I agree with you -- let me state that up front. The Andorian Escorts are -- to some degree -- a paper tiger. Overall, I think that the Jem'Hedar Attack Ship (the "Bug" ship) still has the edge..and to some degree, the BoP may have an advantage given the cloaked alpha strike. I came to this conclusion based on two factors:
1. The bridge officer layout. For the Andorian tac version, there are only three slots available for survivability skills. For the Engineer and Sci versions of the escorts, there are five potential survivability slots. None of the non-tac slots are above Lieutenant level.
2. Consoles -- in order to gain the special set bonuses, a pilot will have to sacrifice three console slots -- that only leaves seven for the basics...to include the tac slots to boost damage. This will limit things like shield strength and turn radius, amongst others.
On the other hand...it is wise to be cautious. There are a few tidbits that I think could be dangerous in the right situations...like the fact that the three-set bonus -- "Wing Cannon Synergy" -- allows the deployed cannon platforms to benefit from specific player skill sets, such as cannon rapid fire, scatter volley, etc. That is something even carrier pilots cannot do with thier fighter wings, and it represents a potentially significant increase in burst damage capability. Also consider that the Wing Cannon Console essentially adds two more forward-firing weapons to this ship, increasing the number of forward-firing weapons to seven. I sort of doubt that the wing cannon platforms do as much damage as normal weapons...but together they may be able to add enough dps to make a difference.
The key to piloting this craft will be to kill anything you face as quickly as possible, because although it can dish out damage...it certainly can't take any...if it does not kill on the first strike, then it is probably dead.
The Vestas are not the popular one that is for sure. I rarely see them in use. I see lot more of the other ships instead. So their "newness" wore off quick. Just like the new 3rd Anniversary ships. I'm seeing a decline in those as well. Mostly on the KDF one. I still see a few Ambassadors in use.
These new ships will be nice, you will see them. Then they will decline as others go back to a ship they usually favor more.
Seriously? I am on everyday for hours and haven't seen a vesta since the week they came out. I see the chimera and oddy all the time.
Hmmmm, I'm trying to remember an STF in the past week that DIDN'T have an Oddy in it. Heh. I see the Chimera a fair bit too. But yeah, I've been grouped up with Vestas pretty recently. They stick out since for me they're very new you know? I was on a break when they were introduced.