I personally think the "new" version of STFs have done nothing but turn it into a grind fest. I like the old STFs (of course without the old bugs). IT was actually some end game content (ish) now its just a boring grind fest you have to force yourself through if you want any of the gear it provides very pathetic move on Cryptic's part.
I used to love running them with my fleetmates...we'd all get on vent and enjoy a run or 2 if we weren't pvping....now I have basically stopped running STFs and am sticking with the borg gear set I already have or the Aegis set.
I have been enjoying the STF for the most part but now I have 2 toons (1 fed 1 kling) with a good selection of Mk XI gear and guns I looked at what is need to get the last few missing parts of sets and the mk XII stuff and was horified.
the drops are truely random, I had a full set of mark XI weapons on my first char before I had even seen a common tech drop, didn't even know they existed! the idea of NEEDing these no existant (in my experiance) drops to get the Mk XII sets is not inducive to me even trying to get them.
80 data thingys and i might go for it. Maybe probably not but maybe, instead I'm doing the other bits of content I've not seen yet (about 12 missions) then probably wait for something new to come along. this in effect translates to "because of the gamble nature of end game I'm going to stop playing this game" allthough that sounds more harsh that I want it to I think that is the reality.
How I think it should be done:
Mk X and XI gear
more or less as is as everything can be bought for the data chips BUT rare salvage should also be usable in some way to get maco/honor guard etc gear
salvage: always in the loot bag but random as to who gets it. say 2 bits every round sometimes two people get one peice each others one person gets both
drops: everytime the optional is completed 1 peice drops random as to who gets it
As a pug is more than capable of failing to complete the mission and wil almost never get an optional this means top players who work as a team can feel rewarded and scrubs have an incentive to improve