There are also a fair amount of players who simply do not know how to play their class and kit very effectively. A certain level of competency is required to get through STFs quickly. You don't have to be an uber-player by any means, but if you're playing the medic, it is helpful if you keep an eye on the health levels of your teammates (just one example). You don't even need to have heavy specs in ground, but 5-7 points in a few key skills is very beneficial.
Another problem is inexperienced players not doing what the experienced STFers tell them to do.
As for high end gear, that's really not much of a problem. 4 Marks of Exploration will buy you a solidly decent weapon from Battle Group Omega. 5 Marks of Exploration will buy you a purple Mk X personal shield with [PBKB], which I've found to be quite helpful on STFs. Slap on some Energy Dampening Armor [AP] for a bit more survivability and you're good to go. Anti-Borg weaponry is a great help but it is not necessary if you're in a halfway coordinated team and you know how to play your class.
As for other stuff, it was announced long ago that they're working on getting a difficulty slider in for STFs, with normal difficulty being a lot more PUG-friendly. They've also talked about adjusting loot drops and STF rewards when Season 4 gets rolled out, so I would imagine these STF tweaks will also be rolled out in the near future.
I will emphatically agree that we need more respawn points, though. The current respawn point situation is just freakin' annoying.
i have done the cure ground eight times and had my team bail out at the last shield generator every time it is way to hard it takes every man to defeat one advanced tactical drone that is just insane it should only take one vice admiral not every single man! i am quadriplegic and i have asked cryptic for help several times but only ever get the generic response!!!!!!! it would be nice to have a different mission for those of us that cannot play on a team let us use our bridge officers for these mission at least have that option when no one wants to play with me because of my disability i should be able to have the option to play the mission with my bridge crew right? i is discrimination at its worst!!!!!!!!!! please help guys if you think i am right. and cryptic please get someone on your team that understands the word quadriplegic that means paralyzed from the chest or neck down as for me i can only type with one hand!!!!! and there should be an option for disabled players to use there bridge crew? on every mission otherwise it is discrimination and law suits follow that word guys. if you need a fax from my doctor that can be arranged.