More games should allow this level of customization: Being able to create my own Sovereigns, Factions, and Units is simply awesome. I believe I've spent over 6 hours just modifying my own custom content.
Not only is the in-game customization awesome, having so much data saved as XML makes this game remarkably easy to mod. Being able to easily modify my factions through the power of Notepad++ is beyond awesome.
The only problem now is that I have too many factions. The large map size is too small for my custom factions. Has there been any word of creating a larger random map size? The DLC has a map that is apparently 5 times larger than the default random map sizes, why can't we create randomly generated maps of that size?
I agree with all you say except the large map stuff, I just haven't played enough yet. I love this game though. Last night was the first time I really have it time and man! It had that civ addicted quality.
One thing I find remarkable is that there doesn't seem to be an upper limit in opponent factions... So far I can have 15 opponent factions due to my own 8 custom factions. I want a larger map to accommodate these factions of mine. ;)
Although you can place them in a tiny map as well...
It's just too bad that we cannot create custom units for a faction without playing as said faction (or making them in pure XML...)
And it definitely has that Civilization feel. Although oddly enough I haven't played a game till the end yet as I keep wanting to restart to create more content, try a different strategy, or modify the difficulty.