Here's the situation. I'm flying a fleet excelsior. Nice ship. IMO the best cruiser the Feds have, given that it's got some real damage potential and it's not a whale. My fleet recently unlocked threat-scaling embassy consoles, and I got one that increases my threat generation since I'm an engineer flying a pretty tough ship. It's a rare day that anybody can wrest my target's attention away from me, and an even rarer day that I ever get exploded.
The problem is that tanking damage is not only completely and utterly thankless, it also seems to be a solo sport in most people's opinion. I can be the only person taking damage for minutes at a time, and nobody will ever assist me no matter how battered my shields and hull get. All you scort drivers with tactical teams and spare hazard emitters? Yeah. Those are delicious, and if you're not taking any damage then give them to somebody who is.
Basically I'm thinking to myself... Why bother being The Guy for the team, if nobody will thank me for it nor help me in any way. Is there an ethical problem with taking off my threat generation console and staying far back from the fight, so all those people who refused to help me when I was taking the hits get to explode because nobody is taking hits for them anymore? Should I feel bad for wanting to see people get violently educated as to why it's better for them if they keep the meatshield alive?
One thing you learn in sto is being a sci or eng is often a very, very thankless task; your selfless healing barely noticed as you keep your teamates from becoming firey balls of wreckage or keeping the objective safe when everything goes wrong. Why do you bother?
Why? because its your job and you know if you didn't do it, few else will - Sure, you don't get the glory nor the top prizes (Damn you sb24!) but you know deep down if your heals were held back, or you did not fight tooth and nail to keep the objective from being swarmed, nobody would win
Judge not what a cruiser nor sci ship can do for themselves, but what they do for others
I try to help the person tanking, if he is doing a good job at it (I usually always grab aggro, and I don't want my tanking skill on CD). But as an escort user, all I have is HE and TSS. Sometimes, I use team fortress, but it have some CD, and it's for the whole team.
Also, I've lost the number of time I try to use my skill on someone, and for some reason, the target switched back to the hostile or the targeting failed, and his still on the hostile, and I use it on myself instead.
However, when I'm tanking, sometimes I have some help, but most of the time people will let me die. I spent half an stf with my hull between 20-50%, and received no heal.
I planned to build a healer for space, with my sci. However, since everything is a DPS race, I felt useless. Also, shared CD made my job even more difficult. And finally, since I do eSTF in pug, I usually top dps, even with my sci in a wells, so I switched back to CC and DPS on her. Oh, and BTW, there is nothing you can do when someone get OS by an invisitorp (I've seen damage in the hundred thousand, and get OS few hours ago, with a full hull ship that just lost shield).
I wish there was real incentive to play healer and tank, aswell as some tool for it, maybe, but currently, there are none.
I pretty much fly escorts exclusively, IMO they're the "funnest" ships to use. During the bonus rep event I live the pug life, and let me tell you, I can count the number of heals I've been given in the past several weeks in one hand. I've been in plenty of pug's where I'm the only escort drawing plenty of aggro while the other sci ships, and cruisers never even bothered healing me. I also dish out heals whenever possible even to cruisers, I can also count in one hand how many times I've been thanked by them.
To your other point, I have never ever been thanked for the massive amounts of dps I output. No one's EVER said to me "thanks, we wouldn't have got the optional without you". We escort pilots sacrifice our survivability for the team and we don't get any thanks, either.
Whenever you live the pug life lower your expectations, be prepared to never get healed, thanked, or the optional.
You chose the pug life, the pug life didn't choose you.
I've been tanking in MMO's for a long time. I understand your sentiment, but I take satisfaction out of being a hardtokill aggro magnet, and appreciate the occasions in pugs where the dps really shows up.
On rare occasions I do get in trouble. If I get a heal from a teamate that is great, but I am a little too busy to say thanks via chat, unlike fleet runs with mumble. I also don't expect a thank you when someone else gets caught in a firestorm only to be saved by my heals. I do that because its my nature. I do it because it's fun. I do it because it feels good.
You give the random player's abilities so much credibility. I think it's more likely they don't know it's possible to heal one's ally . Generally speaking, many divert power to shields and weapons subsystems (logical right), neglecting their aux power thus making the powerful sci boff heals on their builds very mediocre. So they don't have enough for themselves and hell with you if they'll bother using them on anyone else.
STO is the BEST game ever and the players absolutely LOVE it.