The legitimate joys of stacking


Spoiler alert! Today’s blog will explore some of the reasons players might want to stack that have nothing to do with increasing revenues to their kingdoms. If you are seriously opposed to stacking and have no intention of changing your mind, you can stop reading when the post reaches the headline about stacking.

On the other hand, I long ago learned to never decide I would never change my mind because that decision was usually an indication that I needed to have my mind changed. Carol shared this bit of wisdom with me when we first started dating, although I found out later she never intended for it to apply to her.


Last week ngmoco:) definitely took a turn to the dark side with lava, scorched earth, demons and death. They’re probably working out their unresolved anger toward players who keep asking for them to do more with less mojo. They also made a move toward daily product releases by releasing new items on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

This was followed up with yet another release today, which caused me to rewrite the intro to the post and delay the post until this evening. Olympus made me rethink the whole dark side impulse (if only for a moment) because Cerberus and the death ferry are also elements from classical mythology.

Have the really run out of medieval ideas? Are we about to see them veer off into the nether realms of alien abduction like they did with We Farm? We’ll just have to see. Maybe this means they will release a sacrificial altar for turkeys in time for Thanksgiving.

Olympus seems to be part of their serious move toward price inflation, with an hourly payout of 52c and 38xp over 36 hours. This is a major leap, and is no doubt intended to lead to more mojo purchases so players can install several in their kingdoms. It also means red dragons may soon fall out of the top ten list for hourly returns.

The new ferry of death has an equally high hourly payout, but also may be just about the most useless object of commerce in the kingdom. The hourly payout is high, 60c and 20xp, which is also the total payout because it harvests in an hour. By the time your order sits in a player’s kingdom waiting for it to be accepted, and the time it takes them to remember to return the order, your average hourly take will probably be down to 10c or less.

It isn’t as bad as the baseball field in We Farm which turned over in three hours, and spoiled within three hours of that. I tested the ferry for spoilage and it will go four or five hours at least without spoiling. Then I got tired of checking in and released it.

Still, you will now get to tilt the kingdom toward your light or dark side, as you wish. Maybe they will now grant another common request for a building—the gothic cathedral—so we can add an inquisition (see, there are still plenty of medieval to renaissance connections out there).

Perhaps even more interesting is the addition of a second building that can be moved into inventory, the dark castle. As with the tower of light you have to pay real money. This actually makes more sense to me than ngmoco:)’s decision to continue to release buildings which can’t be moved into inventory.

They’ve proved they can do it. So why continue to do it the old way? I suppose it’s because players would complain if they had to pay cash for every new building. So fine. They’ve already done the dual mojo/coin release trick. Why don’t you release buildings for cash, mojo or coins. If you want to restrict the inventory capabilities to the cash purchases, you still haven’t locked out players from the buildings. We just have to pay for the ones we want to keep with inventory capabilities (like the unicorn’s meadow for me).

So, developers, now you have something else to brood about and take out on us with new releases.

The new featured items section

Beware of ordering from the new featured items section before you checked the regular buildings tabs. I had mistakenly noted that the demon caves and death ferry were only available with mojo because I (stupidly) assumed they would have included the versions you could pay for with coins if they had been made available.

I don’t think it was a conscious assumption, but it was stupid nonetheless. Carol realized this when she realized that Olympus was available at L30 and L38, but she couldn’t find the one with coins in the featured section.

So when you see a cool item (or at least cool to you) available in the features section but only for mojo, check he regular shop areas. You may find them available for coins.

The monkey king

Another retraction from last week’s retraction is the fact that the throne does come with a king. He didn’t show up when I planted my first throne until later and then Carol and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what building he came with. We decided the best thing to do would be to post the picture and ask readers if they knew who the monkey was.

It turns out, readers wrote in to tell me in response to my comment about the kingless throne. I never got the chance to ask. We Rule’s throne is a monkey king, which may be another way of ngmoco:)’s developers getting back at those of us who criticize them for not doing everything we could possibly ask.

