So I noticed everyone uses, Titan's and Energy Torps. I've found that phasers are are awesome, no dps loss for distance, and missile cruiser spammage eats everything, when coupled with assigning primary/secondary/tertiary targets, irregardless of defensive/offensive power.
I realize some people consider escorts/frigates/destroyers to be of varying tonnage/size, but i've found I tend to use the max weight up until 300 ship size for each respective class. The difference being in the ships overall role, rather then weight. For instance, my escorts are always 40/30/20/10 in their loadout. 40 to shields/armor, 30 to engines, 20 to weapons, and the last 10% goes to various smaller gadgets and/or as research allows into twin assault pods. They're not designed to kill alone per say, but in the system defense force groups which they tend to run in, the swarm em tactic seems to win out on anything less then a determined Task Group. My frigates are generally fitted with a similar approach, however instead of assault pods and tankability, I slap on a fighter bay, and a warp inhibitor (as research allows) with a small increase to firepower. In the SDF role I can let 2-3 SDF's run around (I use a 4/2/1 ratio 4 escorts/2 frigates/ 1 destroyer) and they will almost always win. The destroyer is the only real heavy hitter in the group, with gank/tank being its sole purpose and a lone troop compartment for the occasional colony harassment, or if necessary, should the SDF's fail to stop a troopship, the combined group can reinforce or retake a colony without troopship support, sometimes. They do a phenominal job early-mid game, of suppression, capture. The frigates provide a warp blanket and support fighters, to the fast hunter/raider escorts, and the destroyer packs the punch for anything that the swarm cant handle on their own. They tend to capture a variety of pirate oddities and other empire stupidities. (for whatever reason early-mid wars tend to be the AI feeding me ships, 1 by one, with the occasional "skirmish" of 4+. I to tend to fortress out my mining stations, with an emphasis on defense over offensive capabilities. If it can take out a ship or 2, good, if it can hold out on a siege long enough for SDF forces to arrive, better. I tend not to expand beyond colony systems much, in terms of resources, unless the system in question is either very important, or close enough by for a reactionary force to be worthwhile. Once I get into the cruiser weight, ie 400+ then I turn my aim towards missile cruisers, backed by carriers that also have a few launchers. I also designed/assign an AEGIS style cruiser, with a long range scanner. (its usually fitted with heavy armor/shields, as the enemy really doesnt like this class of ship very much, so I use it as a Brawler.) I've used this to my advantage, kitting it for tank/gank to cluster up the enemy and provide a buffer space for my Missile boats to set up a wall of missiles. Individually they rather lack the punch to fight 1v1, they have the tank to be able to stand up to anything thrown at them, up until the hyperdrives kick it. In groups, oh boy does everything melt. ECM'ed out or not a wall of missiles hits/hurts, and against stations, nothing but missiles/energy torps reaches far enough for standoff range. The missiles I have to worry about, the torps are a joke at these distances, as my cruisers can shrug off a volley with only a few tics taken off the shield bar. Every ship 400+ also gets PD weapons, because again the only thing hitting are missiles/torps/and fighters, and a wall of Missile cruisers with a wall of PD means a cloud of dead star fighters. These cruisers backed by Missile Carriers, makes up the bulk of my Navy-Task Group (N-TG) In unison the SDF's and N-TG's, Can run amok, though for large scale sieges, I tend to build more frigate to escorts then with the standard SDF. I don't want anything running away, as I've literally fought a pitched colony tug of war, with the Kaidens. They have quick charge shields, and tend to hit an run, more often then my vessels, which have a never run SOP. For about 3 years they attempted to retake a trio of colonies I annexed. (They apparently discovered the Way of Darkness, which turned them into super douchies at the diplomacy tables, which led to my irritation and a war that has spanned from early to mid game. I am still In mid game, and have fought only 1 other war. The first race I went to war with, poor Securons (SP?), they were my neighbors and they bore instinctive prejudices against my Giz, swarm ,haha, during first contact. The Swarm kicked them back to the stone age. Quite literally, they went from 20bil population amongst 3 colonies down to 50mil after I baited their main forces in a colony grab whilst sending in the main fleet to sack their homeworld. I felt so bad afterwards, that I uplifted them, built them some industry. gave them mineral/fueling rights. After I discovered loros fruit, we released them from subjugation, and made them the sole race I traded said commodity with. They are now delighted with us, at 500mil population.) Also as a side note, I've begun to discover the irritation of Projectile weapons, backed with quick charge shields ( sure they have energy torp boats but my absurd shielding makes this weapon pointless unless outnumbered. Though my ships have absurd amounts of shields per size, the Kaidens insistence on archaic weapons has resulted in massive repair bills. Alas no repair drones for the Swarm, yet.