Upgrade redux (and diamonds)

I’ve decided to go with more constant abbreviated references. In this column and the future I will be referring to coins, mojo and experience as:

  • c = coins
  • m = mojo
  • xp = experience points

You will probably have already noticed the addition of the Bizarro Tower of Light (aka the Dark Castle) since I posted this blog this morning. It really is the mirror of the Tower of Light (including installation cost) except it’s dark, comes with rubies instead of diamonds, and the coin and experience values are reversed. Get it? Because it’s evil you earn more money but less goodness (xp). If they really got their mythology right it would be twice as many coins but negative experience points (630c and -200xp).

Maybe if we put them in the same realm the witch and the angel will cancel each other out.

So will we see a head on battle between the light lady and the evil sorceress? Light lady’s been hiding since I installed the dark castle on the opposite end of my east realm. And the sorceress got a bigger picture on the splash screen introducing new objects.

Click image to see full size

My real reason to add this is because any comments about the Tower of Light in today’s post also apply to the Dark Kingdom.

Oh, yes, and most of the houses (except orange) have slowed down from returning every fifteen minutes to every three hours. Just to keep you confused.

You may have experience some confusion about the recent upgrade to We Rule Quests, and I, for one, have unwittingly contributed to the confusion. In addition, ngmoco:) has—at least for now—realized players didn’t want quests so much as the ability to move and store objects, and the ability to pay for diamond trees with something other than mojo.

Here’s where I was wrong: you can stack, you will be able to buy diamonds with coins (for a while), the quests aren’t quite as stupid as I suggested, and you will be able to move objects between realms.

You may also have noticed that houses pay off every fifteen minutes now. This is good news for new players with few resources to earn investment coins. In addition, you can download other games for coins (not all of them may be free), so this will also help build your account.

So let’s start the retraction process.

I shouldn’t really call it retraction because the only item I was really wrong about was stacking. The other three had been true when I wrote them. I guess the loud complaints from disappointed players, who weren’t quite as pacified by the quests as ngmoco:) thought, finally got through.

Slightly cooler quests

Let’s start with quests. The rewards are improving. I’ve earned them all so far, but the only ones I really like are the thrones.

I take that back. I didn’t do rock, paper, scissors because I would have lost coins and experience points while three high-paying shops were tied up so I could could earn the equivalent of spare change in coins and experience points. In fact, even beginning players are better off ordering from the high value shops than the total return they will earn from the quest.

As I wrote before, however, the thrones are kind of cool. If ngmoco:) had thought to add a king to the throne like they did with the queen, the first throne would have been even cooler. So hopefully they’ll add the king later or allow us to conduct another quest for a throne with a king.

I haven’t changed my assessment of the quests themselves. They need to add newer and more high value purchases to the quests. It’s not worth it to me to reinstall a watchtower or a butcher shop so people can quest. But Carol still has some of the older stuff at JennyManytoes and its vassal kingdom ptsringer (don’t blame her for the name because I set it up and let her take over).

Stacking

Contrary to my previous announcement, you can stack. You just can’t stack while you’re installing items like you could before. This was a dicey proposition at best, usually allowing players to stack three items at once, and occasionally as many as six or seven. But that method is gone.

There’s so much to the stacking question that I’m going to hold off until next week to devote the entire blog to it. So I’ll drop that subject for now.

Storage

A number of players were disappointed when the ability to move objects wasn’t released with the official upgrade. To add to their anger, word got out of a a notice posted on the ngmoco:) support page:

“Due to technical limitations of We Rule at this time we are not planning to implement the ability to move items between realms. It may or may not be possible in the future. Thanks for your feedback and feature requests.”

It turns out this notice (in a tiny, tiny font size with light gray text) was posted last August, but word didn’t get out until after We Rule Quests arrived. Ironically, about the time word got out, the Tower of Light appeared. Once players built it, many discovered they could remove it and return it to inventory.

The catch, there’s always a catch, is that you can’t earn coins or buy mojo to purchase the new tower. You have to buy it for real dollars.

