To be honest, the AI is in a disastrous state at the moment. Even at the highest available difficulties, the AI is inefficient, suicidal and lacks a decent strategy to actually win the game.
If you browse through the posts, you can see more and more beta players complaining about that and in my opinion this is the worst point of the game currently. One can forgive if there is some small graphics bug, or if the UI is cumbersome, maybe even seldom game crashes. But one completely looses interest in the game quickly, if the AI is not able to challenge you and make such stupid things like
- Why do you attack my whole huge ship fleet with your tiny ship? Just calculate you chance in advance, flee, regroup and then come back!
- Why can't you build an efficient manufacturing world and build ships there quickly: just build factories around a power plant, man! Don't build one market there, one single useless RnD center or an "ideology generator" if you don't gain significantly from ideology at all. Same applies for money/RnD world, of course (never seen one).
- And why are you still trading so badly: you give me 50 credits per turn (!) even already around turn 20 just for two crappy techs that you won't use efficiently anyways? And then you whim, why you are bankrupt???
- And starbases: it's nice that you want to mine as much resources as possible. But if you don't build appropriate ships actually making use of these resource-dependent weapon to actually (!) attack me, just don't do it! Ah, maybe it's because you wanted to trade them for another two useless techs?!
Sorry for being cynical, but you devs/Stardock invested a lot of time and money in the game development and now (are forced to) release too soon. I fear the game test scores will be much worse due to that fact and your ROI too. In the old Ascendency-times it was kind of ok that the AI was dumb, but nowadays in view of e.g. self-learning neuronal networks getting common (there are even open distributions of the available for C++/Python etc.), this has to change.
I'm looking forward to your reply and beg you to focus on AI-improvement, please!