Lightning warhead damage does not increase as ship caps go down? Ouch.
On normal they are quite useful, I can see how on low or ultra-low they would become much less useful for the AIP increase they cause.
I've noticed a lot of strange things going on in the low-cap games. Some things scale, others don't, and this plays merry havoc with balance. Warheads happen to be one of those things that didn't scale (same cap as Normal, so same stats) but changed in ability because of interactions.
Zenith Beam Frigates, on the other hand... Impressive.
And maybe lightning warheads are fine, I just remember seeing feedback about them being very underwhelming from several folks not terribly long ago.Well, there are a couple of things that keep me from (ab)using them much.
1) They cause AIP
2) Threat ball often consists of many Frigates and Carriers. Frigates are immune. Carriers have so many HP, 3 MK IIIs are needed to kill just one.
3) They don't scale with unit caps. On ultra-low caps, it takes a Mk III warhead to take out most fleet ships - and even that isn't enough for some.
4) Warhead interceptors. Core worlds and homeworlds, where they'd be most useful, are effectively immune.
5) The small area of effect. Related, the fact that the Mk III has half the radius of the Mk I.
Other than #6, I believe my list is pretty much equivalent here. It's sad when I'll build off two MK Is instead of a MK II not because of damage, but because the range of the MK I gives me more kills for the same AIP increase. MK III is practically pointless on threat-ball removal.
Well, the Mk I does 600,000 damage, range 1500, AIP 1. Mk II is 3,000,000, range 1250, AIP 2. Mk III is 4,800,000 damage, range 750, AIP 3.
The Mk I -> Mk II jump results in 500% damage, 70% area of effect, 200% AIP. Mk II -> Mk III is 160% of damage, but 36% area and 150% AIP.
From Mk I -> Mk III in total is 800% damage, 25% area, 300% AIP.
So, yeah. If two Mk Is will kill your threatball ships, it's a far better choice than a single Mk II. About half the damage, but basically 50% more area than a Mk II. And that's pretty important.
EMP is my preferred solution, but again... doesn't work on Core stuff, even if the Core Warhead Interceptors aren't there.