Almost a month after purchase, I finally this past weekend got over the "too scared to hit unpause" phase and all I can say is.... wow. Lovin' it.
In the weeks since purchasing the package, I read the manual, did the tutorials, played a couple of games completely automated just to watch things, read the manual again, went through the tutorials again, and then tried different set-ups. But with each set up, I would literally feel intimidated to start out, to unpause. To go off on my own. Which is silly, I know, but that's how I felt.
Finally in the past week I took the time to watch 11 of the 13 videos made by Das for RoTS, as recommended above by Jeff Pinard. Yes, I know they were done before Legends, but they really did the trick as far as giving my a sense of how to play without being overwhelmed. I even took notes while watching. Thanks Das !
I then did a setup similar to Das's in the video and jumped into the fray. With quite liberal use of the pause key, I found that I was managing fleets and colonization quite well. I left most other aspects to AI, though a bunch of things are on 'suggest.' But I'm fully handling fleet building, fleet deployment and decisions on colonization. I'm now about five years in to this first real stab at DW, and even as my empire grows I don't feel overwhelmed at all. I still have troubles sometime figuring out the UI in terms of issuing orders, but I'm getting better at that.
Really glad I gave DW a try. Onward!