There have been way too many threads of late that have had nerf after nerf suggestion for escorts. And that's all they've been, flat out nerf suggestions. I have been guilty of this too.
After much thought about the suggestions/accusations/name calling I decided to look at this from a different angle. I sat down and watched some DS9 episodes.
DS9 has always been my fave Trek series. Sure, it started a little slow but (in my opinion) it had the best interpersonal relationships, the best stories and by far the best space battles.
I love the Defiant, I love how it moves, I love how it looks and I love the punishment it dishes out. It's a ship that doesn't just have teeth, it has multiple sets of teeth waiting to tear you to pieces. I also notice that it doesn't yo-yo like most of the escorts in STO do.
I accept that the yo-yo is one of the most effective tactics in this game, but it's just not Trek. If the series are anything to go by, escorts move fast, they dodge incoming fire and they lay down punishing strafing runs. How would you emulate that tactic in STO, though?
After much thought, here is my solution. Please read the ENTIRE solution before replying!
Firstly, an escort should NOT be able to tank. Tanking is the realm of the cruiser and nobody should come close to that. Therefore an escort should have way less shields and less hull. A blanket reduction is shields and is not fair, though. To balance this, the defense of an escort moving at high speeds should be massive. It may not be able to take too many hits but just as many shots should be missing it as hitting it. (It makes no sense for escorts to be hit as many times as a cruiser. It's counterintuitive. Cruisers move slower and are larger targets.)
The decrease in shields and hull and increase in defense should be carefully done so as to ensure that the average escort moving at top speed would last just as long as they would under the current system. What purpose would this serve? To stop yo-yo tactics. In order to survive the escort would need to keep moving. This would result in brand new tactics evolving. No longer would Emergency Power to Shields be the flavour of the day for escorts; Emergency Power to Engines would be the escorts magic power, pushing their defense to incredible limits. Players would see that a slow escort is a dead escort.
Not being able to yo-yo would result in a vast drop in offensive power. Escorts would no longer have their nose permanently facing their target. That's not fair to the escorts. To balance this, escorts would need a rather large increase in damage. Their strafing runs should bring tears to the eyes of their opponents.
How to make this reasonable. Well, I would propose that the narrower the firing arc, the greater the damage boost. Turrets get no boost, beams get a little, cannons get a little more, dual beams get lots but DCs and DHCs get nasty. The game becomes that of moving fast and setting up strafing runs. Just like the Defiant did on so many occasions.
I know that a lot of people are not going to like this and I know that I'll probably get called names but I feel that escorts shouldn't be depending on shields and shield management for survival as much as they should be depending on evasiveness. Like the Defiant battling the Dominion, escorts should be zipping through space, shot after shot missing them whilst raining hellfire and brimstone on those that they lock their sights on.
Oh, how impressive a sight that would be!! I can see that other changes may be needed to cruisers and science ships to allow them to survive the brutal alpha strikes that the above system would allow for, but think of the visual appeal of space battles when you have so much movement and traffic moving through the maps. The game would really become even more of a visual feast.
Please provide constructive feedback if you're going to reply. Thank you.