What people expected was CIV:BE to implement the lessons learned from G&K and BNW. Let's be frank: To be better than CIV5 vanilla is a low-hanging fruit. CIV5 vanilla was terrible on release - and CIV:BE sufferes/suffered from many of the same problems (broken happiness/health system, underpowered wonders, ICC strategies). G&K and BNW turned CIV5 into a good game. I don't think one should compare CIV:BE to CIV5 vanilla. Does anyone really want to go back to CIV5 vanilla nowadays? Or even G&K? I doubt it. Beside that we were told that this game is "a spiritual successor" to SMAC. Is it? No. At least not a good one. It is more of a SciFi reskin of CIV5, because there is little of the actual SMAC spirit within. I agree that the game has actual a bit more than meets the eye first, but there are still some really design iffy problems that have to be solved. Nerfing TR was a good first step to make the game more interesting. Now they need to tackle the problem of the tech web with it it's affinity techs tied into the victory conditions. If they can manage to fix that, CIV:BE might actually become a decent CIV5 spinoff.