I use the star cruiser with my max level engie. Have 4 polaron beams front, 3 aft plus one tricobolt in back. Got consoles to boost beam weapons.
I always try to keep my ship sideways to the target so all beams are hitting at once. Also I make sure to keep the power level up with EPS power transfer/Nadion etc. I also use the Emergency Power to Weapons I ability which gives me 8% damage boost.
Even with 7 beams and max power I'm still not doing enough damage. Bops and Raptors shields often barely seem to move.
What can I do to boost damage output without sacrificing a ton of defense?
Engineer in Star Cruiser is almost entirely stricken to support duties.
Even with broadside beams, I would be able to stay at or near 100% with nothing but 2x EPtS, Engineer Team, and balancing my shields.
To be openly blunt... no, there isn't a way to do any sort of meaningful damage with a Star Cruiser. Even Beam Overload will only affect 1 of your many beams and won't be enough by itself to actually do anything even if your enemy does get careless/stupid enough to actually let one of their facing shields slowly widdle away.
Yeah I rolled the engie to focus on support so I knew I was going to lose alot of DPS. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any tricks in my attempt to squeeze all the firepower I could out of my ship.
You can do decent damage, but you sure won't be the king of DPS, and don't expect to be in the top 3 for damage dealt. What kind of beams are you running with in terms of quality? I used Tetryon's (like the color ) when I did PvP with my Starcruiser but didn't see any damage until I invested in blue/purple level rares. I used those, along with a tricobalt in the rear, and an engie trained in Aceton III and Direct Energy Modulation II (Also tried running with Eject Warp Plasma for awhile but dropped it Emergency Power to Shields III). It may cut into your survivability a little, but it also helps with dealing damage in my limited experience. Granted I didn't bother to invest in the new beams until I'd gotten my Galaxy Retrofit, and had VA equipment. I'd wait until you were VA to try PvP, and yes the Dreadnought can beat the Star Cruiser going toe to toe but so many people drive them like their escorts and epic fail at it, that it isn't that huge of a problem.