So, very new player here, and I'm a bit confused about the game's expectations. Started playing with a friend, made a science officer to try it out, mostly playing pretty casually. Finished the first klingon story arc okay, moving on to the Romulan one. Suddenly it seems like the difficulty curve shot up. Ground combat's fine, but space combat seems to involve me getting blown up repeatedly, and the only way to progress seems to be either 'death-zerging' til I kill enough to survive or repeat the earlier missions to get gear and/or money to buy gear with.
Maybe I'm just doing something wrong, I don't know, but it feels like the difficulty and progression curve just shot sharply upwards, and it's making the game feel a lot less fun for me. I've only been playing a few days, so it's not like I've got good equipment or anything, I realise that, but trying to move forward to solve that problem either through boring repitition or un-fun repeated death doesn't make me want to continue.
Even trying to play with my friend doesn't seem to help, unless the match level thing is screwing us - either way if I match up to his level, or him down to mine in his bigger ships, still results in me, or often us both just blowing up, respawning, kill something, repeat.
So does the game just get harder at higher levels, do I need to grind gear, or am I just doing it wrong?
PS: Is the mission tracker really this useless? I can't figure out for the life of me how to add or remove things from it other than 'make primary' which doesn't always even work if the tracker's full of old junk.
The game 'should' be soloable easily, so if you are having a hard time, there might be something wrong with your build. Also, make sure that your friend is matching level with you (he should be matching down instead of you matching up). Look at the level of the enemies you are fighting. If there is a red number on their avatar when you target them, that means they are higher level than you. If your friend is not matched correctly to your level, the enemies will spawn at his level which sounds like is a lot higher than yours.
Also, have you been promoted and gotten your new ship? You should be getting a new ship when you hit a new rank (Lt. commander, Commander, Captain, etc). Continuing on in your starter ship would be very difficult.
Also, do you have all your bridge officer seats filled? Make sure you have a tac, engineer, and science bridge officer in the appropriate slots. Check to make sure they the abilities that you want. If you are having trouble surviving, you might want to consider training your engineer with "Emergency power to shields", and your science officer in "Science team" or "Hazard emitters".
Also, if you received a new ship, make sure your power levels are set properly. New ships come with the power levels set at "balanced" as a default. You need to change it to "Attack" mode.
Also, make sure you are geared appropriately. You don't have to have the purple very rare gear, but at least have the right Mark level for your level. For Lieutenant rank, you will have mark I and II gear. For Lt Cmdr, you should be using mark III and IV. For Commander, you should be using mark V and VI. Even plain common ones of the right mark are better than ones of lesser mark.
If you post more info, we can probably give better advice. Also, you might want to consider joining a fleet. They can be very helpful for new players.
Come join the 44th Fleet.
Romulans are trickier than Klingons (I'd argue the trickiest of the enemy types, but its debatable), and as the game progresses the enemies more and more 'suggest' you better manage your bridge officer powers to counter the stuff they're doing. Sadly the game doesn't have much in the way of documentation to tell you what sorts of things you need, just drops you in the deep end and encourages you to brute-force your way through the game and learn some bad habits along the way.
When dealing with Romulans you mostly have two problems, but they're both quite solvable. The first is the buff stacking on Mogai escorts, but your Subnucleonic Beam can strip their buffs, then you just pick a facing and concentrate your fire. The second is the tractor-beam + torpedo combo of the D'deridex. Polarize Hull 1 (don't waste your slots on a higher level version) or Attack Pattern Omega will get you out of the tractor beam hold, then Beam Fire At Will or Cannon Scatter Volley (among others, but they're the easiest) for clearing the high-yield torpedoes, and Hazard Emitters (a sci's best hull heal) will put out the plasma fires and hull damage of any torps that do get through. Then stay in the side arcs as much as possible (so he can't use torps or Viral Matrix, which isn't that bad but is obnoxious) and just pound away.
Generally, that you're on the forums asking questions and looking around is a good thing. Everyone was new once, and most people here like to help. Look around at various ship builds on the forums, and even if it isn't your ship look at what powers and tactics get used again and again and again, then design your own from there. This includes the PVP section, even if you don't plan on ever PVPing, as they know how to build ships for curb stomps. Also go to http://www.stoacademy.com/tools/skillplanner/ and use that tool to plan out your final build ahead of time, so you don't end up with akward leftover points or come up short on a power you want.
I get the point about mark gear, been trying to do that, but stuff on the exchange is usually fairly expensive. At least re-running the old missions gets me newer gear, but even doing those with new enemies seems to kill me sometimes. I do have all the officers filled out, and one of them has Emergency power to shields, but my ship still feels like it's made of tissue paper. :/
I'll try using the attack setting, and see if that makes a difference, although I've sometimes been having to use the defensive setting to even survive.
reginala: thank you for the suggestions, I'll try those out too. I do have to say the game is not the most newbie-friendly I've come across - explanations and documentation are sorely lacking on some things. I still don't really get what half the stats do, and I only just found out on my fourth day playing how to put weapons on auto-fire.