Improving in-game communication

It’s always been weird to me that we all assume in MMOs that most communication goes on outside of the game. Pretty much every guild has a website with a forum, and we all accept this as standard. So when you create a guild, you have to go set that up. Whole industries have spawned around making this easier to do (the various free guild websites, etc.)

Players flout attempts to stop different factions communicating with each other by just using IRC channels (or whatever the cool kids are using these days 😛 )

It is accepted that to play an MMO, you spend a lot of time using the web outside the MMO. Communication within the game is so rudimentary that it simply does not suffice.

In game, what you typically have are IRC-style chat channels, a very limited message of the day for guilds,  and a limited, awkward to use mail system. Any mail system which makes it inconvenient to mail several people at once, filter mail into folders, and follow threads is going to limit communication. I know I avoid mail like the plague unless I actually need to send stuff to someone (which is its main useful function) or am setting up a RP event.

But what would be so difficult about providing in-game bulletin boards for guilds, or other player organisations? So you could log in, look at your bboard tab and read the boards via a nice graphical interface. It can’t be the fear of being sued, people can already write what they like in mails. And guild bboards could be guild moderated.

They were common enough on MUDs; back then no one expected you to spend hours reading the web to participate in your guild or game. You’d just catch up with the boards when you logged in.

What if you could scroll back on chat channels when you logged in and see what people had been discussing while you were gone?

What if there was an in game news bboard that people were directed to when they logged in which had details of in game news, player run events, and technical news. We already know most people don’t read forums, but I bet they do check their in game mail. They’d check a bboard if it was easy to use and the game notified you when there were new posts.

What if we had actual graphical bulletin boards to help looking for guilds, where you could post short notes and adverts, and it would look as if you were pinning a notice up?

Why are we happy with such limited communication tools?