I think in general there should be unpopulated regions in galaxies. Something where the survival aspects of the game truly can come into their own. Would also enable them to tone them down a bit more in the civilised parts. I mean, why is it that nobody is trading marrow bulb? I get that it’s so I have a reason to go into caves every now and then, but it makes no sense from a worldbuilding point of view. Give me a “desert” of 30’000 or so lightyears to cross where I might stumble over an outpost if I’m very lucky, and there’ll be survival enough. No easy to locate trading posts, no space stations (and therefore no teleport back home), no repairing my ship but with what I scrounge from the planets I’m passing over.
I’m not saying these things (economy scanner, base teleport, most of the resources traded if you know where to look) are bad, quite the contrary. The contrast between more trading oriented play and more survival oriented play would be refreshing though, and since we literally have all the space in the universe as a playground, that kind of simple to implement variation would have been on the top of my list to give the game more variety.
Talking about repairing your ship and stuff, I’d have slammed survival mode players with a 20% chance of a random tech breaking whenever you lose a hitpoint. Oh, the drama that could ensue!