Rising the grade of the difficulty are making the fights just longer and they simply just do more damage. At the bottom line it is really boring and mostly the player is getting frustrated. Maybe the difficult level shoud make the NPC more versatile.
What about a feature that involves getting small side quests and/or hints on different missions, etc. via an LCARS mail interface in our ready room? Forget video messages, stick with simple text messages that arrive to our desk in the ready room. When we bring up the messages, the messages will be text displayed with an LCARS border around the text body.
I think it would add a sense of imersion and intrigue to STO if we tied it in with exploration missions.
These messages could also be thank yous from NPCs you saved, news reports on your recent missions, etc. (think mass effect but with LCARS border for the mail. It would strictly be mail from NPCs and such.