Escort is escort. All defiant did mostly just to blow things up, and fast. Which is what escorts already do. Starting from T3 PvE I could go max impulse and start shooting from 10km, target would usually always die at 6km, even if it's a cruiser or battleship target.
T2 might require some slowdown, but I've pretty much never had to turn around to shoot my target unless if I was rushing into them with evasive maneuvers or if it was a mission where they spawned right next to me.
The difference is, the defiant used speed and switched targets as it flew by (if they lived), while in STOI escorts slowdown somewhere (park) and just shoot...than complain about lack of suriviablity...hehehe
I don't understand the comments about not having to turn at all if I do it right, and not overflying.
If I could stop still in space, nose at the target, target sits still and doesn't rotate but keeps the same shield facing me, then yes, obviously, arming my ship to take advantage of this situation would be great. But I've never seen that happen. Even the PVE ships move, they try to turn their weak shields away from me. So that means I have to either try to stay on the side with the weak shield, or hope I have enough firepower to weaken ALL the shield on the target enough for photons to do some damage, and that the weakened shields don't regain enough strength while they're turned away from me. But also, not only is the enemy PVE target trying to turn its weak shields away from me, it's also moving about in space. This means I have to keep moving, especially rotating, if I want to keep my nose pointed at the ship. Now I don't know about the escorts you guys are using, but my heavy escort, and the one I had before it at Lt. Cmdr. level, don't turn so well unless they're moving forward. Sitting still, they certainly don't rotate fast enough to keep my nose pointed at a ship that's orbiting me at close range. If I move forward to be able to turn and rotate, and keep my nose pointed at the target, what's going to happen? Obviously, I'm going to get closer and closer to the ship, until I bump into it, and then I'll be on the other side of it.
I see now that the problem is that they made the strongest weapons only work on the smallest ships. This forces us to come up with strategies such as the ones you guys are in favor of. Admittedly, as I've mentioned, this strategy is great for spankfest fight. But it forces us to play with these unrealistic strategies, which is unfortunate, but that's just my opinion. In reality, smaller ships (like destroyers and destroyer escorts) don't have more firepower than larger ships. Smaller ships move quickly and are agile and deliver multiple and repeated bursts of weak firepower, while larger ships are relatively still and deliver massive bursts of firepower at greater intervals.
Ack, don't sit still! keep moving. you can be at full throttle and still probably pull it off. below admiral and you might want to throttle down to 3/4 or even 1/2 impulse. you can still make minor aiming adjustments but don't stop completely.
I've pored over my combat log after every battle for weeks, and despite having equipment that adds .1% accuracy, I've never seen a cannon, torpedo or beam "miss" in space combat. Being agile would be cool, if it were possible for them to actually miss you because of all your dodging and weaving. As it is, no matter how fast you turn, no matter how much you dodge, no matter how quickly you jink and weave, the weapon will hit you. Best to kill whatever it is quickly, so it hits you less
Also, Boff powers are your friend. Try using Jam sensors. They can't target you, and often, will just sit there until they can target you again. More than enough time to beat down a shield facing and pummel them into powdered space debris. 3 BoP's? (Or frigates or corvettes etc...) no problem. BoP's especially have shields that will just get torn to shreds by cannon fire. All three in one pass is usually doable. Even if I botch it going in before all my buff cooldowns are up, two go down in the first pass, the third I just turn and burn it with a torpedo on the 180. If you're not utterly destroying things in a single pass with an escort, then look at your Boff abilities. Things like Cannons: Rapid Fire and Torpedo: High Yield are mandatory. Emergency power to weapons will boost your weapon power and keep those turrets from draining it. Tactical officer abilities gained with rank will help too. Attack pattern Alpha will buff your damage. the space version of fire on my mark (if your high enough to have it) will debuff your opponents damage resistance. Find everything you have that will buff your weapon power or weapon damage, and everything that will debuff your enemies ability to resist damage and then watch the fireworks. By everything, I mean put points into beam weapons and a specific type, and stick with that. Put full points into torpedos and a torpedo type, and stick with those, max out any skills in your tree that will maximize your science and engineering buffs and debuffs as much as possible. Use the "attack" preset for power distribution or set up a custom distribution and bind it to one of the presets. Seriously, if you have to turn in average PvE combat, I'll be genuinely surprised.
A typical attack run for me is:
pick a target and an approach
at about 10.6 km, throttle down to 3/4 impulse and pop all my buffs
last buff pops at about 9.9km, start putting debuffs on the target
Fire cannons, turrets and a High Yield quantum Torpedo Salvo (which conveniently should get to the target just as the shields go down)
Keep firing till it 'splodes
rinse and repeat
For step 1, the approach is only important for multiple BoPs or whatever. All three will join in the attack at the same time usually, and all share the same top speed. Approach them just right and when the first one dies, the second one will hopefully fly near/through it's warp core breach. It may just kill it outright. Then the third one flies near/through the second ships warp core breach. It will be heavily damaged or destroyed outright. It doesn't always work out the way you planned, (especially if 2 of the ships are cloaked) but if you plan it that way, it will work out for you more than if you don't
again, I'm not telling you how to play, just sharing the method to my personal madness.
What finally worked for me was rapid fire in conjunction with dual cannons. Without it I wouldn't be able to kill the enemy as fast as some people are saying they can. But with that, and my own abilities bumping up the DPS, I really am able to put on the hurt.
Even so, if the enemy is maneuvering a lot (those Magai seem particularly prone to this), I'm forever fighting to keep them in my firing arc. Some mobs obligingly stay far away, or move slowly enough that I have no problem, others don't. At least in my experience on a heavy escort. In that case there may be a lot to be said for regular cannons instead of dual cannons. They have the same timing, and apparently can even be mixed with dual cannons, but they have a 180 degree firing arc doing only 71 percent of the damage.
But yea, a straight cannon all by itself isn't going tto be all that spectacular. You need to bring in BO abilities, consoles, and your own abilities to really make it shine. That's been my experience anyway.
Oh and by the way, all indications are that cannons don't get to their max damage until within 2 km from the target. If you're even 3 km away you aren't hitting for max damage. If, by using regular cannons you can stay within 2 km (that 180 degree arc giving you more flexability) you'll do as much damage as someone with duals at 5.5 km. Of course then you really are maneuvering around a lot and you still need all the skills and abilities of the guy at 5.5 km. The ideal of course is to be at 2 km with duals/heavies while always keeping the enemy in your firing arc but I can't seem to manage that at all consistently.
There are however, many enemies for which it seems that the best tactic really is to piddle along at 1/4 impulse (just enough to be able to turn) and pivoting to hit the enemy. I agree it doesn't feel right for a ship like the escort which I figured was intended to mix it up at close range -- but that really does work with the way they have their combat system right now in many cases.
At least that's my observation as a fairly new STO player.