Feedback after last test
Early-to-mid game gameplay is much better now, however end-game still feels lacking. I prefer to start in space rather than on earth, its much easier to attach a drill on the space pod rather than build a whole system on earth IMO. The only problem I have with the early-to-mid game section still is currently after a bit it can feel like you're just flying asteroid to asteroid looking for that one mineral you need to progress further, and it sometimes just takes forever to even find anything, but once you do find it, you almost never need to mine it again because you get so much.
I recommend either A) Have more types of ores but in smaller bunches for each asteroid, or B) some sort of long range asteroid scanner that tells you what ores are on asteroid before visiting it. But other than this, early-to-mid game *insert big thumbs up*.
Onto end-game. End-game currently still feels non existent, I think this because of two reasons. A) once you have a small chunk of each ore in the game, you've pretty much done all ya can. B) There is no final ultimate goal.
Tackling the first part, I believe the current "progression system" should be scrubbed as it adds nothing to the game and only provides as a nuisance, and I didn't look to closely but I still don't think attacking the encounter ships is worth it (they offer to little). A new (and actual) progression system should replace the current one, where upgrades to blocks such as thrusters, gyros, turrets, etc. for power, power efficiency, damage, fire rate, etc. can be found on the encounter ships. Rare upgrades can have a infinite beacon (like the "strong unknown signals"), thats easy to jump to on much stronger encounter ships. Creating tense PVE & PVP encounters simultaneously as different factions rush to the pirate ship to grab the upgrades.
As for an actual final end-game goal, I got this idea inspired from Reign of Kings, where a faction can claim the "throne" to become "king/queen of the realm" and automatically tax the other players on the server of their resources. While I don't think directly stealing (taxation is theft!) from players is the right answer, maybe a super powerful/OP generator that produces free and tons of energy. Coupled with another similar structure located extremely far away that converts tons of energy into resources of all kinds. Thus making the end-game goal would be creating an efficient transport system between the two structures (transport ships filled with batteries), but also protecting it against pirates/other players for single/multi-player respectively. Coordinates to these structures could be found in random chunks on encounter ships, making players needing to attack multiple to find the complete set of coordinates. Theres much flexibility in this paragraph obviously and probably a bit to "science-fiction"-ish for SE, but just my 2 cents. Hell, even a simple "mega-pirate
In summary, early-to-mid game isn't perfect but overall happy with it. Ditch the current "progression" system and replace it with a system that allows players to upgrade various blocks where these upgrades can only be obtained from attacking encounter ships. And finally add an actual end-game goal, something that probes the players mind 24/7 so when they finally hit that "now what?" moment, they can think of what would help them with that end-game goal, and decide based upon that.