Dear Derek, Brad, and the rest of Stardock,
I am enjoying the LH beta immensely, and it keeps getting better with every iteration - so first of all I wanted to extend a heartfelt "thank you" and "great job" !!!
The current version of the game is almost perfect for me - no crashes, few niggles, and a couple of personal preference issues that I can easily fix through modding.
I do, however, have one critical functionality issue that ruins a lot of the gameplay for me, and has also been mentioned by several other board members: the massive annoyance of having other AI troops casually stroll through your borders, get into your territory and build cities and/or outposts.
It is EXTREMELY annoying to have to spend time every turn to look for enemy troops across all your borders and to contact every one of them and tell them to leave your grounds - it also makes no sense to be able to do it manually (which is micro-management) and not to be able to do it in a more automated and global manner.
As a work-around to avoid this frustration I find myself declaring war immediately with any AIs I see, so I can at least get a warning if their armies enter my borders - which is definately not an effective way of using diplomacy...
I would therefore very strongly ask that you implement a more permanent "close my borders" action in the Diplomacy options, which can be activated and/or deactivated for specific AI opponents. Obviously something like this would be considered a hostile action, and would hurt relations with the AI in question (and perhaps with other AIs as well), and should also have a small risk of triggering war with that AI. If the programming is easier, this could simply be a global option to automatically trigger the "get out of my borders" action.
Before someone points out that this option would have to be used by the AI in order to be fair, let me argue that it is ALREADY used (in an unfair way for the player), since the AI already has its own internal automatic triggers to detect the presence of other forces, and to ask for their removal (while the player has to manually execute the same process every turn). The implementation of such an option would therefore merely even the playing field, giving the player a functionality that severely reduces micro-management and frustration.
I REALLY hope that you will implement this, but here are a couple of easier alternatives:
1. implement a warning system similar to the current one (enemies entering your borders) for all armies, including neutral or friendly AIs
2. Allow free passage only for those AIs that you have signed a peace treaty or NAP with (extending the current warning from just hostile units to also include neutral units)
I would ask the rest of the forum to support this thread and keep it alive if they also feel that this is a feature worth implementing.