I've been following the debates about "free content vs. DLC" and how it relates to the current state of the game. I'd like to share a few points as simply a fan of the series...NOT an expert.
1) To begin with, I have very little complaint as to the state of game play at the moment. I only play on the largest 3 map sizes, and always with more than 40 factions. I don't see a problem with game play. I don't pretend to be a champion player, and I don't finish games because I'm constantly CHOOSING to start new ones. But for what I've experienced, I love it.Yes, I've experienced the same bugs everyone else has. Yes, the AI needs work.
2) I have purchased each DLC and opted in to every update. I have no problem with either approach. The game is constantly evolving, and improving.
3) The main point I'm trying to make is simple. I can't speak for anyone else, but I followed development, and I chose to buy the game based on the promise that the developers intended to continue to improve the game for a very long time. I envision this game in 6 months, a year, 5 years from now, being completely different than it is right now. The promise was always, as far as I'm concerned, and ONGOING commitment to make GalCiv3 as good as it could be. Therefore, I'm not focusing on the current state of the game. I'm enjoying the current state of the game. I'm anticipating the masterpiece I believe this will become.
Bottom line...I feel I have definitely received $49 worth of fun for the game in my possession. I have no issue with $5 each month for added content. Eventually I imagine I will have laid out the same $100,(I think that's the total,) that the Elite Founders paid...and I'm OK with that. Heck, I hope that's the case. That would be 10 DLC packs! The patches will continue to come regularly, and that should satisfy the less satisfied players. Folks, they promised not to stop improving this product. I've seen no reason to doubt them.