This game has three classes, Tactical, Science and Engineering Officers. Tactical Officers are LINE officers. Their job is COMBAT. Science Officers are STAFF officers. Their specialty is RESEARCH. Engineers are STAFF officers. Thier specialty is PRODUCTION. Unfortunately, the game does nothing to model this. All the characters are just as capable in all the specialties of the other professions. My Science Officer is just as good at combat as a Tactical Officer and just as good at making things as an Engineer.
I suggest a little addition to model the differences between the professions. The idea is that each profession will have an advantage in their area of expertise.
We'll begin with the Science Officers. Their specialty is RESEARCH, which is accomplished in this game by the collection of DATA (which is then used for crafting). At present everyone does this equally well. I suggest a Minigame that will allow Science Officers to convert Data of one type into Data of another type. I envision it being done in the Laboratory or Sick Bay of the player's ship. You conduct the Minigame. Success would mean the Data you're working with would be converted to another type (perhaps limited to a particular colour - that is, a Red physical sample might be converted to a Red energy sample). Failing the minigame would result in the loss of the data.
Next, we have Engineers. At present, everyone crafts just as well as everyone else. Engineers should have an advantage here, it's their area of expertise. Again, I suggest a minigame that would allow them that advantage. They would allocate the data required to produce a schematic normally, then conduct the minigame. Success would result in the creation of the schematic WITHOUT the use of the data. Failure would result in the loss of the data and no schematic.
Tactical Officers are COMBAT officers. Thus, they should have an advantage in combat. We have to be careful here, however. We can't make the advantage so large that they will invariably win any battle with a non-tactical character. My suggestion is advanced BO controls, allowing the Tactical Officer better control over his away team. I envision them functioning something like Masterminds in City of Heroes.
I would like to extend this to ships, too. I haven't devised a balanced system for this as yet, however. More later.
Although each of our captains could have some more work done to feel different from one another (in terms of gameplay), I tend to think that it's less ourselves but more our crews responsible.
In reality, no single person could probably spec in every type of crafting and all those exotics specialties. Even our "skill chart" is more analogous to our overall crew competency and not representative of what we would expect to see in any single human being.
If professions worked kind of like they did on the shows - Picard was something of an archeologist, Sisko had experience in starship design, Janeway, uh... I'll get back to that - then I'd be down with it. There are already similar options in the character creator but they don't seem to have much noticeable effect.
Well, I'm just trying to give each class an area of expertise. For instance, as a Scientist, I should be doing research. However, my research is exactly the same as a Tactical Officer's research (ie collecting data), so what is it that makes me a Scientist?
I'm just trying to add a bit of flavour and variety to the gameplay of the professions so they can do things their professions would be doing.
If those character creation screen traits had a larger effect than stats - if they dictated a series of exclusive missions or research/combat or exploration bonuses then it would be very cool.
One could argue that your kits are your specialty and in that regard an Engineer can not specialize like a Tactical person can. But it is about how much we notice a difference - and ofc if that difference is balanced.
In many respects, I think the way each class behaves in combat is very different, so I do not see your point there.
I do however, support your idea of research minigames, although I would love it, I think the idea of converting one type of anomaly to another of the same tier is the wrong way to go. However, some sort of bonus or different direction DUE to you being a Science officer versus the other paths would be a welcome step in making them feel unique.
The point is that combat isn't everything, particularly for Staff Officers. The Science Officers should be defined by doing research, not by how they fight. Engineers should be defined by their ability to make things, not by how they fight. Fighting is the area of the LINE Officer.
Making some kind of background attribute that's supposed to simulate what I'm after here isn't adequate in my mind. As a player, I want to actually PLAY these things, not just be told they happen.