How could you guys totally forget to mention the new Doff system that went live last week?
You can now collect NPC doffs (duty officers) - not to be confused with youboffs (bridge officers). Doffs are your "nameless" minions that fix hull damage, load torpedoes or whatever else keeps the ship running.
Now you can "collect" them and assign them to do side missions while you're off on your main mission. You can assign them to do maintenance on the weapons arrays, check the sensor logs for anomalies, entertain a diplomat while he waits, guard prisoners... etc. The assignment then runs on a timer at the end of which you discover their level of success or failure. If they successfully complete their task you earn skill points, dilithium, credits, and/or other stuff - depending on the mission they're given.
Not all doffs are created equal, some have traits that adjust the chance of success or reward on certain types of missions. Hence the "collect" statement above.
As you can prolly tell I'm a fan of the new system. Heck, right now it's my favorite part of the game.
I JUST NOW read the "Duty Officers 101" thread! This new system sounds excellent! I cannot wait to get my hands on the system and try it out. The concept sounds like it'll really have a "Trek" feel to it.
63% of the patching is done. >< Darn you internets, work faster!