Alright, here's a go at an idea I've had since I first joined.
The First Officer
The first officer once chosen is there to stay. It can be switched out but at a cost.
The First Officer will have access to all the same skills as the Player would have with their own character
Switching First Officers will cost the Player all the skill points that have been sunk into the FO minus the normal Officer Points that went into the 8 BO abilities.
The replacement First Officer will receive a small percentage of the points that have been sunk into their predecessor. Suggested amount is 1/4 of the original points.
The First officer can never gain a ranking that is equal or higher to than main character.
First Officer’s are Bind on Equip, meaning once they are assigned to a ship or assigned to FO they can only be discarded or traded after being replaced and demoted from their position.
For every 2 Skill Points the character gets, they get on First Officer point
The First Officer while having all the same skills options as the Captain, but will not have the same skill cap as the main character. Suggested level is either 1/2 or 2/3 the cap of the Captain.
The First Officer's skill bonuses stack with that of their Captains only in two cases. When they've been assigned a console on the bridge, or when they are a part of the away team.
First Officers keep their original BO abilities in conjunction with their standard skills
Bridge Officer Points are still used to raise the skill level of specific BO abilities that the First Officer original possessed.
The First Officer like the Captain will have a secondary weapons slot for another weapon and a Kit slot.
A suggestion would be that there are completely blank First Officers to which can be purchased which can be customized to the same level as the Player’s Character.
Another suggestion is every ship has a First Officer’s Console which can slot any console and can handle all levels of a BO’s abilities/skills regardless of the Ship’s Tier.
I would just assume the easiest way to have a first officer would add a special BO assignment slot with an extra ability - making your specific first officer have a total of five abilities to use. This ability can be assigned via the ability vendor or the training screen from our characters.
This will cause only minor UI rewrites, and no AI rewrites. Essentially, they would act as a bonus bridge officer with a 5th ability slot.
It seems to me that this would be the most appropriate method to implement the first officers. Little code rewriting, easy application.
I do believe that they will be promoted to first officer the same way that all bridge officers are promoted, via the "Career Options" menu, and that there will be a penalty to change your first officer selection.