I decided early on that seeing that I had access to Memory Alpha from the beginning - and remembering that the Romaine character had useful gear for Lieutenants - I thought it would help me gear out and qualify for access to services from other NPCs in Memory Alpha.
I sadly found out differently.
I spent a considerable amount of time in Star Clusters collecting data samples, only to find that some of the crucial ones needed for making items (Unknown Alloys, Biological Samples, Anti-Matter) were extremely rare. So rare, in fact, that the only item I was able to assemble in Memory Alpha was an Uncommon Phaser Beam Array Mk II... and that was only because I went in the Exchange and shelled out 4000 energy credits in order to get the missing data samples of the rare anomalies I mentioned.
So, if we examine this more closely... I am little closer to unlocking new access in Memory Alpha, from what I have seen. My grade is rising so that even if I keep working to amass resources for Romaine that what I will get will no longer be useful to me (and this starts a downward spiral, because if I keep giving samples to Romaine, I am not benefiting from other contacts in Memory Alpha whom would help me make things more suitable to ranks I will attain in the future). Also, the time I spent accumulating those apparently useless resources appear in vain; had I spent that time devoted to earning PvP badges I very likely would have obtained similar gear much easier.
My experience with Memory Alpha makes me believe that the setup is flawed. The Developers included it in surely so that it would be useful to players... and my observation leads apparently to this not being the case.
This being the case, I have three suggestions I heartily would recommend to the developers in the hopes of making Memory Alpha more user friendly.
Increase the frequency at which the rarer components may be found. Unknown Alloys, Antimatter and biological samples definitely need to be more commonplace for early Memory Alpha foray to be successful.
Decrease requirements for item production in certain respects. For example, the phaser array I mentioned needed 2 unknown alloys, 2 antimatter and 2 biological samples. At Lieutenant Grade 8, I only had 1 biological, no unknown alloys and 1 antimatter samples so this was quite hefty for something which can be obtained much more simply via 3-4 PvP matches. That was just for the phaser array; I remember torpedoes asking 6 samples of antimatter when I had found only 1 in 8 levels.
Give some indication when an NPC refuses service to a player as to how soon prerequisites might be met. Instead of saying "You need to do more work for this person", you could mention "This person was saying she hoped to get this much more of this, and that much of this. When she won't need help anymore, sure, I'll look at your data."
The point would really be for Memory Alpha to end up being useful, when it could be useful to bring in samples. Otherwise, you just end up wasting a feature since players will flag it as too difficult/complex/bothersome to put up with it and go for something else.
I'm not saying I expect Memory Alpha to give better gear on a silver platter... I do however believe that it should, for the player that devotes some effort in it, end up being more fruitful than it is presently.
Truth be told. I was up to IV tech gear (during Open Beta) and still couldn't unlock access past Romaine - was kind of annoyed that I had to bring tech II gear just to upgrade to try to unlock other researchers (no regular credit Vendors on Memory Alpha) nor that I could just volunteer resources to unlock (without a reward since the rewards were useless to me anyhow).
I haven't even gotten one item from Romaine, I've been scouring the galaxies for Antimatter and Biological data (samples that were abundant in OB). and seem to be almost non-existant now. I was begining to think they took some of the samples out of the game.
Finally found two Antimatter yesterday and still missing the Bio, don't have the 4K energy that's being asked on the exchange. and there are only two groups of bio samples for sale from what i can tell so no one is getting them.
I think the loot tables are severly messed up. i't took me since friday to find a tactical console, playing almost non stop (or as the servers would allow) finally ended up doing two exploration badge missions to get one. but in the meantime i looted 3 sci consoles and 2 engineering consoles.