I guess you could say this is related to @ChaoticDeluge’s thread (right here), but this thread is strictly about the app itself and the company that created it. Oh god, this is gonna be one heck of a rant (please keep in mind that this is my opinion and I may be missing a few points that make Episode a bad but good app, but an awful company. If I missed anything, it’s because I either never experienced it or I’m unaware of it).
My experience with the app
I’ve been playing on Episode since 2016, and I loved it at first. Many stories to choose from, and we could even create our own stories on our phone (even though it wasn’t really practical). Even though I wasn’t on it a lot, I do remember liking a couple of stories such as My Episode Lover and the Demi Lovato series. Really, I had no interest in any other stories, and when I did give them a chance, they were boring. Nowadays, I almost never go on the app except to finish some really good (in my opinion) stories such as Lifelike by Cindy Gaultier and Bad Behavior by Aaliyah. Also, since I have an android I can never tell which Episode stories are complete unless the authors have written “Complete” in the title or someone tells me they are.
What went wrong with Episode?
So many things, to be honest, and I wasn’t able to figure them out until now. Here’s several things that are wrong with Episode and the company itself (in no particular order):
Featured Stories and Gem Choices
I feel like not going into detail about why this is on the list, but for those who are curious on my opinion or for those who don’t understand…
Most stories that are featured are romance, which is tiring to see considering that they all are the same, along with the male LIs (not exactly female as we’re talking about default LI options) either being a cocky billionaire, a bad boy (ugh ), a famous rockstar or just a guy in general (like a best friend) with no personality. The worst part about these romance stories is that the romance is so fast-paced and there’s barely any time for relationship development. Speaking of relationship development, they took the whole slowburn element out of two of Bri’s stories (Please, Save Me and Perfect Little Housewife) and ruined it! Like, wth Episode?! (A lot of stories that aren’t in the romance section but still include romance are also fast-paced)
The gem choices are an abomination. I’ve never really liked them to begin with, which is why I’ve been trying to avoid featured stories (and having no luck in doing so because of my curiosity). There only used to be 1 or 2 gem choices per episode, but ever since 2018 (I think) someone on DRUGS at the Episode company thought it was the best idea in the world to implement (at minimum) 3+ gem choices PER EPISODE. What. The actual. F***… did Episode think of getting out of this?! Oh right, money (insert cha-ching sound effect here). That’s the problem with the Episode app and the company itself. The pressure that comes with readers feeling the need to spend gems on a gem choice to see the impact of what will happen in a story, that they actually go out of their way to ask their parents to buy them about 100 gems for $10 just makes Episode look like a bunch of greedy d**ks. And for the record, I was one of those teens that asked my mom to pay $5 on 60 gems for a featured story—it was not worth it because the story was already bad to begin with.
On the topic of gem choices, I heard people on the Episode forums and Instagram complain about having to pay gems to see the next Episode. I, personally, never had that happen to me (and thank god). But I do have one problem with gem choices in community stories, and they are what people call, “Support the author” gem choices. Am I seriously the only one who hates this feature? They have to be the most useless thing to spend gems on ever. I get that this is a way for writers to unlock the Writers payment program without having to feature your story, but was implementing more than 2 gem choices per episode (with two gem choices and one free choice) not enough for you? I know there are better ways to make Episode writers happy with getting paid without making us readers suffer with the pressure of paying real money.
Again with the gem choices, Episode has recently made it to where character customization is super limited. Why, you ask? Ombre hairstyles—something that nobody asked for, but here we are. What do these ombre hairstyles do for the story? Nothing—absolutely nothing. They are just there to pressure you into spending gems on them. The worst part is that they don’t even look that good at all! There’s this one ombre hairstyle that literally looks like s**t. I’m not even joking! The way the hair is color-combined with the brown and gold makes it look like someone shat on it. Episode should’ve just made it so in the Writers Portal, we can give our characters multiple hair colors in one style.
After reading an Episode of a featured story, you earn a gem. That’s it. Not much of reward, really.
Oh, but what about featured stories on Episode that you don’t earn gems out of when you read an Episode? Are those stories even worth reading? Not to me. I especially don’t like those stories. If that was the case, there shouldn’t be gem choices in those stories to begin with (for example, The Secret of Rain and Emerald).
