I think making things more difficult on yourself on purpose does not make fore a more enjoyable game
i disagree. but that's why there are difficulty sliders. im not saying that i want to be overrun every single game 15 mins in, i don't adore the defeat screen. i just want to feel threatened, at all. currently i don't feel that even slightly. when an empire declares war on me that's larger, i don't feel dread or danger, i see opportunity because that means i can start taking his worlds while he stumbles around with a fleet or two and does nothing particularly deadly. the most i have ever seen an ai do in a long war, is take two or three planets and destroy a couple of ships, after that, he just kinda shuffles around and waits to be defeated.
granted, i have not played the last few beta patches, so i don't know if any good changes happened to the ai, if there are please tell me, ill fire the game up and give it a try.