Is Wordle getting harder? Some think the game is conspiring against them

Click to play video: 'V-I-R-A-L: What’s behind the internet’s Wordle obsession?'
V-I-R-A-L: What’s behind the internet’s Wordle obsession?
Twitter feeds are being inundated with a barrage of green boxes, as people go wild for Wordle, a new online puzzle game. Mike Drolet explains what's fuelling the viral vocabulary sensation, and why the idea isn't entirely new. – Jan 18, 2022

It’s becoming clear that Wordle is a little bit like a budding romantic relationship.

At first, you’re in lust. It’s new, it’s lovely, you’re enamoured.

After some time passes, however, the shiny patina starts to wear off, revealing some not-so-cute traits. You have to decide whether it’s worth sticking around.

It seems as though a lot of Wordle players are entering this latter stage, with the honeymoon phase coming to an end.

Some fans think the viral word game has gotten harder in recent weeks since The New York Times bought it from developer Josh Wardle in late January.

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One Twitter user went so far as to claim the game has gone to “the dusty section of the dictionary” to find its latest words.

But, has it really gotten harder?

The short answer is: no, not really. The long answer — well, it’s a bit more complicated.

The New York Times claims they haven’t made the answers harder on purpose. In fact, Times communications director Jordan Cohen told The Guardian “nothing has changed about the game play.”

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That said, the NYT did mess with the back end code a bit, removing some offensive and sexual language, as well as some obscure words like “AGORA” and “PUPAL,” reports The Verge.

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But even the original game, before it was sold, did not include all of the English language’s five-letter words. Wordle’s creator Wardle previously said that he whittled down the list from about 12,000 words to approximately 2,500 — using only words that his partner, for whom he first developed the game, considered recognizable.

(Side note: Wednesday’s answer of “CAULK” was a head-scratcher for many, and the word briefly jumped to the top of Google’s trending topics while players searched for the word’s meaning.)

What’s also creating some confusion (and a bit of vitriol, if we’re being honest) is the fact that there are now two versions of the game available for play. If you’re playing Wordle on the new NYT platform, you will get one answer. If you are playing on the old platform, your answer will be different.

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Cohen told CNET that the newspaper is working on a slow migration to the new site and that there will be a period of time where both platforms are available before users are permanently directed to the NYT version.

“Our priority is making sure people can carry their stats and streaks from the original site, and this is a migration that is happening over time as people play,” he said.

On Wednesday, the NYT’s Wordplay Twitter account nudged users to refresh their page so they could be directed to the new version.

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Still, that hasn’t stopped people from poking fun at the NYT and the confusion that’s been created this week.

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Regardless of what’s going on, Wordle remains a staple on our social media feeds and we likely won’t stop playing any time soon.

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