Issue 1: Crew disable/death effects on torpedoes that aren't supposed to have them
Based off of tooltips, only Photon and Quantum torpedoes are supposed to have a chance of killing crewmen. (These torpedo types explicitly list the crew disable/death proc; other torpedo types do not have this effect in their tooltips.) However, all torpedo types currently have a chance to disable/kill crew. Getting hit by a stream of Chroniton torpedoes, for example, can disable crew just as effectively as being hit by a bunch of Photon torpedoes.
In PvE, this leads to crew death when you don't expect it -- for example, when Borg start spewing plasma torpedoes, your crew will be disabled/killed even though Plasma torpedoes don't say that they have a chance to disable/kill crew.
In PvP, this devalues photons and quantum torpedoes -- their "special ability" is the chance to disable/crew, but when every type of torpedo can do that, there's no special reason to use photons or quantums.
If a crew disable/death effect is supposed to be added to all torpedoes, then please update the tooltips to reflect this -- it's confusing when a weapon applies an effect that isn't listed.
Issue 2: Crew disable/death effects have higher values than what tooltips indicate.
The amount of crewmen disabled/killed by torpedoes is much greater than what tooltips would indicate. To illustrate this, I'll use an example:
A Photon Torpedo, when equipped in a weapon slot, shows the following line in its tooltip:
"50% Chance: Lesser of -20 or -20% Able crew"
This seems to imply that the photon torpedo will disable the smaller of the two possible numbers -- however, it seems to be doing the exact opposite.
Example: Odyssey with 2500 active crew. (20% of this = 500) Expected: 20 crewmen will be disabled. Actual: 500 crewmen are disabled. (From a single torpedo strike, no less!)
Example: Saber with 50 active crew. (20% of this = 10) Expected: 10 crewmen will be disabled. Actual: 20 crewmen are disabled.
In both PvE and PvP, this effectively negates the bonus of having a large crew on a ship -- a single torpedo hit could wipe out a fifth of the crew, regardless of whether you're flying a 5-crew shuttle or a 4000-crew dreadnought. (I know the Star Trek Shake is nasty, but it's not that bad...)
In addition, it means that active crew levels hit 0 far quicker than expected. This adversely affects hull repair and subsystem repair times, and means that cruisers with huge crew pools get almost no bonus compared to escorts.
If this is actually what's intended, then please replace the tooltip text with something less ambiguous. Something like:
"50% Chance: Disables the greater of 20 or 20% of Able crew"
would be much clearer at explaining what's going on. (Massive redshirt mortality, ho!)
I'm not sure that NPCs even have "crew" in the sense that player ships do. If they don't, then this bug wouldn't affect NPCs; it would only affect players' crew levels. (Maybe all the NPCs are run by holograms?)
However, on player ships, it really does affect things like hull regeneration and subsystem repair. No active crew = significantly lowered hull regen and an increase to the duration of subsystem disable effects.
Like I mentioned in the original post, it also negates any benefit from flying large-crew ships -- what's the benefit of having 2500 crew if they'll all be knocked unconscious after 5 or so torpedo hits?
That would explain why a single stack of Theta Vents is able to completely wipe an Odyssey crew in about 5 seconds. Might not be a problem with just torpedoes, but with how crew disable/death is calculated.
I'm not quite sure that Theta would fall under this. Theta's crew kill effect is explicitly listed as being a percentage of total crew on the ship; on any ship, it should take 40s to kill the entire crew (assuming that you start with all crew alive).
Then again, it does seem to kill crew much faster than that. Perhaps it should be looked at as well?