I don't have anything against 20 Luck for 25 points (I think it's a good idea), or even 20 for 20, but if we do that, Weapon and Defense abilities will be weaker as ability picks. So we might change them as well and give them better returns.
- Terran/Drath/Thalan/Krynn hull progression. Are they stuck to long on tiny?
In my most recent game no, everyone researched Interstellar Construction. Still, on my previous game both Terran and Krynn failed to research it 75 turns in. That was on Fast research and Large galaxy.
- Krynn unique research. I forced them to grab their unique tech asap but multiple reports show they lag behind in everything else. I'd like to know if these were isolated incidents or a problem so please include the Krynn in your games.
They research it quite early but because those are really cheap techs, they don't lag that much. In fact, Krynn are one of stronger civs in most of my games.
- Altarian/Torian/Arcean/Korx factory progression. AIP11 runs these civs and it's known to leave manufacturing by the way side. The Iconians have are on AIP11 as well but their unique factories allow for high AIValue's since they are untradable. Ideally I'd like to leave the "standard" manufacturing tech tradable as well but not if it's means these civs severely lag behind in industry.
From what I have seen in my last 3 test games (137 turns on normal tech [with tech trade], 75 on fast and 120 on very fast tech speed), Altarians researched Industrial Theory only once in 3 games, on 137th turn game - Torians reached Xeno Factory on the same game. Arcean in one game didn't bother with Industrial techs, in another they got Xeno Factory. I played with Korx as an opponent only once and they got only Industrial Theory, also on 137th turn game.
- Do the Drath ALWAYS get War Profiteering and Invisible Hand? War Profiteering is on AIValue -10 now.
In my 2 games with them, yes. Although I cannot check anymore how early it was.
This are the stats from my lastest test game, 120 turns in:
Note: I always ctrl+n so the AIP7 gets good spot and plenty of stars/planets in it's influence.
Very fast tech speed, Huge galaxy.
Torians performed badly because as you can see, they started at the 12 o'clock position with next to no worlds nearby. They still managed to colonize a lot of planets. Arceans also had not the best spawn on 5 o'clock.
All the AIP11 got a bit crazy once they reached colonization techs:
Altarians - extreme colonization, xeno economics, colonization tech, defense tech, colonization tech, weapon, colonization, weapon, colonization, planetary invasion. A streak of really expensive techs.
Arcean - extreme colonization, space weapons, colonization, colonization, industrial theory, colonization, xeno factory, colonization - same as Altarians.
Iconians - skipped xeno communications completely, haven't researched extreme colonization yet, but researched adv. toxic as it's 5th tech, just after gravitational manipulation; also went straight for weapon techs, even before planetary improvements: http://i.imgur.com/lIsi2Yh.jpg
Torians: also went quite bonkers, maybe because they had no more ordinary planets left, anyway they still fit into profile of a madman: http://i.imgur.com/z4FSp6U.jpg
AIP8 is much more moderate, it researches colonization tech, then 2-4 other techs before coming back for more colonization.
AIP7 has mostly skipped colonization techs.
Korath got 5 more techs in between Heavy Gravity and Adv. Heavy Gravity, then left colonization techs for 13 other techs and it doesn't look like it's coming back soon. On the side, they could use maybe a little bit higher AI value for Adv. Toxic.
Yor researched Adv. Barren just after Space Weapons, they also got Extreme Colonization but haven't researched any colonization techs yet. They researched 13 other techs since they got Extr. Colonization. Also, they got Xeno Communications and Universal Translator quite late - after 70 turns former, after 100 latter. As they now have -30 Diplo, this is big as other AIs can abuse them a lot.
Starbase Military Construction techs - In my opinion, they cost quite a bit of TP, and being honest, AI is completely dumb when it comes to placement of military starbases, so they don't use them effectively. Also, I think AIs could pose a bigger threat if they skipped those techs altogether and researched something else.
Also, my impressions based on last 4 games (I have no recorded stats/techs from the one game I played as Iconians):
Races that are most likely (or rather always) to be in top 3 strongest civs:
Terran, they get two times more worlds then average civ, they also colonize even better then Torian or Thalan. Could be fixed with bigger manufacturing penalty (-10 to -15), which will slow down factory/colony ship construction.
Torian, as Super Breeder is OP. They could get a further penalty to research (-10), as their cheap unique techs and additional amount of worlds over other civs still puts them at the top of the Research tab.
Thalan, as Super Hive with their 12mp factories and 12tp labs is OP, are not fixable.
A little bit above average:
Krynn, as they really are still not that bad at research (+10% TP cost for labs is not a lot, I think they need penalty to research on top of it, -10 or -15), and their morale is godly. Not as strong as Thalan or Terran, but still do better then Altarian, Iconian or Drengi.
Korath, closely followed by Yor, if both start in a good spot and are left alone. Mostly because they get their weapons faster and are able to terrorize opponents early. The longer the game goes, the more they move to "average" category. If they start in bad spot, they move straight to "Most underperforming" category.
Most underperforming races:
Arcean - mostly because AI don't know how to utilize 1pps well. Not fixable.
Iconian - they are hard to play and I experienced it first hand. AI will never be perfect, and Iconians need to research their tech in particular order to be a threat. Also, they have powerful but costly improvements and next to no +Social, so their planets build up slow. If left alone for a long time, they can be powerful, but their early game is always weak. Not fixable.
Korx - building freighters instead of colony ships will always result in them being a bit weaker. Not fixable.
Edit: Although Altarians grabbed 35 worlds which is good, most of it is from colonization techs. Their research is years behind other civs, so any advantage in planets is not relevant.