I have been playing since the game went free to play and have noticed the balance in the game decline between then and season 6 at which point it appears to have gone completely out the window. I play all three professions in their respective ship types and the only one I find effective at defending itself is my tactical in their escort, The cruiser can tank because that's the level it's been brought down to and the science ship is a heal-boat come havoc causer.
I remember the day before season 6 went live I did an STF in my 6 tetryon beam cruiser and was blowing up borg ships on my own in a reasonable amount of time (less than 1 minute per bird of prey and respective time increases as the ship increase in level) then 1 day and the arrival of season 6 later my cruiser was useless for damage and the escorts had even more power to blow these things up where I was taking over 1 minute to blow something up they were taking 10 seconds flat.
So I did some research into weapons and found that 1 dual heavy cannon does 4 times the damage of 1 beam array (2x damage per hit plus 2 volleys for my 1) which I think is silly as 2 dual heavy cannons thus majorly out-guns 6 beam arrays (with the same player skills, ship equipment, etc.).
Furthermore, the majority of ships in sector space are cruisers as are the majority of new C-store ships yet for anything other than being damage sponges they're useless in PvE. This seems silly to me to say the least, why relegate the majority of your money making ships to damage sponges when your customers (the vast majority I'm sure are casual players) want to blow something up rather than sit and take more fire than the target has health, being a damage sponge is only half a battle, what happens if in new story content the only ship doing it is a cruiser? They'll be sat there forever more taking damage without the ability to give it back and thus make no progress in the game.
I understand that pre-season 6 there was an "I must have the games most powerful ship" attitude, mainly among the escort pilots, and yes it did need sorting however you went about it the wrong way, I agree NPC stats needed increasing, they were a little easy to kill, however you went wrong in two ways:
1: You increased the health, defence and shields in favour of escorts
2: You then increased the damage so that only cruisers would survive
This causes problems as escorts get killed outright and cruisers don't have the firepower to kill them thus major problems are caused. Here's what I feel can be done to rectify this situation and make everyone (except the short-sighted members of the escort community, I'm not referring to the entire escort community as I know some will favour this)
1: Bring escort damage down a little and bring cruiser and science ships up such that there is a 'player standard' damage capability. This will involve the lowering of Cannon damage in general and the increase of Beam damage (torpedoes are fine as they are)
2: Bring NPC stats down a little to account for this, while a team damage boost will be noticeable (except in a team of 3 or more escorts) it still won't be quite enough to compensate for the reduction in escort damage
3: Rather than increase stats by a percentage (which I am sure is easier) do it by points applied universally
The combination of these will increase team based damage figures while giving everyone the same ability to kill something (although due to tactical abilities and damage boosts escorts will still remain supreme in solo damage). This should result overall in a better team experience and increase the fun factor (and thus revenue) of cruisers and science ships.
As we all know happy customers are more likely to stick around and if they stick around they will be more likely to find a C-store ship of more value to them and thus spend money on your game.
Any player feedback on this (other than "you're building your ship wrong" I've tried 5 different builds and settled on the best for my play style) are welcome and appreciated