In the Ground game of STO, kits are what provide the majority of your powers; they are supposed to be what provides a distinction between captains of the same class whilst also allowing for versatility and adaptability to the situation at hand. Currently they do this second part well, as if you find yourself needing a different power set you can leave combat and switch your powers up.
However, with the current mesh of ground and space skills you will only be able to afford to spec into one kit before you really start hurting your space game. Further, powers do not remember which spot you placed them on the bar when you switch, slowing down switching. These factors, and the need for certain kits in the STFs, hit the first reason for using kits (distinction) hard, with most captains of a particular class using the same one or two kits for nearly everything.
Passive abilities tied to the kits could make using these same one or two kits a less attractive choice, Adding some detrimental AND beneficial passive abilities to your captain depending on the kit used could really add depth and variety to the ground game. These abilities could also make weapon and consumable choices more important, with some kits working better with burst damage, some with short range, some with control abilities.
Take, for example, the medic kit: no Science officer would leave starbase without at least having one on him; in most STF runs and PvP matches at least one science officer is expected to use this kit. If the science officer took a health reduction, it would force the medic to manage aggro well, impacting weapon and consumable choices. Further, it would encourage good positioning on behalf of the whole team, as the medic would need to be behind as much cover as possible whilst still in LoS of the team. To balance this, an AoE buff could be provided to team mates, increasing their basic attack damage, just by enough to make up for the lost guns; it could decrease while the medic takes damage.
Another example could be the grenade satchel: this kit is great for hitting enemies that are close together, while reducing the overall effectiveness of the tactician's weapons. Perhaps the grenades' effects could be prolonged or increased in magnitude if the enemy is stationery or the grenade hits numerous targets. This would encourage teammates to bring high density beams/ holds/ roots and allow a loosing tea to steal a well covered position. Effectiveness against single targets should be reduced, perhaps a reduction in normal weapon power or increased risk of holds/ stuns.
I realise my specifics are probably horrible and would never be considered by cryptic, but i think the general idea could work well for adding even more depth to ground combat; increasing the benefits of teamwork and encouraging more diversity in teams. Any thoughts?
I do think some kits need a little loving, and perhaps it would be nice to have the option to have a kit with more abilities at Fleet Admiral?
I'm not sure Traits like Covert should be completely useless on non tactical officers though. It would have been nice if the Covert stat would function as a -aggression trait for Science and Engineering officers. I'm not saying if this is bad or good, I just think that option should have been there. Otherwise its a hollow trait, and when at least I look at a Purple Bridge Officer of the Science class that has Covert it makes me cringe, because it is completely useless and so narrowly defined to one specific ability.
For the most part I like kits. However I'd like to also see some other kits get a little improvement. The Gravity well is nice I suppose, but I find the AoE effect is just a little small. This could be harsh on players as well (as when the borg hit players with it), but it would at least make the Gravity Well wielding science officer hold a stronger function on the team. As it stands most teams do not want to see a science officer that refuses to wear Medic or Physician which seems silly. Spock was not a Doctor (That was Jim's job) and somehow he had a use on the away missions.
Agreed, we could certainly use more powers: with all my powers and devices, captain abilities and weapons i still have 2 or 3 slots on the 2 bar power bar empty, compared with space where i use 5 power bars to hold everything it seems a little lacking. I know we're getting BO powers added to the bar, but they are still the BOs' powers and not our own.
I do love kits and the concept behind them, for instance in PvP matches your team can be stuck trying to assault a well defended position. In this situation i can put away my medic kit temporarily and switch to geophys, allowing me to root the enemy before setting up a bunch of DoTs; then running in with a knockdown and finishing with the ophidian cane: this works VERY nicely for stealing cover from the enemy, especially combined with the AoEs from other classes, but after this i need to put my medic kit back on for the team to stand a chance.
Allowing us to perhaps spec well into two kits by the time we hit VA would be a good start, allowing for a small level of on the fly switching, rather than having your back up kits being noticably weaker than your BOs are with the same power. The passives idea i stated above could then come in, making a kit that might be generally the best less optimal than another when the whole team's make up is considered.