You need to consider weapon range, accuracy, rate of fire, cost, and mass. Not just the damage.
On that list of things you mentioned, the only area Kinetics excel in is cost. Cost is meaningless because of how much production everything makes. Even Kinetics' Rate of Fire is pretty pitiful now, almost as slow as Lasers by default, unless you use Rapid Reload, which makes their accuracy even worse.
Kinetics are worse than Lasers in almost every other way:
- Base Range is 600 as opposed to 800/1100.
- Base Damage is 1 as opposed to 3/6. Base Lasers have 1 too, but they are available much sooner and take half the weight.
- Base RoF is 4 as opposed to 5/8. Even if you reduce their RoF to 2 with Rapid Reload, you fire four times for every missile, but for only 1/6 the damage, half the range, and 30% less accuracy, or 2.5 times for every laser for 1/3 the damage and 40% less accuracy.
- Base Weight is almost twice as much as Lasers.
- Base Accuracy is 75%, compared to 90%/100%. If you use Rapid Reload to give them their famed Rate of Fire advantage, it drops to 60%, so to use them effectively, it's necessary to either specialize in Targeting, pick a race that has Accuracy boosts, or load ships up with Targeting Scanners, or all of the above. However, since Kinetics are also very heavy, targeting scanners take space you can't afford unless you go full miniaturization on everything.
It should be noted that Durantium weapons were not nerfed at the end of beta, except in Rate of Fire, so those are still worth building. Unfortunately, this means if you want Kinetics, you better have lots of Durantium, because that's the only way you're getting anything out of them until you reach the last tech. Singularity Drivers are the same power as a Durantium Driver, but is heavier. The final level in Lasers and Missiles are each twice as powerful as their best Resource weapon, but at the very least Kinetics finally catches up to them in total DPS per weapon, even if they're still much heavier, less accurate, and shorter ranged.
Kinetics were heavily over-nerfed. They probably were overpowered, but now? Let's just say there's a serious Durantium shortage in the galaxy due to this. I keep saying this, but Kinetics need to be buffed slightly to be competitive again. Something like:
Railguns: DMG 2
Pulse Cannons: DMG 4
Graviton Thrower: DMG 6
Quantum Driver: DMG 10
Singularity Driver: DMG 14
This would make them good again. Fair, but still weaker in damage-per-shot, range, accuracy, and weight. No more having to jump through hoops just to make them usable. Durantium becomes an option rather than a necessity. As they are now, a tier 1 Frigate, a Medium ship, only has enough room to increase its Kinetic Attack to 2 and have an Armor of 8. No room for shields, point defense, life support, or engines. Not even enough room for Rapid Reload to make that 2 Kinetic Attack usable. Pathetic. Even the AI won't use default kinetics on their ships anymore, and they still build Thulium Research Archives on squares with nothing next to them. Oh sure, they'll still research Kinetics, but they won't use them outside of Durantium Drivers or ships that come with all 3 weapon types by default.
Paul was talking about them on the stream today. He was proping them for rapid fire and techs that extend range to more than any of the lasers. Also says the are low mass and can be piled on to increase damage. He seems to consider them to be a large or huge hull weapon.
Durantium is easy to mine and I have a Tie fighter that has a Durantium Driver with 9 damage and I put a lot of thrusters on it. What do you know, he said they have nerfed thrusters. I haven't tested it in battle yet.
Wish they had a feature where you could set up a test before building a bunch and see them get slaughtered
Well Paul is wrong about one thing, they certainly aren't low Mass, or I'd agree with him. They're low cost, as in they take less Manufacturing to build, but they have almost double the Mass requirements of Lasers. They're actually the highest mass weapons in the game by far, even moreso than Missiles, so you can't pile them on, in fact you can barely fit one onto a Tiny ship. I would love to pile them on to make up for their lack of damage per shot. If you could actually do that, all my complaints would go away.