One thing I remember about the exploration system that really felt so amazing to me was the actual sector space areas for the clusters. The vast emptiness with nothing but the starfield in all directions really gave it a mood of being out there, exploring the depths of space with an ever-present sense of the unknown.
I've always liked looking at the stars, and as a kid who grew up in the city with too many ground lights to truly see the night sky in all its wonder, I remember going on a camping trip and seeing the sky fully for the first time. The exploration sectors made me think of that experience from my childhood.
When it comes to MMOs, I wear prescription glasses. Whether or not they are rose-tinted is beside the point.