Overcoming your mojo addiction

Before I launched into today’s topic, I had intended to ask, “What’s up with that apothecary creature?” Is it a guy in a mask, or some evil being hideously transformed by the fumes from his concoctions? Now I’m just pissed because We Rule has announced they’re discontinuing fairies.

What’s the deal here? Are we developing some kind of predjudice against magical creatures? We keep the mythical but mundane dragons and griffins, but dump the mythical but magical unicorns and fairies? This is blatant mythism, and I for one think it’s totally inappropriate in America and it’s Canadian suburb. I know I was upset that we couldn’t actually see the fairies, but the solution was to write the code to make the fairies appear, not kill them off entirely.

This may be why the We Rule developers leaked the rumor to the Mojo Farm that Apple was making them kill off We Rule Red and Gold on Saturday. When we woke up Saturday morning and found our Gold apps still operating, allowing us to manage multiple kingdoms, we would take the news about fairies with a sigh of relief. “Well, they may have killed the fairies, but I still have my Gold.”

I look forward to eliminating all the multiple incarnations of the game if ngmoco:) would only add a login feature to the one We Rule. Then, when Carol and I are on the road and there’s no network connection, we can both use my 3G iPad, and I won’t have to listen to her complain that I got the better iPad.

Okay, she’ll still complain because I will limit the time she has to harvest her crops and trees and I still will make her use her iPhone for email, but at least I can reply, “If I didn’t share for We Rule, you couldn’t answer your email and your crops will rust.” It won’t satisfy her, but at least I’ll be able to rationalize to myself that I’m the fair partner in the marriage.

So ngmoco:) drops code dust in our kingdoms to kill off the fairy tree seeds that will allow new fairy trees to grow, and instead they give us the creepy guy from the apothecary. And he is creepy.

New character crisis

When I wrote the review of We Farm for iPad Envy I noted that the developers seem to be introducing some characters into that game that made my skin crawl. The straw man has claws like Freddy Krueger and the Veterinarian clown seems to watch the children in a manner that makes me want to call the cops and child protective services.

Now the apothecary chemist comes to We Rule. And he wouldn’t be the first character who seems, well, wrong for the game. We Rule is a game about medieval to renaissance era kingdoms. When we got the university and bookstore we got two completely non-medieval characters. I thought the hot dogs in the butcher shop were stretching the line, but the characters are going too far.

I don’t object to having a black professor with the university, but at least he should be in robes. And he shouldn’t look so clueless. It’s about time ngmoco:) acknowledged the world isn’t white, but this professor is like Clarence Thomas, who, as Thurgood Marshall observed, was the wrong brother for the job. Black scholars did exist, but they were most likely Moslem, so in addition to scholarly robes he should be carrying a copy of Aristotle and the Qur’an. And the girl with glasses and a pronounced bosom that comes with the bookstore? Well, let’s face it. Her character belongs in movies on the internet that you must claim to be 18 to watch; not in a medieval bookstore. The busty babe with the glasses and books just waiting for someone to sweep her off her feet is the oldest cliche in the porn industry.

Or so I’ve been told.

Even the clock guy looks more like a 20th nerd than a medieval clocksmith. Did they even have screwdrivers with plastic handles before the twentieth century? I don’t think so.

You know what character we need? (Besides the fairies who were promised with the illustration but who still haven’t shown their faces and who are know about to lose their ability to reproduce.) A jester. What kingdom exists without a jester? If the developers need to give us a building to give us a jester character, how about a theater? (Or the US Congress?) Just don’t give us a theater and then give us Shakespeare. I want a jester.

Curing your mojo addicttion

One of the most consistent requests I have received in comments and email is how to build a kingdom without using mojo. I certainly feel the pain of players who don’t want to watch their life savings drain into a virtual kingdom or commit themselves to massive credit card debt to keep up with every new trinket ngmoco:) introduces into the game.

