I actually do (always) play to 1821, honestly - but there’s also a clear apples to oranges comparison here. With EU4 (or any historical Pdox game) you can readily set goals from the outset in the context of actual history. In Stellaris you don’t even know who your opponents are at the beginning, and obviously there’s no history to which you can compare the outcome of your game. I honestly don’t know how to set interesting goals for myself in Stellaris, and the game itself certainly doesn’t do so.
I think the leviathans DLC helps add some stuff in the mid to late game, but they’re not fundamental changes. Utopia… I can’t even remember what’s DLC and what’s patch. But at least megastructures kinda depend what ascension perks you pick up.
The mid game is really empty, especially if you’re mostly playing peaceful. I’d really like to see more diplomatic options, more development options (I think Utopia does some of that?), and more “galactic event” sort of stuff to react to. It looks like the endgame is actually pretty cool, but it’s a long dull slog to get there if you’re not playing militant (and honestly, 200 years of combat doesn’t really sound all that great either).
There’s a lot of potential here, I like a lot of things about the game, but it feels decidedly undercooked right now. I had been planning to pick up the DLC this summer but now I’m leaning toward waiting to see if they resolve some of my larger issues before further investing. Here’s hoping they do.