Comic-Con this year, Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Director James Ohlen told us that in current testing, all cross-faction communication was open. While the developers were confident that communication methods would change before the game launched, the team wasn't sure which exact channels would be available for cross-faction messaging.
In an interview with TenTonHammer, James Ohlen has now indicated that cross-faction communication had changed. Is this good or bad? We will let you judge for yourself with a direct quote from the article. Ohlen replied to a question about sending items to cross-faction alts via mailboxes.
Currently no, you have to do it the old fashioned way through the mailbox, but only if they're the same faction. There are multiple reasons why we don't want the different factions to communicate with each other.To be fair, the question only concerned mailboxes. Ohlen later clarified in the interview: "You won't see the other faction's chat at all, so they can't chat with you and you can't chat with them." We know for certain there will be a large group of SWTOR fans upset about this design choice because it will inhibit their style of gameplay. We will look for further clarification on this subject, so stay tuned to Massively for more information.
We had the big argument that this isn't like Horde and Alliance, we all speak Galactic Standard so we should just allow it. So we actually did allow it for a little while. The argument against it was that, what happens is people start saying inappropriate things to the other side. That's just the way it is when you're on a different side and you gank each other, people tend to say inappropriate things.
[Update: Georg Zoeller has clarified the issue in a post on the official forums. We've included his response behind the break.]