I agree the build is vitally important, and it is difficult to figure that out. Everytime I get a new ship it takes me a little bit to get it straigtened out. And its more than just looking at the numbers, because there is turn rates and play style that factor in so massively, you still have to experiment a little. Of course outfitting your entire vessel in rare(blue) or better is almost always a good thing.
You can PvP just fine with all green gear. The game is very lenient in regards to gear and rare skills. Knowledge is the only thing you *have* to have to do well in PvP, and that will come with time if nothing else.
origional poster, you are very mistaken mate... I'd suggest not ever making such a negitive essesment topic in the future... this game is VERY casual, I sometimes don't play for weeks... and sometimes only 10-15 min at a time...
if you have truoble staying alive... then try something different... ot ask for help... if you're trying to PvP, try getting up the ranks first...
Besides the mark grind and stuff this game is very very casual. I rarely play at this point but can still be 100% competitive (since the higher end gear doesn't buff you more than a few percents). I do like a mission a week and the content still is too slow.
as just about everybody has said, the game is very casual and very easy. you can log on and do a patrol or exploration mission in 5-10 minutes, or fly from one side of the galaxy to another in about 20-25 minutes. very little of sto is aimed at the hardcore.
the main point he/she seams to have made is that they are dying too much. i can only assume they have accidentally set the difficulty to high, or are trying the group missions, like fleet actions, pvp, DSE etc.
stick to patrol, exploration and story missions and make sure its set to normal difficulty.
Like everyone has said, this game is easy and it is very very casual friendly. If you were having trouble with pvp, you are just gonna have to accept it take a while to learn what to do and what not to do and even those is no guarantee of a win.