While playing STO today, I got an idea that might give us a new way to have BOFF slots. And that is the idea of a positional BOFF slots.
For example, lets say we were introduced to the Sovereign +1 and it has a LT Commander Tactical slot or two LT Tactical Slots. Now the first thing you likely would be thinking is that would be overpowered, right? Now what if one of these slots could only be used by a certain ability?
Fans of the Sovereign always wanted that High Yield 3 ability that we saw in First Contact, but current Sovereigns cannot have that ability. But what if the +1's LT Commander Tactical slot could only use Torpedo Attacks, or perhaps only High Yield 3. Would that still be overpowered?
To take this even further, perhaps certain ships give a bonuses that are connected to what's in that positional BOFF slot. Like a Science Ship that has a Deflector speciality and augments only the ability in the LT Commander Science Slot. But the same ability on another Science Ship wouldn't be as powerful.
To me, this could be a good twist to BOFF slots and give us more of an option than being limited by existing BOFF slots and question some configurations being overpowered or not.
This kind of ties in to something I felt was wrong with the endgame bridge officer powers we have access to. Semi-similar.
If you remember back around launch/Open Beta... ship gameplay was very tight. The majority of the population were lieutenant commanders and commanders with a limited amount of powers at their disposal - and that made space gameplay tighter, power balancing more important, and Boff powers were also more pivotal. PvP was both accessible and fun; more so than I feel it is today at endgame.
One thing I was thinking they might've done was make it so that you only had access to a partial chunk of the powers we have presently. As in, a Boff seating would allow for a limited amount of powers to be on hand, with the Boffs rank helping determine which power the player gains access to. So, overall, you'd have variables like how many stations a ship could have, the quality of those stations, and the experience of the Boff you're seating there.
For example, a Sovereign's Commander engineering slot could be one where you just have access to 2 powers (probably a Cmd and LtC) rather than 4. The second engineering station, the LtC one, could have access to 2 powers topping at LtC. Having two 'weak' tactical stations does not impress on the level of high-tier powers, but offers versatility that usually just the Escorts enjoy. And so forth.
I think it would've allowed for a better power creep. A handy way to balance ships and go for something unique (like a sovereign variant with '1 power LtC tactical Boff station'). It would also have kept power spamming more at bay (a total of 8 powers on average rather than the current 12) which probably would've kept both buffs and healing more in check.