As a Tactical Captain myself, I have noticed the enormous power I have over other Captain's of different classes. Coupled with obviously over-powered vessels such as the JHAS or Fleet Defiant and it becomes a deadly "synergy" of its own.
So lets stop this talk about "re-balancing Engineering and Science" which quite frankly, we all know that Cryptic are just not able to do. They've had 3 years to balance the classes and have failed and proved they are not interested in that.
The most simple solution is to nerf the damage that Tactical Captain's are capable of. Stop Attack Pattern Alpha from interacting with Science Abilities by locking it to "WEAPON DAMAGE ONLY" and nerfing it to 25%. Also Go Down Fighting should also be "WEAPON DAMAGE ONLY" and nerf the durability of Escorts by 15% across to board to become the Glass Cannons that we all know that they should be.
These topics about changing skills etc are really not needed because it just brings us away from the main issues. Tactical has been too powerful for too long and are Cryptic's favorites because they do not know how to do other abilities without making damage ridiculous.
I blow up sufficient JHAS, Fleet Defiants in my cruiser to know they are not invincible. Its a case of playing at their weakness.
I will give you a hint.
Counter their Speed & maneuverability. - slow them down. Target Engines instead of FAW. Chrotonic Mines and Torps. Polaron weapons work great. Chrotonic Torps are great if you can afford a Lt.Cmdr Torp Spread III.
Most cruiser captains I see still play to the idea that FAW is the only important offensive skill. Its the last one I go for, for the above reason. Any ship that looses its ability for speed and maneuver is fighting on it's back leg and defensively.
Counter DPS - 2x sub-system targeting doffs - Target Weapons. They become limp biscuits. Your durability will wear them down, either till they run or just to stubborn to admit they are already dead.
If you happen to come across a premade, you had better figure out who their heavy hitter is, and apply the above to them constantly and still remember your role is to support your team.
When it comes to escorts, the main problems aren't damage, but:
Crew damage is broken, which means one of the biggest advantages cruisers should have (large hull self-heal, amplified abilities from crew) is essentially missing from the game. If Cryptic only give cruisers one thing, then it's this that would be number one on my list.
As you say, tactical abilities shouldn't bleed over to onto science ones; they should be restricted to weapon damage only. This would also allow science abilities to be more powerful once again, and return some of them to exotic damage rather than kinetic.
The main thing that needs nerfing IMO are the attack patterns, specifically attack pattern omega, which gives a damage boost, good damage resistance, speed and turn-rate boosts (which improve defence), a defence boost,and immunity to movement debuffs! Either this should have its effect severely reduced or it should swap the damage bonus to a large damage penalty so that it's actually survival focused. Personally I'd ditch the speed and turn bonuses and bonus damage, so all you get is enough defence + damage resist to use already superior speed to escape, or evasive manoeuvres.
Healing/damage resistance effects need to be moved more towards the high end of engineering and science, to limit their access for escorts, or at least restrict them to low level abilities. Tactical team should really have its shield distribution dropped into the Shield Distribution duty officer with a lower overall effect, boosted by shield power settings.
NPCs in PvE need to have their damage significantly reduced, but deliver it as more, weaker attacks (except for things like Plasma Energy Bolts). This way getting occasional enemy fire is manageable rather than potentially killing you instantly. Tanks would still suffer under pressure, but would have more time to react to what's happening, which should emphasise the need for them in PvE, as an escort drawing too much threat would still be overwhelmed over time with the shift in healing abilities.
These are the ways in which things should be fixed. Definitely more work involved but it's hardly difficult stuff to do. Obviously the real boon to PvE would be AI that doesn't suck, but if the NPCs have to remain hit-point sinks then they need to do their huge damage over time so we can actually have tanks and healers doing something for a change.
afaik it was only in the f2p transition that tac's got the ability to boost sci powers, so there may be a valid argument to limiting tac boosts to weapon damage again.
though a nerf beyond that may be impossible now with the passive heal power creep.
that, even on its own, without all the issues of other broken nonsense, being why i havent suggested it despite tweaking the nose of just about anyone i end up in an exchange with over the tac/escort subject.
-star trek online minimum DPS requirement vortex probe hp = 62365 x3 = 187095. speed = 0.8 km/s(about) giving about 25 seconds to kill them while in range, this means you need an effective DPS output of 7484, or your build is a failure. Star Trek canon depictions of battle: 1000km in dialogue = 1km on screen.
I think restricting the damage boost on tactical captain skills to weapons is long over due.
A splitting of AP:O properties might be better, so you either get a damage, speed and turn boost or a defence, tractor immunity and speed boost.
Most people will not notice a difference but it would mean science and engineering offensive and damaging skills can be increased without getting broken by a stacking of career restricted damage buffs.
As for AP:A and GDF the boosts are fine, perhaps the duration is a bit long but changes need to be made bit by bit, tested fully and making sure it's for the better and not a massive game breaking nerf.
It would be nice if someone could tell me how many skills and weapons etc have been nerfed due to AP:A, FOMM, tactical fleet and GDF being stacked to get crazily high damage.