I was just checking out the new Beta 2 features, or at least trying to, when an enemy put a 250c bounty on me about 0.001 seconds before a pirate raid launched, and WHAM!!!
About 25 pirate ships attacked my only planet. I had nowhere near the research or fleet capacity to do anything about it. Add this to the fact that pirate ships have capital ship strength now, and it's just insane. You should not be able to wipe out another player's entire planet in the first 15 minutes of gameplay with a 250c bounty.
Also, the pirates kept on attacking me well after all of the 250c had been collected. That makes no sense to me. Please, make it so that you have to keep the bounty up in order to keep the attack going.
Finally, please make it so that you cannot change the "Wanted" player once the 15:00 countdown ends. The enemy AI in my game raised the bounty onto me less than 1 second before the raid launched. It is not humanly possible to switch the bounty onto someone else in that amount of time.
So this combination of things left me at "Game Over" without ever even engaging any of the real enemy AI empires. In summary, in my very humble opinion, the pirates are waaaay too strong. This might be okay in late game, but there is no way I could've done the research and necessary ship-building to fight these guys before their very early game attack.
In the event that the rest of the community disagrees with me (which is likely, seeing as how everyone else has been asking for stronger pirates), allow me to make this "Plan B" suggestion:
Maybe allow the player to set pirate strength in the game, rather than just turning pirates on and off. The Game Options setup screen could change "Pirates Inactive/Active" to "Pirate Strength: Off/Low/Med/High" or something like that. Even that would be a drastic improvement, as you would be able to have pirates in your game, without them becoming a game-ender.
Does anyone else think the new pirates are too strong, or have anything else to add?