I count 105 starbases on an insane map. 60 + 75% = 60 + 45 = 105
It is turn 160 and I have 19 of those left.
About 35 of those are econ starbases wrapped around 3 key worlds, my homeworld, a precursor factory world, and a bread basket world. I am trying to evaluate which ones deserve the full starbase treatment. So far, the bread basket world is not the optimum place. I also have a place I couldn't resist where 3 starbases cover 3 nice planets, classes 14, 11, and 14. That was too good a use of administrators to resist.
The rest of them have gone to claiming relics. There are more of them than I expected with these settings, but then again, I am randomizing a lot of stuff and unexpected is what I expect. The AI seems hesitant to spend administrators on relics, but will put like 3 starbases next to a single planet. I am still finding unclaimed relics at this stage, or else I would have planted the rest of my econ bases.
I figure if I ever get in a bind and absolutely need an administrator, I can destroy any one of the present bases. Quantity becomes its own quality.
So, contrary to others, I am finding the administrators a limiting factor and would not appreciate having even less.
The most interesting effect so far, is that all the military manufacturing that would have gone into putting out that flood of constructors and starbases now has no where else to go, so I am building early military. This is a big change for me. I have all these war ships! They are not the strongest things ever, but I have lots of them and invested in logistics. Some faction has declared war on me and I think they are in for a very rude surprise. It's not so much what I have fielded so far, it's the fact that every one of my shipyards was already building the next latest and greatest model. They take 5-15 turns to build according to shipyard capacity, but somebody is gonna feel the pain real soon. Then comes a wave of transports from 28 different shipyards. (Large Empires At War) I am using the Govern Commands for the first time and will set all shipyards to release a transport within one or two turns of each other. It'll put a divot in my population graph, but it will be worth it.
Diplomacy is great! I actually made friends with the first faction I met. I am not used to making friends. I am used to getting threatened. We exchanged mutually beneficial trades and everything. We're not as friendly as we used to be, but she still gives me better deals than anybody else. It adds a lot of character to the game. Plus, the trades are indeed much more interesting.
I ran into one clumsiness with the redline system, I was offering Promethion from my early discovery of a Promethion planet. I think Promethion was considered particularly valuable because there was no other source for it yet. When I offered the Promethion for a low level tech, I got told my coffers could not afford such a deal. I had about 1000 cred. I think I was being told the deal was too lopsided against me, and it would have made more narrative sense if I had been offering cash. Still, it is a remarkable improvement on "no".
I agree with the comments on tech snowballing. That is still a major flaw.
Overall, I hate administrators a little less than I expected. The rest of it seems pretty darn good.