In "real" Star Trek cruisers weren't just supporters for other ships, it was quite the opposite. Not that i would want them to become OP, but i would love to seen them being more like escorts.
I think Cryptics decision to make every ship being able to heal itself and thus more independent was a good step to make STO a more Star Trek like game. Before that ships where too much trapped in their standard MMO roles, which was completely out of place for a Star trek game.
To continue this process, i think both Escorts and Cruisers should be much more alike, when it comes to Firepower and durability. The big difference should be the way they archieve that.
Escorts should get their defense by moving fast and buffing themselves a bit, Cruisers by healing and buffing themselves. They are already pretty close when it comes to durability, but i think Firepower is what especially Starfleet cruisers need.
When it comes to firepower i think the difference between Escorts and Cruiser should be how they deliver it.
Cruisers should get some kind of bonus for using Beam Weapons like less energy drain or something like that.
Additionally i think there should be a couple of additional low level engineering powers, like a more narrowed Fire at Will power maybe 120 or 180 degrees fireing arc to the ships side. So a cruiser could do some AOE damage without getting the attention of every NPC ship around.
I could also imagine something like a Beam Array Rapid fire power to fight single enemies.
All ships could maybe get an built in "combine all beam weapons to one shot" power, which would work like an on/off switch and would just be cosmetical. I always though that battles in STO look much to arcade like.
An other possibility could be to incease cruisers maximum power to a subsystem from 125 to 150 while increasing its total power about ~150.
The funny thing is, Cryptic made Klingon Cruisers much better than Starfleet Cruisers and Starfleet Escorts much better than Klingon escorts, while it should be the other way round IMO.
Could this be achieved once a Cruiser took "X" amount of damage, that a DPS Buff/Booster switched on?
I like the basic idea, but i wouldn make it dependend on how much the hull is already damaged. Since GDF already works that way.
Maybe Cruiser should get something similar to Science ships Sensor Scan, but instead of reducing the targets resistance, it should be something like a accuracy or even Critical chance boost.
The most obvious conclusion would be to give Cruisers more power and higher possible power levels than other ships.
Instead of a overall power of 200 Cruisers should get 300 + a bonus dependent on their inertia. So slower and bigger Cruiser would get a lot more power than small ships like Escorts for example.
Additionally i would like to see their maximum power per system (weapons, Shields, etc.) being raised from 125 to at least 150.
Some really big and slow Cruisers should also get an additional weapons slot.
I think Cryptics highly underestimates the drawback of being practically static in battle a ship that is so slow turning and is just a better target practice just cannot be fun to play IMO.
I think the only reason so many people still fly cruisers is their iconic status in Star Trek, i can only speak for myself but i just don't like escorts and for me they aren't really Star Trek ships imo, at least Starfleet escorts.
Cryptic (Mr. Rivera) should finally realize that most people like to fly Cruisers because they associate those ships with the name Star Trek. If Cryptic continues make them artificially inferior, they don't have to be surprised if people get frustrated about Cryptic.
Personally i am not in the least interested in flying a Escort. Small super powerful jet fighter like ships are not what i want to fly in a Star Trek game.
I am sorry if Mr. Rivera loves DS9 or Escorts so much, but a lot of Star Trek fans prefer Cruisers. Making those ships inferior, just because of personal preferences is just unprofessional IMO. (I'm sorry if my words sound a bit harsh, but this is how i see things.)
Speaking of Go Down fighting, i would have found it a good idea if Klingon Captains would get this power as a passive, instead of Battle Cloak (which doesn't make them look very brave imo). So Klingon players would actually fight to the Death instead of preferring to run away. But thats just my opinion (sorry for being off topic).
Maybe GDF needs to be an everyman skill and the Tacs get a new Captain ability?
i would prefer if it was a passive Klingon only Skill (if that is even possible).
Starfleet should get something like a passive resistance bonus the lower the hull gets IMO.
So their ships could actually use "abandon ship" in a battle and get something like a reduced off time they have to wait when destroyed.
I think the "cultural" differences should be reflected in the availlable skills.
But as much as i know Cryptics designers, they would do exactly the other way round, lol.
For Cruisers in STO, i think Klingon Cruisers are much better all round ships much more capable of independent operations (better balance between offensive and defensive than starfleet ships), while Cryptic made Starfleet ships the complete opposite, just supporters for other ships.
If anything, i would have done it the other way round. The Klingon Fleet always was much more focussed on BOPs and combined ship actions than lone big Cruisers, althrough their Cruisers made much more the impression of being slow and pure tank ships to me.
For me Starfleet Cruisers should be much more all round ships, capable to operate independently, able to have both offensive and defensive in a decent and balanced way. (which is the complete opposite of how Cryptic made the Galaxy class btw. )