I think I read in one of the Engineering reports that you are kicking around ideas to make the "higher end" weapon skills more relevant and valuable to the game -- as it stands now, there is practically no reason to spec into Anti-Protons when the damage is essentially the same as a Disruptor or a Phaser -- but which costs far more than either of those weapons systems in terms of skill points.
One of the ideas you might be considering is a relook at how skill points are allocated...and what skills are available at each level...the idea below has been hinted at and even discussed in other threads by other people than I...but I thought i would re-offfer it once again, with a few more twists and turns, to spark a bit of discussion.
If you are going to revamp the weapons skills in any case, why not consider redoing the whole thing? Here are some ideas:
1. Make weapons faction-specific. Federation players should not be using Disruptors...and Klingons should not be using phasers, etc, etc..
2. Differentiate the weapons more. Different firing rates, different effects, different special procs.
3. Don't add additional weapons at the upper skill level end -- instead...any new weapons added later start at the same skill level as Disruptors or Phasers in the Weapons skill tree. That way, you can use the higher skill levels for specialization in that specific weapon. For instance, Disruptors at level 2....level 3, accuracy specialization, level 4, critical hit chance specialization, level 5, a new type of proc, etc., etc. I think you get the idea. Along with this...you will need at add some skill points to the mix I think, to balance it all out with the other skill trees.
In closing, one of the biggest complaints in the game is that the two factions are too much alike. Same weapons...some variations on ships...but essentially same base capabilities in ships (in other words, a Cruiser, whether is is Klingon or Federation, will have an Engineer as the top BOFF slot, and will have four weapons forward, four aft...etc, etc.). If you can pull off a weapons skill redesign that makes weapons faction-specific, with higher end skills being areas of unique specialization opportunities that are also different between the two factions...then you will have taken a LONG step towards making BOTH factions more unique.
Yes, it will be harder to balance...and there will be those that will scream bloody murder no matter what you do...but I have a feeling that if done correctly, you will make most of your players, on both sides, somewhat happy...also, by doing it this way, you keep the door open for advances in weapons design -- new weapons down the road -- because as it is right now, your only option is to introduce new weapons tech at an ever-increasing skill point cost...I think you can see the down side to that....
I whole heatedly agree, the federation Bat'leth thing is a perfect example. Federation should use phasers, Klingons disruptors, Hirogen(when they come out) tetryon, polaron for the jem'hadar not sure about plasma or anti proton as i can not think of a major race that uses either.