1. Blowing stuff up is a little graphic that goes poof.
2. Exploiting is only fun if it is a challenge.
3. You can only expand so many times before it gets boring.
4. Exterminate is boring because the AI sort of rolls over and says "kill me."
The problem is all those features you're mentioning is fluff. The core game is unbalanced, the tech trees are all roughly the same with the exception of the Thalans which are overpowerred, and the AI is predictable and bad. It's just not fun.
The only thing I liked about the game was the ability to build up your civilization on a planet-by-planet basis and now that's been removed.
@1. They delivered what they promoted, cant complain about that.
@2. I did criticise that, it could be indeed better.
@3. Yes, but i am at about 100h played now and i still like it. And 'You can only xxx so many times before it gets boring' can be applied to every thing. So this is simply a matter of opinion.
@4. Stop exploiting edge cases and the game gets harder. Trying to break the game at every turn and then complaining that it is no fun is .... trollish. Most people seem to play the game at normal. There is to reason that the AI is good enough for them. You are not the measure (neither am i or any other single person).
I guess it is a matter of expectancy. I am playing computer games for the better part of 25 years and made my peace with it. I buy games as is and either enjoy them for what they are, or i don't.
Also i am a very patient guy. In my view SD delivered exactly what i expected: A game with a good foundation to build upon it. GalCiv2 was the same. The core game was ok and after two expansions it was unbelievable good. I trust that SD will do the same now.
I am also no one who plays by exploiting things, like you do. I am playing for fun and relaxation. My RL is stressfull enough, i am not getting up in arms over some stupid economy wheel that added nothing but micromanagment and was ignored be me. Which makes the game a bit harder to win btw.
And one last point: I am not seeing any alternativ on the market right now. While there are a good chunk of games out there, they do many things different, but not exactly better (ES is IMHO a bit more fun atm, tho). So this is what we got. Like it or not.
There will be no AI to match your skill in many years, so i fear you will be in for a long line of disappointments.