Good Morning All,
Thanks Stardock for the many years of great games.
The Beginning of Time
GalCiv II & GalCiv III
When you start a game you have an empty slate full of endless possibilities. This is wonderful for the creative minds. You can go anywhere and quickly expand your empire, exploring strange new worlds and going where no one of your faction has gone before. You can customize an quickly gain that feeling of expansion right from the beginning with the colonization of your first world. You quickly have multiple worlds to build and expand on and you quickly (with-in 20 turns) could have multiple ship yards, and colonies to build on.
When you start a game you have an empty slate with limited possibilities. This is still good for creative minds but something is lost. You can go anywhere for a short period of time, then your forced into bottlenecks. When you start you start exploring the limited galaxy. You colonize several worlds but somehow you feel empty. You still only have one core world, and one shipyard. the first 100 turns go by quickly without much feeling of accomplishment. Sure you have 10-20 colonies, and maybe 2 core worlds, but governors are limited so therefore so are your core worlds. Even if you wanted more core worlds, the great planets are few and far between, maybe 2 or 3 above class 3 in your sector. Therefore not much room for expansion.
Most of my first 100 turns are me just clicking the next button, picking a new unexplored part for my survey ship to go. Every 5-7 turns get a new colony ship, and pick a new technology. Repeat 100 times.
This is where the game will lose interest for some right away. You absolutely fixed the issue with an overload of micromanagement late in the game with colony management, but you made the game boring and uninteresting in the beginning where there is nothing to do but repeat. There needs to be some middle ground.
Give us more to do in the first 200 turns. Allow us to do things on colonies, not a lot and maybe just a one off, when you first colonize them. This could be things like focus energy on manufacturing research economy, or entertainment depending on what you choose your targeted core world gets an extra boost in that focus. Then maybe as the game goes on, with new technologies bring new options. Maybe you can upgrade or choose multiple focuses, but to limit micromanagement this doesn't happen often. Maybe depending on the world it would be more lucrative to choose a specific focus because of artifacts or tile bonus's that exist if it would become a core world.
GalCiv II & GalCiv III
We would hear from random factions from time to time threatening war, peace, trade, or just the random conversation. This was good because I would hear from them, and give me something to potentially do every 20 turns or so.
I'm always hearing from random factions. Every few turns someone is asking for a trade. This is way too often. You know I just turned you down 2 turns ago, why am I going to say yes now? They slowed this down in the latest patch but it's still way too often. I don't need to hear from you all the time. Let me do what I want to do and sometimes talk to me. They are like that annoying co-worker that just won't go away and let you do your job.
Put a cool down timer on communications. If faction A just reached out to you for a trade, you turned them down, they won't communicate with you for another 20 or so turns. This may hurt your diplomacy, but you can still reach out to them if you change your mind.
Every time I researched a new ship technology I could go to the shipyard, and add components to my ship. It would tell me if I was overweight and better my production ships. I could easily upgrade my ships by class or name and not need to destroy my ships that often because they were always upgradable. Upgrades weren't constant and some of the largest upgrades took many turns to research so ships did not become useless.
Every time I researched a new ship technology I could go to the shipyard, and add components to my ship. It would tell me if I was overweight and better my production ships. I could not easily upgrade my ships which made my older ships useless and had to either waste them in battle or destroy them. One of a kind components were lost on older ships and forced the user to not use these to the full potential. Upgrades came quickly even the best upgrades, quickly causing a few turn old ships to be outdated.
I admit this part of it I may only have part of the story, as I really didn't explore all my options. The shipyard is basic in it's current state and doesn't tell the player when they are overweight. With that being said ship techs don't seem to quickly allow you to apply them to your ships. At turn 500 I was flying around basic ships with just experience upgraded ships. My new ships really weren't any better. What's the point of upgrading ship techs when my first survey ship is the most powerful ship in the galaxy. I love the experience and the upgrading of ships but I also need to be able to upgrade them too... (keep in mind I play very slow tech and game pace.) But the ships in this game to that point were weak.
Allow one to upgrade ships with the newest technology, as well as keeping experience points and add-ons. Allow stacking of upgrade options, instead of only one in queue at a time, even if you get more. (I admit that doesn't really solve it yet...) Now allow you to easily upgrade in the shipyard letting you know where your weight capacity is. Take that new ship and retrofit your older ships for a reasonable cost.
The Galactic Bottleneck
None other than the size of the galaxy
None, although hyper lanes created an illusion of a bottleneck.
Every sector is limited to connected points creating horrible bottlenecks, attack points.
Because of the problem with path finding causing issues with turn time mentioned by Frogboy, I don't have a solution here. I hate the bottlenecking and the limited options this provides. With that being said, I'm not a programmer therefore I don't fully understand the path finding issue. To me I look at it as 'object A' find quickest route to 'object B' bam done. However, I'm sure there are many things I'm not understanding.
The game is early in development and can change many times over before the final release. This post is just my general feelings of the game as it is currently in Alpha, in which there is expected shortcomings. That is why the game is in alpha and not released yet. I welcome any other thoughts or comments on this post. Let's make this game the best game in the GalCiv series yet.