It is Emergency Power to Engines... Practically EVERY NPC uses it for some weird reason and because of this and the fact that it seems downright broken (does not do this for us) they zip all over the place like they have a couple thousand Saturn V's shoved up their aft.
Ah, but you see, it DOES do that for us. That's EXACTLY why everyone is using it NOW. Previously it was kind of a useless power that did jack all, and no one used it, nor noticed it when NPCs used it. Now it DOES something, we LIKE using it...and when NPCs use it, precisely the same thing happens.
The thing is, the NPC pilot AI has not kept with how to deal with this, so they instead zoom crazily around like dwarf hamsters on crack until the smash into they scenery. They are as utterly unable to control their ships as we are.
I just posted (and verified it by viewing my posted content) that this is NOT emergency power to engines. I was playing a lot last night and was paying very close attention to the skills and powers being used by the enemy under the target box. At no point was EptE being used. Also, I sub-nuc'd them on many occassions to NO EFFECT. Further, EVERY ship was zipping around at super speed. Breen cruisers, orion brigands, battleships, and even TO'DUJ FIGHTERS were doing this! I kid you not!
Not ONE of them was using a special skill when this happened. Since no skill was in use, sub-nuc did nothing. Warp plasma won't stop them. They out-run mines. They are trying to turn toward you to fire, but since they're going so fast they can't turn tight enough and end up literally flying around you in wide circles until they decide to slow down.
They also reduced the cooldown for breen energy siphon on NPC ships. It's now significantly faster than it used to be and is used in rapid fire. It's supposed to have a much longer cooldown, but I can barely clean it off once before it's triggered again, and my cooldown still has too much time on it to clean it off again.
This is NOT a matter of NPCs using new skills. This is pure 100% bug and glitch. It's BAD CODING.
It sounds more like a bug/lag than anything else , there are some NPC ships that uses Epte like borg spheres while many others uses Evasive moeuvers like the Orion battleships that uses EM + EWP and rushes to you, but overall the NPC ships are using wide range of skills and consoles than they used one year ago, it is more fun this way since the dps that players can pull out is ridiculous.
Yes, the invisitorp cheese is still there. I just love getting one-shotted at full health and shields in my Mirror Vo'quv.
And now the Spheres are using what seems like EPtE10 to go flying in every direction at ludicrous speed. The funniest part is when they go flying into the gate and get hopelessly stuck in it. lol
mirror vo is rubbish for all the same reasons the galaxy is rubbish, but its worse. the lack of agility will make you take more damage just because.
swap it for the mirror raptor and your do better due to how the game works.
as it turns out, an intrepid would lose a fight with a connie. and thats canon.
! the power of plot compels you.
I'm assuming you already know every NPC in space is using Emergency Power to Engines II now. I'm also assuming you already know that Tricobalt weapons aren't all that great anymore. I'm also assuming you already know that NPCs travel insanely fast on higher difficulty levels (like Advanced and Elite, which is part of the challenge). I'm also assuming you know that NPCs were given something of a boost in AI mechanics (unfortunately they still don't know how to not crash into other objects in space, especially using Emergency Power to Engines).
That said, your game is incredibly different from mine, as the only times I notice insane NPC speed is when they're using Emergency Power to Engines II (III in Elite STFs), and I have to adjust my tactics accordingly to hunt them down. You're right in that destructable torpedos can't even catch up with them most of the time (my torps often play pinball trying to jump from ship to ship, with each of their targets dying before they get there, then locking on to another), but that just means me having to get a little closer to fire them and timing it just right.
If your game is this fundamentally different from mine in that your NPC speed issues are not caused by Emergency Power to Engines or an advanced difficulty and is as fast as you are saying they are (in that you need to go full impulse to catch up with them), then clearly Cryptic has singled you out of the entire player population to anger and upset. I would ask myself what I did to warrant being singled out from the rest of the player population to have my version of STO so fundamentally broken from everyone else's.
Then I would cry into my pillow and beg for forgiveness from the iconian gods.
Otherwise, maybe you were just gone for a while and the game is a lot different than you last remember it being.