If we could really find friends would we be playing We Rule?


I originally intended to segue into the topic of finding friends with a discussion of the new pirate ships, shipyards and lake tiles. But even though I risk waiting and writing about them when they’re old news, I can’t. I stumbled onto another screed. Here’s the spoiler alert on ships. Buy at least one before they jump to L33 (unless you’re already at L33). They’re a great bargain for shoppers, and extremely profitable for kingdoms. The shipyards, on the other hand, is a mediocre investment, and the lake tiles are complicated and absorb a lot of real estate.


First of all, “city” isn’t a verb. So it galls me to even think the name of the new game “We City.” I get it, “We Rule,” “We Farm,” and now “We City.” But “city” simply isn’t a verb. We can rule kingdoms, our lives and the game We Rule. We can farm crops and fish for compliments. But we can’t city anything. It doesn’t even make sense to say we city.

Some of you will say, “city isn’t meant to be a verb. We City is the name of a city, like New York City.” By this thinking “rule” and “farm” aren’t verbs, they’re nouns. So the games are really like “the we rule,” “the we farm” and “the we city.”

But I don’t buy this for a minute. I can’t think of any player who ever thought of We Rule as anything but a short, simple sentence. There was never, ever in players’ minds a rule called the “we rule.” And for a city to have the word “city” in its name, there also has to be a state (as in “New York City is not the capitol of New York State”).
There is no We State, and there certainly is no game called “We State.”1 So I rest my case.

The only reason ngmoco:) used the name “We City” is to announce their blatant theft of the game City Story by TeamLava, which was nothing more than a rip-off of We Rule. You buy buildings and businesses, add roads and decorations, collect money and experience points.

Look familiar?City Story might as well have been called “We City.”

Click image to see full size

On top of that, sooner or later, you have to use something called city cash. You can’t expand your city boundaries without it, which makes ngmoco:) look generous by comparison. You also need it to buy rivers and stadiums and other cool facilities. That’s right, city cash is the City Story equivalent of mojo.
tcpn
And why did TeamLava create an urban rip-off of We Rule? Because ngmoco:) released We Farm which was a blatant rip-off of TeamLava’s game Farm Story. Admittedly, Farm Story was probably yet another attempt to capitalize on Facebook’s success with Farmville. You collect crops and raise animals and spend money to buy diamonds to buy stuff like fountains.

This person achieved Level 45 in Farm Story.

For some reason ngmoco:) decided they had to get a taste of all that farm action and, lest Farm Story somehow become more popular than We Rule, they launched We Farm two months later. We Farm looks a lot more like We Rule than Farm Story but TeamLava got the message. One month later they released City Story and ngmoco:) responded with We City, which looks almost exactly like City Story.

You need to buy city cash to expand your kingdom, I mean, city in City Story.

Click image to see full size

In the meantime, we keep getting inundated with games designed to suck money out of our bank accounts. And now that ngmoco:) has started this spiral of game copying we can expect Kingdom Story, We Space and Space Story (with in-app dilithium crystal purchases), We West and West Story (with in app ammunition purchases), We Pirate and Pirate Story (with in-app treasure purchases), We Sport and Sports Story, We Marine and Marine Story, We Robot and Robot Story, not to mention We Flush and Toilet Story.

This is not the way to stimulate the economy; it’s a strategy to get us to go deeper into debt and to empty our retirement accounts into the social network gaming industry. I decided it was time to draw the line with all these games.

Then I downloaded We City, and am already at L16.

And city still is not a verb.

The Friends Game

You don’t need to build a social network to play We Rule, or even to advance through the levels, but it makes the game more fun. You can build a kingdom on nothing but crops and groves. But what’s the fun in that?

We Rule friends are the best kind of friends because you have no obligations to them whatever. Furthermore, they will never show up at your door asking for money or dragging you off to a party where you drink to much and make an ass of yourself.

