When I first got my tier 2 escort, I hit Starbase 24 to try it and because I hadn't done it yet. Ships were all -7 to me. Yeah, at my level it really wasn't fair anymore. But I still only finished 3rd, so others higher levels were obviously there too. Then I left.
Perhaps a good way to keep farmers out is to put up a timer? But of course, then if you were trying different strategies to do better, it would suck to wait. If tiering by level, would you use player level or ship level?
It's an interesting problem. You will never make everyone happy, but it would be great to limit gold farmers/spammers from their tricks. I am sure they will change it eventually, and I am curious how they will.
Very easy fix, just make the score based on level also.
Base the level of the player versus the level of the enemy ships, if you are higher you get a percentage point pentalty. If lower a bonus. Could even go off of ship strengths, but there will always be an optimal place to find the best wins.
Maybe rotating polarity would help, different reward distributiions based on different factors in different areas, so you never know if it is all DPS or most wins, most survives to kills, etc... That would make farming pretty tough if you did not know what formula would happen each time.
If you did do many algos computing who wins, based on different factors, at end you could even add story telling where some admiral recognizes the efforts of such and such ship doing such and such action. Each action being a different formula to determine win, but all of the formulas roughly coincide with winning the mission and attacking enemies while supporting allies.
Also a death pentalty for ships would lower some of the just get max damage play. It would also make healing ships needed more. And get people to form groups so they could create cohesive units.