Nico was the designer at TableStar games where I was working as the art director. We all worked on WoN but none any where close to Nico who conceived of the idea and created over 3 dozen versions of the game....
Since then Nico has had very little input on the game even though I try to get him involved...He has moved on.
I had a feeling that the circumstances were as you speak of. Though I really don't game anymore, I remember buying WON as what I thought as the logical zenith for ME in the economic euro category. I researched the purchase SO much, and actually repurchased the game after foolishly selling it due to my group not being receptive to it, and my later leaving.
I have gone over the rules so often, and I actually intend to play it as designed first, and then with the V2, and then introduce each expansion separately. I wonder if this will ever happen...the travails of geekdom.