Making friends is hard. If it was easy, we probably wouldn’t devote so much time to playing We Rule trying to make virtual friends. Making virtual friends is hard too, especially for new players who are already overwhelmed by the game and its whirlwind introduction that hand holds you through eight or nine levels and then throws you to the sharks and mojo pushers.

You can start with a couple of basic moves. My first move was to ask Carol to play, if only to make my one friend and complete an objective to clear the next level. At the time, I was just looking at the game for a review on iPad Envy. I never expected Carol to actually like the game. Then she got good and I got competitive.

So I needed to find friends for my shops so I could keep ahead of her and attract customers to my shops. We discovered early on that with a cute name like JennyManytoes and a cute kitten icon, people loved Carol. I was totalthinker and there’s nothing cute or attractive about that. In fact, it’s downright arrogant. If I could go back and change my user name to something like FuzzyMuffin or BuffDude, or even PuppyLvr with the icon of an endearing puppy with head turned and ear flopping, I would.2

Being someone who naturally looks for ways around the system, and still not being convinced that this was a game I would play for the long haul, I set up three adjunct kingdoms (one of which I mention in footnote 2) to order from and to order from me. I think that was good enough to get me to level 14.

I also did a search for friends in my contacts list, and I actually found an old dear acquaintance (who has since become inactive). I friended her and discovered her kingdom was actually cool. She could sell beer in a tavern, she had dragons flying around and griffins limping. Her castle looked way better than mine. I thought, I could do this. So I had to quit goofing off and really find friends.

There are several basic strategies for finding the names of friends:

Troll the ngmoco:) support site

We Rule users love to post and gripe at Get Satisfaction. They don’t always get satisfaction, but they often leave their usernames. Browse the posts for the usernames of players you think might come shop at your kingdoms. Start with the most recent posts and look especially for players who mention that they are looking for customers or are promoting their kingdoms.

If you really want to make your job easier, download the app Desktop for a dollar. You can open a browser in one window and a notepad in a parallel window. Copy and paste user names from the browser into your notepad. Spelling is critical and this way they have only themselves to blame if they spell their username in the post.

Once you have ten or twelve names, copy and paste them into We Rule’s friends plus search bar.

Troll the We Rule review in the app store

Players looking for friends also find prospects at the App store. Browse through the reviews and look for players who ask for friends in their reviews. The more recent reviews are more likely to be more useful than the older ones, so pay attention to the dates. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t very helpful about posting reviews by their most recent dates so you may have to do a lot of browsing.

Many We Rule reviewers also list their usernames in the app store reviews.

Click image to see full size

In the meantime, we keep getting inundated with games designed to suck money out of our bank accounts. And now that ngmoco:) has started this spiral of game copying we can expect Kingdom Story, We Space and Space Story (with in-app dilithium crystal purchases), We West and West Story (with in app ammunition purchases), We Pirate and Pirate Story (with in-app treasure purchases), We Sport and Sports Story, We Marine and Marine Story, We Robot and Robot Story, not to mention We Flush and Toilet Story.

This is not the way to stimulate the economy; it’s a strategy to get us to go deeper into debt and to empty our retirement accounts into the social network gaming industry. I decided it was time to draw the line with all these games.

Then I downloaded We City, and am already at L16.

And city still is not a verb.

The Friends Game

You don’t need to build a social network to play We Rule, or even to advance through the levels, but it makes the game more fun. You can build a kingdom on nothing but crops and groves. But what’s the fun in that?

We Rule friends are the best kind of friends because you have no obligations to them whatever. Furthermore, they will never show up at your door asking for money or dragging you off to a party where you drink to much and make an ass of yourself.

Making friends is hard. If it was easy, we probably wouldn’t devote so much time to playing We Rule trying to make virtual friends. Making virtual friends is hard too, especially for new players who are already overwhelmed by the game and its whirlwind introduction that hand holds you through eight or nine levels and then throws you to the sharks and mojo pushers.

