If you stick to the basic guiding principles of 2 copies of Tac Team and Emergency Power to Shields and place them in a keybind as explained in the guide, any ship will have excellent survivability and you don't need to think about prepping your defenses - it is already done. Even the flimsiest bird of prey can tank huge amounts of punishment if you take this simple measure.
If you stick to the principle of unifying your weapons & consoles properly and running the correct power profile, your ship will do decent damage even without the best quality items.
Best fed ship choice at level 40 is an escort because mirror variant cruisers and science vessels are available cheaply for EC on the exchange, and just as capable as the regular variants but without the huge dil overhead.
I'm getting a feeling we are moving far far away from the threads topic. Sorry OP
I'd really suggest you are posting your escort build in a separate thread in the shipyards or better the PvP forums or go for a read before you do so. If the Atrox is your main rival for escort damage, there is something more than wrong and I'm sure people will be happy to make suggestions.
I step away for a few hours and bam, 60 posts.
Carriers are the DPS rival of the escort. A dps build for a carrier does close to the same DPS as a build for an escort. Just, I don't die once per mission like every escort I see. That, or they run and hide to heal. Carriers with their better shields, hull, and armor are able to survive and tank just about everything. Meaning I am always firing my 3x DHC and have 12 fighters always attacking.
As suggested: Get a Mirror Ship off the Exchange if you have the EC since they go for relatively cheap. They're better than the free ships in some respects, worse in others. I say this because I find you're more effective when you match ship type with career. But you won't really be gimped in the missions if you mix. You'll just have to adjust the Boff skills to suit.
If you plan to do the STFs and other PUGs at some point you'll have to buy/ grind for purple everything regardless of ship type or else you'll get yelled at by players who take that sort of thing waayyy too seriously, so keep that in mind.
Some are dirt cheap, and if you're unsure about a ship buy a mirror version if you can and save your ship token.
I bought a mirror star cruiser last night for 240K, and saved my token for an escort. I'll be playing (NOT re-playing) the Fed side of the game for the first time beyond the 1st FE soon. It should be interesting as my starter toon hasn't left ESD since he was lvl 20, and the 1-click daily's have made him lvl 50 but no skills have been assigned and he's still in his starter ship.
Steamrunner. 2 copies of TT, CSV, TS, Aux2SIF, EPtS on your spambar. Even on Elite quest levels, you'd spam everything dead in one pass, while nothing can touch you.
This. The McSteamy is the handsome heir to the bug (Jem Hadar Attack Ship). With an account wide unlock, 1.0 shield modifier, 10 consoles, 34.5k hull (fleet ship stats), and awesome defensive console, it's the best value out there. Only purchasable through Steam, if that's a problem for you.
Sollvax, what are you trying to say about power cooldowns? Are you saying that if I have a boff in my roster with the same skill it will reduce the cooldown? Or are you saying that if I run Tac Team in two ensign slots the cooldown will be reduced? If it's the latter, I have to say you're misunderstanding the nature of shared cooldowns. It doesn't recharge faster, in fact, it puts an ability on cooldown that was not used, meaning that it does the opposite of recharge faster.
Escort. Specifically the MVAM for its Lt. Com slot gives you escort level AoE damage with science crowd control.
I think this ship itself is the most effective PvE ship. Its an escort, meaning you can clear fleet missions, STFs, Romulan reputation missions, pretty much all PvE with ease. When you add in the Lt. Com sci slot, you have room for grav well or TSS III. If you didnt specifically want those, then you can still slot a tractor beam or repulsors without giving up your science heals.
Well, I'd say it depends largely on your playstyle.
Personally, I have been, am and will be a tank player. For me, cruisers are the weapon, I mean starship, of choice. It may take you longer to kill the bad guys, but you won't have to fear your own death. But that's just me. Someone who is a dps player at heart will surely say the exact same thing about flying around in an escort. And I have to say, the knowledge and experience of the player does much more in regard of survivability than the actual ship he is controlling.
I fully agree with the assessment, that you may walk (or fly) through your missions faster if you are in an escort (I am playing all classes on their corresponding ships), but, as stated above, it all depends on your playstyle. For me it is easier to broadside everything than to dogfight around, for "escort boys" the exact opposite may be true.
And I'd strongly discourage the common strategy of flying one sort of ship through leveling (just because it is faster) and then change to something completely different in the endgame (just because it is stronger). Staying with the same sort of ship with a single toon will improve your knowledge and expertise with this kind of build. A level 50 Engineer/Cruiser who did only escorts 'til he got his Ody most likely won't be the best of tanks (or dps, or anything). Except, of course, it is the players 27th toon or so.
About the Boff cooldowns...
Yes, it doesn't matter at all if you have your abilities on one, two or three Boffs, as soon as you trigger one, all the others will start a reduced cooldown. So yes, it is effective to get skills more than once (for the most part), but the statement "using the same ability on two Boffs gives you a shorter cooldown" is incorrect, both technically and empirically.