My 2019 review of World Anvil is the top-ranked World Anvil review on Google. I’m not saying this to brag, merely that’s it done the rounds and I’m kind of surprised. On social media, however, I’ve occasionally copped flak from fans of the service. Mostly I ignore it, but I do chuckle when someone suggests that I’m biased against World Anvil.
Personally, I thought my review was fair and honest. I did not take their money, and my opinion was wholly my own. Incidentally, I do see a lot of sponsored advertorial reviews on YouTube by individuals who conveniently forget to point out World Anvil’s flaws in both its features, and its business model. I guess their ethics are different to mine...
To my critics, I’d like to address a couple of points
- I have zero ill-will towards World Anvil, in fact, I wish them every success in their enterprise. They’ve made it easier for their users to build worlds, and for that they are to be commended, as I noted in my review.
- My review is 18 months old, and my opinions then are based on what the service offered in May 2019. I have not returned to World Anvil since publishing my review, and I fully accept that World Anvil has most likely improved since then.
- I do not have an issue with subscription services, on the contrary I wrote this article in Ulysses, which I’ve gladly paid for on an annual basis since 2018. Good software deserves to be paid for.
- I am a novelist, not a Dungeon Master, and I framed my review in this context. When I reviewed World Anvil, it offered me nothing I couldn’t do for free on the privacy of my computer using tools I already had.
- World-building is a potentially decades long creative endeavour. I merely asked my readers to consider this timeframe before jumping in the deep end and throwing years worth of material behind a paywall in somebody else’s proprietary database.
No, I don’t have a beef with World Anvil, and I find the notion idiotic.
Yes, I expect World Anvil to have improved since my review in 2019.
Ultimately, I decided that World Anvil wasn’t for me because of points 4 and 5, and because I didn’t like the UI. It was my opinion, and I stand by it — at least as it was in 2019!
However, times, apps and people change. Part of the justification for subscription pricing is the developer’s promise to keep cranking out new features and improvements. I would hope that World Anvil has honoured that committment. Since May 2019, I have also dabbled in D&D as a player and a DM, and I am planning to create a new gaming world separate to the world where I set my stories. A gaming world is very much in World Anvil’s remit, and so I have been curious about looking at the app with refreshed eyes.
With people on social media telling me I should revisit the app, I am thinking of doing it — not for them, but for you, dear reader, as well as my renewed curiosity. And, I probably owe it to World Anvil too, given that outside of YouTube I am their most read reviewer.