You can start with a couple of basic moves. My first move was to ask Carol to play, if only to make my one friend and complete an objective to clear the next level. At the time, I was just looking at the game for a review on iPad Envy. I never expected Carol to actually like the game. Then she got good and I got competitive.

So I needed to find friends for my shops so I could keep ahead of her and attract customers to my shops. We discovered early on that with a cute name like JennyManytoes and a cute kitten icon, people loved Carol. I was totalthinker and there’s nothing cute or attractive about that. In fact, it’s downright arrogant. If I could go back and change my user name to something like FuzzyMuffin or BuffDude, or even PuppyLvr with the icon of an endearing puppy with head turned and ear flopping, I would.2

Being someone who naturally looks for ways around the system, and still not being convinced that this was a game I would play for the long haul, I set up three adjunct kingdoms (one of which I mention in footnote 2) to order from and to order from me. I think that was good enough to get me to level 14.

I also did a search for friends in my contacts list, and I actually found an old dear acquaintance (who has since become inactive). I friended her and discovered her kingdom was actually cool. She could sell beer in a tavern, she had dragons flying around and griffins limping. Her castle looked way better than mine. I thought, I could do this. So I had to quit goofing off and really find friends.

There are several basic strategies for finding the names of friends:

Troll the ngmoco:) support site

We Rule users love to post and gripe at Get Satisfaction. They don’t always get satisfaction, but they often leave their usernames. Browse the posts for the usernames of players you think might come shop at your kingdoms. Start with the most recent posts and look especially for players who mention that they are looking for customers or are promoting their kingdoms.

If you really want to make your job easier, download the app Desktop for a dollar. You can open a browser in one window and a notepad in a parallel window. Copy and paste user names from the browser into your notepad. Spelling is critical and this way they have only themselves to blame if they spell their username in the post.

Once you have ten or twelve names, copy and paste them into We Rule’s friends plus search bar.

Troll the We Rule review in the app store

Players looking for friends also find prospects at the App store. Browse through the reviews and look for players who ask for friends in their reviews. The more recent reviews are more likely to be more useful than the older ones, so pay attention to the dates. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t very helpful about posting reviews by their most recent dates so you may have to do a lot of browsing.

Many We Rule reviewers also list their usernames in the app store reviews.

Click image to see full size

Find the friends of friends

Once you have a dozen or so friends, check out their friends lists. You can find them by going to the friend’s window. You can actually follow a link to all of their friends. When people order from you, they usually become listed as followers. You can add followers as friends, and find their friends as well.

Use your friends list to find the names of additional friends.

Click image to see full size

As you play you will find more and more tricks for developing your friends list, including playing other ngmoco:) games to build friendships and attract them to your We Rule kingdom. You might simply randomly type user names into the search field. The key is to look for players who will continue to play with you, not shop once or twice and disappear. In my experience, especially in the beginning, only two or three out of every dozen prospects will turn into a long term friendship.

You can even type names into the search field to see how many matches return.

Friendships in We Rule don’t last forever. I have a couple of friends I have played with from the beginning, but quite often a friendship lasts for a few weeks. Your kingdom may take on too much traffic for them to continue to place orders, or their kingdom may take on too much traffic. If so, good for them. Or they may get tired of the game, or of looking at your kingdom. Many players do.

This is why you keep looking for new prospects until you build a solid list of friends. And even then, you will still need to cultivate new friendships. I call this the Amway principle.

My first wife convinced me we needed to sign up with Amway to save our marriage. I worked those circles for a year before I realized those guys made the tea baggers3 look like liberal Democrats, and that nothing would save that marriage. I hope to never see a bottle of liquid coconut soap again and I will return to the Baptist church before I sell soap for any company in Grand Rapids, Micghigan.

But I did learn one thing that helped me play We Rule: It’s a numbers game. You have to reach out to a lot of players to find a few you can count on.

Trust me, it’s a lot easier to find friends in We Rule than it is to find your six friends who will find six friends who will find six more friends. You won’t need to drive ninety on snow packed roads in twenty below weather carting a white board and a box of soap supplies to draw circles for people who know damn well this is Amway, but you can’t tell them it’s Amway until the punchline.

