"Probably not, though I may have, I recall just getting board and frustrated with SM and uninstalling it because it simply existed to piss me off. There was more that annoyed me than just the poor AI. But I get that alot of people really loved it, alot of people really love GalCiv2, while I think that MoO3 (post Bhuric's patches/fixes) was vastly superior. Different strokes for different folks, the focus of the games was different, though the setting the same."
I think your the first person that I have talked to that actully liked MOO3. I Loved MOO1 and MOO2 and really had high hpes for MOO3 but is was so bad that I went back to playing MOO2 until GalCiv 2 came out which for me replaced MOO2 as my favorite Space TBS game.
Did they improve all the issues with MOO3 since a year after it came out? If so then I wouldn't mind giving it another try.
Well as I mentioned in the quoted portion above, MoO3 with Bhurics patches, and one of the developed mods (there are 2 or 3 right now) is a very different game from what QS pushed out the door in a jumbled mess.
I do not disagree that MoO3 even with the 1.25 patch was mostly unplayable. However, Bhuric fixed alot of the major AI problems (such as troop transports never landing because the AI would disband them the turn before they landed...), and the mods have added/changed various gameplay elements to make it more difficult/interesting. Of course it is still best played when you can give up the desire to micro, and accept a more macro approach. The Dev Plans actually do work as advertised, only that you need to read one of the explanation threads on them to fully understand how to set them up. The AI ship design is also improved (via a mod, but you can actually configure the designs now as you like for automation purposes, though it requires you to do text editing yourself), the research tree has had some new techs added to help the AI with the inevitable food/mineral overruns as well as cleaning up the weapons so that there are more and better tradeoffs in what you chose.
It's still a bit rough for most people I think, and if you can't give up the micro aspect then it's still probably not for you, but if you want to focus on the big picture (mostly ship design and fleet deployment, tech spending, diplomacy, espionage, ...) and not worry about how many industry DEAs your gas planets build then it's quite fun. For me I like it MUCH better than galciv2, but mostly because I cannot stand the open space movement in GC2 since the AI is absolutely horrid at it, thus, there is little challenge to the game for me. SotS is probably better than MoO3, but even there the focus of the game is different enough that sometimes I find myself wishing certain design elements from MoO3 had been adopted.
Anyway, if you still have your CD and are bored sometime (not likely with EWOM fresh out) it's worth checking it out. Or just pop over to the Atari forums and read up on the latest mods, ask some questions, and if anyone is still around over there they will help you out.