I've flew escorts as a main for almost two years, so I have this to add.
Cruisers don't need a buff, it's escorts that need a nerf.
When the Andorian ship was released it had an issue whereby it's shield mod was much lower and all it's healing was about 1/3 effective. It was still possible to tank, but for the first time an escort was what it should be, a glass cannon.
This is pretty much how every escort should be like at T5. This way you actually have a real choice, since at the moment flying an escort is to have your cake and eat it. An escort at the moment can tank pretty much anything yet deal uber damage at the same time.
A nerf to it's shield and healing abilities would mean cruisers will have a fighting chance of keeping up with them.
Also they need to bring back the old weapon drain mechanics. The present weapon drain mechanics is one of the things that's causing escorts to have such crazy damage.
Cruisers need a turnrate buff. Beam Arrays need a drain fix.
Escorts do not need a nerf.
The new drain mechanic is also why Beam Arrays suck at this time.
DHCs have "rest" period that helps them instantly regain the drained weapons power. Beam Arrays do not and contiuosly drain power even while the mechanic tries to regain it rsulting in a bogging down effect.
The defiant was considered a major tactical threat in DS9, if you don't remember check episodes out when they lost control of it, Dukat mentions it multiple times.
The battles were always a representation of what happened, since single incidents can't be held up under scrutiny. If Sisko ordered Galaxies to provide cover for the main thrust there was reason, whatever the visuals showed are just visuals and effects.
In the battles the Defiant was vulnerable, it always had support (which was always exploding) whether it was fighter squadrons, lighter star ships or klingons, something was supposed to be covering them. I'm sure they'd have love to have a cruiser, but we know they just couldn't keep up. Even without its support that ship took some major hits, and always seem to be more operational than any cruiser.
Making an escort as a "glass cannon" would be completely non-canon. We need a game balance, we need to cut down on the ability to chain speed tanking probably. I wouldn't mind seeing APA, APO and APB/APD all on shared cooldowns, that never made sense to me.
Cruisers need some abilities fixed, they do very well if made right. I'd be worried about too much of a buff or you'll see tac cruisers out dpsing tac escorts.
Cruisers are fine as they are. Maybe a bit more turn, but their weapons and hull are fine. Escorts are fine. Cannons are fine. Beams are fine. Stay with me a sec.
The problem is the BO abilities. It's not the ship but the BO abilities, their number and rank, which determine a ship's capabilities. Tactical's BO abilities are superb (especially cannon), Science are pretty good, and Engineer BO abilities are dull, passive, and relatively ineffectual.
Tac BO abilities all do *something*. You get more torpedoes now, more cannons now, move faster and hit harder now. And they are all very good percentage increases to DPS.
Science BO abilities heal hull, heal shields, drain power, disable, repel, hold, etc. Lots of nice tricks even if they aren't direct BOOM type powers.
Engineer abilities are almost all power related and lock each other out. This has two problems: one is they limit the number of useful powers you can have and power increases are fairly passive in nature. Let's take a look at the powers:
ET - direct hull heal, locks out ST and TT, and TT is by far a stronger option for survivability.
EPtX - Can only have max 4, but account for most of the lower tier.
AtS - Good hull heal, short cooldown, relies on Aux. Locks out AtD and AtB
AtB - Takes Aux, gives power to other three. So it's a different type of power boost. Neuters science abilities, can be abused horribly with Technician DOFFs.
AtD - Extra maneuverability, prot vs. kinetic. A good power but overshined by AtS and AtB, which lock it out. This is where we *should* be going to overcome cruiser turn rate.
ES - Great support power, but out of sync with the whole "me tank" concept.
EWP - Superb offensive power. But hard to apply with the low inertia/turn of cruisers. I get much more use out of EWP1 on my Vesta.
Aceton Beam - Not very popular. Good against one target I guess for energy debuff, but doesn't debuff the mega ultra one-hit-kill torps.
Boarding Party - I must confess, I don't really use these. But some people appear to like them.
DEM - Decent power. 30s every 2 minutes for a bit of extra damage. However, DEM3 adds maybe about 15% more damage? So 25% up time of +15% damage. For reference CRF3 is 10s every 30s for 50% more damage. So 33% up time of +50% damage. That's a big gap for the sole commander level power a ship gets. Plus it doesn't really fit.
RSP - This is the type of power that all Engineering abilities should be. It does something immediate and tangible for a short duration that increases survivability substantially.
With DOFFs reducing cooldowns, adding extra power, etc. It's not even necessary to have that many engineer slots. My Armitage with one LtC engineer slot and 3 purple Damage Control Engineers has constant uptime EPtW1 and EPtS2 and still has a AtS2 for hull healing and damage resistance, as well as 2 TT to cycle. It's as tough as most cruisers.
Technicians and AtB are worse. If I run a cruiser now, I want 2 AtB and 3 purple tech doffs. I run AtB/Technicians on my Vesta. And my Jem'Hadar HEC. They're just so ridiculously good. Do you know what's it's like to have GW3 and EWP1 together on 30s CDs? It's awesome.
I'm not going to even touch Eng captain vs Tac captain abilities.
The game is 3 years old, and Cryptic has yet to do a solid review on BO abilities. They need tuning across the board. And Engineering BO abilities need to be active, contribute to resilience in a meaningful manner, and not trivialized or obsoleted by the DOFF system.
Fix and tune BO abilities, and Escorts vs Cruisers will fall in line.