I may be giving the developers too much credit, but the convolution and limitation all seem pretty intentional (down to a secret door required to advance). I could be wrong, but it seems like there's a heavy lean on "conversation between players" (even special items with the purpose of just calling up more messages), and that perhaps needing to go online or reach out to friends (outside the game) was possibly an expectation. Is it a contrived form of difficulty? It could be, but doesn't seem to contradict the spirit of the game. The locked doors ... well, as annoying as they are, there can only be so many players running around causing havoc before someone decides to lock up.