Hey, I've never played an MMO before, but I'm a big Trek fan and wanted to check this game out. I love it so far.
My question is, If I format my hard drive, or install STO on a different PC, will my characters come with me?
Yes. Characters are stored on Cryptic's servers. However, certain things ARE stored locally on yours. Settings, control preferences, and saved uniform sets among them. If you reformat or move to another PC, you'll want to back up that data to take with you, or recreate it later.
All your characters and inventary are stored on STO servers - this is vital to the security of all MMO's as doing it this way removes the possibility of tampering with the saved data on a PC. So even if you reformat your hard drive - stop paying monthly for 12 months your characters will be safe.