So I remembered talk of the exosuits being somewhat modular with several options aimed at versatility, such as the "siege mode" discussed back in the design log a while back.
So I wondered if perhaps the Onos could have their own special choices in that regard.
Let's bring back an old mechanic from the first game: Devour.
But instead of removing an enemy player for a moderate duration and increased healing, the Onos would instead "eat" a friendly field/tech structure to give it unique specializations.
Some potential benefits:
[Whip]:Onos Player creates acid explosion with splash damage upon death [Shade]:Onos passively creates illusory alien copies in close proximity [Shift]:Onos has an energy regeneration aura that affects nearby friendly players -or- Onos given access to NS1's Charge ability [Crag]:Onos begins healing a percentage of his health at a rapid rate once he reaches a certain threshold [Hydra]:Onos grows a spiky carapace and lightly damages all marines within a certain range of its hitbox.
A main point of contention would likely be the status of the structures that the Onos interacts with. There is a pretty high grief potential with this kind of thing. So perhaps there could be specific prerequisites to assimilate a structure, or perhaps there could be a sort of "reset" for the structure itself. Could likely induce additional gestation time to represent a cost. Prerequisite(?): Structure must be mature before any interaction with Onos
Possible changes upon Structure Devour:
I. Structure is removed completely from play (possible return of structure upon Onos death? II. Structure "resets" into an unbuilt form and begins rebuilding after interaction. This would also revert the mature status of the structure and attach a cost to assimilating a structure with an Onos. III. Structure is reverted into an un-mature form (Will require commander to research again)
Each specialization could have a visual indication; texture/model changes, to help marines identify the threat each specialized Onos could perform. Of course, I'm not sure the devs should be up to that sort of effort, given their near-completion of the NS2 assets as they are.