Will we be getting turn based or real time tactical combat ?
I presume we are getting tactical combat in the series finally.
Here's my two cents.
The thing I love the most about GalCiv 2 is the ability to make ridiculous starships. If we make the game about tactical combat (more specifically, what we're actually talking about here is real-time tactical combat), that becomes a bad idea. Here is why.
We already know that the game is planned to include online multiplayer. So let's set up a hypothetical battle.
Timmy has built his ships purely on Rule of Cool. They're designed to look menacing. They have big spikes and jagged blades and one bit that looks burned off and a hook coming off one side but not the other, and then there are guns pointing in random directions, sometimes inward, because they look cooler pointing inward. And he gave them big wings because wings look cool, and the armor is all on those wings because he covered all the other spots with spikes, and armor on a spike just looks weird.
He sends his fleet into battle against Bobby, and within moments, he is being decimated. Because of all those fancy frills, Timmy's ships present nice, big targets for Bobby's guns. Additionally, the guns that Timmy pointed inward for the looks, can't actually hit any of Bobby's ships. Bobby, you see, built his ships as small as he could, and placed all of his armor on the fronts of his ships, with all of his guns directly behind those, pointing forward. Timmy's few scant shots that actually make contact bounce off harmlessly, and his ships melt under the directed firepower of Bobby's vessels.
So now Timmy is faced with a harsh reality. Big ships, and cool ships, just don't work in tactical combat. He too will have to make small, streamlined vessels - perhaps in his case he will turn them into broadsides, placing lots of armor along the sides, flanked by turrets, and loaded with fast engines, and try to get between and behind Bobby's ships to bypass his front armor.
We end up with ships that start looking and playing alike between games and between players. Creativity - and humor - get lost, because the tactical combat requires the ships to be constructed in one of a handful of ways. The game becomes a metagame, as it always does, where one killer strategy gets hard countered, and then that gets soft countered, and then that gets countered, and so on and so on.
Wait, wasn't this a 4X turn-based game? Nope, it's all about the real-time metagame now. Your actions in the turn-based portions serve only to bolster and fuel your fleets in the combat portions.
I lost interest in Sword of the Stars because it became painfully clear that it was really an RTS game where the base-management stuff happened between battles. Sins of a Solar Empire got a pass from me because it wore that fact on its sleeve like a badge. I don't want this happening to Galactic Civilizations 3.
The closest thing to "tactical combat" I want in GC3 would be like what we see in Fallen Enchantress, or in Civilization 5. Units get a bonus for flanking and ganging up on enemies. Some units can bombard from two or three tiles away. But at no point does the specific location of modules, or the size or number of ship parts, help or hinder your ships in combat in any way.
So, in conclusion, no. I don't want real-time tactics battles. Play Sword of the Stars. Play Sins of a Solar Empire. Let me enjoy my turn-based game in peace, and watch my ship captains and fleet admirals do their jobs without me holding their hands like children, so I can instead concentrate on managing the empire as a whole. I'll see the fights on the holo-vid after the fact.