- They evened out the tech trees -- the really expensive stuff was split up into multiple levels.
- You start out able to colonize your own type of planet, but without the 'colonize rock planet' tech (or whatever), so it can't be stolen from you. The cheesy 'conquer a neighbor and have twice the potential colonies' thing is gone.
- Despite not really having any more options available to you -- or any *different* options, for that matter... in fact, some of the old options are gone -- the interface is messier and harder to use. To keep 3d performance up or something, the game runs at a really low rez, so a bunch of options got moved into sub-menus. There's also some sub-menu-ization in weird places that doesn't really make sense. I was able to muddle through because I knew what I wanted to do, even though I didn't know how to do it... how would a new player ever think to look through all that crap to find it, though?
- Something's screwy about the plotted movement. Launching sattelites and such doesn't seem to work right... maybe I just couldn't find the 'launch units remotely' command before I crashed.
- Oh, yeah -- it crashes a lot.
- Did I mention the 3d graphics are really ugly? The ships are tiny inditinguishable dots, the planets are muddy spheres... you can't tell by looking at them what atmosphere and planet type they are anymore.
- You don't get a basic sensor reading of whole systems anymore -- you need to build sensor bouys and distribute them manually. Exploring a new system is a tedious matter of laying out a zigzag course around the 'circular' edge... or you can tell the AI to do it haphazardly, wasting several turns, lots of supplies, and missing spots.
- The production queues are super-buggy. If you click the global 'upgrade facilities' button and a planet wants to upgrade something it's in the middle of building, it'll replace the thing it's building with the 'upgrade thing' item. You'll waste the resources on the upgrade, won't have the item, and any progress you had on it will be lost. "So don't upgrade things you're in the middle of building," you say? Well, like I said, it's a fucking GLOBAL upgrade facilities button. And the facility improvement techs were spread out over 10 times as many technologies, so you need to upgrade them a lot.
- Also, if you don't have enough of a resource to build everything in *every* queue that needs that resource, *all* those queues will stall, consume the resources they would have used, including all of the resource you were low on, and make no progress. So next turn, you'll stall again. Even if you could build everything but one item on one planet, if you don't manually put that queue on hold, your resources vanish into the black lagoon and you stall forever.
I haven't even gotten far enough in a game to run into an enemy and try out the new real-time combat system... I'm sort of afraid to play it. I mean, I keep crashing. Hopefully they have a patch, or'll have a patch soon...