So, I picked up the Exalted 2nd Ed. Storyteller's Companion last night. I did this primarily to check out the Mandate of Heaven rules. There is a thread on rpg.net with a good overview of these rules, so I won't go into too much detail here. Essentially, the Mandate of Heaven rules are like Civilization: the RPG set in the world of Exalted. My roommate became very excited about it due to the thought that he could run his beloved Birthright in a system that would actually support its peculiarities.
The really notable thing about the Mandate of Heaven rules is that it makes a player/character distinction that one practically never sees in larger-market mainstream rpgs. By default, the players run city-states, nations, villages, etc that their characters may not be directly connected to - this is assumed to be a sort of mini-game that can serve both as a fun diversion, a way of having the players become involved in developing the game-world, and as a plot generator. Yes, there are rules for playing cities that are actually run (or influenced) by the player characters. These aren't the focus, though.
I haven't had the chance to read the rules in depth. I worry that they may be too complicated for casual use. This is unfortunate, as I would see the default method of playing this mini-game as being best used casually in periods of PC downtime.