The monkey king is an ancient Chinese myth who I know all about from the Hong Kong movies I used to watch before I discovered Bollywood. The Monkey King was Stephen Chow, a trickster who made buffoons of all the stuffy gods and Kung Fu fighters in the Chinese Odyssey movies. And now he’s in our kingdoms.

I wonder how our new queen took it when she found out who her parents had arranged for her to marry.

Carol and I were wondering who the monkey was and what building he came with. I was going to ask in this week’s column, but readers already told us. He’s the king, albeit a monkey king, who comes with the throne.

Click image to see full size

Stacking is back

Last week I retracted my announcement that stacking was gone. It turns out there was another method I didn’t know which required the items you wanted to stack to already be installed. I’m assuming this is the method so many of the players who were very good at it used. That method is still in play.

In the meantime there have been rumors whirling around that ngmoco:) is stripping the stacks from kingdoms. I have no idea whether or not this is true. A little more than a week ago I would have told you that I do know that three of the top stackers no longer do so, but even that’s not true.

~King, the most notorious stacker and the source of most of the original controversy, seems to have resigned from the game entirely. Acehound, who moved into first place had removed all of his stacked groves, but he’s started to replace them. And I’m glad, because his were gorgeous.

This was the stacking scheme in Acehound’s kingdom before the upgrade. This is gone now, which is sad because this is gorgeous.

Click image to see full size
This is one of his realms, post upgrade. The stacks are back, on a smaller scale, but the design is excellent. And we will be discussing design in a column very soon. It was his (now) constantly changing kingdom I showed in the blog last week.

Click image to see full size

Players who want to know how to stack can access two different videos on YouTube to explain how. The videos aren’t as precise as they could be, and there are some wrinkles I’ve discovered that they left out, but the videos can get readers started. It actually took me a day or two to figure out how to really stack after I saw the them, but they definitely pointed me in the right direction.

You should also be aware that ngmoco:) is making a countermove by locking ruby groves that can be purchased with coins after a certain number have been planted. This is a trick they started with We Farm’s blueberry bushes and apple trees, but the threshold is much higher in We Rule. I probably had several hundred planted in my kingdom before the lock showed up, but suddenly, this weekend, it was there.

I know there are a lot of people opposed to stacking, and they have legitimate reasons. Most of the players in the top 25 reached that level by stacking their adjunct realms with several thousand ruby trees and packing their main kingdom with thirty copies of the highest returning building. It made for some ugly but profitable kingdoms. On the other hand, people can abuse any system no matter how well conceived.

Goëdel’s theorem is a metaphor for this principle. Goëdel basically proved that no logical system can be devised that won’t ultimately contradict itself.1 The same goes for games. Players find away to defeat the intent of rules, the officials change the rules, and the same players figure out how to circumvent those.

But We Rule is a game we pay for. More so now than we did last summer. Objects in our kingdoms are becoming increasingly obsolete as ngmoco:) releases more and more higher paying, more attractive and more popular items. The developers even added seasonal items, which we will feel compelled to replace as the season fades.

We Rule isn’t a social contract, like the US is. It’s a game. No, I would have to say it’s a commodity.

Now that I’ve played with it a lot more, I can honestly say I see a lot of good reasons for stacking, and I will share them here. And none of these have to do with making more money (although, we know that’s the most important one).

Making things fit

Here are some things that always irritated me in We Rule. Let’s say you wanted to run a river from one border to the opposite borders. You can try, but the river tiles don’t stretch from wall to wall. You will find a small gap that isn’t large enough for a river tile.

I know, you can fudge with a bridge or two to fill the gap(s). But it isn’t the same as a wall-to-wall river.

How about this one? The phoenix nest and jousting arena take an inordinate amount of space, including space that stretches beyond their visible boundaries. On top of that, the phoenix nest isn’t even centered right.

The solution? Stack the rivers. Or use stacking to bump another building right next to the edge of the arena.

