Firstly, players will always play planet content in groups of five, either with four NPCs or four friendly players. NPCs fill any gaps, so three friends could play together with two NPC allies trotting alongside them. Additionally, Cryptic says their goal is to truly encapsulate the spirit of Star Trek by allowing players to be the first to discover locations and planets. To that end, procedurally generated space content will compliment the manually created variety.
The final new gameplay-related information is that PvP functionality already exists in the game now -- which is a promising piece of news considering the amount of balancing time required to make such a feature work properly.
Lastly, it seems like a late 2009 or early 2010 launch date isn't entirely out of the question. While Zinkievich didn't give any actual dates, he did say the game could be coming sooner than expected, albeit sometime after Champions Online hits retail shelves.