1200+ hours here so I guess that's me. I really started playing in April 2012 mind you and been loving it since.
A handful of people that I know that loved to play Sots1 have now converted to Sots2 ie they can do 25-50 turns but then shut it down and boot up Sots2. I must admit I'm in the same boat. I just can't play sots1 any more because 2 beats it on every level.
I got some of my friends to pick up sots 1 and soon they will be on sots 2. Since April 2012 my steam friends list has grown with at least 25+ sots folks. Resok is one of the Kerb Clerics has become a good friend of mine. We have had some really damn good fights and I also have watched his live streams (GOOD SHIT ie HIVER DREADS VS LOA DREADS "Fight of the Titans"). Its been 3 weeks for me since I have done multiplayer because I looking to switch to a new job and that will finally pay off soon (damn construction). Sots 2 is one of my favorite 4x multiplayer (and probably will stay that way).
Anywho lets get down to it. Is this game hard to start off in yep, it aint Eve Online hard but your first 5-20 hours you will stumble around but wait is there an in game chat and a community that will help you... check. A manual that keeps getting updated check, forums check, sots wiki check, youtube LPs and live streams check. So that aint bad. (turn off randoms & grands and set ai to easy)
UI can be rough, but I have gotten use to it. I do prefer the Sots2 mission system to the old Sots1 mission system. Its way better, more flexible and easier to track fleet movements. If you got high endurance fleets can keep on trucking. Logistics is way more important this time around. I love the many types of admirals that ya get they all have their place. I can't wait for sticky notes to come back. UI is as quick as sots 1.
I like the Station system. Only your important systems will have high level stations others just a base level 1 naval to feed ghost ship ie "Casper" and lower piracy. Once you have the pop 750 million? and right tech new stations can be plopped down. (stations will have with medium and small mounts in future). If you level up too many stations with a small empire its your fault your econ tanked.
Combat- well sots 2 is king and probably will always be so enough said. Dat multiplayer. Ok seriously this part could fill a forum but I'm going to hold myself on this one. Just don't get me started on the different races and what not. So good!
Tech- 344 techs OH GOD I LOVE IT! Marine pods, harpoons, Battleriders, cybernetics, modules, (matrix i need guns... HOLY SHIT), the amount of ships is crazy!, etc...
Universe hates you- 200% randoms and 5+ grands menaces PLEASE! CONTROLLED CHAOS is how I lead my empire to success.
Government system- oh my god I love it its like really life your actions dictate your empire. Only Loa require expert knowledge of it ie Liberationism CHEAPER CUBES SO MOAR CUBES DAMN IT! ie you can field bigger fleets and god have mercy on your neighbors souls. No government is overpowered or weak but there are right times to be in certain governments because they can really help you. And again you don't need to be a master for the government system with the exception of the Loa because cube costs are huge.
The stimulus system ie your in charge or u fund your people to do it, ie trade, colonization and mining.
Game speed- early on sots 2 is little slower (first 25-50 turns) then it speeds past sots1 ie research specialization and you can grow some crazy economies. If you want it faster take this advice econ and research set to 115% to 125%. Multiplayer for me is mostly 100%. Any more and sots2 drives off like a super car.
AI- still don't pay maintenance costs. Zuul ai can be good if its starting conditions are good ie poor logistics for all those guns. In sots 1 morrigi was ok with its flockin abilities in sots 2 its still needs to learn it. Just like in sots 1, sots 2 ai don't retreat. All races expand fine. Loa is little weird on offense. I set the ai to hard and give it extra planets and tech.
Updates- Still coming and right now we are in a beta cycle. I haven't had any crashes in months and the only ones are from beta. Though nvidia does have some poor drivers out right now but not as bad as last summer ie they got hacked and their site and forums were down. (those were some fun times). After the AI updates are out scenarios should be slowly sliding in. updates every week or other week and beta cycles for bigger patches every month or other month.
Hows kerb doing- The Pit and its first expansion is doing great. This game will get ported to Android, iPhone, consoles in some shape or form soon. There will most likely be a 2nd expansion will be coming. Its getting controller support very soon like this month but in beta right now for that. (I can't wait to get my Sots lore books)
Next kickstarter as said by Mercon and doctor doom a Sol Force Generals like game should be just around the corner. Their 3rd kickstarter Sots RPG should be next year (my guess).
Paradox won't talk about next expansion for Sots 2 until a week or 2 before launch just like End of Flesh. Mecron can give out little details but thats it since Paradox controls when info comes out. My gut tells me it is next year but I'll be shocked if its end of this year. Kerb folks work an unhealthy amount of hours. And remember Paradox only does prelaunch and a small post launch support and then its all in kerbs hands. Luckily Kerb is doing good now.
I post some links later and if you want more info hit me up.