The currentExploration missions are okay in and of themselves, myself being one of the odd people who actually read the pop-up text messages from my crew beyond the green line at the end. However they do start to get repetative fairly quickly, boiling down to scan or kill 5 groups of objects/mobs on planet or in space with the possibility of a combination of the two activities. Then, of course there are the "aid the planet' missions. What's missing, in my humble opinion, is the unexpected...The adventure of exploration. The Trek-like feel of exploration.
The proposal: Mini-episode exploration Missions. These would be missions that would be interspaced with the random Scan/kill 5 object/mobs missions. They would start with the 'scan system for anomolies or beam down to planet to scan the plantlife or ruins. then after the third scan or so the 'mission' would kick in
*EX: Captain, the scans indicate that the asteroids around the planet are only recently formed, perhaps from the break up of a small moon. Mission becomes find the reason for the moon's break up/destruction, perhaps scannong one more set of debris before encountering the reasonfor the break up. (Robotic super weapon either space based or planet bound requiring beaming aboard to disable it...A cosmic entitiy/space monster requireing a close in scanning pass under fire to find it's weakness before it can be dealt with (Either killed or drawn off),
*EX: Beaming back from a scan mission, your crewman's "shall we warp back to sector space" speech is interrupted with news of a crewman's death. (Ship has been invaded by an alien life form that will need to hunted down and be either talked to/captured/killed.
*EX: Beam down to planet to scan ruins/plants etc...After 3rd scan or so Tricorders pick up an odd energy signature. the source must be located. (ancient alien base with static defences...Suoer computer using mobs of Robots to harrass/test those seeking it out, near Q level entity (Apollo, Trelain...) looking for company..."You cant leave".
These are jut Iceberg tips but would add so much to the game. They wouldn't even have to be frequent additions, say...1 in 10. Just knowing that they were out there waiting to be stumbled across would be good.
On a final note, need something besides High tech aliens to fight/encounter. dangerous flora and fauna would be a welcome change. (You know those plants that use electricty to stun thier prey but don't when you beam down to scan them?) There are quadropeds in the game (Targ and the Gorn pets) Once I'd like to beam down and be told, "Captain, The ship is being hit with some kind of energy field. It's draining our power. We can't beam you up but we have pinpointed the source of the energy, about 20 clicks north of you. You'll have to try and shut it off at the source or we won't even have the power to remain in orbit."