Yeah, your method doesn’t come naturally to me. My preferred approach is to do a delta-1 pass to concentrate them into a tight ball of ships and fire an EMP if I feel they’re too heavy, otherwise begin by the rear and leave it to helm (or to my XO if our helm for the night is unexperienced) to expose as little as possible.
About 45/45 being too little, you’re most likely right. Still, I’d rather start with a weak ship knowing it can be improved than going the opposite way, where it’d be too difficult to say if it’s just the shields that are too high or the broadside system is inherently broken.
I don’t think that a pure broadside model will be approved because any ammount of drones will expose her weakness: shield strength will be too little to absorb drones effectively, so you need to somehow use those tiny arcs for defense, adding another layer of difficulty. The hybrid model is the best, I think, as it avoids making it too easy on helm while also being defensible in combat. The issue is setting an appropiate point defense beam. The one from my original proposal is a short-range version of the missile cruiser PD system, but I considered another option that offers 360° protection in segments with a high cycletime, so that you can protect against small swarms but sustained defense becomes impossible. The idea is making it so the PD beam is as small a concesion as possible.
I’m not in love with increasing the shield nodes, as well. It’s a good concept for developing a tank, but I find the idea boring. It’s just inespecific protection you can abuse by diving right in the middle of a heavy fleet, so it doesn’t fit any role unless you nerf beams a lot; and the way aggro works in Artemis means that you won’t really gain a lot strategically by having such a ship help you in a battlegroup.