If you’re playing from work there’s a good chance that the firewall set up by your network administrator is blocking chat. Usually places of business will block almost every port except for 80 (the web) and a few other important ones. Our chat operates on port 5222.
Have you ever been able to connect to chat while at work? If not then it’s probably the firewall issue, and since our challenges are updated through our chat system, that would be why everything is breaking on you.
If you HAVE been able to connect to chat in the past, but can’t now, then take a screenshot by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard, open up MS Paint, and press ctrl+v to paste it there. Save that picture and send it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what might be happening.