Did you play Civ IV when it came out? It was a great step forward from Civ III and introduced several new concepts (Great People, Specialists, Civics, etc.), but had countless bugs and balance issues (everybody and his brother played the Inca, the Quechua rush and the Ind/Fin made them unstoppable) and extremely dumb AI. I remember playing it, and then spending another year playing Civ III gold, it was just a more fun experience. It took them a long time to get Civ IV to where it is today with the patches and BTS. Civ V is better graphically than the rest, I like the hex grid and the maps, Social Policies are more interesting to me than civics, 1UPT is better combat than stacks of doom besieging cities. In Civ IV settling a city near rough terrain favored your attacker because he would use the terrain bonuses to march his stack right up to your door and then hammer your city. If you tried to meet him in the field he'd just step right around you and continue on to the city. Finally, I think the Wonders are more balanced, the all do a useful thing but none are overpowered (i.e. the Pyramids in Civ IV, what a game breaker!). With this new patch addressing build times, research times, resources and city placement there are lots of reasons to be excited.