Does anyone employ Rockets as a bread-and-butter Cruiser weapon?
The rocket seems like a very good, cheap weapon. They appear to be good against shields, and reload and fire at a noticeably faster rate than the other missile types (I haven’t looked at fast missiles).
One of the biggest problems with rocket fleets is in being outranged by missile fleets. Otherwise, rockets appear to be at least reasonably effective as an additional (or even main) weapon, in battles involving otherwise mostly beam weapons.
Having a rocket capability, combined with some powerful beam lasers or fusion/proton beams, appears to be a balanced way to build a medium-ranged fleet. The rockets are for taking down shields, and the beam weapons are for raking unshielded cruisers. All of these weapons can engage outside the range of opposing cruiser lasers.
Of course, another other counter to rockets (besides long-range missile types and cruiser lasers) is in employing scrambler beams/point defense.
Range considerations aside, rockets appear to be the cheapest, most effective of the missile-type weapons.
The keys appear to be in hitting the sweet spot; getting inside opposing missile range, and staying outside of the range of enemy cruiser lasers; and of course, in bringing enough rockets to overwhelm any scramblers/point defense.