After analyzing the available weapons, and building in what seems to be a good balance of defense, I came up with this cruiser design:
Federation Eagle Cruiser hull
weapons: Laser, Pulse Laser, Cruiser Missile, Megaton Missile, ECM Shock
defense: Fast Recharge Shields (x4), Armour V (x2), Adv Armour Repair, Supercharged Tractor Beam, ECM Shield
other: Power III (x3), Crew III, Engine III
The combination of the tractor beam, pulse laser, armour and armour repair deals with fighters just fine. Few fighters can harm me, so I swat them as time allows. I tend to line up 3-4 of these cruisers, so they team up against fighters, reducing the issue of having no dedicated anti-fighter weapons.
The ECM shield seems to speed ECM shock recovery, and the shields can take quite a pounding before failing - four seems to be the optimal number.
The power, crew and engine are simply what is needed - fewest slots to keep the rest going.
The weapons are simple based on my desire for variety - balancing DPS, energy cost, crew cost, penetration of shields and armour, range, the fact that projectiles can be shot down etc. I’ve tried many other combintations - all plasma, all missiles, a mix of lasers, you name it - and can’t find a better combination. I have one alternate that uses one laser and four pulse lasers that is a close second, but I had to reduce my shields by one, and that hurts more than it helps.
I realize that generics are not the best, but I still find it fun to try to build the best generic ship I can get - increasing the line from 3 to 4 or 5 for harder fights seems to be all that is required most of the time. Any suggestions on what I can do to tweak this design?