Started a new game with the latest release: Insane map, abundant stars and planets, common most everything else, 10 majors, all minors, challenging.
At turn 148 (as far as I could get this weekend), I had 204 colonies, at least as many ships, and roughly 2 starbases per star. Two AIs had almost as many colonies/ships. The UP has met.
- No crashes. Not one.
- No major performance hits. Not one. I even played while watching the GameSpot video and YouTube stream (3 monitor setup).
- Something is wrong with the Morale Relic. It has some affect on approval, but not to the degree it should. I did start to get the hang of approval (Benevolent approval perks + Malevolent Intimidation Center is a great combo) going from 12% global approval up to 56%, and probably could have reached 100%--provided I did not colonize/conquer too many new worlds.
- Lots of micromanagement with 204 colonies and so many starbases. It's still better to manage manually, but time consuming. I am hoping the governing tools in Beta 6 will address many of the current issues with the tools.
- Only lost 1 colony ship to pirates. They are barely an annoyance.
- AI diplomacy is still too easy. I had almost all of the trade resources in the game. I feel that just makes the human player too powerful. "Challenging" is really not.
- I created a constructor using a huge hull that had 13 construction points. Combined with the Pragmatic perk that doubles construction points (26 total), I could finish a starbase with just 2 ships. Not sure if you meant this to be possible.
Overall, the game is fun and the work the development team has put into it since Alpha shows.
As we enter the final stretch, it might help us to help you, Stardock, if you could tell us anything in particular we should focus our comments on.