Well I think it probably would come down to a "firing solution". Putting the playability of the game aside (you would definitely NOT want the game to be so hard core as it'll not be fun) a pulse could be compared to a torpedo over such distances. It'd be a big deal for a beam over such distance on a target you probably can't see.
as I said.. This type of approach would have no place in this type of game IMHO as it just wouldn't be fun !
Lol, if you can hit with a pulse laser you certainly can hit with a beam laser.
Hitting with the beam would even be a bit easier as you have more room for error because the beam isnt only at pos x but in a range of x1-x2
Giving more opportunities to hit your target
Well actually I disagree. It would be anything but easier over the distances we're discussing
I was discussing a Hard Core scfi world with no fun place in the game; many Light secs and/or mins away.
Ie. not flying overhead in orbit or a dogfight or battlewagon around a sttaion ala Bab 5.
Now I'm no scientist and I don't claim to be anything like understanding this all.
But if you were to explore it further let's try this :
Let's call a pulse a torpedo or perhaps even a dumbfire missile and let's call a beam a laser pointer pen (ok , It's a weird idea)
Let's say you want to hit a known target in a known location and orbit that never changes its trajectory or vector around the moon from Earth orbit about 1.3 secs away maybe less. , call it 1.5 secs for my brain. No problem at all, rail guns, beams etc take your pick as it's going to be well established and you have no need to see the result at all. It'll be where it is meant to be in 1.5 secs
Now let's make that target vessel a moving target with the ability to change direction / vector and in order to see it to adjust your weapon stream you will need 3 secs before you know what to adjust even assuming the target didn't alter its' vector. With a pulse/torpedo/dumbfire ALL your energy/payload is committed to arrive at certain time at a certain point in space. So with a firing solution you can predict a where a target will be at a given time even though you will never see it at the time of impact.
However, a beam weapon requires to deliver its "payload" over time. Ok this might be a 1/10th of a sec but a target at 1.3 secs out that requires a "continuous painting" in order to be effective moves a huge distance 1.3 LSecs out and remember it might alter its trajectory thus highly diminishing the time it's exposed to "the payload". And in order to keep it on track it'll take you 1.3 secs to know you hit it in the first place and need to adjust the beam if required. In addition this IS NOT taking into account that YOU are also moving.
Compared to a firing solution delivering the whole hit at a certain point it'd be hard, VERY HARD
Rail guns, pulse lasers and self guided type weapons are by far going to be the weapons of choice over such distances.
With these weapons over distance, you work out a firing solution you "torpedos looss !" and start the clock to get the result.
If you're flying around a space station ala Bab5 , absolutely, beams hell yeah no worries . Would work well but I wasn't talking about "Earthly" distances.
Over LSecs it all gets very difficult for beams, and then with even greater distances even a known position would be an issue with a continuous beam. Hit a target with a continuous beam orbiting 8 light mins away (earth's dist to sun) with you both moving around; good luck.
I'll take my 18 pulse batteries in one salvo shot at your ship at that these distance every time over trying to keep a beam on target.
Even so for around a station, heavy weapons , a "rail gun broadside" .. dumbfires . a massive pulse etc..lovely, you can deliver as much as your weapon delivers so it
would still be desirable.
In the context of non "Earthly" distance, it'd be tough using beams.
More importantly though.. Worrying about this crap in a game would not at all be fun so if beams look cool, use them.