Most loading screens I see have tips these days, occasionally trivia. These are generally useful for your first few weeks, then you have seen them all or already know everything in them, then you start tuning them out or mocking them. Until then, they can be quite helpful in highlighting non-obvious things, like a game mechanic or a subtle menu option.
Customization could make these more useful. Add some variables to your canned responses, then tune them for the character or player. Torchlight 2 has a great example: the “spend your level-up points” indicator is subtle, but when you zone, the top of the loading screen explicitly says how many points you have to spend. Team Fortress 2 has standard tips on its loading screens, but its death screens have friendly congratulations about how you did that life.
The game does or can track lots of things. Plug those into your loading screens.
- Note a 90% complete achievement or zone.
- Recommend a level-appropriate area.
- List a class-specific item from the latest patch notes.
- Recommend a skill, weapon, etc. the character has not used in the last 10 hours of play.
- “You haven’t played [character] in [>30] days. [S/he] misses you.”
- Give a pointer on a quest that has not been advanced in more than seven days.
- Compliment the player on some achievement, whether an actual Achievement or something like being in the top 100 PvP players, buying a new spaceship, or recruiting a guildmate.
- Note something piling up in storage, like “you have 543 bronze ingots in your vault.
- “You have been logged on for 12 hours. Please remember to stretch, eat, and use the bathroom.”
- Include some checks for commonly overlooked bits and note those. You will find examples on the forums, like “I collected all four furbles but kept forgetting to put them in the gorthrak to get my habduk of ogre-slaying!” If the player has been holding onto four furbles for a few days, remind him/her about the gorthrak. Don’t do it the next time s/he zones after getting four furbles, because s/he might be on the way to the gorthrak.
- If a player has not logged in for 30 days, start the tips again, because people forget which key is inventory or grenades in this game.
There have been real improvements to user interfaces over the years, but this seems to be an underutilized area.