Just a little idea that occured to me. What if doff slots were scaled with ship crew. The more crew you have, the more doffs you can use at the same time.
Short answer: It'd probably break the DOff system so hard it'd be completely unfeasible to add.
Longer Answer: DOff's typically have exponential returns in their investment, provided they have synergy with your ship. It's like expanding or contracting the rosters on Crew-size would lead to all kinds of really weird problems, with anything less than 3 DOff's leaving most any ship critically starved for slots, and more than maybe 8 or so leaving ships struggling to fill out their roster with truly useful DOff's.
Also, do I know you, or did you just randomly pop-up out of the ether?
If you feel Keel'el's effect is well designed, please, for your own safety, be very careful around shallow pools of water.
You certainly do not know me. But to the doffs. Well was just a brain fart idea. I did not mean to reduce amount of some ship, bur rather to give +1 or even +2 slots to some large ships to offset their drawbacks. I do not know about you, but I would have no trouble using even 10 doffs
I would probably start with improving their weapons. Beams look rather cool so why not make them more viable for cruisers. Maybe start with a weapon drain reduction, like half the drain of beams.
Or give cruisers a passive buff for beam weapons, or just introduce a new kind of beam for cruisers only. Like 360? beams with single beam damage and only the weapon drain of a turret.