So we will be able to move and store objects. What we don’t know, and probably won’t know for a while, is whether or not ngmoco:) will go back to make all buildings moveable or whether this will be for special “pay for cash” buildings only. The fact the the mermaid isle can be purchased for coins or mojo but can’t be moved back into inventory makes it more likely that the option will be for cash items only.

The question now is whether ngmoco:) is making a move towards making all new buildings moveable and pay only, or will they be releasing both types of buildings. I don’t like either option, but since I liked the mermaids better than the tower, I would prefer the former.

Better yet, just release a five dollar version of We Rule where all our objects are movable, including the older ones. I would pay five dollars for that and it would give players the option.

What I really want to discuss is diamond groves, which became available for 100,000c on Thursday (along with diamond roads). For many players this may seem like a good thing, and I originally thought so. But now I’m not so sure.

Are diamond groves worth the investment?

You can now purchase diamond trees with coins. And ngmoco:) very reasonably settled on my original suggestion for a price, $100K in coins. This means they followed up on two thirds of my campaign for diamond trees—the ability to plant groves and (at least temporarily since they say the offer will be discontinued soon) the ability to purchase them for a $100K.

I hate to complain, but they missed the most important part of the suggestion, that if the price increases by ten times the price of rubies, so should the pay out. I originally suggested a reward of 1000 coins (c) and 850 xp every six hours.

Unfortunately, in spite of the high price in coins, the payout for diamond groves hasn’t increased and remains the same as before at 120c and 105xp.

I suggest you seriously think before you pay the coin price on diamonds. The return for the same 100,000c investment in ruby groves is 1000c and 850xp. which is substantial. The trade-off is in real estate. Ten ruby groves occupy ten times the space. So the payout for ten spaces is 1000c and 850xp for rubies verses 12000c and 105o0xp (about 2000 more for each).

But that’s comparing one diamond to one ruby. If you look at the total investment price, the payout difference for the same investment is 1000c and and 850xp every six hours for rubies verses 120 and 105 for diamonds.

For those of you who can afford the mojo, the decision is obvious, investing 10m for the diamond grove will pay off much better than than investing 8m for the rubies. I would even suggest replacing rubies with diamonds if you have real money to burn.1

I could run a Kindometrics analysis on the groves to tell you what the long term payout differences are, and I may even do so one of these days and add it to the analysis section. But I did run a quick calculation and it will take 208 days (harvesting every six hours), or almost seven months, for your diamond grove to start turning a profit. If you harvest three times a day you’re looking at more than nine months to return an investment for what will become a twenty percent increase on the return from a ruby grove.

Oh, what the hell. Let’s at least project investment and earnings over a year. And for a really dramatic comparison, lets compare the costs and earnings for one grove versus those for planting ten.

I ran a sample comparison of investment costs and profit for one and ten ruby and diamond groves. As you can see, even though the diamond grove is more profitable in the long run, it will take four years to recoup the money you would have lost by investing in a ruby grove.

Click image to see full size

The numbers indicate that you will earn far more from the ruby grove than the diamond grove at least in the immediate, and even near long-term future. Why? Because the difference in earning (about 20,000c more per year) is lost in the difference in the increased investment cost. We’re talking more than four years for the diamond grove to pay off the difference in profits and start outproducing the ruby grove.

I’m basing these profit numbers on the assumption that you will harvest your groves three times a day because you don’t want to get up in the middle of the night to harvest every cycle. Even if you do four harvests a day, the numbers won’t change significantly, except to speed up the payoff by a year.

That’s assuming, of course, that you really want to spend the next three years harvesting diamonds every six hours.

Here’s another way to look at it. The mojo cost of a diamond is 25 percent more than the mojo cost of a ruby. The coin cost of a diamond grove is ten times the cost of a ruby, or a thousand percent more.

If you’re still playing in four years, however,2 those diamonds will really start to pay off.

Let it snow, let it snow

We didn’t get snow tiles like the bridge tiles, which was another priority on my upgrade wish list. But the diamond roads come close. When you cover the ground around buildings, they resemble glistening snow. It’s a pain to actually pave ground with diamond roads (or any roads for that matter) and then place and move buildings around on top of them. I can’t begin to describe how big a pain it is; you’ll just have to wait until you have to move six roads to select a building. But they are pretty.

