So far, I am having fun with 1.5. I love the diplomacy flavor. I like how the Ai is chaining star bases to get to me. All are good. The Wheel and its implementation currently do feel 'clunky'. I know some folks want it and some don't. I was all for it than learned to play without it.
My question, is the ai going to be balanced with folks using it or not? I currently have 53 planets and use the planetary wheel on one planet, my prime research planet. I set the wheel to 100% full on research and floated four star bases to maintain full 100% happiness. Viola 1285 research per turn. I have 6 other research planets but those are doing 280 to 400 per turn.
Its a lot of work to get the wheeled planet up to maximum. I had to sacrifice a tile for the building and then float four star bases to maximize production, research and happiness.
No crashes, not hiccups. Game plays well. I am seeing ai ships with 2 different types of weapons which is what it SHOULD do! I am also seeing diversity across factions on weapon preferences thanks!
Game is insane with 30 factions and abundant minors. I am 350 turns thereabout into the game.