You won’t have your own direct distributor parking in your living room every Wednesday night doubling your product order, adding in motivational books and tapes to add another thirty dollars to your weekly order, and, on top of that, convincing you to buy tickets to the city, state and regional Amway rallies that occur every other month to expose you to motivational speakers with Rollex watches and diamond rings telling you to vote Republican (even though they’re too liberal) because the Democrats will sell the economy short and ship us all to Russia (I guess it would be Iran now) for a few tax dollars more.

I started waking up with the cold sweats, and finally had to admit that if it meant I could get out of Amway, maybe I could live with divorce.

But that’s all in the past. The good news is, you don’t have to flounder around like I did to learn to recognize a good prospect from a poor one. And you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for motivational books, tapes, rallies, speeches and soap because I can boil it all down for you into a few simple paragraphs.

Which players to look for

You can’t simply order and expect to establish a friendship. You need to cultivate the players who are most likely to return your friendship so you can build your kingdoms cooperatively.

Learn to identify the players who are more likely to build friendships. A few key signs include:

  • Cultivated fields. You want to make sure the player is actually harvesting crops. If a player’s fields are empty, or, even worse, if they are all withered, that player has either gone on vacation or abandoned the game. You only have 30 orders to exchange with other players. This includes orders from them and orders through your shops. Don’t tie up an order with kingdom that isn’t likely to deliver.
  • Open shops. It’s okay to try to order from an L40 kingdom whose shops are full. This usually means other players have good experiences with them (and they usually have more high value shops available). But they’re tough to get into, and they can’t order from you without losing one of their shop spaces, which are much more profitable than buying from you. (I except my own kingdom from this rule. You should shop with me—and Carol—whenever possible.) You will be much more successful making friends with players at lower levels who have open shops and need orders.
  • Players who return orders.Players screw up, and occasionally orders spoil. It happens to me every once in a while. I have pressed “accept” and returned a few hours later to discover the order waiting to be accepted again. I have overslept a couple of hours and had orders spoil because they matured just after I went to sleep. I have even pressed “accept” and had the screen roll over to depress the “reject” order button. If an order doesn’t come back, shrug it off. Digital shit happens. If your orders come back two or three times in a row, however, find another friend.
  • Players who order from you. Your own shops turn a much higher profit than ordering from other kingdoms. If a player doesn’t order from you (except for the high level kingdoms who can’t) after you place three orders with them, they probably won’t start ordering any time soon. You can keep them in your friends list and try again later, but you should definitely look for new friends.

Building a list of friends who will reciprocate orders takes time. Unless your entire sorority or platoon is playing. But if you make the effort to find prospects, recognize that few prospects become productive friends, and learn to cultivate friendships with the players willing to make the same effort with you, you can build a busy and profitable kingdom.

Okay, profitable in We Rule dollars. Admittedly this isn’t the kind of profitable that will get your mother off your back about doing something with your life so you can meet a real person, marry and give her grandkids. But profitable enough to feel like the game was worth the investment of your time.


1Although, now that I think of it, a game named “We State” would be perfectly available because “state” is a verb. It would be a stretch to make it a social network management game, with legislatures and utilities and universities. But you could do it. You could add railroads and state parks with little state rangers wandering around to go with the professors and utility workers and legislators with their hookers and briefcases full of cash. Or “We State” could be a social networking game where the players construct and manage sentences and paragraphs. Or it could involve building a university with dorms and classroom buildings and frat houses and bars. But then “State” would no longer be a verb even though the name would make a hell of a lot more sense than “We City.”back
2Okay, maybe not FuzzyMuffin. That has some connotations it might be best to avoid. I discovered this when I wanted to create another kingdom under the name totalthinkervassal, but ngmoco:) wouldn’t accept that name, nor would they take totalthinkerringer. So I came up with TTRinger. But when I said it real fast, it sounded like “titty ringer” and that’s what Carol calls it now. So FuzzyMuffin would definitely be out.back
3Yes, I know this is an anachronism since tea baggers didn’t exist in 1980 when my first wife convinced me to sell my soul to soap. Actually, the precursors to tea baggers existed, the people who believed in the Laffer curve, the magical formula that said you can cut taxes, increase spending and still reduce the deficit. But those people were called Reaganites and they were a lot nicer because Reagan was nice guy. His politics came from movies and the right wing fringe, but he was a nice, however misguided, guy.back

