Love the new sector space and was thinking of another element to make it more fun. In addition to the DSE's I thought that the addition of moving ion and plasma storms would be fun.
Imagine you are warping through sector space on your way somewhere frontier like. Suddenly an ion or plasma storm appears and moves in your direction drawing you in. Using the same mechanics as was used in the lastest episodes (Devidians) to travel back in time, you have to safely travel through the ion or plasma storm and exit safely on the other side.
If you fail, your ship is badly damaged and you exit the storm and must make repairs while you continue your travels. If you make it through, you go unscathed and get some skill points, or an emblem or something.
To add different elements to this, there could be a ship in distress...you travel through the storm, beam the people off the ship and travel back again.
There could be one or two plasma and ion storms in each sector block which would travel around.
While it may prove to be a huge annoyance to some, I like the thought of adding environmental hazards and the like to make the game feel more alive. Very cool.
Only thing I would add/change is that instead of having the hazard encounter move around and chase you like a dse, make them static on the map. Maybe encompasing a large inconvenient portions of some maps that require you to either manually navigate around them in sector space. Or if you'd rather take a short cut, dive into them and take a shot at the mini game.
If they ever let us plot waypoints on the map perhaps when you're about to enter the hazard you could be asked if you really want to enter it or not (like zoning). Once you say yes the map could pop up and allow you to plot your exit waypoint at the other end of the hazard. The distance plotted could determine how long, short or hazardous the mini-game would be. As well as having your plotted nav point determine where you'll pop back up in sector space once you've successfully completed it.
For those that don't really want to pilot these sort of mini-games, when the crew system that dstahl wants is in place, perhaps they could even make a section for "helm control" and a BO stat for navigation and add a sort of auto-pilot feature. The BO nav stat would determine how well your ship could auto-pilot through the rings if you don't want to be arsed to do it yourself.
I'd like to see a minigame with the current DSE contacts. Where currently if they are the same level as you (or higher) they just suck you in and ignore you otherwise, instead I'd like to see a minigame where if you cross paths with one of these contacts, you get a prompt to drop out of warp and engage them or perform evasive maneuvers to get away. Difficulty of the minigame could be based on the level of the DSE. Failure of the minigame means you get pulled into the DSE as normal.
Only problem is, I have no idea what form the 'evasive maneuvers' game could take. I'd imagine some sort of "Spy Hunter" type game where you have to fly a path and dodge obstacles, whether they are objects in your path or projectiles or warp inhibitor fields fired from pursuiing craft. Perhaps you can have some limited countermeasures against the pursuers as well (mayhaps even a craftable consumable?)