Ok for example, you park your character in Club 47. Lets say 10 people park their characters there with the hope that more people will show up later to chat, dance, whatever. In other MMOs, Goldshire, Cantina, wherever you park your avatar and other people will eventually show up and start socializing while some will be on/off AFK. This is not a new concept. It's been in almost every MMO I have ever seen.
I understand your reasoning here, but I'm going to disagree with a shorter timer.
If I'm going in to a social area, and I see three people standing in one place, I'm going to say hi. If they don't say hi back (or whatever in-character response they deem appropriate) within 30 seconds, I'm going to move on. You're asking for an extension on a timer that is already much longer than your average person is going to wait for you to come back to the screen just to dance with them.
I'd rather see an empty social area and keep walking than go in and say hello to a room full of RP-Urchins who don't respond. (And Urchins isn't meant as a flame to any RPers. It's just what I'm calling the RPers who sit there and don't interact at all.)
Wait? How does this AFK socializing work in a heavily instanced game? I mean there is what a max of 50 or so people per instance in bases and social planets. Its not like you will run into the same people since it drops people in a random instance. Thats seems like to much coordination if you wanted to see the same people every time. Although that chat channel might help out.
Cryptic needs to drop the 15 minute AFK timer or at least make it a couple hours.
Cryptic's original MMO, City of Heroes, has had a 15 minute AFK timer for almost 6 years now.
Cryptic's second MMO, Champions Online, has had a 15 minute AFK timer for almost 6 months now.
If I had to guess I'd think the chances of it being changed in this game is pretty much 0%.
Normally, you'd expect a bit of role-playing in an MMO based in the Star Trek universe. However, the chat system doesn't lend itself well to it. Neither does gameplay - hard to "relax" when you can't even sit in a chair. Even the trappings in other RP games, such as non-essential "costume" objects, or clothing, or whatnot, are unavailable here - you have a limited set of clothing, and changing it is expensive.
So, basically, there's no reason to hang out anywhere, really, at least from Cryptic's perspective. This is an MMOG, but it's not an MMORPG.
I have a lifetime sub. If I want to sit in space or the club doing nothing, that is my choice. Heck, I may want to dance AFK. The ability to waste time is pretty much a right in an MMO.
In fact, I do sit in space listening to my audio books in the background. It's like a RP thing.
You can do what you want, however sitting around afk while surfing the web for hours is selfish to the people who cant get on because your taking up a spot. Now if your dancing around like an idiot and sitting there staring at the screen fine at least your doing something.
I have a lifetime sub and even I'm not conceded enough to sit for hours afk taking up a player slot.