Just as a head's up, as much as I enjoy seeing my work on balance and AI critiqued, you'll be happy to know I won't be working on GalCiv III for the near future.
I'll be checking in to see when the Steam review score gets over 70 for recent reviews as a cue to look at working on the AI and balance.
I don't see any reason for us to keep providing free updates when the reaction is so negative.
The game is very moddable so go ahead and mod it to your liking from here on out.
If you DO want me to return to work on this, then the Steam review score will be the measure I use.
This seems to be an unjustified reaction...I don't think the reactions are so negative as a few players are raising what they consider their concerns. This is healthy in any organisation and if a minority say something which is negative hear them out, disagree if you have to counter the criticism/suggestions/advice whatever with what you believe. Remember the creaky wheel is always loudest.
There are a lot of players (I'm one and have stuck up for this game on other forums) very happy with the way the game is developing/changing and really admire how you keep on trying to get the game where you think it should be.
Don't pick up your bat and ball and go home because you don't like what somebody said.
It's more of a sign that we are reaching the end of this version's lifespan.
The same thing happened with GalCiv II back in the day. Eventually, a game reaches the point where the feature requests and complaints are very esoteric and the community, not seeing those demands met, begin to get very negative about the game (hence, a lot of the recent negative Steam reviews are from people with hundreds of hours in).
There are only two reasons for us to work on a game: Either (a) because we enjoy it or ( because we're getting paid.
The endless criticism over things that, 10 years ago, a user would have just modified for themselves via XML, sucks the enjoyment out. The negative steam reviews tank the game's sales and people castigate us for having a handful of DLC spread out over 3 years.
Given that Stellaris already has NINE DLC and an 85% review score, it sends the message to me that the turn-based market may simply not be a market worth targeting in the future. Even Endless Space 2 (a fine turn based space strategy game with zero DLC) is struggling at a much lower review score.
RTS/continuous turn games seem to attract a demographic that is both numerous and more appreciative. Sins of a Solar Empire, btw, has a 92% review score.
tl;dr: Turn-based 4X games are generally more niche and their user bases less willing to support continued development than real-time games.