1) Pirates. What the #$%(. No rules for pirates? No supply? No cost? Just appear in the middle of nowhere and start raiding?
This is "raging barbarians" from Civ 5, and we hate it. I don't want to DISABLE pirates, I want them to play by THE SAME RULES AS I DO. They should require a supply planet, they should have maintenance, they should have tech limitations, etc. Where are they getting their research from? That non-existent planet?
The same goes for the AI, and the minors.
Uhh, what? If the pirates played by the same rules as us, they'd be a civilization, not pirates. Barbs in Civ don't get research either, and yet they upgrade their units with the ages all the time. Pirates don't heal after combat, just like barbarians. Just show up and start raiding is what barbs/pirates are supposed to do. They're there so that you don't constantly feel safe sending unarmed ships out into no man's land. Fortunately, they're slow as hell, so you can usually just avoid them.
2) Ideology. Wow did you screw this up. 220 turns in, and I've got my first and second ideology picks. Just wow. Two hundred and twenty turns, with Galactic events on Abundant. Apparently Stardock and I use a completely different dictionary, because words like "abundant" and "occasional" mean completely different things when I say them.
Did you never found a single colony!? Sorry, OP, this one's on you. You get 10 ideology points every time you found a colony, which is enough to get your second ideology point after 3 planets - you're not supposed to rely entirely on events to get your ideology... I get the feeling you weren't focusing on any one ideology and were just making decisions randomly, if you were expanding at all.
3) Shipyards. Tripled the price? So, not only are we no longer allowed to build defenders on our actual planets, because NOBODY builds actual space ships in atmosphere... star wars, star trek, pick your poison, canon be damned... but any hope of actual defense is now slow as @#$*, as you either get to take a bloody ETERNITY building it, or send some constructors through the gauntlet of pirates.... good thing we build build BUILD constructors, right?
You know, even in GC2, you couldn't start building ships on a planet until it had a shipyard, and back in GC2, Shipyards cost just as much as the current ones, plus took up an entire tile on the planet below. They moved shipyards off-world to reduce micromanagement, free up planet tiles, and allow planets to pool their resources together, and it worked. I love shipyards. To wit, any planet with enough production to be a viable ship-production planet can build a shipyard in like 3 turns or less.
4) Carriers. So, apparently the answer to something being useful, is to make it worthless. Niiiice. Quadruple the cost of the mods, plus make them even weaker than before? Now a single carrier can't take out a relatively-equal pirate fleet, or much of anything, for that matter.
Dude, wtf are you talking about? Carriers are amazing. My custom Star Destroyer is a mix of Carrier and Capital Ship, and they annihilate everything they come across. This, despite them being a MEDIUM hull, not a Large hull like most Carriers. If they didn't require 3 Durantium for their guns, I could win the game spamming nothing but. The cost isn't even that big a deal, my homeworld rams them out in 2 turns or less.
Are you using Drone Carriers? Drone Carriers are much weaker than Assault Carriers, as a trade-off for Drone Carrier modules being much smaller than Assault Carrier modules. Assault Carriers are the GOAT. They carry a self-replenishing, self-repairing, self-upgrading, logistics-ignoring squadron of Small ships that have the best of all 3 weapon and defense types. I have yet to lose a single Star Destroyer in combat across any of the games I've played. Maybe you need to increase your Miniaturization? I do contend that it did take an a**load of miniaturization for me to finally be able to fit all that into one medium hull.
5) Trading. I have to wait? Why? Is there a traffic controller of the Universe, some God-figure, telling me I can't run a red light? Who is it precisely that dictates policy to me, the Space Emperor? Why can't I tell this @#$@ to go #$%^ himself?
I'm not exactly sure what you're complaining about here.
6) AI. I personally find it offensive that the AI is at full blast at normal, and gets free stuff handed to them to make them harder, instead of playing at "average" at normal, with a learning curve, and getting smarter as you ramp the AI. Perfect Dark, UT2k4, Descent Free Space, all had learning AI that would figure out your playstyle, and use it against you. Aren't we supposed to have improved since waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then?
Dude, they still aren't even done writing the code for the average AI. To get it to the point it's at now, it took an eternity of testing and watching how the AI screwed up, then teaching it not to do that anymore. This being a GalCiv game, the AI is going to continue to evolve as time goes on, but AI doesn't invent itself. All of those games' AI that you mentioned are shooters, as well, and those games don't require nearly as much intricacy as a 4X AI. There's so much that the AI has to keep track of, and if you over-code the AI, the game slows down because they need processing power to make decisions.
Even those games you listed don't have true learning AI, they straight up cheated too, and made it look like they were learning. Writing an AI that actually learns is a pipe dream, especially when you have to write each one from scratch every time you make a new engine.