2 how come i dont have to spend any gold when I build new settlements? Are they free now or is it a bug?
I think it is by design. While the settlement is free, you need to produce pioneer (the price could have been higher) and protect it with units. Those units for protection cost money to, more over, they consume money per turn. So, unless there is some resource, there is no reason to build settlement, even if it is free.
The resources, however are quite rare - you need to find them, clean up monsters around, and protect from somebody else making the settlement first. In some sense the price of the settlement is not when you settle, but in everything else.
Well that just relies on players being "nice and playing by the intended rules"..
That wont happen. Players will just spam pioneers nonstop and cover the entire lands in cities. Because why whouldnt they?
Even if there is no resource nearby, even if its just a plot of empty land, a lvl 1 city can still produce +1 materials, gold, knowledge and magic. With no upkeep (as far as i can see).
That definetly must change. As it is now its almost like Galciv2 (before the change) early colony rush, where all you did was colonize planets as quickly as possible, THEN worry about building them up