During my Recent Let’s Play I got totally destroyed. I was using the same gear that most New player would have access to at that point with one exception. But really why was I fine until ISS Discovery disappeared, and got blown up by the Klingons. Also later episode on took a few more Klingons and beat them very easily. While this answer is complicated, but the largest factor is related to poor level scaling.
Level Scaling is generally a way players enjoy game content when ever they want without making player grind or be so obscenely overpowering the earlier of the content in the game.
Star Trek Online has Level scaling, but the game does two ways. Scaling the Player to a set level as seen in areas such as New Romulus Adventure Zone, and Dyson Sphere common areas. In story missions, the content is scaled to the players. In a few cases, usually when playing with drastically different level players in a story mission, both will be happening at the same time. In the past, the Level also dictated which ships and the number of powers available for Players. This meant that developers could build their missions expecting a range of power that a player that had access to.
For the most part, a good player wouldn’t have issues within any Story mission, at or above the intended level. As an experienced player I shouldn’t have blown up that suddenly on the 4th Mission in the Journal, but I did.
However, I strongly believe that the mission was built for a “End” game player, who has access to at least 6 or more weapons, over the 3 weapons on the Malachowski Class ship, and at least 12 or 13 Powers vs the 3 I had.
During Para-Parcem, It was quite clear that the Klingons where more interested in ISS Discovery than our USS Kelly Marie. At one Point as the Discovery is flying off, the Klingons chose to chase the Discovery, than the Kelly Marie. This resulting in the Kelly Marie chasing the Klingons. This mostly down to a “hidden” mechanic called Threat.
The Threat Mechanic is not unique to Star Trek Online. Many other games that use a real time battle mechanic will have something similar. In these games, there are usually classes can be described as Tank, Damage dealer, and healer. Games like Xenoblade 1 & 2 have Characters who are initially set up to be a tank, (Reyn and Tora/Poppi) to support their main character, (Shulk and Rex/Pyra).
In Star Trek Online in terms of Space Mechanics: NPC Enemies will generally target who ever is the most threatening, usually in their range. Firing a Weapon or using other Damage dealing abilities, will often generate more Threat. Hitting the said enemy with weapons or abilities also generate even more Threat. Some Healing abilities will generate threat. Some Abilities, such as Mask Energy Signature reduce the threat to other players, along with Cloaking Device some ships have. In a group setting, well built Escorts and Science vessels often generate alot of threat, which often will cause them get everyone attacking them, which isn’t good for the weaker ships. Captains of Bulkier Cruisers often will go out of their way to generate as much threat as possible and work to limit the amount of damage they take, when everyone it shooting at them.
To match the story, the ISS Discovery presumably had it’s “resting” threat set some what higher than most NPCs to encourage the Klingons to attack it. This is party why I could only gain the attention of one or two ships at a time. Even setting the ship to be as Offensive as I could go with Malachowski Class, I was taking a least a minute to take each one down.
When the ISS Discovery disappeared, the Klingons targeted the only other target on the “map”: me in the USS Kelly Marie. Even with the Best Shields that I could expect to have at the time. I soon got over whelmed. Sure I could have altered my powers and dome something different, and I could have survived.
A few story Mission later, I took out the Prototype Walker Class, (as USS Canton,) I came up to a Trio of Klingons, and clearly beat them in under a minute. This is while I could blame to the “High end” Gear I obtained from the “Event” store, I most of the items didn’t activate . I believe that this ship is more abilities and weapons to any other Ship available at Level 12.
For the non-Discovery Federation Characters, the mission in question would most likely have been played at level 6 or 7, so these Birds of Prey are built to fight the 24th-25th Century work horse, the Miranda Class, which is identical stats wise to the Malachowski Class ship, not later ships.
As the said Prototype Walker was a Test bed for the upcoming Scaling T6 end game Ships, that can be used from Level 5 onwards. It lacks the equipment “Slot” locking feature that will come with the upcoming T6 Scaling Ships update. However some bugs in the Test Sever will lead me to think that these T6 will be powerful during leveling up.