From: Texas, USA
I just bought the game plus both expansions and have some praise, a complaint, and some questions.
First, the game is gorgeous. I love the tech tree, the many races, and the sheer size of everything.
Glad you like it, and welcome to the community!
Second, "random" starting placement seems to be skewered. I started a game with 1400 systems, 20 random races, and took the honorable humanoids with good research and big heads. The regular human home world was in MY home system! With 1400 systems and 20 races, the odds of that happening should be VERY slim. Even in the "Let's Play" videos, which I watched before purchase, the player had another race start out almost on top of him. I've read other complaints online to similar effect.
I read someone suggest that I should manually select 20 random AI races and set the starting distance to average. I tried that, and I saw that they need to be individually set 20 times. OK, no big deal I guess, and then I saw the other settings that start at "random", Size and Tech level. AI Size ranges from "Starting" to "Old", and Tech from "Starting" to "Level 7".
A couple of things can effect this: galaxy age, and independent prevalence. the higher the age or independent prevalence the more often you will see many independents near you. Start another game or two with the settings at the lowest point and you should see a big difference. Otherwise, if you keep having this issue then it is a bug and should be posted in the tech support forum.
Since they start at random, I could end up facing an Old, Tech 7 race right in my back yard from the start, unless I go through and manually change 60 settings. Why is that even necessary?
The obvious solution is to make the settings sticky. When the player adds 1 random race and sets it's options, all further added races start with the same settings as the first. The player can tweak the additional races if he wants the galaxy to have some stronger races, for example.
Thanks for listening!
Actually it's more nuanced. The random values should fall near your galaxy default setting. Lets say you set the galaxy age to "young", and tech 2, most of the empires will be either starting, young, or expanding, and their tech levels should be 1, 2, or 3. You don't have to change them all for them to fall withing a "nearby setting" from the initial galaxy settings page. So the settings are already pretty "sticky", start a couple of games then open the editor and look at the map, you will see that it works. If you want to fine-tune each race's exact settings then I suggest then you can do it one race at a time. It may take 2 or 3 minutes, but the nice thing is that whenever you return to that screen it will have saved your previous settings that took a minute to set up.