If the claim/unclaim exploit is all that you find wrong here, - just add a week/month timer for manually unclaimed rooms and that’s it
Yes, this seems to solve the immediate issue, but the root mechanic not only makes the process more complicated, but also adds some new fun to it, the centralized aspect to your empire.
Yes, it really seems like a nice new mechanic, but not appropriate for the time being (mostly for the reason below)
players that are spread around now will be heavily penalized
Only if they don’t make use of the market and its credits empire-wide sharing ability.
The game is already alliance-based and probably all of them trade firstly between each other and then on the market. Meaning that any new player, small alliance or a separated room/group of rooms won't succeed having to utilize only that kind of a market to "connect" to it's empire "center"
You've said that the rcl 8 rooms upgrade cap is because those rooms are considered finished and thus should have limiting factor to the progress of your empire (which seems like a totally wrong assumption given the fact that only when the room reaches rcl 8 u can actually start playing with it, unless in the novice area of course, and each such room is the engine for your empire in that part of the sector/map and thus should not be limited in how we chose to utilize it)
Having the power creeps added will result in a huge energy sing, unless your intention is for them to bring more energy/resources to the empire than they require to develop so whether that upgrade cap is lifted or not won't matter at that point, right?
About the claim/unclaim functionality that this thread seems to be - by your explanation for the cap limit, as mentioned above, the intension is not to limit us in any way of how to spend the energy we get or how fast to progress, so why this mechanic seems wrong?