I am new to the game and have been looking at how to best setup my character. I am looking to build a space focused character who uses brute force and is able to take hits. I am wondering how much of a damage dealer I could be as a Tactical Officer using Cruisers? In essence, I am looking to be STO's version of a 2-handed, plate wearing, Warrior.
I have looked at the escorts but they are the Rogues of the game and I have never enjoyed playing that type of hit-and-run play style.
First off, forget about any "classes" you are aware off:
Any shipclass can be a very viable machine of death in its own ways.
Sci Ships can be super duper AOE control beasts (with nice damage), Escorts are not as fragile as they look on first sight. Cruisers might never do the DPS of an Escort, but still are able to to tons of them.
All ships get hit, all ships need "heal" somehow.
A Tac in an offensive cruiser can be a decent DPS, with very good healingcapabilities.
So if you like that, fly that.
If you are still leveling, you may try a different shipclass while leveling up (Commander and captain ranks grant a very good insight into the playstyle of the ships).
Be aware of PVP though, the learningcurve is pretty tough, and you will get blown to pieces in seconds.
The main problem with cruisers DPS wise is they can't equip the highest DPS weapons (Dual Cannons and Dual Heavy Cannons) and even if they could, they're not manouverable enough to make use of them. So you'll basically never do the DPS of a well built DPS Escort in a Cruiser.
That said, you can still do decent damage with 6 beam arrays (you'll have 8 weapon slots on end level cruisers, so 6 beams and two torps), Emergency Power to Weapons and Beam Fire at Will. Plus you'll have plenty of Engineering Boff abilities left over for heals and resists to take the hits, and your Tactical Captain powers (Tac Fleet, Attack Pattern Alpha) can buff your damage a bit.
Make sure to pick on type of energy for all of those beams. The bonuses on energy specific tactical consoles are better then the general ones, and on cruisers you wont have room to spare on tac consoles.