The newest move by the ngmoco;) team is to offer 2000 mojo in a cask for $100. Now on the surface, that’s a bargain. If you bought your mojo 30 at a time, as you needed them, you would spend $100 and only have 600 mojo. The cask offers a net gain of 1400 mojo.

But we’re talking $100 real dollars here, not 100 We Rule Virtual Coins. One hundred US dollars that are admittedly worth fifty 1990 dollars and we would be lucky if we could exchange them for 60 Euros, but still—one hundred dollars. That’s dinner and drinks at a decent restaurant and your soup course at a restaurant with more than two stars. That’s two decent seats to a baseball game in Yankee Stadium (if you buy them at the box office and not from a scalper) and I’m not a Yankees fan.

That’s four decent seats at Arlington Stadium for Rangers fans (decent seats, not the ones way up at the back of the grandstand where the players look like ants and you have to imagine you actually see the ball), who finally have a team worth paying to see and who may actually play a first playoff round against someone other than the Yankees. And if ngmoco:) adds a baseball or football stadium to the buildings I will be really upset.

A quidditch stadium, however, that would be cool. Especially if they include a couple of quidditch players flying around the kingdom and dodging the red dragons. Like the faires would do, if we could only see the fairies—the one’s who survive Wednesday’s purge Of course they would probably charge half a million coins but you could get one for 45 mojo.

Mojo puts players in an awkward position. On the one hand, we resent spending so much money on a “free” game. On the other hand, maintaining the servers and upgrading the software costs money and the only way for the developers to get money is to collect it from us.

Can you succeed without using mojo? I believe you can, but it will take you longer to climb through the levels. I will admit that I spend more on mojo than I originally intended, but a lot of that is to try new things for this blog. I build every new building and order from a proxy kingdom to find out what the rate of return will be for the shop charts. I use the mojo to add the expensive shops because it allows me to set them up quickly and use the mojo to build the item and return the order to my proxy to find out the rate of return for vendors and the time taken to complete. I spent a lot of mojo in July experimenting with crop harvests to see if early early harvests could move me to a new level (they can, but you will have to buy a flask or two).

And I’m lazy and need too much immediate gratification.

I should also warn players that as you get to the higher levels of the game it is much easier to use mojo to install a new shop than to pay 350,000 coins. I generate enough revenue to earn that much in a couple of days, but when I find a good bargain for players (such as the Cartographer’s shop and Fairy Tree) I can deploy them more quickly with mojo. And mojo expenditures for the higher priced items cost a fraction of the value of mojo for items like groves. The mojo for a ruby grove (10) is .01 percent of it’s cost in coins. The mojo cost for a red dragon is something like .00014 percent.

Carol doesn’t like to buy mojo because, in her opinion, “once you buy it you will find an excuse to use it.” When she makes this comment I don’t know if she’s making a general observation or making a point about me personally, and I don’t want to ask. But she has a point.

Mojo reduction tips

Readers have already been offering tips to avoid using mojo. Eternal Rookie suggests that readers generate revenue without “spending much on businesses. Instead make 35 orders from friends. Use the coins gained on even more groves (for coins and XP) and gold roads (for XP). This method needs no mojo whatsoever.”

I would hold off on a serious outlay on gold roads until L30 because you should concentrate on buying income generating properties. But the rest of this is sound at any level.

I would also suggest you always make sure you are planting the crop you intend to plant. Hold your finger over your crop until it turns gray, indicating it’s actually selected. It’s easy to piss away mojo harvesting the wrong crop so you can keep all your fields to a schedule.

I’m convinced the designers built a slow response into the plant selector to make it switch to the next crop at the last instant.

And if you do plant the wrong crop, don’t worry. Let it rot or harvest out. In the long run the few coins you lose won’t be nearly as costly as the 3 or 4 mojo you spend to fix the mistake.

There’s a bigger picture, however, and I’d like to paint the big picture and then suggest a more immediate strategy to beat the mojo grind.

