I have seen the big mess that's exploded from the mere suggestion of nerfing the Itzal so more people will use the K-drives... and I kinda see where they're coming from. It's not a great idea to kill something everyone likes because you want them to use something else. That's like shooting the family dog so your daughter will play with the cat more, or crushing someone's antique car to get them to start driving a newer one. Instead, I came up with some ideas for the K-drives that might actually get people to want to use them more... and possibly an idea that won't, but might still get more of them to try the scenic route.
To be honest, I remember before Fortuna came out, and you were talking about 'a new vehicle to ride on' for Tenno. I was thinking some kind of actual vehicle that we could climb into and drive around. When I saw those big wheel vehicles the Corpus were driving and the huge tank-like trucks parked in Fortuna, I was thinking we would get something like that; maybe a cool motorcycle or hover car. Instead... skateboards. This previous idea *could* be expanded on though. Maybe put some fast, weapon loaded vehicles into the game, and make it so when people drive, things change. You could have it that when a Tenno vehicle is on the roads, a lot more Corpus vehicles come to try to stop it or destroy it. You could take Dying Light's vehicle concept as an idea. The car is closed, but not completely. Enemies can hit you if they get close enough. Parts need to be exchanged and upgraded. In turn, you can ram and shoot at them. There's options to electrify the body of your car, sending enemies flying when they latch on. You have a large number of enemies that you could use for this, from the heavy melee Corpus to those grapple hook moa, to the small spiders that dig up out of the ground. Making each trip a battle from one place to the other, with rewards in resources, vehicle EXP and so on would be one idea to keep things interesting, and also add a market in vehicle parts.
There are also some things you could do with K-drives to make them more enjoyable.
1. let people fish while riding one. It would make fishing a lot easier if you could hover directly over a hotspot and fish.
2. Mount weapons and a nose guard on them, and let riders run a b***h over while using one. If the thing was as much a weapon as it was just a skateboard, it would be even more fun to use it to get from point A to point B.
3. Give it better terrain handling. Right now, K-drives hit every little bump as if it's a wall. Make it so they don't get lodged on every crack or slight rise in the ground, so people can use them to go straight to their destination. Some angled front hover elements would make technical sense as to why they're able to compensate for the height difference
4. Design them more around F-zero than around Tony Hawk. Being able to do sick flips on your board is great... if that's your thing. But most players in Warframe want speed, not tricks. Make the boards faster still, and replace some of those grind rails with slalom arches like you'd see in Luge racing in the Olympics, then let players see how fast they can take a corner or jet down a slope.
5. In keeping with the racing concept, add that in instead of skating. Let players have actual races between mission objective points (since they're doing it anyway). maybe even make it a sort of 'bonus round' thing so players are rewarded with additional resources for being the fastest, and have the Ventkids recognize players for being insane on speed and handling.
6. Make the parts of the K-drive you build actually confer stats that matter. Right now, no matter what build you settle on, you're basically getting the same board. Add in those parts i mentioned to parts options (side weapons, nose guard, forward hover elements) and work to make it so each combination, just like kitguns and zaws, can result in a totally different board.