Words From Zynga about TW/DW Disappearance

Everyone seems to have noticed that TW and DW are far less common since the iOS update to 4.09. I wrote an early analysis of the issue a couple weeks ago (click through to see a complete a data analysis), but I can now report back a final conclusion that I suspected all along. The guys (and gals) over at Zynga have always been very friendly to me ever since I emailed them asking for permission to rip of all their their graphics for use on my fan site. Not only did they grant me permission (with a few caveats that I have adhered to thus far), but they were extremely welcoming to the idea of fans contributing to the community. So the idea that the TW/DW disappearance was a conspiracy against their users didn’t fit well with my experience.

Today I got an email with the following tidbit relating to this issue. This quote is from the lead developer of the game as relayed to me by a lead community manager from Zynga who gave me permission to share it with you.

“To set the record straight, this is a valid complaint. Unfortunately, there was a glitch in the system prior to 4.09 that caused TW & DW to show up WAY too frequently. The glitch was corrected, so there are indeed fewer occurrences.”

So there you have it. The final word is that it was an error in the TW and DW to begin with, and they finally corrected it. It sort of makes sense. And before you get mad at them for making an error when writing a complicated computer program, try your hands at writing perfect code a few times first!

Personally, I hope many people are responsibly buying lots of coins and generating lots of profit for Zynga. Without the profit, it would just close down and then we’d all have something new to complain about, but no one left to hear our complaints.

If you want to always find the highest points words possible, use my Hanging with Friends Word Builder and then you’ll know you’re getting all the points you can.

Hanging with Friends Word Builder

iOS 4.0.9 TW Bonus Frequency (Is DL the new TW?)

After the recent iOS 4.0.9 update, many people took to Facebook to complain that the TW bonus was becoming scarcer than before. Formerly, this was the most common bonus people received. Many speculated this was a decision made by Zynga since the Hanging with Friends Coin Store opened, and it now allows coin purchases with cash. I wasn’t concerned about the why as much as determining if it is true. That’s where my site has some good value since I’ve got lots of hard core stats to use for such questions.

The 4.0.9 hit the iOS app store on 10/13.  For the data I have collected below after 10/15, there’s no guarantee that the data is ALL from an iOS device with 4.0.9 installed, but you’ll see that there’s a really big change in the tw regardless. One should note this is just a small sample in the wide world of Hanging with Friends, but I think it’s big enough to make some casual observations.

Here are the details in a nice data table (or four!).

Distribution of 1,157 Games on or after 10/8/2011, but before 10/12/2011. This is BEFORE 4.0.9 update released.
Location 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
dw 1.0% 0.9% 0.8% 1.8% 2.3% 2.7% 3.5% 2.9% 16.0%
dl 1.3% 0.9% 1.6% 4.3% 3.4% 3.5% 5.4% 4.7% 25.1%
tw 3.2% 1.2% 2.5% 4.7% 5.4% 4.8% 8.0% 7.8% 37.4%
tl 0.6% 1.3% 1.6% 2.9% 3.4% 3.2% 3.7% 4.8% 21.5%
Total 6.1% 4.2% 6.5% 13.7% 14.4% 14.2% 20.7% 20.2% 100.0%

Compare the above table to what seems to be happening after the update.

Distribution of 1,445 Games on or after 10/15/2011, but before 10/19/2011. This is AFTER 4.0.9 update released.
Location 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Change
dw 0.8% 0.5% 1.0% 1.5% 2.0% 2.0% 3.1% 2.0% 12.9%
dl 1.9% 2.8% 2.1% 4.0% 5.8% 4.1% 8.2% 5.7% 34.6%
tw 1.5% 1.0% 1.5% 2.7% 2.0% 2.6% 3.5% 4.1% 18.7%
tl 1.9% 2.1% 2.2% 4.3% 4.4% 3.5% 6.9% 8.5% 33.8%
Total 6.0% 6.4% 6.7% 12.5% 14.3% 12.2% 21.7% 20.3% 100.0%

It certainly looks like TW (the highest) took a dive and DL (the lowest) took over the lead. The TL also got a boost, while DW took a dive. There doesn’t seem to be any significant change in bonus placement, however.

So is this a conspiracy to buy more coins with cash? Well let’s see how this plays out with coin accumulation.

My Word Builder/Word Generator always finds the highest points word possible for a given set of letters and bonus. If someone always picks the highest points words (never mind that you’ll probably lose because they are likely also easier to guess!), what would happen? Using the same sample I used for the above calculations, here’s how many points and coins you would earn.

Maximum Possible Points and Coin Accumulation for 1,157 Games on or after 10/8/2011, but before 10/12/2011. This is BEFORE 4.0.9 update released.
Total Top Points
Words Per Coin
Words Per 1000 Coins

And here’s the after update.

Maximum Possible Points and Coin Accumulation for 1,445 Games on or after 10/15/2011, but before 10/19/2011. This is AFTER 4.0.9 update released.
Total Top Points
Words Per Coin
Words Per 1000 Coins

The upshot seems to be there’s now a 14.2% tax on coins. That is, you’ve got to play about 14.2% longer to earn 1,000 coins (or any number of coins) than before the 4.0.9 iOS update.

Conspiracy for cash? That’s for you to decide. But personally I like Zynga, and I think they’re good guys (and gals). But it is a business trying to earn a profit. If they don’t make a profit, they likely won’t keep the game going for you to play. But you can still just play longer and keep your cash.

Hanging with Friends Bonus Tiles


 Updated: Check out a final word from Zynga.