The price of Zen has been steady around 155-160 for a few weeks now. A steady price is indicative of a steady economy.
We'll see what happens when S7 lands. But for now, things look OK. Maybe not perfect, but there certainly doesn't seem to be a reason to panic.
I'm a bit frustrated by hearing from the folks that complain about Dilithium earning being a "full time job" sort of thing. So you don't earn 8,000 per day? That doesn't mean you'll "never" get the items you want, it simply means you will take longer to get there than somebody that does.
Every F2P model these days tends to have some balance of people with a lot of Time vs. people with a lot of Money. Most average players fall somewhere in the middle (hence being average), and can spend SOME Time and SOME Money on their advancement, and this is where F2P games make the bulk of their earnings - not from the whales that buy everything, because they are few in number.
If you do not have a lot of Time, then it is expected of you to have a lot of Money. Or vice versa. If you cannot meet either of these extremes, or a balance of both, then you should expect your progression to lag behind others that do.
There will never be a game that exclusively caters to the lowest common denominator in either category, because it would not be financially sustainable.
So, if I could make a request, I would like people that complain about the Dilithium "grind" to think about what they actually want, and balance that against what they could get if they had either more Money or Time. If you find yourself falling into a category that does not have an abundance of one or the other, or a balance of both, then I'm of the opinion that your expectations are not realistic.
there isn't a reward for being a loyal player. just rich ones. you can spend your way to the top in hours what it takes the loyal gamer months to do. That's whats wrong here. no rewards that can't be purchased.
and yeah, in PVE your equipment matters very little unless you play elite... and there is no reward for playing elite... why bother?
and face it, STO will never develop its PVP system. too many other priorities.
I higly recommend KDF alts, if you don't mind the twenty to thirty minutes it takes to have three KDF characters do an Omega Leonis-Eta Eridani-Regulus-Pi Canis lap to pick up marauding assignments and military offensives for the prisoners, to send to work in the Forced Labor assignments in those sectors and adjoining star clusters. You'll get some contraband in the process, trade those in, or drop them in the account bank for your feds, and that's an easy 15 to 24K a day.
Which they can then prompty turn over to the Federation war machine. Mine, my dilithium monkeys! Mine!
You don't even need to level them that much.
KDF's got it pretty easy, when it comes to duty officer dilithium generation. Fed characters take a lot more work to accomplish the same. And we have hardly any assignments to get rid of prisoners. (Prisoner exchange, interrogate prisoner, turning them over to the security officer on ESD two at a time for little to no reward, and the four rare colonisation assignments in the Cardassian block. And they're now worthless to dismiss. And what even happens when you 'dismiss' a prisoner anyway? I know what I'd like to happen, but there's a thin line between science and warcrimes. Then again, I'm not sure those Paradan contractors are entirely on the up-and-up.)