Pre-Contact warships used a mix of various forms of lasers, projectile weapons, and rockets as their primary armaments. Most lasers did very minimal damage compared to modern versions but were very accurate. Heat shielding was cheap, and therefore warships could easily armor themselves against most laser attacks. Where lasers excelled at was at burning out incoming projectiles and rockets that carried minimal or no armor. Almost every warship carried some anti-ship lasers for after other weapons breached the armor though. Few things can kill an enemy faster than setting them on fire in space after all. Oxygen runs out amazingly quickly.