I am a casual player who leveled an Eng in cruisers all the way to 50. Currently, I am using the free star cruiser Odyssey, mostly as a tank built.
However, I have read that tanking here is not that crucial and at the same time it is kind of hard to pull off.
I have decided to look to a dps build/ship that could benefit from an engineer character. I have read a bit about some ships like dreadnaught, sovereign refit, tactical odyssey, etc. However, I can see a way to decide so I wanted to ask for your experience on this matter. I am silver player but I am willing to buy it from the z-store if it is the best choice.
There are multiple ways around this, 1 of which is to radically rethink and get the MVAE (I've seen it done with science and engineer and it works fairly well but that is a RADICAL rethink) another way is to go for an 8 Beam Oddy with everything you can spare for supporting your power and damage (I personally however have stuck to the tank+shield stripper/reverse damage approach) however both are viable options I am afraid that is all the experience I have on the subject and builds are down to you
Do what the rest of the engineers here do: Make an escort from hell. I would recommend a patrol escort since it's the tankiest, and it also has the best shield ratio and hull out of the freebie escorts. After that, just run dual cannons/beam banks, a torpedo launcher or two, and have matching BOff skills and a good DOff setup and you should be fine. There are threads lower down for good escort builds. Tried a few, and some of them are rather entertaining if nothing else.
I understand your delema well, as I too prefer high damage and run a cruiser build. Honestly, speccing your Odyssey for damage, full power to weapons, a bit of practice, and using tactical team paired with Fire at Will 2, and an 8 beam setup is what I would recomend if you dont want to spend Zen.
THAT SAID! If you want a truely huge ammount of damage invest in either a Tactical Odyssey, or the Sovereign refit, as both have utterly imense damage POTENTIAL. I personaly would more recomend the latter, if for no other reason the, "Bite me I can fire quantum torpedos out my side!" weapon. In that case I would use the 180' quantum forward, 7 beams, High Yield 3, FAW 1 and 2, and, if you REALLY want to pour on extra damage, use the universal slot for another tactical officer, you lose a fair ammount of tank, but the extra damage makes an interesting trade off. Bear in mind, the high dps cruiser means you wont tank like a true cruiser, so be fearful of high dps ships, like bops, more then usual with it.
I hope my comment helps you.
NX-100003-C, USS Gneisenau, Regent class battlecruiser
P.S. To be a huge jerk, mk.12 antiproton beams look cool, and when they crit on a tactical speced anything, well, lets just say the result is ALWAYS funny. Good luck!
Patrol Escort, with the the BOff layout and your engineering captain powers it can be surprisingly tanky with a fair bit of easy non-DOff-proc relying DPS. When I decided to move my Fed Engineer to a escort for the DPS, I looked at all the escort available then (shortly after the Memorial Day sale) including C-Store and decided that it was the best blend and survivability for my tastes(Note: Armitage came out later). I've been doing pretty well with it so far.
120K Dil and/or several Million EC:
Assault Cruiser or Mirror Assault Cruiser (If you can stand the looks of it, it's only a few hundred thousand on the exchange) 8x Beam Arrays, 2x Uncommon or better Energy Weapon DOffs with chance to reduce Cooldown on Beam Special Attacks, 2x Damage Control Engineers (probably blue or better, not tried this build) with chance to reduce Cooldown on EPt powers, and another DOff of choice to round it out. Then engineering BOffs with 2x EPtW and 2x Directed Energy Modulation. Though I have yet to go try this build, but it should give the old Assault Cruiser and it's yellow whale cousin a fair bit of firepower when spamming FAW. I'd try it out if I wasn't already setup with DOffs for the Patrol Escort, and had the ECs to grab the DOffs I needed.
20K Fleet Credits and 4 Fleet Ship Modules (500Zen or ~5-6 Mil EC each module):
Fleet Patrol Escort: 10% more hull, 10% more shields, an extra engineering console slot, and the Ensign spot becomes a Universal instead of Engineering compared to the standard Patrol Escort. Not hard to find a fleet with a Tier 1 shipyard and needing 20K of Dil to quickly get the Fleet Credits.
