I'm looking for something similar to Galaxy Online (Galaxy itself is oversaturated and too established), where someone could build civilizations and develop planets, but still build spaceships for strategic war to take over other planets. It also has to be a free game where one can pay for certain privileges, such as faster mining rates.
Master of Orion 2 can be had for 5 dollars or so. No online, 15 years old, and won't play on Win 7 without tweaking but still the best way to build a space empire with both planet and fleet control.
Galactic Civ 1 and 2 are ok also.