The concept is simple and can literally expand the playable 'area' of the game exponentially.
Currently the game takes places in three 'layers':
1- Sector Space
How about adding a layer between sector space and the instances?
1- Sector Space
2- Solar System
3- Instance (planet/station/space or fleet action battle).
Each solar system can be entered and it will be for all purposes, the size of a sector block (area/volume).
The solar system will be built in this sector-block-sized space. Star in the middle, planets/moons/asteroids orbiting it.
The player flies through this star system the same way he flies through sector space except any and all speed bonuses to warp speed are disabled (max warp speed is 10) and no transwarp or slipstream is allowed.
Each object in the solar system can be entered into as an instance.
You fly to Earth and enter its 'instance' to access Starfleet HQ/Starfleet Academy. You can fly to mars to enter it and see utopia planitia, etc, etc.
Bajor solar system has DS9 as an object you approach and enter as an instance (aka what we do now) or you can fly to Bajor and enter it...among other solar system bodies.
Basically, turn each of the current star systems you can enter into a new zone.
This would allow not only an inmense expansion of the game world, gameplay and roleplay but would also give the game the 'trek' immersion feeling. Not to mention tons more places to make foundry missions and other fun stuff.
The problem is that it would involve people spending tons of time flying around in areas they have no desire to be in just to get where they're going.
I mean, what you're talking about already exists. Look at the 'space' zone for DS9, ESD, or the Klingon homeworld.
It would, indeed, involve an immense expansion of the game space...filled with nothing worth visiting.
DS9, ESD, etc are too small and are literally the 'instance' level areas you would be entering from the 'solar system areas'.
Nothing worth visiting? Tons of time flying to where they're going? You realize how much stuff can be added to the game by putting in the solar system layer?
Flight time is irrelevant. Missions now have 'transwarp to' options to get from place to place without flying in between. The large area is there for missions and other events to be set in.
Immense expansion...mmm... hardly I'd say. Its merely linking a mostly empty new 'zone' to each star system and putting the solar system bodies into it. Not all objects need to be given instances of their own (though ideally that would come to happen).