Okay I get these moments of clarity when I wake up. It feels like my brain was on overdrive while I slept and when I awake I get these outlandish ideas that I think will work, but only after writing them down and sharing do I find out if the idea was good or just the residual sleepiness talking.
In the past I've seen several surveys regarding desired ships. Star Trek Online from it's beginning has always been a work in progress. So to add a ship whose dynamics haven't been created yet isn't out the question if the concept is sound and players register genuine interest.
So enough build up, heres' the idea. I would like to pilot a Borg Sphere. I suppose in theory a Borg Cube could be possible, but a Borg Sphere makes more sense to me based on the playing dynamics I wish to propose. Which is essentially a group required vehicle. Meaning if you own the ship you have to pick your role via the 5 Borg Interfaces located on the bridge of the ship at the center of the vehicle. If you opt to pilot the ship, you can navigate like normally, but you do not have any command capabilities just movement.
When you invite 2 to 4 players to join your ship they have to choose a Borg Interface which of course looks like those standing beds we often see on Borg vehicles. When you click the interface you will now see a class based view. The command and navigator Interfaces do not involve your class abilities. Everyone gets the navigators view screen, but you also get a display that work as a sort of mini game allotting you to use your player buffs and receive commands from the command interface which will further enhance your game.
The interfaces are labeled as such: Tactical, Science, Engineering, Navigation and Command. Once again if you own the ship you could pilot like any other ship but you wouldn't be able to fire weapons or use buffs. If you are lacking a Science Officer in your group, then you don't get to use any science buffs for your ship, but you will still be able to operate the ship. The core concept of this vehicle is cooperative play.
The Borg Command Interface is the bridge with main view screen which shows the navigators view. There are 4 displays that correlate to your navigation, tactical, science and engineering stations. Each screen will display the officer's buffs that are at your disposal.
The Borg Navigation Interface is the very similar to our normal outside the ship view of our ship and surrounding area. But your abilities have been honed down to to speed direction and other navigation buffs only. When the Command gives you a command and you perform it, you get automated buffs that enhance your actions. If you fail to do so in 5 seconds you get an anti-buff.
The Borg Tactical display is a view screen that shows the targets. They are color coded by optimal target indicators such as weakened shields, The player on the Command Interface will offer you suggested targets and if you hit them within 5 seconds you get a bonus. Miss the time limit and you of course get a negative damage modifiier.
The Engineering and Science get the same buffs and anti-buffs when we follow the players commands, but that doesn't mean you can't impose you're own strategies, but you'll have to cope with the negative modifiers.
Now watching a static display of your section may seem boring, but if your treat your role as a mini game I think it could still be entertaining. Also, when the ship is out-of-combat, you can leave your station and switch with any of the other officers. However if you're a tactical officer using a engineering tactical display you only get the basic ship buffs and cannot add the buffs a normal Tactical officer would bring to the role. Also if a level 20 tactical officer takes up the role, he will lack the buffs normally afforded a level 50 tactical player, but they will still have full access to the ships basic tactical buffs.
So I believe this concept gives a level of Star Trek realism that we've been missing in the game so far, It also offers a dynamic that could possible translate eventually to Federation, Klingon, and Romulan command ships as well as Fleet ships.
If I had to guess, I think my sleepy time brain picked this idea up from Star Wars Galaxies. They had large craft you could only navigate with no weapons interface. You had to invite players to your deck to take up a gunner position in order to attack anything. If players opted to be on your port side, you'd have to compensate by constantly moving your ship with the port side facing the enemy. But if no one was covering your aft section you'd be taken out pretty fast. I was part of a few guild events and sitting at gunner's station for an hour was a bit tiring, but still kind of cool on a cooperative play aspect. We did blockade runs and planet invasions and such and that was actually a lot of fun.
I think the Command Interface will be the most popular since it will feel like you're on the bridge commanding the ship, but when players don't follow through with your commands I'm certain the role could get frustrating; especially when each of your displays give you feedback of what isn't being done and of course the main viewer will show you the fruits of your labors, good or bad. The Navigation Interface has the potential of getting you yelled at; especially if someone is attempting to line up a particular strategy and you're never facing in the right direction. So any ideas have the possibility of being a total flop and I see that with this concept.
I'm also not sure is how this works with PVE or if it even should be accessible for current PVE missions. Obviously any mission with 5 players should be able to take part, but I do not believe a Borg Sphere should be any more powerful that any current carriers in the game. This is essentially what the Borg Sphere would represent; a carrier where you click your commands and its up to your fellow players to comply at your peril. I think the only edge this vehicle would have are the cooperative buffs which has the potential of creating some epic situations. Anyhow, hope you at least enjoyed the concept regardless of its actual practicalities.