The key is to learn to play smart. And expect to devote more time to the game than players who buy mojo. Another friend LadyBlue1 told me how she felt at that great gap between 29 and 30 when she had to earn 95,000 experience points. It was almost an impossible task. I went through that feeling too, but I had promised Carol “no more mojo” and this strategy got me there.

Building without mojo takes three things:

  1. Patience,
  2. Sound planning, and
  3. Endurance
  4. .

The endurance comes from my strategy for earning quick coins when I just can’t afford the mojo.

The patience part is maybe the hardest. You will have to watch other players with money to burn on mojo outpace you. This is especially frustrating when a Level 12 player starts ordering from you when you’re L20 and they have their ruby citadel before you hit L22. Just remember, the interest on the mojo they bought with their credit card will probably exceed the national debt before long.

A player whose kingdom I used to frequent made a huge push to move to the top of the leader board in We Farm and the top 100 in We Rule. She began to return orders immediately, which meant she was spending a lot on mojo. She succeeded in both goals, but I suspect she maxed her cards because now she’s dropping behind more quickly than she moved ahead.

Or I could be completely fantasizing a story based on numbers. But it makes a good moral point, don’t you think?

The second part is the sound planning. If you build your kingdom wisely, you will discover your revenues exceed your expectations. Some of this involves making completely counterinutive moves, but when Carol finally took my advice and tried them, she discovered she was rolling in more cash than she could have imagined.

I won’t discuss the elements of sound planning in detail because they can’t solve your mojo problems overnight. I will discuss them at greater length as the blog develops. But you can start implementing them now, and in a few weeks they will pay off:

  • Build groves from the moment they become available. When ever you have spare cash buy a grove, and start mxing orange and ruby groves as soon as you can purchase rubies.
  • Build shops for profit. Don’t buy every shop as it becomes available, buy the one’s with the best return at your current level, e.g., tailor shops, ponds, bakeries, inns, milliners, clocktowers, and serpent lairs.
  • Never let your orders outside your kingdom keep people from ordering at yours. You are allowed 30 orders (you may get a couple over the line). If you have 30 orders with other kingdoms, no one can order from your shops. You earn far more money and experience when people order from you.

All that being done, you will still reach that moment when ngmoco releases a shop with an even better value than anything else at your level, and you don’t have the coins. It’s time for an evening session devoted enterely to We Rule.

The evening session

It may seem dumb to devote an entire evening to nothing but We Rule, but you would be no different than people who spend whole evenings rolling 20-sided dice and killing trolls. And the best part is, you can keep it to yourself. No embarrassing appearances at Comiccon or running around with chain mail at Renaissance Festivals praying no one is recording you on their cell phone to post the video on the web or your company server.

Set your cable receiver to your favorite channel, put a bottle of your favorite drink on the table next to you and launch We Rule. Hopefully, you have an iPad because this will be hell on an iPhone. Here’s what you do:

Collect Coins We Rule gives out free coins every ten minutes. Set your iPhone timer and collect them every time the offer renews You can collect as many as 3000 coins an hour. Each hour buys an oraange tree.
Plant cash crops. Pre-Level 30: Corn has the highest cash payoff of any plant, but you have to sit on top of it. It harvests every 45 seconds but the return per field is $400 per hour. You won’t get every harvest exactly, but you should still get close. If you need to run to the bathroom, plant wheat or take your iPad. If you need to eat, plant rice or (if you can’t interrupt your meal, tomatoes).
After Level 30: Forget corn. Cat whiskers yield 250 coins and experience points per hour per field. This is a good balance of experience and you only have to collect every 12 minutes. Bamboo produces a higher coin yield than cat whiskers but a much lower experience yield in 45 minutes. Neither pay as well as corn.

