The New York Times has updated its Wordle assistant WordleBot, including a new suggested starting word: SLATE. It previously recommended CRANE, but you may want to add this new one to your repertoire.
The New York Times introduced WordleBot in April as a “daily companion” to help analyze your Wordle play, and the team has made some changes with WordleBot 2.0. One of the most significant changes is that the bot no longer restricts its analysis to the subset of five-letter words that are known Wordle solutions — in other words, it is thinking more like a typical human player. Previously, the bot could have harshly judged you for guessing a legitimate word that, for whatever reason, isn’t one of the possible Wordle solutions, which could have felt unfair. According to the NYT’s post about the updates, the bot now has its own dictionary of approximately 4,500 words that it believes players might reasonably guess, and it assigns each of them a probability of being a solution.
As a result of the changes, the recommended starting word has shifted from CRANE to SLATE in regular mode and from DEALT to LEAST in hard mode. In theory, SLATE or LEAST are better starting points if you’re playing off the top of your head rather than from a known list of possible solutions. (However, if you’ve grown attached to CRANE or DEALT, the New York Times reports that both are still excellent openers.) About a quarter of WordleBot users started with CRANE today, indicating that the bot has an impact on people’s play.) The New York Times has also added some new stats, such as a rating for information gained from a specific guess.
Although the upgrades sound useful, WordleBot is still only available to paying Times Games, News, or All Access subscribers. If you’re a Wordle fan, the new bot might be an enticing reason to sign up for one of those subscriptions.