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Wordle is changing, and someone gets irritated

Since the New York Times bought the online word game Wordle, hugely popular in recent weeks in Anglo-Saxon countries and in some small niches also in Italy, many of the people who play it daily have begun to notice that some things seem to have changed slightly. and for the worse. In the game you have to guess an English word of five letters in a maximum of six attempts, starting from an existing word that you choose randomly and type on your keyboard: according to many users, however, the words to guess have become more difficult and play them it no longer gives the same sense of satisfaction. However, this is not the only problem.

Wordle was created by the Welsh programmer Josh Wardle, who lives in New York and last October he was convinced to share it online for free; especially since the beginning of the year it has become part of the daily life of millions of people, has become viral on social networks thanks to word of mouth and has also given rise to dozens of versions in various languages ​​(here for example there is the one in Italian, and then there is Quordle, a version also in English in which you have to guess four different words simultaneously in nine attempts). Things began to change when, in late January, the company that owns the New York Times announced that it had bought the game for an undisclosed sum but described by newspapers as “seven figures” (over a million dollars). .

Wordle was immediately appreciated for its immediacy but also for the fact that non-native speakers could play with it, provided they had a good knowledge of English. He requires a bit of luck and a bit of logic and the goal is to guess the word of the day, which is randomly chosen from 2,500 common five-letter English words (out of about 12,000 in total). As the Guardian has effectively summarized, guessing it in three attempts gives a jolt of satisfaction, in two a certain sense of complacency and doing it in one is pure luck. Not guessing it within the six possible attempts or guessing it with some difficulty, however, is definitely frustrating, and it is an experience that in the last few weeks seems to be happening with increasing frequency.

– Read also: What Wordle is and how it works

Clinical psychologist Patapia Tzotzoli told the Guardian that Wordle stimulates initiative and motivation because it takes a few minutes to play every day and satisfies those who play it because it's a bit like solving a puzzle. According to Tzotzoli it is also an opportunity to confront and create a relationship with a very large community of people through play.

The problem is that if previously this connection was based on the enthusiasm for having guessed the word in a few attempts, it often now revolves around the common frustration of having come with a lot of difficulty to words that are not used so frequently and that previously seemed to appear a lot. more rarely: recent examples are “knoll” (hillock, hillock) and “siege” (siege), but in general there have been many words that non-native speakers are unlikely to know and which can therefore only arrive by exclusion, shooting a little random.

The New York Times has also decided to eliminate from the list of possible words of the day rather common terms that are considered offensive or problematic, such as “slave” (slave) and “whore” (whore); however, it also included words spelled with the spelling used in the United States (American English), creating a bit of confusion and annoyance among users accustomed to the one used in the United Kingdom (British English), such as when the word to guess was “Humor” (humor), which in British English is written “humor”, with the u. Other users, for their part, have appreciated that for some time it seems that words that are more difficult to guess appear, for example those that contain the same letter in two different positions.

You're welcome. ????

Wordle 235 – HUMOR

Pity about the American spelling. # Wordle # wordle235 pic.twitter.com/SRoddjNXyE

– Wordle of the Day (@ WordleOfTheDay1) February 8, 2022

Another question that is creating some perplexity has to do with the very nature of the game, which was thought of by Wardle as a way to pass the time during the coronavirus pandemic and therefore had no advertising or ulterior motives.

The company that owns the New York Times, which reserves most of its content for subscribers, had said that “in the beginning” the game would remain free, which however has led many to speculate that sooner or later it will become available to the public. paying customers only. Although nothing has changed in the way Wordle is played for the moment and there is still no content or banner ads on the site, it has been observed that trackers have also appeared on the New York Times web page dedicated to the game, that is tracking systems that allow you to obtain data and information on the use and behavior of users which can then possibly be transferred to third parties.

Technology blog Gizmodo noted that in some cases the trackers originate from the New York Times site, while in many others they were used to send the collected data to platforms such as Google. The company that controls the newspaper did not answer Gizmodo's questions about the activities connected to the trackers via the Wordle web page: what theoretically happens with systems of this type is that people who regularly use the page could see special advertisements that refer to the New York Times, for example for subscriptions or merchandise purchases.

– Read also: Why did you see “that” advertisement on the Post