As we announced earlier this year on the website, we’ll be doing some changes to the free tier of World Anvil. When we started, we wanted to give everything we could for free, to allow people to enjoy World Anvil – and, of course, we still want to do that! We feel that the creativity of the community, and the sharing of that creativity, boosts the whole community. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that there are users out there who took our kindness as a weakness and started abusing World Anvil – especially trying to get around the paid features – at the expense of the community at large, and us.
Most obviously, we found worlds with 2000+ articles all in draft-mode as a way to hide content, and worlds with over 1000 secrets – both methods used to hide content, in order to try to bypass the privacy restrictions for free users. We also found very active worlds with over 2000 articles which were not part of the guild at any point, clearly used by multiple people from around the world working from the same account – thus bypassing the co-authors feature and violating our Terms of Service. And, last but not least, we found worlds with myriad articles, maps, and timelines active since the very early days of World Anvil that far exceeded the scope of what we’d expected the free use to be.
Simply put, these massive, free worlds hurt the community: loading a world of 2000+ articles and 1000 secrets takes a lot of processing power without giving anything back to the growth and maintenance of the website. It’s simply unsustainable and, if left unchecked, could mean the end of World Anvil for everyone.
Initially, we announced that we would lock Freeman accounts to 100 articles, but after going through the stats we decided that we will raise that to 175 articles. Accounts with over 175 articles will not be able to create new or edit old articles until the number falls under the limit. The number of drafts a free user can have will remain the same.
Removal of Secrets
As previously announced, the Secrets function will be completely removed from free accounts. People who already have secrets will be able to view their content on the Secrets page, but will not be able to create or edit their existing secrets.
Removal of Notebook
The notebook currently only allows for 20 notes to be created under it for Freeman members, which many users found confusing. For simplification of the system, the Notes feature will be completely removed for Freeman users. That will also mean faster development for the upcoming updates on the Notebook feature, which is going to be incredibly exciting for Guild Members.
Removal of Articles & World Exporting capabilities.
Article and World Exporting is one of the toughest processes for the system. It is currently getting a massive upgrade that will allow Guild members to also access their content via an API. In light of the two and to simplify the system. Free members will not have access to this feature.
Timelines and Maps Limitation
The number of maps for free users will be restricted to 2 maps per world. At this point, we’ll try not to touch accounts over the limit but, of course, the creation of new maps or timelines for those accounts will not be available.
It really saddens me that it came to this, but when we saw that people were sending dozens of support requests for their massive worlds – requests which can take hours and hours of our time – and giving back nothing to the community, we realized that it’s simply not sustainable. We’re optimists and we always want to see the best in people always, but seeing people abuse our kindness – often with a deep sense of entitlement at the same time… it just breaks our heart.
As always – and this is not something that will ever change – the more we are able to afford it, the more features will trickle down to the Freemen. But, first and foremost, we pledge to keep the amazing people who do financially support the project in the foreground and give them the best possible service and value for their money.
It is for this reason that the Journeyman subscription is kept at the lowest possible price – it works out at just at $3 a month (less than a cup of coffee), for a 12 month membership. If you do want to support us, get loads of extra features and help us continue developing and growing World Anvil, you can join the Worldbuilders Guild here.
We understand that a large part of the community are struggling students, and we want to do our best to help them. Both Janet and I have been starving students and we understand what it’s like! We’re working on a way to give students a way to get discounted memberships. In the meantime, if you fall under this category, please do message us and we’ll do our best to help.
We love the World Anvil community with all our hearts, and will continue doing our best to serve you – and your beautiful worlds! We’re in this for the long haul, and we want to future-proof World Anvil, so you can build your worlds year after year, and make them the best they can be.
With kind regards,
UPDATE 5 Oct, 2019
Since we have made this announcement not 1 but 3 free or one-time purchase projects which are worldbuilding related announced they will be ceasing operations because they can no longer support the development of these tools. Apart from this being very sad news for the community as a whole, it’s also for us confirmation that these changes need to be made if we are to continue providing World Anvil. If you do like the tools, please consider supporting the project