So I hit Captain a few days ago. Was kind of middling around the lower ranks of Commander until I realized the almost absurd ease of leveling through Defend missions (protip: once you complete a defense instance, wait until you're out of combat and instance switch to another one - preferably with other people in it - for ridiculously quick completions).
Now I'm Captain, and am kind of put-putting around in my science ship looking for crap to do. I don't really want to do more Defend missions, and the storyline ones take a bit too long for my tastes. What I'd LIKE to do - one of the things that I really ENJOY about this game - is get my 'big fleet' on.
Like the Laurentian fleet action. I'd like to blow up a spawn of twenty enemy ships with some PUG bros. I want to drop a Scramble Sensor III in the center of that cloud of orange and watch it turn green again.
Is there anything like that in Captain? The only thing I've seen that's modestly populated is the DS9 fleet action and UGH GROUND COMBAT.
I don't have a solution, but I know what you mean. I'm a Commander, and I still have story missions from Ensign rank, Adrmirl Quinn is offering Mark 2 eguip still. If you don't do the story right away, they should scale the reward with rank, but yeah, I really don't want to play em cuz they almost always involve ground combat, and as you said ...ugh.