I agree with you that tech trading was awful... it had a few good points to it (which I will get to in a moment) but in general the chain reaction feeding frenzy of tech trading was not a great game mechanic IMO. However RAs are not good... they just aren't as bad. Tech trades, for how awful they were, at least didn't let you get tech that nobody had. Or trade with some backwards nation to get some very advanced tech. RAs on the other hand... well we know the answer to that, don't we ? Does it make sense that I should be able to go to some guy stuck in the medieval era and have him somehow help me get globalization? It has happened to me many times. I hope the new patch mechanics fix this. Still... does it make sense that I should be able to 'agree to research' with someone and have the results be something they don't know and aren't even lose to researching? Meh... So yeah... better than tech trading but not good. It is easy to bash and not to prop up. With that in mind what would I suggest as being better? A combo system of tech trading and RAs. In order to form a research agreement, you must go to a civilization that has a tech and pay them to send you scientists to help you learn that tech yourself faster. It avoids the feeding frenzy of old tech trading. Doesn't allow you to use RAs to jump to future techs no one even has. It allows AIs (and you, if that's the case) that are behind to catch up. It's a nice option IMO.