Elite Dangerous play can be seen as never-ending travel, where exists more ways (mechanisms) how player can influence space around him. One from more "advanced" mechanisms is called PowerPlay (PP), which many see and calls as buggy, grindy, unfinished and uninteresting ... but ... yes, BUT, this is it. It's now almost one year when I started play ED and except two last weeks I decided fully ignore PP because I read countless criticism about it. Now, with only two weeks involvement, I quite significantly changed/updated my views. Why?
I maybe should start from a little another angle to explain better my views. At my start in ED space I needed learn how to fly my ship(s), how to travel, how to fight (PvE fight in the video to the left), how to build and maintain my fleet, how to ... (many things). Then I get involved deeper into minor (local) factions background simulation (BGS) and learned what it can offer for me. It also helped (slowly) understand that single player in ED space can have only little influence, real "pusher of things" are organized groups of players which have some common goal. Better organized and more focused groups can quite significantly influence theirs local "home" space and BGS offers them more different ways how to do this. Step by step I learned how this works, how I can help, where are my limitations (I'm still learning btw ... ). Then arrived Horizons (see landing on planetary base on video below) with new places for visit and later it were Engineers and they opened new ways how to improve your ships.
Side note: I like how Engineers are done despite some disbalance (mainly PvP) which come with it. What looks very promising is a fact, that during last beta FD devs come to player base and were started many balancing debates and some changes were applied already.
And as is common (and hated) I started search outside game informations how this PP works and what it exactly is. I learned some basis and more and then it suddenly opened a door into bigger world. I do not know how to describe it properly, but try imagine that you are born and all time live in some small lost village with some small local city. All your knowledge and what is important for you is what happens in your home and close neighbourhood. You know that exists countries and continents but they are so distant and unimportant, so you simply ignore them. Suddenly you decide to leave your local city and check what is behind it, and you start to see how really huge is world out there. Details can be/are important, but in ED this step (join PP, get involved, and search info about it) allows understand what are/should be major powers (i.e. Empire, Federation and Alliance), because each from power-play entities (like Aisling Duval) represents some from these major factions. And these three main factions brings ED story which is given to players via different Gallnet news, community goals etc. It was for a first time, when I felt that I started understand how to properly integrate my character into ED space. Yes, it's kinda pity that I needed so much time, but looking back on times when I started play Crossfire I had also zero knowledge how this game background looks and I needed also quite alot time to see this. I like good stories and without joining PP I see that I missed many because I simply didn't understand what they mean.
And now come one really funny thing, above mentioned major powers occupy in ED universe only its very tiny part called "The Bubble". Atm are already ongoing activities for build new "distant" bubble and were spotted clues about aliens presence ... another big doors available for passing through? Elite Dangerous is like a onion where you start in its centre, each new layer is bigger and offers new things to discover ...