Well, the trouble with this is that there's no indication that the Drakhri and Sartha are considered crappy by the Kilrathi - as far as we can tell, they are simply mainline Kilrathi fighters in this particular timeframe. It would be great if there was some reference to them being inferior, because they really are pretty awful - I mean, they're a step backwards in almost every way compared to WC1. However, we simply have no reason to assume anything like this. I don't recall if we see Drakhri flown by the Imperial Guard, but we do certainly see Sartha. They're used by the elite...As I already said, 1 Particle and 2 Laser cannons feel right to me. It puts the Dralthi still behind the Rapier (and all heavier ships) in terms of firepower and works well compared to the loadouts of the WC3 and WCP Dralthi IV. I favour 2 HS and 2 IR as missile loadout because that's a blend of the WC3 and WCP loadout. True, the Drakhri and Sartha only carry DF missiles but they are particulary crappy Kilrathi fighters.
Unfortunately, it seems reasonable to guess that something happened to the Kilrathi fighter doctrine in the intervening ten years, which led them to design a bunch of terrible spacecraft. Was it an attempt to swarm Confed by mass producing simple light/medium fighters and sending them out with poorly-trained pilots? Who knows. Whatever the case may be, the simple fact is that even elite pilots fly this junk, which means there's really nothing better.
To address the missiles directly - thing is, as far as we know, there's really no major limitation on missile loadouts. In every game that we get to pick our own loadout, DF, IR, FF and HS missiles can be used interchangeably from the same hardpoints. So, again, the DF-heavy loadouts in WC2 are not caused by any technological restriction, but by choice. If we're going to transpose the Dralthi IV back to 2667, I think it's a choice we have to respect.
An interesting thought in this regard is that, while we don't know when chaff pods were first introduced, we do first see them in WC2. Maybe Confed simply had better chaff pods, and the Kilrathi found that loading out their fighters with DFs was more effective? Presumably, later on they would have managed to improve their own guidance systems to reduce the spoof ratio, and went back to using guided missiles more, around 2669. Or perhaps this change was tied to the transition from chaff pods to decoys (are decoys less effective? They certainly don't last as long once they are dropped). In either case, however, we can assume that when this happens, even the Sartha and the Dralthi could potentially be loaded out with guided missiles.
I did originally consider alternatives. I thought about a 4 HS loadout - similar to WC1. I thought about a 2 HS / 2 IR and a 2 HS / 2 DF variant - mixes of the WC1 Dralthi with its WC2 and WC3 equivalents. In the end, as much as I would prefer it to have a more effective loadout, it simply seems more appropriate to stay true to the time period. However, bear in mind that in WC2, something weird is done with enemy missiles. Notice how you often get the "lock" warning in those first Ferret missions in WC2? Well, what's locking on you, when both the Sartha and the Drakhri use DFs only? And they most definitely do only carry these missiles in-game. It's possible that the game simply treats DFs as FFs with no manoeuvrability - a good thing to do, actually, precisely because you are able to warn the player (and DFs without a warning are a very dangerous thing to the player, you can see this a lot in Standoff). It may however also be that DFs, when used against the player, are given a little bit of guidance to make them more dangerous.
I agree that with these textures, the Armada stats would be inappropriate. I'd actually love to see both Dralthi side by side - though that would really be pretty weird, so many pancakes in one game .I shy away from taking suggestions from the Armada Dralthi. As you pointed out, the Armada ships are extremely odd compared to the other WC games. Also since the textures were based on the WC3/4/P Dralthi, I found taking the stats from there to be more natural.
Yeah, it's pretty crazy that way. I suppose... well, you know, obviously when they started working on WC2, they would have been thinking ahead to imagine that if the game is successful, they'll make a sequel. But what they might not have yet imagined at that point is that they will be able to do so much else. If you think about it, without Academy, Armada and Privateer, the 2667-2669 timeframe would really be pretty reasonable - the false armistice is, of course, simply a necessary leadup to establish the downbeat situation in WC3. It's only when those remaining products drop into place that things start going off the way.It always bothered me a bit that they put Blair for 10 years out of the picture then WC2 takes place over the course of 2 years without feeling that way - whereas WC 1 and SM both took place within 1 year and then the timeframe of 2667-2669 is incredibly overloaded with the false armistice, Armada, WC3 and Privateer, all vastly different. I like the explanation of the use of stronger/thinner armour plating a lot - still, it always seemed odd. Especially Aramda feels more like a "side branch" to me.
In fact, even when they were done with WC2, they may have taken it for granted that the game would be more closely connected to WC3, that there wouldn't be such a total break. Armada, while it doesn't tell us whether they actually wanted to do this or not, demonstrates beyond all doubt that WC3's polygon graphics could easily handle WC2 ships. The Wraith and the Jrathek look great in Armada, and there would have been no problem at all had these ships been taken into WC3 to establish a link, the same way that the Rapier from WC1 is still around in WC3. Unfortunately, for all the great decisions that Chris Roberts made about WC3, he's also responsible for the game's one bad decision: the total change to an awful new art style, which meant that no WC2 ship could be reused any more, and the only connection became the Arrow and the Dralthi (which, as I understand, were actually taken from WC3 into Armada, not the other way).
One of these days, I'd love to see someone "reimagine" all those WC3 ships to make them fit in more with WC2...