Great AAR. Very enjoyable read and I really like the focus of the character. :)
I think you really nailed what Distant Worlds is for me when you said...
Here’s a universe that’s living on its own with very little, if any, direction given by me. I saw how small a cog I was in this universe, and saw how beautifully it flowed, and how well it all meshed together. Cargo ships went on their way delivering cargo, passenger liners showed off the wonders of the universe, pirates did what pirates do.
The more I played, the more I found myself slowing down…just to watch. I still had stuff to do here and there, but I turned all the automation back on just so I can watch this beautifully living universe flow in front of me. I didn’t feel any less involved or connected to the game either, I just felt like I was allowing myself to soak it all in…and it was amazing.