A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Totally Unofficial WordSquared/Scrabb.ly FAQ

The massively multiplayer word formation online game formerly known as Scrabb.ly is now called WordSquared. I previously posted an introduction to Scrabb.ly/WordSquared and then some more tips. I'm posting this unofficial FAQ to answer any other questions that crop up. The world of WordSquared is evolving rapidly, so this information may become dated fast!

How can I find my words when I've wandered away from them?

Click on the home icon in the upper-left hand corner of the minimap and you will jump to the last word you made. Or click on your avatar icon (next to your username) which will pull up your profile which includes the words in your history (underneath your score) and you can jump to any of those positions by clicking on the words. Or check whether you have previously set any placemarks that can take you back to your words.

If none of these methods work, your words are basically lost, and your only recourse is to search for them, which could take a ridiculously long time. The official advice in these situations is to set placemarks, so you can reorient yourself in the future.

If my words are surrounded by others, how can I escape?

a) You can use the new teleport option. This allows you to move to anywhere else on the map and start building off of someone else's tiles (or your own). You can teleport once every 24 hours for free. If you want to teleport again within 24 hours, it costs 100 stars(!!!).

b) If you prefer to do it the old-school way, read about the breakout method.

Which words can I play in WordSquared?

Any word which is on the TWL06 (the Scrabble Tournament Word List for the U.S., Canada, and Thailand) is WordSquared-legal. There are 178,691 words in the TWL, and the longest possible words are 15 letters long (for now).

I've seen words in Word2 which are unconnected to anything else. How were they made?

These islands formed in December 2010 when the WordSquared code briefly had a bug which allowed players (just new players, I think) to build words not connected to any other words.

How can I keep track of locations on the WordSquared map?

Use the new built-in Placemarks. The interface is visible when the map is expanded to fit your whole browser window.

What does the entire WordSquared world look like?

Courtesy of Aaron Parecki's Flickr photo, on September 5th, the Scrabb.ly map looked like this: It's way more complex now. You can see a time-lapse animation of the growth of the Scrabb.ly world here.

In February 2011, /dev/joe made an amazing world map for WordSquared.

In November 2011, DoctorPeaks posted to Twitter a link to this zoomed-out version of the WordSquared map:

Another WordSquared map courtesy of DoctorPeaks, capture on November 23, 2013, about one week before WordSquared shut down.
I made a chart of the tile count of the entire board as a function of time, based on numbers from the official WordSquared Twitter account and blog:

A zoomed-out plot showing the last known tile count for the WordSquared world:

The 42.2 million tiles played in Word^2 as of March 10th, 2011 made 14.86 million words.

As of January 26, 2012, 63 million words had been played, corresponding to 141 million tiles. (If the tiles-to-words ratio had held at 2.8 tiles per new word, it would have corresponded to 179 million tiles. Instead it fell to 2.2 tiles/(new word). It may make sense for this number to decrease as the number of words increase and word chains lengthen, as there are increasingly more places that people can easily build short words. I'll have to think about this.)

The last tally I am aware of was shortly before WordSquared was closed for good. As of about November 22, 2013, 1,543,257 players had played 264,768,058 tiles, forming 123,148,431 words (2.15 tiles/(new word)).

Outdated questions:

What is the deal with the new version of WordSquared?

It's live! Here is my review.

You can still sign up to be a beta tester for new features by clicking here.

Blanks don't work. What's the deal?

This question is now kind of irrelevant since blanks now have to be bought.
There is a bug that is affecting older browsers. A browser that supports HTML5 fully should allow you to use blanks. Otherwise, just swap tiles when you get too many blanks.

I lost my game in the switchover from scrabb.ly to wordsquared.com. What do I do?

First, visit http://scrabb.ly. Your browser should then forward you back to wordsquared.com, but with your scrabb.ly cookies duplicated over to restore your game. If your score and username and tiles show up in WordSquared, but you can't find the words that you made, try clicking on the new home button in the upper left hand corner of the minimap:

That should take you back to the last word you made. If that doesn't work, try reading about tracking locations.

How do I end the game so I can start over in a new spot?

Since the teleportation feature means you can never really get stuck, your game never ends. You can just pick up and move to a different spot.
Either delete your wordsquared.com cookies or log out.

How can I keep track of locations on the WordSquared map?

Old answer (retained for backward compatibility with old posts):
If you look through the cookies that your web browser has stored (generally buried in the web browser preferences, under some heading like "Privacy" or "Security"), you will find a few cookies set by wordsquared.com. One is called "grid_origin" (it was called "gridOrigin" in previous versions). It looks something like this: [wordsquared.com browser cookies] The two numbers (separated by "%2C") are coordinates in columns and then rows. A grid_origin of 1992%2C-1202 should be read as (1992,-1202) and means that WordSquared is currently set to look at a position 1992 columns to the right and 1202 rows up from some reference point. (The reference point (0,0) is an area where the tiles are very dense and is almost certainly where the first WordSquared word was played.)

If you open up WordSquared in your browser, drag the map to a new position, and then recheck the cookies, you will find that the grid_origin value has changed. (Note that you now have to drag the map instead of the board in order to update the grid_origin cookie. Dragging just the board will update the worldOffset cookie. It may be a better reference, but those numbers are horribly long!)

If you lost your position in the switchover from scrabb.ly to wordsquared.com, you can just look at your grid_origin cookie for scrabb.ly and then drag the board in wordsquared.com until you get the WordSquared grid_origin cookie close to matching the scrabb.ly grid_origin coordinates. Then (like magic!) you will be back where you were when last playing Scrabb.ly.

If you want more official answers to your questions, you can get in touch with the WordSquared team, either through their customer service site or their Twitter account or by mailing support at [the name of the site for the game]. WordSquared now also has a blog!

[Last updated,February 2014]

Further reading: