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When this game came out the hype was huge... and the game most definitely did NOT live up to it. But in a way, the game was exactly what they said it would be... a simulator for being the "guiding spirit" of your chosen civilization. You're not the leader... you're the influence behind all its leaders.
That being said, the game itself was kind of obtuse, hard to get into... but I personally found it quite fun.
Fast forward to when GoG released MoO 1 and 2... which I instantly bought, never having played MoO 1, my copy of MoO 2 sitting on a CD rack in front of me, but not really working on Windows 7 64-bit. I can't get into MoO 1, just too old, but MoO 2 is a classic and I still love it. But it felt so small scale and limiting... so out came my MoO 3 disks. When I last played it, there were a few unofficial patches and mods that helps a bit, so I took a look around and found some AMAZING mods that make the game everything it promised to be and more.
Just check out Master of Orion 3 Guardian, they have mod packs that are easy to install and really help the game, turning this into one of the deepest strategy games around.
Oh, and for those who feel they have no control? Yeah, you're doing it wrong. You can micro manage every production queue on every planet by hand, if you want to, same as you did in MoO 2. But if you understand how production works... you won't have to. Which is good... there's a lot more planets out there this time. Which to me, means a lot more fun.