There have been some discussion on steam that GC3 is a modded GC2 and the price tag is too expensive. I played GC1 beta tested all GC2 titles. I also was a jerk back when I posted on the GC2 forums. Now I've matured, hopefully, and I have started my own software company and have experience in programming and have released my first title and am about to release three more shortly. I haven't bought the game yet but hopefully I know what I'm talking about.
For those who may have concerns that...
* The price tag is high
* Galactic Civilizations III is a modded version of Galactic Civilizations II
* Stardock has released DLC for Galactic Civilizations III that implements features in Galactic Civilizations II
To me the price tag is fair. Stardock's GalCiv2 used vector graphics so if someone plays GalCiv2 on a modern 4K Ultra screen the aspect ratio is not skewed. Stardock did what they could to make the graphics of GalCiv2 future proof. GalCiv3 is a new 3d engine with Stardock's same initiative. They added ship roles in GC3. In GalCiv2 what they started for the version of combat was complained about as US revolutionary war type fighting where everyone stands in a line and shoots each other. GalCiv2 wasn't about tactical battles where players control ship combat. It was about strategy. Strategy in applying your current tech to ship design verses the opposition. The purpose of the battle viewer was to see what was right/wrong with your ship design, how to improve. The graphics are also better. The combat viewer in GC3 is a major improvement and new software. The logistics of carriers have been implemented in battles now and done correctly. I'll get to that in a different post. And GC2 was without carriers but it was built in a way that it wasn't deficient without them. I built many fighters without hypderdrives and had them defend shipyards in GC2.
GC3 is a different game built on the same idea of GC2. More has been added and what is already there has been improved upon. More galactic resources are available to mind and mine. I don't have the game...yet, I have been spending my resources on my own development endeavors. There are planets that can't be colonized but can be mined. Black holes can be turned into a resource. In GC2 you could mine asteroids to increase production. From what I understand GC3 doesn't have asteroid mining at least not what it was in GC2. But GC3 makes you build starbases if you want to mine galactic resources within the base sphere of influence. In GC2 you could send out a ship to build mining stations on every asteroid. Asteroid mining stations were defenseless but would increase production greatly if you had a lot of them going to one planet. And I can see why the asteroid mining of GC2 hasn't been implemented in GC3. GC3 has added more galactic resources with specific results for mining each one. GC2 asteroid mining was a general way of increasing production. GC3 has done away with that kind of space mining and improved game play. You also have different tech added using and improving on the same idea of varied tech trees for races. The karma or ethics system of the game has been improved and overhauled. Making decisions is a fun part of the story when playing GC2. Now when you make decisions you can use points gained to gain access to civilization ethical traits that have pros and cons to them, besides the immediate effect of the choices made. In GC2 you couldn't get those 'traits' unless you became committed to an ethic. Now you can get access to traits in the good and also get access to traits in the bad and neutral ethics at the same time. The core game is more complex.
The way DLC is being implemented in GC3 is different than in GC2. In GC2 a DLC was a major release. In GC3 DLC's are a way of having modular game play without denying core game play to players who don't buy them. And by themselves they are a steal. In GC2 people had the option of galactic events being turned on but some didn't understand those random events could be GNP shattering and not what one usually expects in the random event category of gaming. Now mega random events are a DLC that is affordable so those who don't want to deal with them don't have to have them. Plus being in a DLC means they have been worked on more and you won't be disappointed if you buy them. The random events are game changers that can ruin your day in the GC3 universe and/or give that same day meaning. It creates a rewarding playing experience. At first you may feel daunted and be tempted to just start over but if you stick with it you learn more and can deal with more situations in the game. Plus if you achieve victory in one of those scenarios how much sweeter is the game play! It's not like in other space faring games where you get a notice an asteroid hit a planet and demolished a factory. I noticed a patch added mega events in game so you get some fun but the DLC adds more that has been well planned and coded. A DLC is planned for espionage. In GC2 espionage was rather basic. Because of Stardock's history of innovation I am looking forward to the DLC release of espionage. They can tinker with and upgrade and add to make it much more impressive.
The DLC Revenge of the Snathi adds story and game play value. It also adds something players can use even if they don't follow the story line. The map pack DLC has been complained about as should have been included in the core game. What people don't seem to remember is the map editor for GC2 was a mod project for the game and not supported by the development team. Other games come out with map editors out of the box that's true. I haven't any experience with GC3 map editor yet but a good question is: "Do you need to know how to code to create maps with GC3 map editor?" If you don't then the cost of the DLC is really a steal. A lot of work goes into something the more user friendly it gets. Most games that come out with a map editor require the user to use a scripting language or can be difficult to get what you want done without learning the system first. I don't have the game yet but it seems to me a player could easily use the map pack DLC with the map editor included to better integrate their own mod into the game with or without a scripting language. But if a scripting language is required to learn to use the map editor that would make it more powerful. Either way with the GC3 map editor it should be easier for modders to implement their mods, say like for a star trek or star wars mod. Also I haven't used it yet but I would think a really good editor would have a point and click system and also a scripting language. That way casual gamers that have imagination could get involved and implement fun things without needing to do homework before creating something and that in itself is fun. But at the same time with a scripting language those like me who enjoy programming can have a blast. And ultimately with a scripting language you can do a lot more in the long run.
With the DLC for a new player inexperienced to GC to come along and buy the game and the DLC at the same time could very well be a deal breaker because of the overall price. But at the same time for someone new to the GC universe to buy the game and all the DLC before playing the game seems silly. To me that seems like paying for a buffet and then only eating the deserts and complaining the meal cost to much. Well you left out the steak and mashed potatoes and went straight for the Oreo cheese cake so of course you paid too much for that Oreo cheese cake.
Stardock is not a money grubber. When they do something they do it right,well, and with innovation. Master of Orion was in my youth the game all other space 4X games were compared to. Master of Orion has been overthrown. MOO2 was a standard for a while. GalCiv2 changed things in the genre and Galactic Civilizations 3 has improved and expanded it. Plus its playable on low end systems. You can play it on a modern laptop with intel integrated graphics. You couldn't do that when GalCiv2 came out. A few years later you could.
Don't complain about GC3 being GC2 but the devs are making us buy DLC to have the same playing experience. Its not so. Other companies do that but not Stardock. GC3 is a different game and a different engine with many improvements on what makes up the core game play with added depth and game play elements which is exactly what a sequel is to do but usually does not do in the gaming industry. Command and Conquer series was the same thing but different titles were mainly different story lines. Those five dollar DLCs add depth and more playability and Stardock could easily have asked for more and it wouldn't be wrong for them to do so but you have a gamer at the helm of Stardock so we are all lucky. If you play GC3 for a while and then go back to GC2 I promise you will notice a difference and miss things from GC3. Not to say GC2 should be shelved, defiantly not.