enough with each type to pass the tests.
It’s just a thought and can definitely be improved upon, so if you have any additions to it or problems with it, please comment below.