Is this boring? Yes, but no more than knitting or compiling baseball statistics. The only real problem will be a tired finger because once you get a rhythm going, you will pretty much be harvesting and planting corn row after row after row only to have the first row you planted ready for harvest in 10 or 20 seconds.

The good news is you will also be accumulating around 80 experience points per field per hour. This is peanuts at the advanced levels, but still significant before level 30.

If you don’t get what you need one night, play a couple of nights. This may seem like a lot of effort, but the sad rule is if you don’t want to play the long game, you need to spend money for mojo, or time on your iPad.

If you need to accumulate coins and experience to advance a level at the higher rounds, try a weekend marathon.

The weekend marathon

I have devoted several weekends to We Rule. The first time, Carol and I put a whole season of Chuck and two seasons of Eureka in the DVD carousel so we wouldn’t get distracted with our real lives. The second time I watched World Cup games. I plugged my iPad recharger cable in so I wouldn’t have to take time off to recharge and pissed away three days on collecting coins and experience points. This time the coins should be used to plant groves.

This may seem expensive, but think about it. At level 29 you should have 12 fields. At 400 coins per hour that’s just under $5k an hour for each harvest. In two hours you can buy a new ruby tree. Over the weekend you can plant a dozen or more, and those coins and experience points really begin to add up.

Let’s do the math now. Suppose you call in a mental health day and devote eight hours on Friday to your kingdom and settle for six hours sleep so you can make all four tree harvests. You earn $24K collecting free coins every ten minutes. Assuming you can’t harvest corn every minute of that hours you will probably earn $32K for your harvest and and just under eight thousand experience points (80xp x 8 hrs x 12 fields), which is a drop in the bucket toward L30, but you’re on your way.

The groves, however, will begin to pay off big in experience points and the ruby groves will pay off bigh in cash. Over the weekend you can buy 30 ruby groves, or more than 90 orange groves. You should actually aim for 20 rubies and 30 orange to get a solid mix of coins and experience. At that ratio your kingdom will now generate an extra $6500 and 9400 xp per day once the weekend plays out.

Trust me, this won’t reduce the temptation to buy mojo, and the mojo pusher will find new ways to lure you back to the mojo den and mojo pipe. But it should back you out of those tight corners where you need to buy mojo to get unstuck from a rut.


Visit my kingdom at totalthinker, and Carol’s at JennyManytoes. Write me at wrgrimoire@gmail.com.


iPad Envy is created entirely using apps from my iPad.
Please email me at iPadenvy@me.com.
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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dee14850
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 08:56:21

    Absolutely brilliant and very sound advice. I too have bought mojos but mainly have built my kingdom using a very similar strategy to the one you are recommending. I am hoovering around the 400 mark and a very happy there. Feel free to visit my kingdom, ID dee14850

    Reply

  2. Cathy
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 03:44:09

    Another way to “fix” a mistake when planting crops instead of using Mojo. Sell the farm and then rebuy it. Sure, it costs a net 225 game coins, but that is better for me than real money from a few Mojo.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 14, 2010 @ 20:09:12

      This is extreme, but it makes sense. If it’s 1 mojo for 1 crop (say accidentally planting cat whiskers instead of blackberries) I would probably use the mojo. But if I planted peppers or broccoli instead of Cauliflower, I’d do it in a heartbeat. You won’t make as much money, but you still make more money than waiting for the plants to harvest. Good tip.

      Reply

  3. ravenpuff
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 15:37:20

    If you don’t understand about the apothacary guy, watch the movie “Restoration” with Robert Downey Jr. Here’s a photo of the apothacary mask from

    Here’s the excerpt from the web page that accompanies the photo:

    “In the movie, to face the pest, Merivel makes pass for John Pierce, to purify his own life, a curious mask is placed (precedent of certain Venetian masks?) In the shape of head of bird, and in the supposed beak he introduces mixtures of flowers and medicinal herbs this way to avoid to inhale the corrupt air of the stays of the patients. ”

    http://medycineenglishversion.blogspot.com/2009/08/restoration.html

    In regards to buying mojo, it’s only when they threatened to take the unicorn meadow away, and I had yet amassed enough mojo to buy one, I broke down and bought some. Then when they were taking away the Fairy Trees, I figured, “Screw it, I’ll buy enough for 5,” before they took them away.

