In a casual game...Friendly fire has no place. HOWEVER...with the difficulty system the game has...I'd say put Friendly fire on Elite....in missions only.
Make the rewards worth it for elite and add friendly fire and you have yourself a mission pretty much worthy of being called elite or something along the lines of Extreme mode, along with an updated ai to boot.
Friendly fire adds another dimension to gameplay imo and not a bad one if it can be done while keeping certain considerations in mind like ESD docking zones and all that sort.
Sure it can get annoying for some, and this is why I am on board for either adding it to elite or another difficulty level entirely.
My suggestion is to enable FF depending on the difficulty selected:
Normal- No FF.
Advanced- Self Only FF (have to watch splash damage from your own attacks).
Elite- Full FF.
If you're playing on Elite you'd need to watch where you and your allies are when activating AoE attacks. And you'd also have to avoid positioning yourself right next to an enemy ship that others (especially NPCs) are firing on.
I don't mind the friendly fire on the torps. They could've disabled them in social zones to stop griefing.
The only problem I really had with them was the fact that they rendered Plasma HY and Tricobalts useless. They're slow and targettable, and most PvE enemies will shoot them before they even render out of your torpedo bay. The only way to properly use them is to swoop close on an open shield facing, and let 'er rip.
Works fine for my Dreadnought, which can take the splash damage without batting an eye, but when you're an escort trying to dive bomb a cruiser, you're likely to take more damage(percentage wise) than the target you are hitting. It basically makes it useless.
I remember. Though they should restrict the use of FF tiems in the social areas but not the whole game.
Any place without combat should be considered a social area.
Otherwise the use of FF is up to the maturity of the user, which I could handle personaly.
If I team with someone who's lazy with thier FF then I will not team again.
At some point we must up the skill level of STo and expect some common sense of social ettiquite from the players as a whole.
You're right that you just learn who you can and can't group with, but I'm not worried about the lazy or newbish person who is bad with FF, they'll eventually learn. No, there will ALWAYS be griefers in online games and FF is a very easy way for them to annoy the hell out of people, unfortunately you won't know they're a griefer until you're in the mission and they're intentionally wiping your team.
I'd have absolutely no problem with a FF toggle, that way if you're pugging and don't know the people, you can turn it off, if you're with your fleet, turn it back on.