So, before I get started, the disclaimer. Damage output of ships is only useful subject to the opportunity to use it. That means range (shaltari, PHR), survivability (UCM, PHR), and the ability to deliver damage before being weakened (Scourge, shaltari) play a critical role in how decisive these stats are.
A big part of my interest in this, was seeing a number of PHR players dismayed at the output of their ships. This article is limited to the two “main” cruisers each faction has, usually one with “conventional” weapons (for that faction) and the other with the “special” weapons for that faction. I used monte-carlo sampling to derive the data (burnthrough mechanics make life hard for binomial maths, and it’s easier to trouble-shoot monte-carlo sampling). The results have then been box-plotted in matplotlib (python).
This first graph shows the damage output of a range of “standard” cruisers against a target with 3+ armour. 100,000 samples were used for each cruiser, rules like calibre and scald were assumed not to apply. The output is based on using only a single weapons system. The ifrit1 and 2 are the alternative fire modes of it’s furnace cannon. In red you can see the median damage output for each cruiser, which marks that there’s roughly 50% chance of scoring equal to or more damage. This test is a current ‘worst case’ of the much maligned Ajax, which has to deal it’s damage without the benefit of crits. The orion seems to perform on par with burnthrough lasers, having a similar median result.
For this test, the same parameters were used, however the 3+ armour was replaced with a 4+ passive countermeasure. Performance can vary quite dramatically against shields, this is where rules like particle really shine, and critical hits become pointless (without the crippling rule, anyway). Here the Ajax is on par with the Orion, and the burnthrough lasers, and better than any ‘standard’ gun cruiser. Close action weapons are not included here, but it also makes sense that they would perform well against passive countermeasures.
In this graph, we see the potential damage output of weapons free. For the PHR cruisers, this would be quite difficult needing targets to the front and both sides simultaneously. This test excludes close action weapons and scald. What you can see from this picture, is how well damage output correlates with utility. The UCM have the lowest output (ignoring the special case ifrit and granite) on weapons free, but are perhaps the easiest to use the order with. The PHR absolutely dominate the peak damage potential, assuming you can get your broadside in position..
You have to put this in context as well, the orion is 107pts and the ajax 100pts against 105 for both UCM options. So the ajax is cheaper, has an extra damage point (which is big because it’s also an extra damage point before crippling), extra scan, and otherwise has equivalent statistics, and yet when used perfectly has an insane amount of firepower. When you combine those factors, it looks like the PHR have some really nice boons to offset their dependence on coming about to fire.