I will post specific builds, but I will start with the 101's in here (basics).
The first thing is not dps (damage per second), but the ship's performance. If your performance is not self-sustained as a casual player, your damage spikes or your dps-potential will not help.
As a casual player, you'll be joining PUG's. (Public User Groups). That's where a bunch of 5 random individuals (or 10, 20 depending on the size of the team required for the specific queue) are grouped up into solving a specific task.
There will be situations where there will be no support, no heal from other players (because most of the players are unaware or centered on their own ship, even if that might hurt their performance in that queue as well as of others). And in critical cases, you might have to carry the whole event.
That being said there are three things you need to take into consideration.
1. Your PC's performance online, in space combat. (Low-end PC's - like mine might not offer the user the same advantage into making finesse moves or on-the-brink, so safety comes first. You need to keep your weapons on target, and at low fps, cannon-based builds can become quite challenging, especially on an escort/raider ship which is too fragile to stand still and cannot maintain it's target in the firing arc at low-fps due to low-performance/poor game coding. Or both.).
2. Your class, faction and playstyle. (Suiting the best choices from what you have chosen to already play. I don't discourage hybrid-builds as sci-exotic tacs or sci-exotic engineers or weapon-based dpsers as sci captains, but for an optimal result, you need to focus on your strenghts).
3. Your resources that you're able to invest in your build for it to work. (You can't expect platinum results from a few screws and some plating. You need to farm/obtain some specific ship/s or things needed in order to reach the specific result. And yes, I know. This is a casual player's guide, but if you succede this, you will make a difference. A feelingly difference in space combat, compared to the majority of the PUG players.)
Now that we've covered this, we'll hit the first spot. Weaponry types.
Beam arrays : Low-mid damage output, consistent due to availability by angle. Suited by top dpsers due to broadsiding process. (You can shoot on the move, if you circle your target while standing sideways)
Beam banks: Mid damage output, can be consistent due to the 90 degree angle. Requires facing the target and requires pairing with omnidirectional beam arrays in the aft.
Beams benefit from the FAW skill (Fire at will). Lower bridge slot requirements allow the usage of attack patterns to buff the damage of the FAW burst/simple beam firing between FAW bursts.
Cannons : Low-mid damage output, 180 degree angle, I personally tested them and they don't quite perform as a decent weaponry alternative. I would recommend ruling these out, until they'll get a buff from the design team and the dev-team.
Dual cannons : Mid-high damage output, high fire rate, (working great with DEM - directed energy modulation), working great for the proc of the "plasma doping". Low 45 degree angle.
Dual heavy cannons : High damage output, low 45 degree angle. Great for burst-damage, very effective on damage per pulses.
All type of cannonry weapons work with Rapid Fire (single target very high dps) or Cannon Scatter Volley (Spraying shots in a cone, great aoe dps, can miss on some targets, but will work great on targets brought together by a Gravity Well, for example).
Torpedoes : These are usually with a single purpose. To deal high-damage when the target's shields are off. I will address these on the topic of the specific build, since this is a more delicate matter. They're not quite the cream for dps, but for rp/prefference purposes, can be integrated into a decent build.
Now, the question of the casual player. Canon or meta? (Canon as "I wanna replicate ships on story-based facts, as saw in movies, star trek universe and so on, with a specific theme" and meta as "I wanna get the best dps with the newest additions and I wanna win a p**ing contest with other guys/girls on DPS matters"). - I sincerely recommend balancing both. Keeping in cannon if it makes you eye-candied-happy as choosing energy and ship visuals, but focusing on the functional facts also, as builds and some items, at the cost of slightly biting out of the "theme". After all, we all need to improve our experience here, therefore we all make small adjustments to improve our and other's experience. As the Deferi obsession states: Balance!
The first thing you need is weapon power, combined with the proper skills, tactical consoles which complement your weapons. (Same energy type tactical consoles, for example Phaser weaponry paired with Phaser Relays)
The second thing is surviving. If you draw threat and die, you don't do damage. Ensuring minimal heals at least, modalities to keep shields up and lower the threat generated when possible. Defense also helps. Shooting while moving.
The third thing is using the right skills at the right moments. Attack patterns and weapon firing modes help alot, along with other specific skills. And piloting matters. Average piloting. It will come in time. It's not that hard, even on low-end pc's. There are keybinds that help alot with the skill-chaining.
Now, there are two types of builds I recommend. Leave out what you see on the DPS-channels with dual Emergency Power to Weapons. You're gonna be paper and dead shortly, unless you pack very expensive dps settings and weaponry. And if you own that, you don't quite find use in this.
The A2B build (Auxiliary to Battery x2 with 3x Blue or Purple Technicians that reduce boff cooldowns on usage of Aux2Batt skill).
-Works wonderful on engineering-based ships by allowing the full cycling of a single copy of each tactical skill and not only that.
-The surge to weapon-power, shield-power and engine-power from auxiliary will boost your ship's damage output and mobility, at the expense of losing any auxiliary-based benefits.
-Works remarcably on Romulan ships, which have a certain handicap when it comes to power-levels.
-Drains auxiliary up to offline sometimes. Offline aux means no pet launching, no stealth detection, no effectiveness or damage bonus to exotic damage skills.
-Sci-based builds will not benefit from this, since cycling one copy of some skills that are underpowered does not benefit our purposes.
And the other one, the more-advanced, more costly option:
The Drake build. Based on the usage of 3 Damage Control Engineer doffs (Each has a chance of lowering the cooldown of Emergency Powers on usage, allowing to the cycling between two powers, while having both of them buffing you at the same time).
-It will allow you to have both Emergency Power to Weapons and Emergency Power to Shields buffing you simultaneously, with a minimal gap inbetween, as long as you keep cycling them.
-It keeps a ship strong, hitting "AMP" 75 ship levels if done correctly and does not damage the bonuses affected by the Auxiliary System.
-Synergises wonderful with T6 Intelligence ships, especially when using Override Subsystem Safeties in pairs of two. Makes the ship resilient, minimizes the power drain, maximizes the energy damage output.
-There is a known hiccup. Sometimes cycling is not perfect, since each doff will give a 20-35% chance to reduce the cooldowns. Three dices of 35% chance to proc are not 100%. So from times to times, you may experience some weapon power draining which can be mitigated with other tricks or the shield power might drop.
-You'll need two copies of most tactical skills you wish to use for optimal effectiveness. But that's not a total disadvantage.
Now, onto the next post shortly.