    On the We Rule forum site getsatisfaction.com, I’ve suggested to Joe Wagner that ngmoco should bring back the unicorn meadow for a limited time, like Halloween weekend, but not Thanksgiving or Christmas when people will be off line or away from WiFI access during holidays visiting families. We’ll see if my suggestion takes root.

    I’m wondering if there is an upper limit of number of buildings they can offer at any time… When they take one building away, they replace it with another or two. I’ve been posting to a thread on new building suggestions on the getsatisfaction.com site.

    Some of my shop suggestions include a church (at low level) with an upgrade to cathedral at higher levels. A separate thread on adding a church has lead me to believe ngmoco won’t step into that minefield of religion.

    But I’ve also suggested a coopersmith (barrels), a fish monger, market squares (for decoration), a tanner, enchanted forest, weaver or woolen mill, brewery, basket weaver, olive trees, chestnut trees, furniture maker, pottery store w/ kiln, garlic crops, gooseberry crops, apple orchards (function like the orange and ruby groves), and a bridge with a troll under it.

    I have a feeling with the Fairy Tree gone, something is coming out this Thursday.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 04:16:01

      Yes, my joke collapsed in the face of history. There’s another comment on this as well. But Restoration is now in my Netflix cue and your prediction proved correct—the Phoenix replaced them, eating tons of space in the kingdom.

      I think new toy is afraid to add a church lest the priests launch an inquisition against the wizards and witches. But maybe the troll could tear down the church if they get too intrusive.

      I want a diamond tree that costs $100K that gives 500 every six hours and 350 bonus points. That would stop a lot of stacking too. And snow.

      Reply

  4. Chimera
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 17:18:18

    Just FYI for the apothecary dude, back in the medieval era the doctors would wear those beak-like masks as a primitve gas mask to avoid contracting whatever desease the patient had.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 04:08:52

      Sadly, the problem with comedy is it always dies in the face of facts.

      Ten-to-one he inspires a Jason/Freddy style movie series in the next few years though.

      Reply

  5. Whitehousemissy
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 04:40:10

    I have three fairy tress planted and I have one fairy. I have a picture if her if you want it.

    Reply

  6. ravenpuff
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 04:43:08

    Regarding an inquisition if a church is brought into the game, a funnier response might be a Witchsmeller Pursuivant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchsmeller_Pursuivant)

    Maybe they can have a little cave with a cute little killer rabbit for their next building.

    Reply

  7. Carol
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 18:41:47

    I’d like to see the fairy picture, too, because I’m convinced they don’t really exist. Remember the two little girls in Ireland who faked the fairy pictures, and had lots of people convinced of the existence of fairies? Today they’d use Photoshop!

    Reply

  8. Tammy
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 14:09:15

    Friend trouble? Have you noticed any problems over the past month adding or deleting friends? I can’t seem to do either any more. Thanks, Tammy

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 22, 2010 @ 04:31:03

      Yes, and in we farm as well. If you delete the app, and then reinstall it, your friends list comes back for a couple of days. But once it begins, it doesn’t seem to stop.

      Reply

  9. Pcav1138
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 17:42:11

    I finally broke down and decided to buy a bottle, or flask or whatever, of 300 mojo today… what do you think would be most profitable to me? buying buildings with mojo, and saving my coins up while my buildings build? Or using my mojo to grow crops faster, and then build buildings with coins?

    Reply

  10. the hardest part of buying an ipad
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 14:45:16

    I only have a WiFi version of the iPad, but still love it. It would be neat to have it get internet on the road, but I do not travel that much so I can do without.

    Reply

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