This is one of the few things that I really dislike about this game. Having to fly in circles to reach an anomaly or to set up for an attack is not only annoying, it detracts from the over all immersiveness of the game.
As far as it being disorienting for players, add a "level out" icon.
While I would like to see the maximum pitch angle increased above 45 deg., I have no real problems with the current state of the spaceflight or combat. Perhaps the increase could be scaled to Cruisers at 55 deg., Science at 70 deg. and Escorts at 85 deg. or something similar, to maintain the "proper" handling feel.
I cut my PC-gaming teeth on spaceflight combat (and air combat) sims like the original X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X vs. TIE, X-Wing Alliance, Jane's F-15, the list goes on. Heck, I even played a version of F-15 way back on the C-64/C-128, crude by today's standards, but still fun at the time. While I loved all those games, I don't really believe ST or STO are of the same genre, nor should STO operate similarly. What happens during STO space combat looks, to me, a lot like what I remember from the many television shows and films. Big, slow, hulking warships and submarines is what Cryptari was (correctly) going for, and that is pretty much what we have here.
Of all the things in STO, I'd say space combat is the one they got almost right from the get-go.
This request has been around for a long time, I used to actively promote this idea. I had the video clips showing the different Trek ships using thier Z-axis (For folks who say it "Isn't Trek")
Point is this, old tired subject that will be addressed (if ever) a long time down the road. Cryptic assumes we are simpletons, and can't "handle" the 3d combat. Just the fact that they say it is "disorienting" means that it is possible, and they have tried it.
Of course, instead of letting us test it...on say...Tribble. We are told that we are "too stupid" to be able to handle the 3d movements...thanks for letting me know how well I play games Cryptic. What would I do without you?!
I agree - z-axis wouldn't be too disorienting as long as there's a way to level it out. Plus, if the camera remains upright, it's pretty easy to tell which way you're facing.
Even more important would be to have strafing and vertical movement rather than just forward and backward. Naturally the speed should be slow since such a maneuver would probably be mostly powered by thrusters (perhaps partial impulse). Strafe speed could be governed by turn rate, so no new ship stats/skills required (although such stats could be a very interesting touch on character skill builds...).
If you're concerned about this being a balance problem in pvp, just subject such movement to the power drain similar to revers.
The more I think about this, the more awesome it sounds. Make it so!!