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


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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Jameson
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 03:51:12

    Hi, I am enjoying your blog. I appreciate your research into the strategy of the game. There are less entertaining sites to get some help, but yours is concise (for the most part) and insightful as well.
    On a personal level I am learning way to much about you. We are poles apart politically and philosophically. Which has nothing to do with We Rule but would make for lively discussions if I could still string two consecutive thoughts together. A hazard of old age! Anyway, I play Farm Story and City Story. Farmville is much too socially interactive for me. I do have real friends and real interests. Still the virtual escape is fun.
    By the way it was a very good sports weekend for me. TCU won. Rangers are champs as least for now and wonder of wonders the Cowboys won also.
    Ly

    Reply

  2. Judy Jameson
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 13:43:02

    I do agree with you. “We Rule and We Farm” are sentences. Farm Story is a title and I can only envision a “Wee” City which makes more sense.
    By the way, it is entirely possible to purchase with play money the enlargements to TeamLava games. It just takes a long time and the option to use real money is great for instant gratification junkies like me.
    Keep up the great work! How do you learn when orders spoil?

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 29, 2010 @ 22:17:46

      You learn when orders spoil when you see the little brown icon with the frowning face.

      You can set a push notice on orders to notify you when they’re ready, but if you’re asleep, you probably won’t notice the push notice.

      I turn them off because they drive me crazy. Instead I try to check in about every six hours. This strategy killed me with the baseball field in We Farm, which returns the order in three hours, but I can live with that. I don’t know of anything that turns around that quickly in We Rule.

      Reply

  3. Ravenpuff
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 04:01:15

    Since my husband helps tend my son’s kingdom, one of the things I tell him is to look for empty fields or more importantly, rotting crops before ordering.

    One key method I use is to order from everyone who has ordered from me overnight. I write the names down to make sure I return an order un kind, and if I have order space left open, I go order from a reliable source who I haven’t done business in a while to poke them and remind them I’m around.

    There has been one or two who have ordered from me and I immediately order from them only to discover a few days later they just let my order time out while I delivered. They had crops going when I ordered. I’ll wait until they order from me again, but I’m less likely to return the favor. Defriending is tempting, but I’m fairly forgiving (for a while).

    What I’m a bit peeved over is the very short discount on the cheese shops, dragon lair and jousting arena, and then pulled the offer with no warning it was timing out so soon. The bummer is I just bought some mojo, fortunately I built some cheese shops, but I wish I waited to buy it at discount so I could buy a red dragon lair for less. Though I did notivce the sneaky way in which the red dragon lair was available at level 15, if you used mojo only… Nice way to bump profits, ngmoco. *WINK!*

    Maybe the next article could be an analysis of profit per pixel of real estate. The phoenix nest may be top earner, but when you consider the real estate involved to get that coin and xp count, it makes me wonder if cartography tower is still top dog on a coin per pixel count.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Sep 29, 2010 @ 22:24:14

      I actually have a FileMaker go database that tracks orders placed with me, and which orders I returned through my proxy kingdoms. But it takes so much of my life, I had to take a break from it and try to work from memory. You can also screen capture orders if you don’t want to write down names.

      As to a pixel by pixel analysis, I considered it, but it doesn’t help shoppers. Even if your value diminishes because of the screen real estate, their purchase is still measured by $ per hour. It also dawned on me that you would have to full every free space with ruby trees for the value per pixel equation to really matter.

      Reply

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