I do love the game, and compared to many games in the perspective of other huge companies with more tons of money, this community is the few that actually have someone from the development team inside the forums instead of a poor pawn forwarding the messages.
My only issues from the game is:
Lack of mod support
Pirates are way to weak, they also have their own design but combined with the rest but also have the ability to grow but not as an empire
The creatures are ok i think, sometimes i end up in a place with 40 space slugs and attaching to my hull.
I havent had a problem with save files, well, for my laptop yes but for my other PC is a no, but also i got a lot of trash in the darn laptop computer, the game loads and crashes within the load with a 65 MB save file with a Dual Core 1.8 Intel Centrino with 1.5 Gig of RAM and XP Pro. 700 stars and 80% planets colonized.
Diplomacy does needs improovement, but i think is ok maybee because i dont spend too much time with it, i get messages and half of them ignore them and tell them to stick it, and the rest i do the apropiate move.
AI, somewhat easy, of course , i do mod the game to provide some boost to the opponents, and i do prefer that 200% bonus boost to the shakturi, sometimes i love getting mopped at the floor for the first few rounds before i show my teeth.
There should be a slider or something in the options to give the AI more power.
As in example as i played in some games in the past and loved it, when all of the sudden something appears and all hell breaks loose and in the story your team is loosing, thats fun in many aspects.
Like Universe at War, in the first set of missions, playing as a human facing the alien invaders, of course it was tough and lost many missions but taking down only one "walker" was cool.
*That* is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.