Best of all, We Rule Quests now lets you drop roads and bridges beneath buildings (and partially beneath buildings) you already placed. In the past you had to lay the pavement and move the buildings on top.

I still want pure white square tiles, but these are close. I’ve already seen some great stuff. Happy decorating.

This is perhaps the best example of diamond decorating I’ve seen so far. Notice how he/she noticed those were diamonds spilling from the Tower of Light and has them pouring onto the ground? You’ll see more of this kingdom (and I’ll tell you who it is) next week.

Click image to see full size

No, Virginia, there is no more We Rule

Most of you noticed this, but a couple of players have written so let me make it official: You have to upgrade to We Rule Quest. Any version of We Rule you might have on your iPad or iPhone has been crippled by ngmoco:). To the best of my knowledge this one wasn’t ngmoco:)’s decision, it was a consequence of Apple’s new interface guidelines.

By the way, did you know that “redux” isn’t pronounced to rhyme with “ducks”, but with “dew”? (It’s in the title, in case you’d forgotten). Actually, it’s French so the closest American pronunciation would be “ray-dyu” with something between the “uh” and “oo” sound. This isn’t going to help you play We Rule better but if you run into one of those pseudo-intellectual jerks who insist on correcting you and they just happen to say, “reduces,” you will have the perfect gotcha moment.

1Which most of us don’t. But with the new Congress those of you who can afford mojo will be able to afford a lot more of it before the 2012 elections, and those of us who can’t will probably not even have the money to contribute to our favorite candidates even more.back

2See footnote 1.back

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alexandro
    Nov 09, 2010 @ 03:30:33

    I like this blog you did, but would just like to point out the 1st throne does come with a king character – when you poke him he says : ha ha Now Lai.
    He doesn’t really look regal at all but is wearing a beige/red set of clothing with an inconsequentially sized crown. If you build another red throne you will see him appear alongside it.

    Reply

  2. ravenpuff
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 02:42:39

    I suggested cobblestone roads with a cost half way between gold roads and dirt roads, but it seems my request for a nice grey hued road option has yet been ignored again. I want some nice grey stone similar to that found in the older (and not destroyed by WWI & WWII) parts of Europe.

    They have brought back Mystic Meadows, but haven’t brought back Unicorn Meadow. I wish they’s bring back Unicorn Meadows so I can sell off the one in my main kingdom and place one (or two) in my Eastern Realm, opposite of Mordor.

    One beef I have, which I should post on getsatisfaction.com, is that ruby roads do not sit on top of scorched plains, they are buried underneath them instead. I thought it would be cool to have a road of rubies leading over the barren landscape, but alas.

    I’ve also just posted to the shop suggestion thread a request for a guarded city gate, with the added decoration of city walls. Thoughts of a Pre-Naponleonic, walled-off Paris protected from invading 9th/10th century Vikings comes to mind.

    Reply

  3. OrlandoNyn
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 09:59:05

    You may need to add one more retraction. A king does come with the first throne. He is a jovial stocky fella wearing a red top. He says “Huhu nowlie”

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Nov 12, 2010 @ 05:50:17

      It’s funny you mentioned that. Carol and I gad been trying to decide what building the monkey came with (and if you look closely, he is an ape).

      I was going to post the screenshot in next week’s blogs and ask if anyone knew who it was.

      He didn’t show up when I planted my first throne, at least not right away.

      So I installed another throne and sure enough, it’s the Monkey King. That’s a pretty good joke, but I bet the queen wasn’t thrilled when the arranged marriage was announced.

      Maybe we’ll get Babar the elephant king in a few weeks.

      Reply

  4. ravenpuff
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 17:04:44

    For your stacking post next week, check out vicariage’s kingdom. Somehow or other, he/she has their tailor shops stacked! Yeah, tailor shops. And when they reorganized their shops, looks like they stacked a bunch of ruby trees too – though I don’t know if they are newly stacked or if they were previously bought and they figured out how to stack groves you already own.

    Reply

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