Campaigner- Grab Sots 1 first. Loa you can win a game but they need a week or 2 weeks max of love (we are getting updates on the weekend too). The other races are playing fine though. Ai gets better with every update and everytime people shows them funky ai they fix it. Also lots of random events in Sots 1. You can play for 2-3 years and find something new. Youtube will probably start to get flooded soon and I will start my LP series in 2 weeks.
Right now its Sots 2 = better multiplayer, I actually joined a game and took control of the ai player which wasn't in debt (making progress). Also lots of things got tweaked and changed so I'm getting a feel of everything again.
Sots 1 = good ai and its still fun (though I miss some of the UI and screen mode features of Sots 2). Multiplayer is fun.
Side note the Loa are pretty sweet. Transmutable fleets is awesome (turn fleets into cubes). They are middle of the pack for speed FTL (they are a gate race) and I believe they are top 3 for combat speed. Bio weapons don't work on you and your ships can't be boarded. Your ships are expensive, but you have great turret #s, accuracy, and coverage. Armor sucks but your structure is #1. Their econ is different and you can't drop below 0 or your research stops. You can grow planet populations faster than anyone else (this is tricky). Planets with low biosphere and stars with low solar activity help them grow faster. They can setup shop almost anywhere except gas giants. They can't field the biggest fleets on offense. No Psionics or cybernetics for them. Only 1 tech to grab for biotech. Oh ya emp weapons mess you up. Also you go ballistics but your made of wise clay and shooting bits of yourself at your enemy isn't the smartest idea. Also Supply doesn't hurt you as much as the other races.
The additions to the mission system is now you can click on fleets directly and give mission orders directly "fleet based missions". Exception is station building (needs 3 more little additions and its good). What Major stress said is true but I have gotten use to it, multiplayer can be mean... Also evacuation mission type is in. Get your people to safety and to other worlds when shit hits the fan.
Love all the new admiral types.
Hunter- faster ships in pursuit mode.
Defender- increase rate of fire on defense in your systems but decrease in enemy owned systems.
Attacker- Opposite of Defender...
Artillery Expert- in Stand off mode increase in rate of fire.
Psion- 20% more psionic points.
Skeptic- -20% psionic points.
Media Hero- Every victory battle +1 morale on all colonies but -6 to all colonies if this admiral dies.
Gloryhound- on defense 20% ROF but 50% more casualties on planets.
Sherman- on attack enemy planets do double damage to population and infrastructure. -2 diplo hit to all other empires as long as this admiral commands a fleet.
Technophobe- fleet suffers reduced reaction role against Loa but +ROF against them.
Elite- Repair critical hits 100% faster but 50% upkeep costs.
Pirates have a home system (watch out for all the damn boarding pods). New grands to make you piss yourself. I'm sure there is other things I haven't found yet...
Lots of new toys to play with, AP stormers aka Rippers, tracking Proton Torpedos, new tracking burst torpedo (fusion and antimatter), emp drones, phantom missiles. Also upgrades to make drones and BR last longer before redocking. New ship modules, lots of new psionic powers, 2 new Levis invasion and super heavy transports. New heavy missile platform and missile heavy mission section. Mechaempathy- better industry and the ability to control missiles and drones! (also better gunner tracking on missiles and drones). Jaeger missiles- put brains in heavy missiles and let them do the tracking down of targets. Intangibility is back. Replicants for 30% increase in pop growth rate.
Did I forget to mention End of Flesh is free.