I listened to the interview and an idea occured to me for the Doff system that you might like.
I am certain the players would.
When you mentioned doing research to find out the how many players are collectors, or "rascists" I got a good chuckle, but it also gave me an idea to throw at you that might be easy to impliment and that might interest some players who currently do not even use the Doff sysem into actually getting into it.
Consider the idea of each ship having to have the minimum number of Doffs listed in the ship stats for that particular ship.
The obvious problem with that is many players are not going to want to mess with individual Doff's.
Easy peasy problem to solve. Lets me explain by outlining an idea.
For players that do not want to deal with individual Doff's they can simply aquire a generic "Crew Console" item that is free, or very easy to get by just reporting to an Admiral on ESD. It will of course have no bonus function at all.
To expand the purpose of Doffs make it so can we can all fit our ships with Race Specific Crews.
Now give each race different "BUFF POWERS".
You could sell race specific versions of "Crew Consoles" as a C-Store item that gives the various race specific buffs without having to concern yourself with collecting actual Doff's for players who do not want to mess with it.
An alternative to the C-Store Crew Console for players who do enjoy collecting Doff's could be that as long as you have the minimum number of crew for that ship and the percentage of actual Doff's in your crew are representative of a majority of a particular race you would gain that races buffs without having to aquire the race specific C-Store console. Duplicates of Doff's could not be counted as multiple crew members for the purpose of achieving the minium crew compliment.
P.S. There was some talk on the show about increasing the Doff Cap limit. It should be raised to allow us to have as many Doff's as are on the ship in game with the largest crew size. (2500 ?)
Naturally with so many Doff's in play you would need a way for players to seperate the ones they use regularly for actual Doff missions from the scubs they now collect to just fill out a crew to gain the race specific bonus.
And yes you could always buy the C-Store "Crew Console" to override the race buff of your your actual crew.
I have not spent much time thinking these ideas through, so just use it as some of that feedback stuff you look for in the forum to give you some ideas.
After all you did say you were wanting a ways to connect the Doff system to the rest of the game as opposed to being a disconnected Mini Game. An idea along these lines seems a natural fit.
Imagine the possiblility of having an incentive to work towards having an all rare, or all very rare crew if you got something extra for it in the way of buffs. Perhaps advancing, or penalizing ship performence based on the combined traits and rarities of all the Doff officers.