The following is almost my own idea. It’s actually a combination of several ideas I’ve see thrown around on the STO forums made a little more concrete.
First I’m going to provide a quick overview of how equipment in STO works:
Most equipment comes in ten levels, starting at “Mk I” and going up to “Mk X”. The stats increase through the levels and which you can use is restricted by rank. Lieutenants can only use up to Mk II, Lt. Commanders up to Mk IV etc. all the way up to Rear Admirals using anything up to Mk X.
Equipment also comes in four rarities: common, uncommon, rare and very rare. Increased rarity adds modifiers to equipment. Uncommon gains one modifier, rare gains two and very rare gains three (some equipment types like tactical consoles don’t specifier modifiers – in this case just think of it as only having one possible modifier and it’s just that modifier applied the corresponding number of times).
Now we have that out of the way, on to the actual crafting.
The basis for this idea (which many people have suggested on the forums) is a new type of item (called, for example, an “Improvement”) which provides modifiers to other equipment. You would craft the improvement (using the existing anomaly data), and then combine it with existing equipment to make better equipment.
For example, consider Impulse Engines. Impulse Engines have four possible modifiers:
[Aux] which allows you to move at 25% speed while engines are disabled
[Spd] which provides a speed boost
[Turn] which provides a turning rate boost
[Full] which provides a speed boost to full impulse.
My idea would require an improvement for reach of those. For instance:
[Aux] Additional Auxilliary Thrusters
[Spd] Increased Reactor Efficiency
[Turn] Additional RCS Units
[Full] Increased Reactor Output
These improvements would come in different levels like normal equipment (Mk I to X), but with a couple of important points (to avoid unnecessary complexity). Firstly they would only be available in even levels (Mk II, Mk IV, Mk VI, Mk VIII, Mk X) like existing crafting options. And secondly they could be used with lower level equipment (mainly for using a Mk X improvement on Mk IX equipment etc.). The different levels would require rarer anomaly data to provide, like the existing system. (What happens in Season 2 with Vice-Admirals with Mk XI (but no Mk XII) equipment, I don’t know yet :P).
Something else to consider is that this idea would apply to equipment of all rarities, so you could combine uncommon “Impulse Engines [Aux]” with the “Additional RCS Units” to get “Impulse Engines [Aux] [Turn]”. To maintain balance between rarities however I think improving uncommon equipment (to rare) should require two improvements, and improving rare equipment (to very rare) should require four improvements. So to go from common “Impulse Engines” to very rare “Impulse Engines [Turn] x3” would take a total of seven “Additional RCS Units”.
PS – I recently sold a very rare “Hyper-Impulse Engines Mk X [Aux] [Turn] [Spd]” for 5,000,000 energy credits. If anyone sees a “Combat Impulse Engines Mk X [Aux] [Turn] x2” I’d quite happily pay that much for them…