I'm skeptical at best. And I guess we''l be heading back to "Cruisers Online" when the new Enterprise is released with full universal boff stations.
We'll see. Stahl at least made the impression that he wants full uni slots in the Enterprise F. Who knows what the power devs will do (look at: B'rel, cloaking tractor mines, FAW, Hargh'peng, etc. etc. etc.)
Well, there are 4 possibilities:
1) It's a full Commander Level Unviersal Slot.
2) It's an Ensign Slot.
3) It's a special slot that might give access to one single ability of your BO (maybe, Ensign, maybe Lt., maybe Lt.Cmdr, maybe Cmdr)
4) It's an entirely different clickable power invented for the Department Head System.
I think 2, 3 and 4 might be somewhat okay. (3 certainly has strong balance implications - if everyone can suddenly run with Shockwave, for example..). 1 would be game-breaking. But since Heretic suggests it is only a single clickable ability, I don't think it will be that. 4 seems the most likely to me, actually.
The Universal Station Enterprise - no thanks. dstahl isn't exactly a systems/balance guy, though, so I hope the rest of his team will talk him out of it. Having 3 variants of the ship or 1 with a Lt.Cmdr Universal console I could see, though. I think we should definitely expect something unusual and questionable to happen, either way. It's the Enterprise. (Maybe for game balance, the possiblity of it being a Carrier is our best hope actually, though I hate hate hate hate Carriers).
Just to clarify this, we have been throwing around a lot of different ideas on how this will work. We have not settled on an absolute, set-in-stone, design for how First Officers' active power will work.
That being said, what was said in the Ask Cryptic should be clarified to be thought of as like a universal slot in that you can essentially get a single new power from a selection of most likely new active abilities from all three branches. The likelihood is also that this will be a single extra power, rather than replacing one of your current bridge officer slots.
All of this is very much in early development, however, and as we get closer to actively working on this feature expect there to be more iteration of the design.