Let me state some things first:
I do enjoy playing this game. It has nice graphics, plays close to galciv 2 - which i really liked, so i don't mind little gameplay innovation - and runs very well considering the amount of players, ships and the system i am playing on. I also like that manufacturing/production is not as important as in many other games where units/buildings cost a lot and you have few of them (civ5, endless legend and many more). This really makes you feel you are leading a galactic empire and not just a small expeditionary force (like your "armies" in civ5).
Personally i enjoy older 4x (shutout to dominions 4) titles and paradox' grand strategy games more than recent and popular titles such as civ5, endless space/legend or age of wonders 3. I particularly enjoy making long term plans, playing optimally and having deep diplomatic systems.
With the positive preamble out of the way, i just want to list the issues that drive me nuts:
1) No research and manufacturing overflow:
This leads to intense micromanagement, e.g. i constantly have to readjust manufacturing sliders if i build different ships so i do not loose manufacturing. even worse are technologies, because here you have to adjust your whole empire so you do not waste research points.
Edit: thanks for the responders, letting me know that overflow is saved. however i would like a change in the system so you can finish multiple items per turn. all that saved up overflow does me little good if i only get one ship/building/technology at a time.
2) The governance system:
While it looks good on paper it is a micromanagement hell. The biggest problem is that specialized planets do not get the most research or credits by setting the governance to 100% research or economy, but by some value between manufacturing and research/economy while having a conversion project (economic stimulus, research project). This is even true for planets with only few factories and are heavily specialized otherwise. Here is an example:
==> If you add points 1 and 2 you basically have to spend 5+ mins every turn just to make sure you do not waste research and manufacturing. Even worse; when you go into debt the game sets your planets to unoptimized values for generating credits (100% econ on every world often generates less credits than carefully choosing an optimized governance setting between manufacturing and economy + economic stimulus).
Suggestion: If you want to keep these mechanics there should be at least a simple optimize planet for manufacturing/research/credits button that chooses the most efficient governance setting.
Nothing new here, currently building up starbases (and finding starbases that need upgrades) is a huge hassle.
Suggestion: Add a shipyard option to build constructors that are automatically send to starbases that need them as long as you have starbases that can be upgraded.
4) Lack of polish:
I constantly run into wrong/misleading tooltips, blatantly unbalanced mechanics and typos. I will probably make a dedicated list of them later in another thread. It just strikes me that there are that many small issues short before release.
5) Lot's of possible QoL improvements:
i made a separate thread with suggestions here:
and that is just me playing two games, typing as i was playing along. Again there is a lot of possible work to be done short of release. In general i would like an ui where mouse distance traveled and clicks issued are minimized.
6) non-competitive AI:
I can't say if it is the lacking balance, exploitative gameplay on my end or a weak AI, but on the second most difficult AI setting i do not expect to eclipse the ai by at least an order of magnitude (overall points rating).