I just got a new ship: A Fleet Escort vessel!
The Fleet Escort has as weapon slots 4x front and 3x aft. Now I wonder how I should equip it with weapons concerning how many different weapon types and damage types I should use. There are some variants I'm thinking about:
Variant 1 - the pure one
5x Beam Array (Phaser)
2x Torpedo Launcher (Photon)
Variant 1 and 2 would bring the advantage that I could boost the damage easily with Tactical Consoles, e.g. just using a Phaser Relay.
Variant 3 and 4 would deal more different damage types which could help when facing different enemies having different weaknesses.
So I'm just not sure which way could be the best for the next hours/days of playing missions as a Lower/Upper Admiral.
Generally speaking, the best use of an escort is to use dual cannon/dual heavy cannon weapons. They are the only ship type that can use them. Your best "burst" damage will be with 3x dual heavy cannons up front, in combination with a rapid fire ability, and some turrets in the back. A beam escort is generally considered a "waste" of an escort's advantage.
Some run with a single beam or 2 for the target sub-system ability or beam overload.
It's best not to mix the different weapon types as it would be expensive to skill into. Plus, you won't be able to stack the weapon consoles. If you stick with cannons and turrets, then you can at least use the +Cannon skill consoles. If you stick with all plasma weapons, then you can use the +plasma weapon skill consoles.
The cheapest set up in terms of skill points and consoles would be to use all cannons/turrets in a single weapon type (or all beams of a single weapon type). For example, 3X DHC (plasma) with 2x plasma turrets. You skill up in cannon skill, plasma weapons skill, and you have a choice of either +cannon console or +plasma skill console.
OMG... Stick to one type of Weaponry... I don't mean don't mix torps and beam arrays... But DO NOT use multiple Types of those... As in Stick to Phasers... Or Disruptors... or Anti-Proton... Don't use some of each. It defeats your own purposes. Use ONE kind. It's better all around because you are going to get the selected weapon types' damage bonus quicker (.ie Damage a Subsystem) when attacking the enemy.
Now having said that. I personally like Disruptor weapons. that's just a personal preference and I have used basically all types at some point or another... Just never ALL at the same time.
So pick one. Stick to it. Easier to Train for... And MUCH MUCH Deadlier.
No, torpedo launchers are great in an escort (high yield on a bare hull can wipe out a lot of ships), it's mostly about mixing different weapon types exessively. All torpedoes do kinetic damage, the difference is in sustained (photon) vs. burst (quantum, tricobalt) vs. fancy effects (everything else)
It does make some difference what captain class you are. Tac/escort is kind of a one trick pony, most of your boff and captain powers are backed by a short list of skills and they overlap quite a bit with things you probably want anyway. So you can afford to throw some extra skill points around. Just not as much as some of your setups go for, and a lot of them ignore the power an escort can put into narrow firing arc weapons.
My current setup is about as diverse as you can go, and even without fully skilling my tricobalt torpedoes it's tight on the skill budget:
antiproton dual beam bank (exclusively for beam overload)
2x antiproton dual heavy cannons
2x antiproton turrets
Tricobalt isn't fully skilled, but it's really only there as a finisher - anything that can survive a beam overload/rapid fire/high yield combo probably can't take a 10k+ tricobalt afterward. Still, this is pretty tight on skill points. Leaves nothing for ground (not that ground skills are usually a big deal), and leaves some tough choices for which science powers to leave at 5 or 6 and which to take to 8 or 9.
Just dropping the tricobalt really frees up skill points, and dropping down to phasers actually leaves me with points to spare. That would be around where setup 2 is skill wise, but with a different weapon setup.
(Yeah, I know what you will say: Go, get a Star Cruiser....)
Actually, if you are a tac, an assault cruiser would be better than a star cruiser. And Excelsior-refit would be even better. A beam escort will do slightly more damage than a cruiser, but not as much damage as a cannon escort. But an escort has much less survivability than a cruiser. So it really depends on your play style. If you don't PVP much, it's probably not that big of a deal.
I have been using my build for ages, and it always works out, I'm doing the most damage in PvP, lasting a long time etc, This is my build:
2 AP DHC
1 Anti-Proton Dual Beam Bank
1 Quantum torp launcher (keeping in mind all my weapon's are purples)
3x AP Turrets
I use cannon rapid fire to enhance the Cannons/Turrets, Beam Overload for the Beam bank, and High yield torp for the Quantums, for most ships, I take out the shields with the beam overload, keep them down with the cannons, and hit the hull with the high yield torps, if that doesn't kill them, while turning, I continue to keep the shields down with the turrets, and hit them again. Combined with 4 shield re-gen, and 2 hull re-gen abilltys, plus the Aegis set, this makes for a very powerful build.
If anyone wishes to verse me, please feel free to PM me while I am online
Keep in mind that you CAN use beams if you want to, but you'll not be filling the usual role of an escort. If you do use beams, get as many of the Target Subsystem abilities as you can. You're no longer going to be doing the most damage, but you can soften up targets and leave them defenseless for another escort to swoop in and EASILY finish them off.
It might be a fun build to try, I might do it some time. But really, that's something that should really be the role of a Cruiser. Running too many beams on an escort is basically playing Cruiser, with glass shields.
i use a DBB 2 DHC and 1 torpedo up front and i also use 3 beam arrays aft because i dont like turrets. personal choice, but i also use target shields, BO 3 and FAW so my beams come in handy for me. im sure ill get flamed for using beams but honestly, who really cares? beams work better for me than turrets so i use what works with my play style. and i do just fine in pvp with my beam arrays- im not like some of the other people here (not the people who posted above me, but some escort pilots in general who have the god complex) who think they are gods gift to STO because they can do more burst damage than the next person and that their build, and only their build, is the way to go and if you dont your either a noob or you suck at the game. i have fun playing and in the end thats all that really matters- find what works best for you, use it, and have fun with it.
If you want to get a sense of how different weapon load outs compare, I'd recommend giving my Starship Weapons Calculator a shot. It's linked in my sig.
In general I'd agree with the others: don't mix energy weapon types or projectile weapon types, just select one type of each and stick with it (ex: either phasers or disruptors, either photonos or quantums). It takes too many points to skill into multiple damage types.
Some of the skills are currently out of date, but other than that it should still be accurate. I should have another update coming in the next few days.