Like the title says. It does not matter what is in the instance. Could be nothing could be full of stuff like asteroids. I can get into one with tons of asteroids, ships..... and it runs fine then get into one with nothing and it is choppy as all heck. It can work the other way around also. Makes no sense. I am way above what the game calls for as far as graphics, memory, internet and such.
I don't really have any ideas, but I'd like to confirm that you're not the only person experiencing this somewhat random and odd graphical bug. I get it in about 1 out of 10 maps. Like you said, doesn't actually seem to matter what is in the system - I've had it happen in at least one zone that was completely empty (sans a planet... maybe it's an atmospheric effect?)
Happens to me too, infact it makes my battles three times longer because i cant concentrate on my target! (Stupid cardassians). Anyway i have noticed while, it happens in any map at any random time, it does happen more often than not in maps with clouds and/or debris. I don't know if this is because MOST of the systems have stuff in them (which strikes me as odd, i would assume most planets with life wouldnt have any solar system hazards), or what.
I notice this problem in other games as well which may lead me to believe it is a graphics card issue with particles. Usually in games with clouds or smoke, it puts a strain on the card and the CPU. This happens because it would be like you trying to watch tens of thousands of flies at the same time as you draw each individual one in real time to make a flipbook as it happens.
.....but thats just my thought.
on the other hand , however, it could not be graphical, because it doesnt matter the video setting. High or low, its choppy.
Saddly i too have this problem it seems that is it is in the asteriods or nebulea or anything with alot of detail an clutter; I am running my GFX card with up to date drivers an i dont get this problem in wow with massive battles they have to me its got be comming from the STO's side i have sent numerous tickets in with really no explanation on how to fix it.
Yes battels are a pain an PvP is a joke i must be the most easiest person to take down as i must appear to sit there b4 i can shoot. ( silly noob cant find his fire button ).
If a dev does see this are there any tips you can offer for us poor starfleet officers who seem to be in a 2 dimensional game.
I would like to add a "Me Too". Some instances (for example Star Base 24) run fine with 100+ ships in the instance.... (AI and player).... but some instances with just my ship and 3 enemy run slow as mud (laggy/choppy). I notice it more in Nebula instances where your ship has to travel through nebula gas as it curls around your ship.
I play with a Intel Core2Duo (oc'ed to 3.1Ghz), eVGA 680i mobo, 2 GB DDR800 RAM, 2x 8800GTs in SLI, WinXp32bit.