You may have noticed that the Chat Zone was down earlier today. That wasn't to frustrate partygoers--it was because we've replaced the aging vBulletin board with a brand new Xenforo system! There's no need to create a new account and your old login will continue to work... but the new board is more secure, features an achievement-style 'promotion' system, support for mobile platforms and social networking, and can be integrated right into the CIC front page!
The Chat Zone predates the CIC itself, dating back through WCHS to the "Origin's Official Wing Commander Chat Zone" initially established by OSI in 1995. This will be the fourth type of board software, following Matt's WWWBoard, Ultimate Bulletin Board and vBulletin. A great history of the zone is available here.