Hi, first of all, I'm not a native English speaker, so sorry for any mistakes.
I used APT1 for a long time, but now seeing you guys doing this amazing work trying to fix and balance as many things as you can, I just wanted to thank you all for your hard work. I tried balance game on my own, but never got around to do weapons tech tree, or other important things like you did.
I tested latest version (4.0), and here's summary:
Large, Tough, all abundant, except planets (common), normal tech speed, Drengin, Torians, Altarians, Arceans, Thalans and Krynn, I played it till about 220 turn after getting a map where Drengin had a couple of planets in its influence.
Arceans after bad colony rush got slowly flipped by Krynn, later Thalans and Altarians both jumped and conquered rest of their planets. Drengin at the end of my playthrough were militaric and economic powerhouse, declared war on Thalans who were second, and I (Yor) joined in aswell, invading loads of their planets along with a homeworld. Soon after that I was first in military, tech, population and economy rating, so I left the game as I considered it already won. Krynn had massive influence but never built any influence starbases, and lacked strong military. Altarians kinda never done anything beside poking Arceans. Drengin and Thalans were strongest before Thalans got conquered. Torians had a bad spawn and never got many planets, and they were my first victim.
Now I had a lot of fun with new tech tree (at bit different than what I got used to in APT1), and those are my impressions/issues:
1. Some civs didn't build any farms on most of their worlds, only Krynn had 12-14b pop on half their planets, rest had 8b on around 80% of their planets.
2. Aquatic Colonization has 2% bonus to Courage for some reason.
3. Weather Control (Arcean) is too easy to trade from Arceans, they sold it to me for cheap techs like Trade/Soil Enhancement, and with its 10% planet quality plus their Weather Control Zenith on top, it gives the player an unfair advantage of +3-4 PQ on every world. I think is should be disabled to trade with it, maybe leave just stealing it?
4. Torians research Planetary Invasion very soon. Usually before 50-55th turn, even before getting any weapon techs. Tested it on next game that I'm playing currently, and they done same thing. In first game Altarians also done the same. It's not a big issue, but they could research something more important at this stage of the game.
5. Most civs had very high morale on most planets, 80-95% I think. I don't know if they had good tax rates and were running at 100% spending, but looks like they are better at keeping morale high anyway. Or maybe it is because they never had many farms. I don't know, someone maybe need to test it further. Only Arceans had loads of 20-40 approval planets for some reason. I don't know if they had this approval all the time, or just for a couple of turns as I checked on them only once before they surrendered.
6. All of the AIs I played with get Extreme Colonization and various colonization techs around 40-60th turn, which I think is good as there is more competition in early stage, and I have yet to get use to it Altarians swooped 2 Barren worlds from me (Yor) as I wasn't prepered for any civ to get this tech so quickly.
7. Playing as the Yor, they start with -10 pop growth, but in the tech tree they get +10, +15 and +30 pop growth. I don't know if this is best for Yor as personally I think they should be focused towards +economy or +morale, and I don't know what bonuses have other races as I haven't played them. Maybe give those techs +5, +10 and +15 pop growth, but modify efficiency techs to 10/10/10economy and 5 morale/10e 5m/10e 10m to even it out? Anyway I don't think such big bonuses suit Yor as in lore, but if it's just for balance the early stage of the game, then I'm ok with it.
8. Thalan Starbases had 150-250 attack and defense in all categories, basically making invulnerable as my fleets of medium ships had 60 attack and 15 defense. Unless it's a bug with display, as I haven't even tried to take one down. It may be a problem for other AI as they concentrate on Starbases first, which will most likely make them lose all their military.
I know it may sound like I only came to criticize, but i really appreciate what you guys doing and I just want to give you some feedback. All in all I like all the changes, balancing of weapon tech costs, changes to improvements and costs, tech trees (I really love more morale bonuses for Yor, with it I don't miss Efficiency Center that much and there's less mandatory 1pp buildings). I hope you will get permision to fix the AI in the files, so Drengin, Yor and Iconians can be set to different AIs, so I don't need to ctrl+n every time I include Drengin or Yor in my games.
Good luck people!