My lobi had been (slowly) creeping up to the point where I was in the range of getting another lobi ship, especially if they had a flash sale, but I couldn't decide which character should fly it. I ultimately decided to make a new character purpose built for it. Now I started on this before the lobi sale surprised me, having expected to want to have it done by Thanksgiving at the latest, so I sped up my efforts since suddenly I have a new Maquis raider that needs a captain and crew.
In any case, spending that time on leveling this character has given me some insights/feedback, etc. to share in no particular order. This is a KDF character which is important to note for story progression issues. Also, for reference, I haven't leveled a character since the original delta recruit event.
1. Leveling up with a T6 ship via the story episodes will not get you the trait before 50 (when you can actually use the trait.) You'll get maybe tier 3 by then. At that point I personally started on the reputation grind because you can random queue at that point, if you end up wondering why I will refer to level 50 a lot.
2. Combat is really easy till captain, then suddenly it starts getting real. Basically up till captain rank, every fight you get in barely tickles. Then at captain everything starts doing real damage that you have to worry about healing. You generally didn't have to do anything in combat besides point and click up till then. The second problem with this, though, is that you don't have a lot of expertise to be spending on Boff powers that you don't necessarily know what to do with at lower levels. By captain you have enough to spend, but you probably haven't done anything with BOFF training, especially if you don't really like the default BOFF crew you're given and would rather spend it on a better crew.
3. New Romulus story missions don't give any XP for completion. I didn't notice this at first, but it was quite annoying to go through these and get no completion XP like every other story mission. Further, the way they are setup is poor. You need to take two missions, one that is the mission itself, then a second one to get the cutscene thing. Forgetting to do this means you have to do the mission twice to get back to the point where you can get the cutscene. Also the various area missions like tagging Epohhs and other stuff are completely unavailable until 50ish. All you can do at the level you get to New Romulus is run through the storyline missions that were originally unlocked with reputation progression.
4. This new character is KDF, and there's not enough story and XP there to progress to the levels you should be. I should first note I skipped all the missions that wanted me to queue up for STFs, but I don't think that accounts for more than a couple levels at best. So just following the story I ended up flying around the Dyson Sphere battlezones at level ~35. These do not scale you up, only down so I was fighting ships 15 levels above me. This led to a lot of warp core explosions on my part and would likely frustrate new players who have no business being there at that level and don't understand why its so hard. Ultimately I was leveling through the Delta quadrant missions to finally get to 50.
5. I actually forgot to do Nimbus until after the Dyson Sphere because its not in the mission journal. This offered some very welcome levels getting me into the 40s, but at this point I realized I was missing Specters, Cold War, and Lost Dominion. These would have been great to do and offer some much needed XP that just isn't there. I did some searching and learned that this was changed so that they won't even show up until level 65. This is absurd and should be changed again. Had I not remembered to look for these other missions (and only found Nimbus) I suspect I would have nearly finished the Delta quadrant story before hitting 50.
6. Frozen in the Vault/Hakeev story line is bugged, impossible to complete, and has been for some time.
7. The new patrols really SUCK for a fresh character with a build in progress, no rep gear, no rep traits, and likely a mix of consoles/gear that are not even mk 12, much less the kind of equipment you want, especially for the House Mokai centric patrols. They love to all torpedo spread you at once when the next group spawns in. Boom. And if its not the torpedo spreads its the warp core explosions everywhere. This is without mentioning the frustration of repeated evade target lock stuns and the viral impulse bursts. The revamped delta patrols are also bad with Vaudwaar and their endless artillery barrages if your ship isn't fast enough, or because its a forward facing cannon build, you get constricted from behind. So once I got to the point of wanting to push ship mastery XP, Sentinels and Argala were the only two good choices there, as well as rolling the dice on Ninth Rule.
8. While this doesn't really apply so much to new players, for old ones like me it is an annoyance, but I have to go to a bunch of different places at least for various account items. Ships in the event store, ships in the zen store, some legacy unlocks in a different zen store tab, some other things in the dilithium store, and then the delta recruit awards at an NPC who I completely forgot even existed, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something else I might have access to.
