I’ve got a couple of hundred hours in Stellaris (much to my amazement - and yeah maybe 30% of that will be being alt-tabbed or the like but…), and I have to say, I’m really excited about the changes.
I totally get the objections to removing warp/wormhole as starting drive options on a roleplaying kind of level, but mechanically the argument that they’re making is sound, and I think you really have to respect that they’ve tried, extremely hard, to make the game balanced, playable and accessible with these three drive techs together, and it hasn’t worked.
And my experience of the game very much agrees that it hasn’t worked. The drive techs just make the game more confusing, less readable, harder to engage with tactically, and so on.
In an ideal world, you would still have the option to pick the basic tech “of the universe”, but of the three, the gameplay of Stellaris is clearly best and has the most potential with hyperlanes, so I can see why they went with that. I suspect in future they may add options for others as the basis for the game - and someone will mod them back in anyway, you know it!
I’m not super-keen on the starbase idea from a roleplaying kind of perspective myself, but it really does seem like it would solve a large number of issues gameplay-wise.