I'm a bit confused on how to loadout my escort ship(Im a LtCo). I currently have two fore phaser beams, 1 torpedo, and 1 aft phaser beam. Is this a viable high damage outfit?
Escort pilots as a rule prefer to primarily rely on Dual Cannons for high DPS with the added bonus that they are not nearly as big an energy drain as beams. On a small escort conservation of that energy for use in other areas can make a very big difference.
In the rear of the ship escort pilots will usually equip turrets to add to frontal DPS.
The best pilots will most likely load the front with all three dual cannons. I say best pilots because they would be the ones who can fly the ship well enough to keep the target in the limited firing arc long enough to get their kills. Others who are not as good at it have just two with either a dual beam, dual array, or a torpoedo depending on taste and style.
A few people do in fact insist on bucking the stereotype and instead fit themselves out as a beam escort. If your not too good at keeping your target in the limited firing arc of dual cannons you might actually come out better DPS wise; at least until you get enough practice at it. Of course you could go with single cannons too in order to get a bigger arc, but very few people do that..
If you do go the beam route I would highly recomend dual beams rather than single arrays. Not merely because they do more DPS, but rather they have a smaller firing arc than arrays but much better than dual cannons and it would force you to become a better pilot while making it a little bit easier on you in terms of having a better firing arc while your learning.
If you keep using beam arrays your just being a lazy escort polot with mediocre DPS, but if thats your thing then go for it.
In the end its about having fun, so don't restrict yourself. Experimenting can be a lot of fun. I myself flew a beam escort for awhile when I was a newb.
Typically player will use a mixture of Dual Cannon and Turrets for their main sustained DPS. The exact loads can very from player to player. Some players all cannon and turrets. Some will have a Torpedo launchers and/or perhaps a mine layers for burst damage on a downed shield facing.. Other may have a Beam Array (or Two) for Beam Overload to a big burst damage. There are builds and guides in the Federation Ship Yard section and Escort Captains that can answer your more specific answers.
And a word of advice, the game is very forgiving in game play. You can experiement in your builds. Don't let any player tell you that their build is the only way to layout your ship. Take any advice like with a grain of salt. It may be an excellent build, but it's not the only viable build.
And there are odballs like, me that actually use the default weapon layouts (with upgraded equipment, of course ). And I can still kick tail in MVAM Advanced Escort.