That would leave factions being different from each other by appearence and tech trees?
Let's hope it is more about AIs with distinctly different values/personalities. Faction (pre)history needs to shape AI behavior at least as much as practical matters like research possibilities.
* World Class computer AI.
What is world class? With what could i compare it ?
Strictly speaking, "world class" is a tired-to-death marketing phrase in the software business. In terms of comparisons, I've not played a non-Stardock TBS heavily for several years--the last ones I really liked were MoO2 and Civ3. I like GC2 AI better than AI in both those games because it does not cheat until you ratchet the diff level way up, and even then the cheats are just ability bonuses and none of that instant-fleet sort of stuff that MoO2 seemed to do.
Like all game AIs (which after all, aren't anywhere close to being real AIs), the ones in GC2 have weakness that hardcore competitive types can exploit. But unlike other games I've played, they have enough 'smarts' to be a real factor in replayability. They respond to variations in map settings and your choice of other civs to include in the game, and until you've gotten really confident about the mechanics, they can keep a single player on his or her toes. I still play GC2 at Tough, the last level before bonuses kick in. Sometimes that means a map that feels a bit easy for me, but even after many, many hours of playing, the story generated by a given sandbox game can seem like a good new episode in a favorite TV series.