On May 13th, 2009 (I suggest that you read that article first if you have not already) I posted a review of the EpicWords web site and service. I gave the site a solid “C”, and I mentioned that the site was constantly improving. Well I believe that it has improved in enough ways for me to revisit my original review and to add this follow-up.

Hey! The Wiki, um, Wikis!

My number one complaint about EpicWords was that “The wiki not having an easy method for the creation of new linked material is a serious drawback.” The staff at EpicWords recognized this problem and addressed it. Now you can easily create a link to new material on the fly by enclosing the text in double brackets (“[[ ]]”), or by clicking on the “Wiki” button while editing an entry.

You can also create a Reference link which creates an entry in the Reference Wiki. This special wiki serves as a campaign dictionary. Again you can code this into your entry as you type (use double braces – “{{ }}”) or just click on the “Reference” button while editing an entry. The nice thing about this type of entry is that users will get a mouse-over tooltip for when that phrase appears anywhere else in the campaign’s wikis. With this functionality there is no need to click on a link in order to remember what was so special about the “MacGuffin of Plot Point #3”. The definition in your reference wiki will be automatically displayed in the mouse-over!

Another nice new feature is Character Name Linking which automatically links any instance of the character’s name back to its EpicWords character page. All of these features make me feel that the designers are taking feedback very seriously. Not only has the EpicWords crew addressed the forward linking issue, but they have gone an extra step with it and added a feature like this and the Reference Wiki linking system, and I can see both as being a real time savers.

A Calendar For Us Gaming Geeks

EpicWords now has a calendar for group to arrange their game sessions with. A great feature of this calendar is that it not only gives you an easy way to keep track of when the next game session is amongst all the members of your group, but it also sends out an email notification 3 days before, 1 day before, and 1 day after that scheduled session. Not only is everyone reminded that there is a session to attend, but they also will receive a reminder to update the site following that session.

I’ve used Google Calendar for this, but it just isn’t as friendly as the EpicWords solution is for a gaming group. Most calendars online are tailored to business users, and the feel just does not seem right for our beloved hobby. The EpicWords solution feels more appropriate and that is because their designers are gamers. Do not ask me how, but to me this sort of thing shows in the overall design of the site and its tools.

Still Just a “C”?

The EpicWords site has improved, but I still feel that the speed of the site could be much better (something that the EpicWords staff is already working on). Yet I will change my original grade of a “C” to a well deserved “B+”. In less than 6 months the site has eliminated a major drawback and added great new features. That is real progress and it should be recognized.

The EpicWords site is definitely a wonderful value, because despite all of the improvements and the continued efforts of its designers to deliver new and useful tools the service is still easy on your wallet. You can choose the free account service to a host small campaign with (3 characters max), or pay the dirt cheap price of $12 a year for a premium account and host up to 10 campaigns with 15 characters and 1GB of storage space. $1 a month is a really hard price to beat, and it sure seems like you are getting more than what that dollar is worth in return.

I’m heading off to Gen Con Indy tomorrow, and you can meet the EpicWords crew at Gen Con as well. Tabletop Adventures is handing out literature as a favor to the EpicWords crew at booth 402. Be sure to checkout Tabletop Adventure’s products while you are there (I highly recommend their Deck O’ Names generator products) when you go to get a handout on Epic Words. You can also attend a one hour seminar hosted by the EpicWords staff where they will demonstrate their product and answer your questions (6pm this Saturday, event SEM0902945).

Whatever you do, give the EpicWords free account service a spin. I’m betting that it will be worth your time.

Are you an EpicWords user, or are you interested in becoming one? Do you agree or disagree with this review? Leave your comments below for others to hear what you think. And remember that the GM is a player too, so have fun with it!