I got to play this game on SP for a few dozen hours and I would like to make a few suggestions / ask for a few features. I'm sure most if not all of this came up in other threads, but I am too lazy to go digging up for these threads. Ok, here we go:
1. Automation: Micro-management can be fun, for a while, but there really is need of some serious automation to be introduced. I hope for some (programmable)-preset based colony automation, but other automations - such as build starbases on resources / colonies, colony starsystem when pop. threshold is x and/or planet quality is y and so forth. These would really help out with the game, especially on large maps and I assume that also in MP.
2. AI overhaul: At the moment the AI is unchallenging, this is a serious problem. I managed to beat the AI on Godlike after less then 8 hours of gameplay. The AI is not aggressive enough - I always attack first, and I manage to outcolonize most of my opponents albeit their bonuses(!). Furthermore, the development of colonies seems to be rather bad (every-time I conquer a planet I need to raze half of the buildings to get some efficiency), and ship design might enjoy some (community based?) customization (for the AI as well).
3. Tech-trading should be more complicated and more difficult, reflecting the diplomacy bonuses/maluses of the player and taking into consideration the buildup of the player. For isntance, if I'm building huge fleets, the AI should be more reluctant to sell me weapon or manufacturing techs. If the AI intends to conquer me, he will more gladly sell me terraforming tech in order to reduce his own future costs, and so forth.
4. Railguns: Simply non-competative ATM, and when AI's prefer them (for instance Drengi always do), it just makes for a ridiculous matchup - 5 missile ships can practically tear through the AI's armada most of the time.
5. Trade / Tourism don't give enough of an incentive, in my opinion, to pick any traits that buff them, and tourism usually arrives too late to make a difference in planetary development. I would like to see economy really offering some serious buffs, and thus offsetting the advantage manufacturing (and to a lesser extent) / research focus has.
6. Economy: I would love to see some way to spend money in order to speed up research and also production. Rather than simply buying an entire ship/building, I would like to be able to spend some money to get construction x2 faster, and more money to get x4 and so forth - a slider can do the trick fairly easy. It could and should, in my view at least, also work with research.
7. Outsourcing: I would like to be able to oursource projects to corporations (build ships for x amount of credits and pay so and so) and/or minor races.
8. Minor Races: Appear like a prop, they buy your tech and then become a trade partner and that is it. By turn 50-60 they have no more tech to sell and pretty much do nothing. How about some low level spreading? Piracy (for hire?)? Espionage or some sort of intrigue? Also see about outsourcing projects.
Ok, that is it, please don't chew my head