After playing since the beginning, and once the Mega Events DLC came out I've been anxiously awaiting the return of the Dread Lords. I remember in GC2 they would instill fear in me and if I didn't take care of them right away I was a goner. Well, after having them in my game 4x now and not once did I ever run into them- some other race would vanquish them before I even spotted one of their ships! Now, after 1600+ hours of gaming, my fifth time having them (the Dread Lords) in my game, I have finally run into them. It's actually the first time I felt the AI gave me a little run for my money. They spawned on the other side of the galaxy from me. the eventually were able to carve out a corner for themselves and were continuing to expand. It was around turn 340+ that I ran into them and they destroyed my small survey fleet. Aha!, I think to myself, and proceed to send a newly produced fleet with my latest and greatest weapons. We slug it out and I'm victorious with 4 loses of my 8 ship fleet of large varied ships. They start to send more fleets my way and I do the same. I keep destroying theirs but continue to take loses. They start to ramp up the size of their fleets requiring me to task more planets on building ships. It was nice having another race able to crank out ships almost as fast as I could, and they were deadly to boot! They simultaneously continued their expansion to the west while trying to deal with me to their Southeast. It was time to send in transports to take away their industrial base. It took about 50 turns but I was able to easily take care of them. It had me wishing I had another 50-100 turns before I did run into them so they could have been a major force to deal with.
The Peacekeepers are another story... I've had them in several games but still haven't had to deal with them. I guess it's because of my chosen play style and settings. Maps are usually immense to insane in size, tight clusters, 25-30 major races, rare minors, and uncommon habitable planets. The AI are only set to Gifted and evidently do a much better job at dealing with these threats than they did in GC2. I'm going to have to increase the frequency of the Mega Events to try and get more encounters with them! Yup, still enjoying this game.