As i recall, it always seems to me that the turrets on cruisers and capships had faster moving lasers and were still a ***** to deal with even when having shields in fs1. In fs2 they have yet a much different nature of never hitting their target as much as they do in fs1. I mean, when i last captured the taranis, that cain had a ton of lasers pouring out at me, i had to get in real close to shoot my stilleto's so they wouldn't get shot down every time. In fs2, the lasers don't seem to be as blistering as they used to be, or do the beam upgraded ships like the cain have less laser turrets or something? That's one reason i like fs1, the lasers go flying all around the place like in star wars, but not quite in fs2.
On another note, cruisers have evolved. I mean, fighters are are antifighter themselves, and extremely tactical after that when in numbers. It seems that cruisers in fs2 are like really honking huge ass fighters since mostly there great at taking out fighters. Cruisers can take out other cruisers. And after that cruisers are great for tactics and surgical strikes like fighters are. Cruisers just cant maneuver like fighters do
Which makes it hard to pin down a good role cruisers, but antifighter, escort for convoys, tactical missions, and fighter supplementation are great for cruisers. And i would keep cruisers around for those reasons. Just as long the only thing a cruiser takes down bigger than itself is an arcadia. Just restrict cruisers from dueling with ships bigger than itself. That mission in fs2 where you have to lure out that ntf orion to meet the colossus was absolutely perfect for the leviathen bait that was used. It was supplementing fighters, fighters were supplementing it, and was tactical bait to have the mission unfold.