Well I won't lie, its still a bit on the grindy side. There are additional missions you can do the featured episodes which will make it feel like less of a grind, plus all the old missions are getting revamped (slowly but they are).
If you go to the account page through the home page of this site it'll tell you everything you have, closed beta, collectors, etc.
They are always available, any content added to the game will never be removed
You can get them just like you get any other mission and you can do them at anytime. The difficulty scales with your level so if you play them as a Lieutenant it'll be the right difficulty for that rank. If you play them as a Vice Admiral it'll be the right difficulty for that rank.
Cool, thanks for the info. Can't wait to play again. One other thing: What are the point of the shuttles. I see you can purchase some in store and others come with ships but what purpose do they serve?
Create a new captain and go from there. The first mission, to rescue the SS Azure, has been revamped (as kind of a demonstration to us users in how a lot of the early missions will eventually be revamped) and so it's worth starting again just to see that. (Then again, you can always replay any mission you've already done by going to your Ready Room and using the computer on your desk).
Which brings me to a couple of other changes since you've left - ship interiors and mission replay. You can go to various areas of your ship now (although there's nothing to do there yet except enjoy the view) and as I say, going to your Ready Room will allow you to replay missions.
You've missed a hell of a lot of updates since you've been away. New ships, new foods, new missions, tweaks to skills/consoles/abilities etc. I'd replay it from scratch just so you don't miss any of it.
Yes, start over on a new char, but keep your old one.
I'd select a different career.
Then, once you have the basics down again, you'll have 2 different charactors with different skills to play with.
Since you haven't played in 10 months, the differences should be pretty major, there are 3 featured episode series (15 missions total).
I recommend doing the current series "Cloaked Intentions" as soon as you can. The limited time reward is still here (a very nice Reman Science Bridge officer with some great skills). Think you have about 2 weeks left to get this guy.
I believe you have to be a Lt. 6 or higher to do the FE, which isn't very hard to get.