I am also disappointed with what the STF's have become. We as fleet became very proficient at completing all of the STF?s with the optional. Now I can see no reason to run the ground missions at all.
At minimum to bring some purpose back to the STF?s please consider adding fleet marks to the STF?s as reward. Also we are a small fleet of about 20 players, we have managed to grind are way up to a Tier 4 Star base. Let me tell you it has been no joy ride, and now we are looking at the long grind to Tier 5.
Also since we are a small fleet it takes countless missions to achieve the fleet marks need to make the climb to the next tier. It would be nice to have larger rewards or more choices of missions.
My biggest complaint is that there not enough Varity so I would suggest cryptic add a fleet mark reward for completing an optional on the elite STF?s for example. (25 or 50 fleet marks). Then it gives players a reason to do all the missions again.
Most "good" STF Elite players have moved on or quit the game in dissapointment. I used to love doing them either for drops or dilithium. Since S7, I stopped completely and went back to Dil based areas. I see those full house (i.e Breaking the planet, temple, scout force) before they used to be ghost towns.
Most of the peeps there doing them for Dil and drops...if you are looking for good players some of us are still there or moved on to SWTOR...