I have been playing again recently. The last time I spent any time with the game was around the time Apocalypse hit, so I was in for quite a few changes. Once I got up to speed, I’m poking along at my own pace. To me, it is still a very middling game. By mid game (mid game crisis hit recently) I am in a position to, and have steam rolled over my neighbors who have pitiful fleet strength, making me wonder what they’ve actually achieved in game. I’m not even trying to squeeze every little bit out of my economy, but empires around me aren’t too great in comparison. I don’t know what I did to make my energy income bounce from -80 a month to +40 - might’ve been trade. I don’t know! That’s an issue. I like population automation, I don’t like the fact that the automation also means I have no control, or no way of knowing how I pulled myself out of such a hole like I did. Some basic steps I know helped, such as reducing my starbases, but such a swing doesn’t make sense to me.
I was talking to a friend about my adventures in Stellaris, and I caught myself at one point wondering what the point in war was. I attacked my neighbours because I was stronger, because I could. I didn’t need their worlds, that’s for sure. I have enough jobs going on my current planets, the new planets are more of a burden on my admin cap than anything else. I think the only reason to attack is to create space when overcrowding hits. But that’s still seemingly a long way off I think and circumvented by structures/wonders. The only other reason to war is to get access to natural sources of goods like crystal or gas, but they don’t occur near often enough, and it is far easier to convert minerals into those goods using a building, or just buy from a market. In EU or CK, I at least had a reason to go to war. EU was classically building an economy. CK was being able to call on bigger armies and build prestige. Either way, I felt like I had a reason to fight. Stellaris, I’m not so sure, especially when fighting an AI that hasn’t quite worked out how to play the game.
Also, I haven’t come across issues with lag. I do have it installed on an SSD however, as I do every Paradox title.
The game encourages me to play tall, but it is so easy to play wide. That’s one thing I’ve learned.