When playing Empire, you're best to go with Darthmod and opt for no forts. Empire has some serious issues after the final patch with them. There is also another mod I use to enhance that aspect further (sorry, don't have it to hand at the moment). Once that is applied, the game is great. I've clocked over 800 hours with it. Btw I have the exact same performance issues as you with Rome II. Part of the reason I got my money back on it. I'll give it 6 months and see where they are with it then. Unfortunately with all of their Warscape powered releases, they tend to follow a process of breaking and fixing as they go through the patching cycle. All of their previous releases have been left with bugs even after they've patched the hell out of the titles, some of which were not there at release! Its just a case of working around them or deciding if you can tolerate them or not. However Rome II for me has been the worse state on release to date - or at the very least, on par with Empire: which even with its bugs I actually enjoyed on release, Rome II I did not.