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There is no balance as it is because escorts have too much power in everything. Over powered engines so you can't hold them, overpowered weapons so you can't defend against them, and shield powerful enough to keep you from finishing them off while they speed away out of your range or destroy you before you can kill them. If you going to give them the most powerful weapons then take away their speed. Why should they be able to destroy everything and get away, too? Big weapons move slow not fast. At least my idea gives everybody a way to balance out what they are lacking to help them compete with the best ships or teams. There will be true balance when any ship can fight toe to toe with an escort.
First Overpowered Engines? Not sure what this means, they have the same access to Engines everybody else does. I know I keep my Engine Power over 60 with an Escort because I usually have a Hyper Impulse Engine equipped (Omega set) and because that's how the engine likes to run. Using Combat Engines you'd want to keep it below 40. And Standard it won't matter. Now as for the Holding, Tractors rely on Aux power, how high is your Aux power? Do you pop an Aux battery before the Tractor Beam?
Overpower Weapons? Ahh DHC's they aren't so much overpowered as highly focused. Pop RSP or even Feedback Pulse and become immune to Weapons fire, hit em with a Jam Sensors it can screw up an attack run. They can't Sci Team out of it for 15s due to the Tac Team they used coming in.
Powerful Shields, again same choice of shields everyone else has but with only 90% the effectiveness. Only Fleet Escorts and Garumba's can chain EPtS1, so everything else is usually running around 70ish in shields.
The trick to beating Escorts is they have a 15 second window of Max damage, Alpha, CRF, TT1, APO and who knows maybe a High Yield (I use it). Than everything is on cooldown for 15s and 30s for the APO. That's the time to strike. The thing is a properly setup cruiser will survive those 15s.
There are Cruisers out there who know what they are doing, they just can't be killed by Solo Escorts, Sci ships who just chain shutdowns and debuffs onto the ship so it can't DPS or escape. And remember it's hard to use Sci Team, when you just used Tac Team.
Rather than shaking your fists at how easy it is to play an Escort, try and up your game and learn to play a Cruiser or Science ship. And yes IMO the easiest way to set the game difficulty to high is not through setting it to Elite, but in learning how to truly use a Sci ship.
And just to go for one major reason this is a bad idea, the C-Store ships are meant to be equal to the free Tier 5 ships, and in 99% of the cases they are. No single ship is so OP that flying anything else is a waste of time. This means the game doesn't have a Bank account advantage. While some consoles like anything Klingon or the Anti-Matter Spread are very helpful in the right circumstance, they are not a guarantee to win. Putting an extra BOFF slot where you please on the ship for C-Points means anybody who can't afford to do it is now in an inferior ship. The Balance of the game is ruined.
Quite literally I thought bumping the Ensign* to a Lt, and adding an extra Universal Console slot to each ship, would be a fair and easy way of taking all Tier 5 ships and making them Tier 6. Make the first upgrade free, every other ship would cost say 160k Dilitium for the upgrade
Four BOFF ships would simply get a promotion of the Lowest BOFF, so a BOP would be 4, 3, 3, 2 (12) and Carriers would be 4, 3, 3, 3 (13) compared to a normal ship 4, 3, 2, 2, 2 (13).