Problematic themes in stories
Can someone please tell me how this app is rated 12+, yet majority of the stories (mostly romance) include themes that are way too mature for teens. I don’t think that adding a “Warning” splash at the beginning of each episode helps most of the time because we have morbid curiosity. Sometimes, the mature themes are as light (to me) as sx (not too explicit) and drinking, but then there’s those themes in stories that shouldn’t even be allowed like rpe, abuse, and mafia, but they get through the Episode guidelines for God knows what reason. Now, there’s no problem with addressing the seriousness of these issues, as long as it isn’t too much for Episode to allow; the problem with these themes is the way many Episode authors portray them. For instance, the mafia stories. Thanks to Miss Mj and many other guilty authors, young readers (thank god I’m not one of them because I personally find them boring and now problematic) are influenced to thinking that dating a mafia boss is fun, exciting, and romantic when in reality, that is not even close to a real thing. Sorry, Miss Mj, but making Trey Bailey (the mafia boss in the Chain Reaction Series) only kill bad guys does not excuse his crime activity, his toxic behavior towards others (especially women), and his ugliness (seriously, why do all the mafia boys in her INK stories have Olive Skin, Blush Thin Lips, and Almond Eyes?). In a nutshell: too many Episode authors publish stories that glorify serious or illegal issues and badly influence their readers into thinking these things. I won’t even states them all because you know what they are.
Problematic and/or Racist Authors
Idk that many, but these include:
- Miss Mj
- Alphan (she’s racist)
- Andrianne Roxi
- Noob Loop (this lady/man whoever they are must be extremely s*xist as because of how weak all or her female MCs are. At least Miss Mj has Tori from Tori the Terror)
These following authors can’t take criticism and will block anyone on Instagram that even brings up an issue in their story, especially Miss Mj. And Alphan is racist, as you will see linked in this Instagram post.
How is it that if someone writes about a mature or sensitive topic with care and research, they get called out because it violates the guidelines, but Episode can write In My Bed (it’s been replaced with My First Everything now but it’s still not good) and Portia Got Pregnant and wait months before revamping or removing it thanks to feedback? Can someone tell me why Episode is so hypocritical at times? Same goes with popular authors vs. authors with less than 100,000 reads.
Lack of Diversity
Bad tropes and cliches
Everyone has their own opinions on which tropes and cliches are good and bad. Here are some that I hate/getting tired of (some other tropes or cliches that are out there are ones I never heard of or seen that much) :
- Bad boys
- POC best friend who is loud, sassy, and drags MC out to parties and clubs
- Gay boy best friend who’s horny as h*ll, wears pink, and only personality is being gay
- “I’m/She’s not like other girls”
- “I have my sources ”
- “You’re mine” in the most possessive, controlling voice ever
- “Out of my way, loser” by a mean girl (does anyone even call anyone a loser anymore?)
- New Girl gets noticed by everyone immediately in high school
- High School Makeovers
- Football Quarterback (there’s other positions in football, too you know!)
- Mean Girl Blonde Cheerleader (with no personality but being a b**ch)
- Shy and Nerdy Brunette MC
- Black Boy Gang Leader (I’m looking at you, Hunter from Him and I, even though I don’t like you like your simps do)
- Sexy Bad Boy 100 million year old vampire
- Alpha Werewolf (who’s cocky and sh*t)
- Making POCs look bad (in an offensive way like in Attracted to the Nerd)
- Love triangles (enough with the guys fighting over the girl!)
- Mary-Sue MC
- (Yes, this is a trope in my book) Default Female MCs that look basic as h*ll
- Non-asian INK or LL character with monolids
Their story search system
It’s all a mess. I search up one word and all of a sudden, I get a bunch of different results that aren’t even close to what I asked for. The search system needs to be more organized. It should be based on genre, author, the amount of reads, and Contest Winners. Anything would work except for the trash search system we have now.
No Update on the Profile Avatar App
It feels like we’re still in 2017 (or older, I guess) because the profile avatar has not been significantly updated except with the hairstyles. No new clothes, backgrounds, or anything. You can find the thread on the Episode forums for suggestions on a new profile avatar here.
Their Unwillingness to Listen to Criticism and Feedback
What’s the deal with me opening the app and then I get this message that says, “Are you enjoying the app?” and when I click “No”, they say “We’re sorry you aren’t enjoying Episode” but not doing anything about it. We give them a bunch of ways they can improve their app and most of the time, they don’t listen to our suggestions and continue to make their app worse every month.
Why don't you just delete the app instead of complaining about it?
First of all, I can complain about whatever I want constructively or in a whiny manner as I please. If you have deleted Episode from your app, that’s fine with me. But I still use the app to read the few remaining good stories out on the app. I read the bad stories to torture myself (lol, typical, right?) and see just how bad they are to try and improve my story (which I’m still on edge about continuing since it’s not on Episode and I’m struggling). There you go. Now you won’t have to comment that predictable question.
That’s all I could type for now. So, tell me! What are your rants and complaints about the Episode app and company? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions (it’s okay if you disagree. 🤷🏽)? Do you still have the app on your phone? Anything I missed? Reply down below and thank you so much for reading! (I’m whiny, I know. Blame my sensitivity for that )