NMS is the kind of game you play to chill out, akin to Minecraft and Valheim. You find the gameplay loop that interests you and you focus on that. The times i decide to circle back to NMS i generally focus on finding interesting unpopulated planets and build bases in them, and also finding exotic planets so also fun. Beyond that everything else about the game is grinding missions and collecting items. It also helps that i really enjoy the lonely vibe of the game, and how in the early life of the game combat was far from the focus (there is more conflict in the game these days, but it’s still not combat oriented. And yes i like the fact that violence is not step #1 in NMS)
I’m curious to see how Starfield will bring their own flavor to the exploration genre. Personally i’m not sure it’ll live up to people’s expectations especially considering Bethesda’s reputation for the last few years and how they utterly failed with Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. I hope it turns out to be good but i won’t be pre-ordering, if its good i’ll check it out a year from now.