Enjin Review: Retro Site Builder for Gamers & Minecraft Fans
While Enjin isn’t solely a service for online gamers, it’s undoubtedly true that game-related site building services are what this company is best known for.
According to Enjin’s website copy, it’s the “largest gaming community creation platform online” with over 250,000 game-related communities (linked to thousands of different games) and over 18 million registered gamer/users.
First created in 2009 in Singapore, Enjin clients enjoy over 60 million monthly views across the globe and millions of dollars (in U.S. currency) in sales of virtual goods.
In addition, the company offers Enjin Coin, a cryptocurrency specifically for gaming. With it, you can implement and maintain inventories of virtual goods in your game. The company has published and regularly updates a whitepaper with information on its cryptocurrency products and services, which you can read for the most current details on Enjin Coin.
Enjin’s tools and services can also be used to create non-gaming related blogs. But is it the best choice for your site project?
Let’s take a look and find out.
Enjin Plans and Services
The company offers three levels of site-builder plans, ranging from the free entry-level package to a higher-end premium plan.
Some key notables:
- There are no bandwidth limitations on any of Enjin’s plans
- Your Enjin plan can handle millions of community users
- Enjin’s pricing for its two paid plans is competitive with other similar providers
- You can pay monthly, or prepay for a determinate period in exchange for a discounted rate.
You can choose a second-tier domain name (i.e., http://myworld.enjin.com) or, alternatively, if you already have registered a top-level domain name, you can direct your domain to the Enjin site servers and use it instead.
Among the many pieces of added functionality you can integrate into your Enjin blog are user forums. You can see several examples of the user forum module in action on the company’s site. The forum module is user-friendly from both the administrative and end-user perspective. You can provide gamified features, such as the ability to level up or gain rewards and points, based on discussion participation in your forums.
What Games Does Enjin Play Nicely With?
Enjin claims to be the only content management system that offers “true in-game data integrations.” And it’s true that Enjin integrates well with a number of big-name games.
Enjin is probably best known for sites and blogs affiliated with Minecraft. However, the service supports sites associated with a number of different popular games, including guild-based games such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The New Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online and more.
You can also create clan-based blogs for games like Unturned, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and Grand Theft Auto V, among others. Or you can build a fan blog for a number of different games, including eSport games such as League of Legends or Dota 2.
If gaming isn’t really your thing at all, you can still use Enjin to create a blog around any topic or niche you can think of. You may find the templates somewhat limited, however, and there are probably other more generalized SaaS site building providers out there that will better suit your needs.
Site Design and Templates
How a guild or clan site looks is important. It’s not just a question of vanity. It’s your first impression on future members, and hence a critical recruitment tool.
When you sign up and confirm your account, you’ll first be greeted by your site populated with a default theme. However, through the admin drop-down menu at the top of your frontend interface, you’ll find “Themes” — over 300 of them, approximately 65 of which are free and the rest available only to paid plan subscribers.
These themes don’t boast cutting-edge design techniques, but they do create relatively attractive, easy-to-navigate, and interesting-looking sites. Most are built along a two- or three-column layout, with Typepad-style widgets such as calendars, log-in boxes, users online, boxes for link lists, and more.
The effect is cluttered and busy to users who may be more accustomed to cleaner, more minimalistic blog designs, which is the general trend these days. While the themes aren’t unattractive and may appeal to a specific gaming community depending on what that audience is used to seeing, the overall effect is a dated appearance that’s neither clean nor minimalist.
On the other hand, Enjin does give you access to tools that enable theme editing through drag-and-drop and point-and-click methods. You can alter colors through hex codes, reorder elements, change the height and width of layout elements and spacers, and more.
The Enjin site builder tools aren’t as customizable as they would be with full CSS and HTML access. Even so, the system is fairly robust, considering the ease-of-use.
Enjin’s Customer Support
Enjin provides two main areas of its official site where customers can seek out informal support. The Enjin support center features a number of categorized written guides. These guides include a small number of how-to articles, as well as more generalized explanations of various Enjin tools and features.
If the written and video knowledgebase files don’t solve your problem, Enjin’s user forums include a section dedicated to support requests and assistance, either from Enjin staff or from other users. The forum also includes a board devoted to posting bug reports.
Enjin offers several task-based video tutorials. Video tutorial topics include:
- Inserting media files into your site pages
- Managing user awards
- Creating and implementing a tagging structure, and more.
There are videos for adding and working with Enjin’s available modules as well, such as:
- Calendar and events
- Text slider
- Site analytics.
These add rich content and helpful tools to your Enjin-powered blog.
Enjin also offers a ticket-based support system, as most providers in the digital site-building/hosting field do.
Billing & Guarantees
Enjin claims that it’s committed to no-hassle pricing structures. It promises no hidden fees or surprise costs for any additional functionality, and an all-inclusive package of features.
If you’re willing to pay in advance for three to twelve months, you will receive a substantial discount off the standard pricing structure, from 5% (for 3 months) up to 20% (for 12 months).
Couple the prepayment term with Enjin’s two-week free trial period to evaluate the top-level plan’s features to find out for yourself whether Enjin is right for your needs. If you decide at any point during that time period that Enjin isn’t the right fit for your project, you can cancel without any further obligation.
You can also upgrade your account, downgrade it to the free plan, or cancel altogether at any point (even after the free trial period).
Enjin accepts payments through direct credit card payment or through PayPal.
Enjin: The Bottom Line
If you’re planning to build a guild or clan blog, or any site that integrates with a major online game, Enjin’s game-specific features are worth investigating. Otherwise, you can probably find a better, more customizable, and less dated-looking solution elsewhere.