We've recently added a new feature called challenges that I think is going to be really interesting for players. Essentially challenges are special sectors that are tougher than normal, have a specific setup (not random), and do many things that can't normally happen.
How it works is every 6 levels there is another challenge sector, and one extra at level 100, for a total of 17 challenges. This is visually represented as 4 sectors per quadrant and 1 final challenge for the galaxy on the challenges screen. When you beat one, the next one unlocks and you can play any unlocked challenge sector whenever you want. Each challenge has a title and a short description to give you a little glimpse of what you will be facing in that challenge.
The big difference between a challenge sector and a normal sector is that the initial conditions are hand crafted instead of being random. They have a set level, sector size, races present, quests, wars, alliances, and even sector modifiers. This seems a little strange for a game that has so much randomness in it, however they create a cool, shared experience. It always starts out the same, but the random events and the players' actions will quickly make an impact. Then everyone can compare how their challenges went. It will be interesting to see how varied the end results will be and what the players decided to do.