Armitage Heavy Escort Carrier: Similar to the standard Patrol Escort, but has an Lt. Com. Engineering instead of Ens. and Lt. Engineering BOffs, but split up the Tac BOffs a bit, plus has a hangar. If this had been available when I was looking for a DPS ship for my Eng Capt, I would've gone with this one most likely. Flexible tanking/DPS/CC with it's hangar bay, depending on what you have loaded (Shield Repair Drones/Peregrines/Danube Shuttles, respectively). I'm saving up in-game traded Dil to Zen for this ship currently.
The already mentioned Regent with 7x beam arrays and 2 EPt cooldown DOffs and 2x EPtW should be a very killer build, especially with decent attack patterns mixed in.
Cruiser will never be the DPS king, and as an engie you don't have stuff like APA and FOMM to jack up your hits. However if you go for 6 beams, 1 EPTS3, 1 EPTW1, and 2 purple damage control doffs, you'll have lots of weapon energy to keep the damage up and some shields that will be a pain to get through, and when the doff doesn't proc (~10% of the time) you've got Rotate Frequency plus EPS Transfer/Nadion Inversion to cover the gap. Its not maxed-out killinating, but its pretty solid without getting too complicated.
Option 1 - Pick up an engineer focused escort, like the Armitage(c-store) or the Patrol Escort. Stick dual heavy cannons and turrets on it and watch as you casually mow down NPC's even when unbuffed. This is the best solution and you'll find them not that much less tankier then a cruiser if properly equipped (2x emergency power to shields is a must).
After a week or so of flying one, you'll find yourself wondering why you would ever want to go back to a cruiser (outside of them being the ship type most connected to trek).
Option 2 - Stick with the cruiser, using one of the following.
Assault Cruiser Refit
Equip it with all single cannons and turrets (if you wish to use it, equip the 180 quantum Torpedo in the aft) and make sure they are buffed by cannon rapid fire as often as possible. Without cannon rapid fire you'll be doing less damage broadsiding with beams, with cannon rapid fire you'll be doing the most damage a ship can do without being equipped with dual heavy cannons.
Ensign Tac - tactical team 1
Lt Cmdr Tac - tactical team 1, cannon rapid fire 1, cannon rapid fire 2.
Cmdr Eng - emergency power to shields 1, reverse shield polarity 1, directed energy modulation 2, Directed energy modulation3.
Lt Eng - emergency power to shields 1, auxilary to SIF 1
Lt Universal - hazard emitters 1, transfer shield strength 2
The Directed Energy Modulation adds extra damage per hit to your weapons and bypasses shields. Since single cannons fires a lot that's a lot of added damage.
Similar to the above, all single cannons and turrets,
Equip it with dual heavy cannons and turrets (preferably phaser as phaser consoles will boost the phaser lance). NPCs are slow enoug that the Gal-X's low turnrate isn't much of an issue.
Do NOT use this dreadnought build for PvP, since everyone moves way too fast for such a slow ship to keep them in optimum firing arc.
If you want to do some serious DPS, try the Defiant Retrofit or even better...the Fleet Defiant.
The Defiant Retrofit has super DPS potential with it's cloaking device and a mostly tactical set up. However you sacrifice the tanking power of the Patrol Escort.
The Patrol Escort is a little bit more friendly to Engineers since it has more hull and has 2 Engineering BOff slots (Lt and Eng).
There's really not to much you can add to a post from Daizen about doing damage as an engineer.
But I will. On the new Assault Refit you can find room for 2 copies of cannon, torpedo, and DEM abilities. The rapid fire abilities don't shine as bright for single cannons as they do for dual heavies, but DEM is crazy. The scatter ability plays very nicely with DEM in PVE. Currently DEM does add damage to each shot regardless of the targets shield state.
And the only thing I think Daizen needs to learn about this game is how to blow up. I don't remember ever seeing him do that yet. He's a rascal!!
EDIT: Please note that I'd be hesitant to bring that into PVP with no Tac Team. U can do it but you really need to be on top of your shields. If your not used to doing so, you would need to sub out some abilities to get the level of TT that you're comfy with. So my bit there was really just for doing some good old fashioned NPC killing madness.