PVP combat is no fun at all at higher ranks. At the lower levels the battles are largely determined by the space sim aspects of the game, the abilities provide a bit of a boost but its not enough to completely determine battles.
At the higher ranks the game completely devolves into ability spam that is a glorified game of rock, paper, scissors. It's really not entertaining at all, it feels like I'm playing wizards in space not a space ship game.
Most of them could probably be fixed with sensible cooldowns and penalties so they don't become the primary means of offense and defense. Many off the buffs are very tiresome at high levels, having to mash the buttons for Attack pattern alpha + omega + fire on my mark and others throughout any battle to have competitive damage output really adds nothing to the game at all.
Its bad enough there are ton of "captain utters some magic words" buffs that inexplicably boost things by insane amounts but the worst thing is they have no downsides and there is no reason to do anything but furiously spam every buff possible as soon as you're in combat.
Battles before T4 were so quick it felt more like I was flying paper planes as opposed to massive battleships.
As soon as I entered T4 my survivability as a science ship sky rocketed, and now I live long enough to actually employ movement strategy, and use skills, finishing matches with 300k + healing, and some CC done.
Meh - as a Science Captain flying a BoP I don't feel I need all that many Tac buffs to deal "competitive damage". The amount of damage you deal in a PvP match is irrelevant, I can deal 200k damage and destroy (solo) more enemy ships than you with 400k - simply because you didn't swich targets soon enough or you didn't have counters to their buffs etc.
I use Cannon Rapid Fire 1 and HYT 1. That's it. The rest of my abilities are all healing and debuffing. And yet I still manage to come in the Top 2-3 damage dealers and Top the healing meter - (which does not show the massive amount of shields I restore with Science Team, Extend Shields etc).