I think i have solved the problem of expansion, Thriving, and decline of a race.
Create a mark/reward system for the owner of the race. Make the expansion of the races
like a game of risk (very strategic).
you go with the original idea of expanding the universe by X amount of sectors with x amount of solar systems (in this case, lets say 10 sectors, 25 systems each, total of 250 systems).
Lets say, that 5 of those 25 systems are spawn locations.
As a new race, you obviously will want to grow your race, so you will need to colonize.
What we will do is set up a chain about the race, designed by its creator.
This chain will give the player a choice of career with the race, Pve or PvP.
After the chain of training, and explanation of the career objectives, the player will continue on to
do X amount of things for the race.
Life as a pvp/pve player in relation to the new race.
So each position (pve and pvp) will have objectives. PvP will be focused on military capture, and expansion
of the race. they will also patrol and defend that races space. (note, this will pin fleets to alliances with a race, and will cause them to fight against players with pvp flags enabled; these flags will be required to do pvp quests, which are like kill other enemies in your space, etc)
PvE'ers will get other missions like Colonization, and diplomacy.
Each of the two casts will be controlled by the races leader.
he will get a special map Ui/hud that will allow him to click on systems in the sector map
and select options like "colonize, conquer X system".
this creates a quest for the player (pve or pvp depending on the quest) to do.
Once this task is completed by the pvp'er/pve'er the race expands, and gains control of another system (through conquest or colonization) and because of this the racial leader gains a special upgrade mark, that he can use to
- Buy a trade station (they are like complexes on asteroids, etc
- Upgrade his empires level (unlocks more options for special features like ship parts etc; It also extends his races influence range) (influence range is a n aura that is around the races space, thta expands out, this aura is required to touch a neutral system (uncolonized) or hostile system (colonized) to conquer or colonize it, Or even to form alliances.
- Special marks are used to create and forge alliances.
so in essence the player is interacting with the race, like picard did, helping them etc, to expand solving problems etc.
now we can increase complexity of this by adding a mechanic that each time a quest happends, an exp bar for that race, vs the faction happens. If faction one does quests, it gives exp, if the klingons do it, it takes exp from the other side, and adds it to theirs (a sort of tug-o-war diplomacy).