I've had some bad experiences with Area Weapons in AI hands. This happened in a really late game session: My empire controlled half the universe and was about to go to war against my, up to then, semi-ally (sort of, we barely held positive relations). But before I attacked I wanted to have proper control of my half of the universe so I declared war on a recently formed empire (i think it was basically the renamed remains of another empire I had destroyed before). This new empire was very small, just about 5 colonies and should have been the easiest conquest so far. So to make things more interesting I decided to make a joint strike, with five fleets hitting the five colonies to capture them all at the same time. I sent the attack and watched as it all worked out perfectly, the outback colonies fell instantly. However when I went to check on my fleet at the enemies capital I saw in horror as my entire, and strongest fleet, was completely decimated in one shot from the starport. ONE SHOT! Just took out the entire fleet, including my immense flagship I had build to be especially resistant. For some reason that empire had a starport that had highest tech in everything (which I did not have). No matter what I did every fleet i sent in would get absolutely destroyed and could not even dent the spaceport. That is pretty much where I shut down that universe because I was so pissed.
Long story short: area weapons a) can be used as a ridiculously effective last stand weapon b) are over powered c) should NEVER, I repeat, NEVER be made so that they don't damage friendlies. That would just make them even more op.
PS: @Data The little doctor would be an interesting addition to DW though I am worried it would become too powerful as well, remember we don't have 3d to put space between our ships.
< Message edited by Munchkin9 -- 10/20/2011 2:26:15 PM >