base stats of weapons are created by the Devs , not players. You can't argue if the stats show cannons do hundreads of more damage than beams. That show an imbalance, it only gets worse when you add player skill trees, ships base stats, and ship builds. The weapons need to be balanced before you can even begin to balance the ships or the game. Every ship can not arm the same type of weapons which creates an imbalance in itself.
So, wait - huh? Are you seriously trying to argue that all weapons should do the same exact damage (let's be generous and assume you mean the same effective damage normalized over range, fire arc, and rate of fire), as the first step to balance? Because that... that is fantastic. Yes, let's do that exact thing. That way, escorts, (which are the combat oriented DPS class) get to do LESS damage than cruisers, because they only have 7 weapons instead of 8.
Then, when it becomes evident that somehow the seven weapon escorts are STILL rolling you, let's go ahead and nerf the maneuverability of escorts, because that, too, is an 'imbalance'. Oh, and while we're at it, Sci ships have extra powers other ships don't have. That's not fair, let's go ahead and get rid of those. Oh, and Escorts have more Tac slots than cruisers, so, that's not fair, let's adjust those down. In fact, let's make every ship exactly like every other ship stat-wise. Also, captain powers aren't identical, so, let's get rid of them. That sounds fun.
Of course, when you are STILL getting rolled, then it will be that certain ships 'look faster' and that 'imbalance in looks' is throwing off your game. So, let's make sure that all ships look the same so that you don't have to worry about that. Then, let's make sure there is no difference in latency between different connections, because that also could be a reason why you fail.
Okay, so here it is in simple terms. Yes, cannons do more damage, because they have a narrower arc. Yes, escorts that are well-helmed can do much to minimize that disadvantage. Yes, the net result is that escorts will do more damage than cruisers. Since the CORE GAME DESIGN is that this should be so, it's not exactly a news flash. If you are trying to argue that escorts should not be the DPS class, well, sorry, that ship has sailed. If you are trying to argue that the damage advantage afforded to escorts is somehow insurmountable, you are flat wrong. If you are trying to say that balance means all things must be exactly equal in all ways, then you have no conception of balancing through competing strengths and weaknesses, and probably have a difficult time negotiating yourself through a game of 'rock paper scissors'.