The reason why alot of cruisers can't compete in PVP and PVE with escorts is because the devs are bent of making escorts do everything and be all around better ships. If thats not the case, then why are almost every new ship that they come out with are escorts and armed with cannons? Why is it that torpedos, being the cruiser's most powerful weapon, does little to nothing to shields? Cruisers on the Fed side can't arm heavy cannons like they can on the Klingon side.
To balance out things and slow the drive of everyone rushing to get an escort to use in PVP, they need to either bring up the damage level of beams or bring down the damage level in heavy cannons. There is no guide or manual saying that cannons are better than beams. In Memory Alpha say the the disruptor cannons have more energy then standard phaser banks but took longer to recharge. Standerd phasers in that time were Type 8, while the Galaxy class was armed with Type X and Sovereign was armed with type XII. Those later mentioned phasers were not standard and were mostly on the new most important ships. Now that this is the 25th Century, most ships with the phaser strips would be using type X or type XII phaser arrays. With that being said, the power outputs for cannons and beams should be the same and the damage should be the same. That would make more ships in this game more even, especially in pvp. Lets see if the Devs are really interested in the balance of the game or are they just blowing smoke up everyone's ass.