<I originally posted this in "General Gameplay" and I realized I should have probably posted it in "Combat" so this is a crosspost, and for that I apologize. If a mod could combine the threads into this one that's probably a good idea. http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?t=132542>
Something that's been kind of bugging me about STO is that there's not really any incentive to form a team. So I was thinking about why teams get formed in other MMOs, and it occured to me that one main reason is for team heals and buffs.
If each class got a few team-wide special abilities, it would really encourage people to form teams and create more of a sense of playing an MMO with other people.
Potential ideas for team buffs:
Team shield heal
Team feedback pulse (whole team gets feedback pulse for a short duration)
Wideband Jam Sensors (enemy can't target anyone on the team)
Shield network (damage to any team member is rerouted to the team member with the highest shield strength)
Team hull heal
Shield Polarity Network (reverse shield polarity for the whole team, short duration)
Energy Modulation Network (directed energy modulation for the whole team)
Attack formation Alpha (like attack pattern, but gives the bonuses to the team)
Attack formation Beta
Attack formation Delta
Attack formation Omega
These are just a few off-the-cuff ideas based on existing powers. Of course, giving us some tougher challenges where coordination like this becomes important would also be required to make anyone care about this sort of thing (the point sibbwolf raised).
I'm all for better group mechanics. Right now i haven't ran across any open group that even attempts to coordinate with each other. It's like your doing the mission solo while other ships happen to be killing the same things you are.
Part of it is that the game is a bit too easy, and part of it is poor group mechanics.
If you get in an instance form the team. Most people appear to be too lazy to do so. When I am in my Sci ship I team everyone up so I can heal and debuff and rebuff properly. If someone will not join then they don't get the help.
The main reason people group in other games isn't because of buffs, but rather, because the rewards for doing so are greater than for solo'ing. Sufficiently so to offset time spent waiting on people, afks, and the risk of grouping with an idiot.
Other than Infected, for which we do not know if the rewards are really worth it (purple weapon isn't, badges might be), there is no group required content in STO.
This sounds predominantly like a PvE problem. If you don't group in PvP, you lose. That's the already established grouping incentive there. I believe there are some other suggested solutions to PvE difficulty and grouping, such as the difficulty slider. Your additions would drastically alter PvP, and they would destroy the purpose of many of the skills you mentioned. If something like Shield Polarity Network were set on even a 5 minute cooldown and available at T2 for the lowest version, you could still stack 20 in a team. Let's go with 16 and 4 SE's.
We already have teamwide resist buffs and AoE debuffs, as well as debuffs that work depending on group coordination (APB and APD), as well as incredibly powerful buffs that only work on teammates (SE in particular). If you're not seeing these in PvE, it's because it's so easy to solo that grouping only takes more time and is an easily avoided liability. The only time you should group in PvE is the Infected Mission, because it requires at least 3 people to complete even when you can solo all the content.