Some initial thoughts on the beta build, which I’ve not played a vast amount of. I’m a fairly experienced MoO1 player.
Overall, it still feels very MoO, which is a high compliment in my book. Almost all of the interface changes and bug fixes are a big improvement. One additional change I’d like to see is the ability to postpone a choice of tech to look at other information in the game.
The biggest thing I’m not convinced about is starting with a chunk of treasury. I understand the economy isn’t identical to MoO, but I can’t imagine any opening can be optimal if it doesn’t start with stimulus spending at the homeworld to get more factories built sooner. Just on the first turn it will approximately triple the produced number of factories, and they pay off pretty quickly.
In fact I suspect that being able to pay for lots more things using the treasury now may be a bit of a misstep, but I’m going to withhold judgment on that until I’ve played more.
The pirates feel like a good replacement for MoO’s ability to stake out ground using scouts, and necessary when colony ships are off meaning that the cost to set up a new colony is very low. I’d like to see a guaranteed habitable and unguarded planet close to the homeworld though.
The AI (I was playing on the second hardest level) seemed to take an age to challenge the pirates, even relatively weak groups. As the best planets are blocked by these pirates, that gives a player who builds an early fleet a fairly significant advantage.
Starlanes I’m slightly in favour of at the moment, ditto wormholes.
I disliked the cost in time and money to design ships (and promptly disabled it). Mostly it’s because when I get a shiny new weapon, I want to be able to get it deployed to the front lines as soon as possible. There’s already a lead time for shipbuilding and transit, adding another for ship design feels annoying.
It appears you can still prebuild using big ships. Not sure if this is a good thing, or a bit of a hidden feature for power users.
Anyway, thanks for releasing the beta build. It’s enough to convince me to back the project even though I doubt I’ll play the beta much more - I just have too much backlog. :)
One bug to report: when you’re playing “without” starports, the AI can still sabotage the starport on a planet, forcing you to rebuild it.
And one UI issue: it can be difficult when zoomed out to select a planet which has ships near it. Some context here would be a good start: if I’m choosing a rally point, ignoring ships and highlighting the planet beneath them would be advantageous.