alright, i just "finished" with a sandbox game (no victory conditions)...
i did really well, making me rule 60% of the galaxy with a human monarchy... there are about a dozen single planet (or under 5) empires who sprung from independent colonies (I am definitely disabling the option for them to do that next game)... I have never started a war with anyone, I end wars quickly... later i started ending wars with the subjugate result because otherwise they keep on declaring war on me.
as it stands, everyone hates me because "we envy your colossal might and strength" and "we covet your colonies"... as a result pissant 1 colony "empires" keep on declaring war on me... not terrible, i just squash them... Nobody will make a trade agreement with me because they hate me (because they are jelous)... as such my relationship constantly deteriorate.
thing is, i got into a war with one of the two remaining big empires. (each is 1/5th my size and power). Well... they paid off the one empire that had a trade agreement with me to impose sanctions... then several of the empires with 1-5 planets only declared war on me in the space of just a few minutes due to the other big empire paying them, until that moment they kept on pestering me to impose sanctions or go to war with that empire, but now that i am they all side with it... then as a result of that my alignment got shot deep into evil (yes, your empire is judged as good or evil)... when I got judged as evil all the other pissant 1-5 colony empires declared war on me... then all my colonies started rebelling (i have members of every single race and then some special ones that jumped in from another galaxy, etc). So they are all upset i am at war with their race AND upset I am at war at all AND upset that I am "evil" (because other people keep declaring war on me, because they are jealous according to the game)
... no its not over yet... so my planets are rebelling and not paying taxes, i am attacked from every side... still not a big deal, I am still more then twice as big then everyone else in the galaxy combined and my tech is much more advanced... but then "disaster, civil war broke out"... 60 of my colonies break off to form a new empire and are at war with me!
Result? for the first time I am at war with humans so now EVERY planet I have has its morale drop into the crapper because I am not only evil, humans are all upset i am at war with other humans. So almost all my other planets are rebelling.
Yea... might want to fix that.
My solution is:
1. Slaughter small empires ASAP to avoid being labeled evil (your alignment is entirely determined by how many people you are at war with)
2. Form trade agreements EARLY before everyone hates you for being successful.
3. Disable the option in game creation that allows independent populations to ascend into being empires...
Other interesting issues:
1. taking apart captures ships for tech yields practically no tech at all... just a tiny boost to one research field chosen at random... oddly enough, even ships you find which are LOWER tech then your current level.
2. With the exception of the occasional offer to buy it for ~1.5-2.5 million (is it millions already? million x million) in cash (no financing allowed, you must have the cash on hand) races absolutely refuse to sell their starting tech.. no matter how much and what i offer them... even if i give them an awesome deal...
3. For some reason, an estranged splinter colony with no tech when it suddenly ascends to empire status will always have their racial tech... but if you colonize it and they join your empire, you don't, and it can NOT steal it with spies (it will not show up as a valid option of tech to steal).
4. laaaaaaag... god the game needs to be multithreaded.
5. RAM... i tried to reload the game, it said "error, not enough memory" and shut down.. I have 4GB of ram.
6. SLoooow... saving and loading takes minutes.
7. make sure you disable nubulae showing up in star systems in the advanced graphic options, it causes the game to stutter when zooming it (stutter is an understatement)
8. ship designs (when automated) are refreshed randomly, there is an "update" button, which requires you to click to select the ship, click it, then click "ok" in a popup box, then select the next ship... it is extremely clumsy...
a. it should automatically update all ships whenever a new tech is acquired in any way shape or form (planetary discovery, research breakthrough, trading tech, etc).
b. there should be an update all button.
c. the popup asking you to click ok is total BS.
9. The music is rather annoying, but i got used to it.
10. you cannot use the "advanced trade" menu to make trade agreements, as a result you cannot ever improve your relationship with other empires once you start dominating (because they are jealous).
11. if someone offers you a trade, you must accept immediately if you are interested, you cannot go into advanced trade and then accept (because they will suddenly not like it)
12. be careful not to accidently choose to leave ruins unexplored, they will be forever unexploreable.
13. it should really have a more serious notification when enemy spies manage to cause a revolution changing your system of government, I didn't even notice for a while that i was turned into fuedalism from way of ancients. (there was actually no harmful effects of switching back because way of ancients is so superior to feudalism).
All that being said, the game is pretty awesome. It definitely lacks polish, but it probably the best implementation of the 4x janre in space right now.
Just an FYI, my machine is an intel C2Q 9400 with 4GB of ram and an nvidia GTX260 in cast anyone wonders.
EDIT: I found a solution of sorts...
1. get lucky and find "way of the ancients"... it is really really good.
2. kill lots of pirates. Every pirate base you destroy gives you a good amount of positive reputation. Morale improves across the empire and other empires ask you for trade agreements etc.