9. Leveling didn't take that long, actually. Maybe 15 hours to level 50. I didn't actually time it, or check /played, but it couldn't have been more than that. Mind you, once I sped up my efforts I didn't read anything or watch the cutscenes, having seen most of it before, so perhaps 30 hours at maximum if you are reading and watching everything.
10. The Kor Bird of Prey is insanely fragile. It has the weakest hull and shields of any T6 ship I think. It also has one of the most desirable cannon traits, Withering Barrage. I forgot why I stopped flying this ship on the character that originally flew it, but I remember now! There just isn't much you can do to improve its survivability, and given how the game has changed since it was first implemented, enemies only hit harder, especially with torpedoes. And again, this is especially bad on a fresh character without enough good gear to really tweak its survivability upwards.
11. Mission rewards don't level with you but missions do. If I were to say take a mission at level 10, but not do it till level 20, I'd get scaled down rewards for the mission in terms of XP and the like for turning it in, but the actual mission itself would play at level 20. This is silly, really.
12. I already mentioned the issues of getting New Romulus and Dyson sphere stories pre-50. To make it clear, the problem with this is chiefly story. Obviously we can just skip past them, run to the Delta quadrant or many other missions and continue leveling before returning to them, but storywise it makes absolutely no sense and shouldn't be setup that way. There are very few missions that stand alone well after that because of how it calls back to something previously in the story, some character or event that you're assumed to have already done.
13. KDF's little special missions aren't obvious. This is referring to B'eta's missions and the old marauding patrols. Now not only are they something you have to check for in the available tab, but I believe they don't actually open up until you've done the warzone tutorial mission (Ker'rat/N'vak). The old missions to Defend the Empire against X are still there too, but still its not apparent that one ever should need to check the available tab.
14. Transwarping everywhere is nice, except when it doesn't work. This probably shaved several hours off my leveling time. Low level ships fly VERY slow through sector space.
15. Doffing becomes an afterthought with transwarping everywhere. Of course sector space is still messy beyond belief for Doffing, but when you don't even fly through it, you have to consciously remember to find something to do with DOFFs.
16. Admiralty you don't unlock until 52. However, as a veteran player one of my first instincts on making a new character and getting them setup in their first ship is... unlock all their admiralty ships. I got halfway through before I realized I wasn't getting admiralty cards. I didn't care I wouldn't be able to use them, I just assumed they'd unlock and be hidden away till then. Nope they don't even get granted until 52.
Now some of you may think so what? I see this as a database access thing. Every time I create a ship its going to get written into the database, then it gets deleted as I delete it to make room in the roster. If I'm doing it pointlessly for admiralty cards I can't get yet its wasted energy and processing time (and I'll just be doing it again after 52.) How often will this affect things? Not often, but maybe by the time I create my next character I'll have forgotten this and do it again.
I'd suggest you just give out admiralty cards at any level for the ships because I know you already can and do (Time and Tide can be done pre 52 and once you get to 52 the admiralty card is there just like it should be.)
17. Admiralty cards don't always issue when claiming a ship (post 52 of course.) I noticed this on older characters claiming my Romulan ships, but it happens frequently when you have even more than that to go through and are claiming them quickly. Now the workaround is simple you just claim another ship and as long as the other ship is still in your roster you will get the admiralty card. If it isn't, though, you won't get it, so you have to watch it carefully when you do it so you don't dismiss ships that bugged and didn't give you the admiralty card yet. I think it might be nice to have a claim admiralty cards button somewhere so you don't have to claim/delete all kinds of ships, and hopefully it would be less buggy and less intensive on the servers. Afterall I'm never actually going to fly most of the ships I claim on any given character.
18. I could be missing something here, but is there no way to save settings and import them for a new character? Things like keybinds and options seem to need to be set up independently on each character. That's fine I mean maybe some characters you do want them setup differently, but importing options should be possible.