I think the base camp is to close to every thing, maybe the camp it self should be up on an over look with heavily guarded narrow pass as the entrance.
I also think there should be a sense of urgency in the air when you beam down (ominous back ground music and maybe npc's other then quest givers running here and there scanning and tending to injured npc's like in Cold Comfort and maybe some Defari npc's being escorted in to the camp by heavily armed Fed and KDF npc's).
Another idea I had was how about a camp defense quest for the player to start out with and have the other quests unlock afterward. Also I was thinking since you all have the Orellius sector Red Alerts set up for VA/LG why not have the ground invasion of Defera be the same way then have the Lt.C - Capt version of this on Bajor, I saw video of the Bajor map being worked on some time ago so I thought it would be a good way to introduce it in to STO.
On the subject of the on site vendor well I side with some who were not impressed with the rewards, I think the quality of the gear should start at rare and end with Very rare equipment, armor, weapons etc.
Regarding the area around the sphere I found about 4 borg that had spawned on the map halfway in the ground, I was able to shoot them and they were able to fight back but they could not move.