I am an engineer flying an escort however I hear from countless others that this is the "wrong combo". People say:
Tac = Escorts
Eng = Cruisers
Science = Science
Am I the only one who sees the benefit of mixing and matching? As a(n) eng officer in a escort I can take a much harder beating that my tac officer brethren.
Am I wrong?
Well, I run a Science Officer with a Cruiser ship. It was fun, if only the Cruiser can turn faster. I don't have much skill set to "train" level 3 stuffs to bridge crews - most of the skills are on running ships and surviving fights (strong shields and weapons) not being a doctor or a scientist.
No matter how you stack your skill sets or career orientation, the game has more about winning fights, both space and ground. Very little on being a good tactician, or engineer, or doctor, or theoretical scientist.
There isn't any really convincing setting that says Tactical officer would be very weak running a Cruiser or a Science Vessel. After all, you won't be fixing the ship (engineer) or actually studying the Anomalous material we find in space.
I think the WoW mentality people were talking about was the "Classic" (i.e., pre-expansions) raid philosophy, where you could level in any tree, but at endgame, you could only raid in one tree. Your tank was a warrior, your druid was a tree, and your paladin was a buffbot masquerading as heals. In other words, the fact that classes had multiple specs didn't mean anything but the One True Way would work in endgame.
That's a little different than saying all Fury warriors have the same spec--it's more along the lines of saying all warriors must be Tanks in endgame because that's the One True Way and if you aren't a tank, you won't get invited to raids, because you have to be spec'd the One True Way. And if the raid doesn't work that way, the raid is "trivial" because it allows imperfect (i.e., deviant) builds to get gear.
The problem with the logic behind that philosophy is that it's entirely circular. It presumes that non-trivial raid encounters can only occur when there's only one way to reach the absolute maximum net DPS/threat/heals thresholds. The gist of the discussion on this this thread is that, obviously, STO doesn't work that way--combining buffs and debuffs from different captain types and ship types has worked very well for a lot of people and there's no reason to think that won't continue in endgame.
And it's probably worth pointing out that WoW doesn't work that way anymore, either. But the disciples of the One True Way are still angry about it.