One of the goals of Shattered World is to make a far more omnipresent communications structure. The hope is to allow the community to express itself and maintain in-game communications out of game.
Technologies like PlayXPert certainly seem tempting, but there are a few major concerns for working them in as part of the game. For instance we need a 'lite' version of the UI which is ever present during our game, which would be our effective chat widget. That widget also needs to work as the in-game chat works, knowing zones and channels. Basically there is, as yet, no plug and play solution for how I intend it to work.
Vivox on the other hand is an easy enough choice. While most likely more expensive it is a developer API at it's core. This allows it to easily integrate into whatever system or core engine we eventually decide on. While the game can't run purely on voice, building in voip with Vivox is just good business.
Managing friend lists, guilds, and ignore lists is made both easy and powerful with the graphical tier system. The exact features of the page are slightly different from page to page, but in it's most basic form, the page is simply a group of containers. There are individual containers which contain a link to a player, these will show headshots of thier avatar and name. You then have tier containers, which are overall groups of players, and then subgroups, which represent players bound together as a group. You can finally add labels to tiers, groups or players, allowing you to easily identify important roles or information.
For guild management, the screen shows a set of tiers, the top being the founder teir which can only be altered by the founder, and the bottom being the members tier which is where all guild mates are automatically dumped. As a founder you then drag up an empty tier, you grab the authority arrow tool and click on a tier with more authority than it, and then drag down to it. It will automatically move it to the line below that particular tier. You may then use the authority arrow tool and drag from it to any other tier on par or below it. This sets it's seniority to be above the other tier, which also allows it to automatically gain authority over any group that the lesser seniority group is in authority over.
You can also right click on any tier besides founder or members and set them to be electable and set the times for elections, as well as the number of votes per player. When players log on during election times, there will be a stack of election tokens, they simply drag the election token onto the player they choose to elect. Groups can be added to any tier, including the founders tier, though only by the founder. Groups may have lateral authority over other members of their tier. For instance you may make a group on the founders tier with six month election rotations, then draw an authority arrow to the founder, this makes the new leaders of the guild a democratically elected council.
Your friends screen begins as only three tiers and is entirely void of authority lines. The beginning tiers are friends, and group, anyone in a group you are in may be easily dragged upwards into your friend tiers for more permanent bonds. The third tier is the search tier, it has a small text box allowing you to search for the name of a player, and returns the player links for any players matching your search filter. You may drag up new tiers, but when you do you will be asked to name them. These named tiers will now work as channels, allowing you to simply type /t to send a message to everyone on that tier. You may also drag tiers into chat, and drag tiers out of chat to import or export entire tier setups, allowing you to easily share tier channels.
Finally you have your ignore list, which has four tiers. The bottom is the search tier, and the top is the highest ignore tier. Typing /ignore player automatically adds the player to the top tier, you will ignore their yells, their says, any chat of any sort, and any private tells. The level below it will block any tells, says and regular chat, but not shouts nor grouped chat, you will be warned when joining a group if a member in it is in any of your ignore lists. The final ignore is a soft ignore, allowing you to block tells and tells only.
At any point, simply picking up any object you have authority over and dropping it on the trash container will remove it.
The tier system should be accessable from outside of the game as well through the chat program.