I really want to like this game, because it has everything I ever wanted in a 4x MoO clone. On top of that it looks good, is modable and has a great community of players.
But (at least at this time) this game is a single endeavor of frustration for me.
The AI is of palpable incompetence. Due to focus on expansion I had next to no military fleets and a "Godlike" Drengi race declared war on me (finally!) and then did not attack me for 20 turns. Even then their attacks amounted only to some unorganized probing attacks, while they wasted their time churning up a minor race at the other end of the map. That is not "Godlike", but rather stupid.
The diplomacy is hit and miss. I have seen worse and you can work out some nice deals with neighbors. However, as soon as you even start to build enough ships to defend just your core worlds (and not every nook and cranny of your empire) they get worried about your militarism and even the best relations decline rapidly.
The worst? Bugs, crashes, crippling gameplay issues that bleed all the fun totally dry.
Right now I am +15 hours into building an empire. Am allied with two minor and a major race and at war with two majors and a minor. I do have roughly 20 starbases deployed. Whenever I now hit "TURN" for the next turn, a battle between two Drengi fleets and two of my scouts happens. Which always ends with the scouts getting destroyed. Right when that happens, my game crashes. Regardless if I chose "Quick Battle" or decided to watch it.
So I load the last save. Which was done JUST before hitting "TURN". And I have to "Upgrade Starbase" again for half a dozen Starbases where I just had said "Pass" to refuse the updating as I am waiting for a more worthwhile update later on. So after clicking through that AGAIN and hitting "TURN", the battles take place again and the game crashes yet again.
When I destroy the two Scouts myself, another space battle (a minor against one of my Survey ships) takes place and results in yet another crash.
So .... looks like the +15 hours I poured into that "Empire" are lost. Do I want to start over yet again? Not until these crippling bugs are ironed out.
Stardock has not done itself a favor selling a beta as a "full" game. I do mind paying for a full price game and then having to play guinea pig for blatant and show stopping bugs.