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|1) "Does anyone know if they have they decided anything on "away-mission" combat? Will it be like traditional MMOs or are they going the FPS route?"
The current plan for away team combat is a third-person character-skill model with some action elements. It is not an FPS.
2) "Will there be boarding parties?"
3) "What is the death penalty?"
Very little. When you're critically wounded, your ship does an emergency transport back to sick bay. Aside from perhaps lessening your after-mission bonus, your only real penalty is the time it takes you to get back into the action.
Note that all of this info just reflects our current intentions, not implemented features. Things can and do change. Happy holidays!
Many thanks to Glen for stopping by!
You can respond to that thread here.
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios