In other words, it's an amazing galaxy that still somehow feels empty after awhile. Even if they never improved multiplayer with their instancing system, I think single player could be saved with more curated/hand-written content in the core star systems. Like, an actual narrative of missions that adds some life to a few select planets and factions.
I think Frontier did an amazing job with the flight model and environmental details (sound design is especially amazing in ways both subtle and obvious). But the actual gameplay feels about 80% complete. Unfortunately, this is true for every one of the updates/expansions as well, so I'm not sure I can ever expect that to change.
It's an amazing game that I would not recommend to others. Very strange.