Didn't feel like it to me - seems the shields on that thing get carved up quicker than a family of twenty eating a Thanksgiving turkey. If anything, it's more equivalent to the escorts than to the other cruisers. I dunno.
so let me see if i got this right ....because you cannot captain it correctly its must mean its a crappy ship?
When I use the antiproton weapon (and have skills chosen for it), I don't see any real change in combat effectiveness. When I use phasers as my energy weapons, I get about the same results (plus a chance to disable subsystems which is really useful along with those extra skill points for other things that will help). Using the Galaxy X, it's best just to use phasers. You should know that the phaser lance is something fun to play with that makes grinding frigates and cruisers a bit faster, not a vital component, so you can use just about any energy weapon you want.
In a way I would agree with this basic post. If a person buys a ship give him the option of the weapons type which comes with it. In the case of the Dreadnaught, if you chose Antiproton for example, the ship would come with all common basic antiproton including the lance. But later, should you decide to change weapon types, you would not be able to change the lance. So careful concideration would have to go into the original purchase.
For the shield issues, it;s all in the buffs. If you don't have anthing to reinforce or heal the shields, you may as well not have shields.
As far as the dreadnaught itself goes, I tried it and didn't really like it. So I use it for storage now. Some people love it but it wasn't my style.