You can use stacking to make items fit together. I was able to get this river to flow to the edge of the kingdom without fudging with bridges. I was also able to adjust the lower left shore of the lake to compliment the new farm pattern.

Click image to see full size
Stacking let me expand a lava river to a fuller lava flow. I found this same trick in Acehound’s kingdom the next day.

Click image to see full size

More creatures

Let’s say you really like demons, and red dragons and pegasi. Let’s say you want to fill your kingdom with flying creatures. You can stack their buildings to launch more into the skies.

The buildings don’t always stack exactly, so some combinations may work and others may make you decide not to stack. But it’s a great way to add more creatures without taking much more room in your kingdom.

You won’t always get good results by stacking. In fact, some of the compounds could be downright unattractive.

Click image to see full size

The downside of stacking buildings this way is that you may not be able to collect money from all of them. In a couple of cases I unpacked a stacked series slightly. In others, such as the three pegasus springs I piled into a unicorn’s meadow, I’m quite content to not collect the money from all of them. I wanted winged horses.

I piled three different pegasus springs into a unicorn’s meadow. It’s impossible to collect the coins from two of them, but I get three cute flying horses.

Click image to see full size

Fun design stunts

I think that, as more people learn to stack, we’re going to see more people trying to create visual gags and cool design effects. Instead of just stacking iron fences to create the illusion of a wall, players can stack the fences in front of dragons’ nests.

One of the most attractive stacking effects I’ve seen is to create groves from groves. The best example used to be in Acehound’s kingdom (which I showed above), but others are creating some fantastic groves too.

Vicariage created this stunning grove of groves. He probably can’t click on all the rubies to collect, but I’m sure that didn’t factor into his decision to build this intricate structure.

Click image to see full size

I’ve already managed to crash two boats, grow groves from rivers and fuse the dark castle with the demon’s cave. It’s even fun to plant fountains, sundials and trees in the chateaus. It’s fun to tinker with effects, especially because you can just break the mistakes apart. Hopefully readers will spot more gags created with stacking for me to display or point you to in the future.

The first time I saw stacking, in fact, wasn’t to compress rubies. I don’t remember who the player was, but he had planted groves inside his jousting arenas. It was a great way to maximize space.

So when you see people stacking, don’t worry about the jerks who turned their kingdoms into cash cows. It’s just a game.2 Look to see some of the cooler tricks the more creative players have tried. You might even want to try a few yourself.


1Okay, this is a gross oversimplification, but this is a column about gaming, not philosophy and mathematics. We would have to discuss sets that do and not contain themselves and self-referential systems, things that I find interesting but no one I’ve met since grad school does. In fact, most of the people i knew in grad school liked to talk about stuff like this, but never really read it themselves.

Which is understandable if you’ve ever tried to read Goëdel, Wittgenstein or any of their contemporaries. back

2Save that anger for the real jerks who trash real communities to turn them into cash cows, as is happening to the wonderful old southern suburbs of Austin.back

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Nov 16, 2010 @ 03:44:46

    I love your blog and always look forward to reading it. Thanks for writing about stacking. I watched a couple of videos and after a few minutes of playing around, I am able to stack! My rivers look awesome!

    Level 38
    heidr

    Reply

  2. acehound
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 11:55:59

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my designs. I put a ton of work into the ruby frames. As you noticed I was deleting groves from the ceter area. This was so I could finally start to design my kingdom while I finished the frames in my south and main realms. It was disappointing when ngmoco ran their purge program before I could finish but I understand why they did. I proved that you could acheive untouchable status without spending a dime. They are afterall in business and I was destroying their business model. Had they not run the purge no-one would have been able to catch me.

    As it stands I have made a new friend of Zimidar, the true leader of We Rule, at mojo-farm.com, the unofficial fansite. He is slowly starting to catch up again as my harvesting has turned to spotty at best now and he is a very dedicated player who supports the game for reasons of a personal nature. Zimidar has just figured out stacking and is working on he realms so we should start seeing a more attractive kingdom from him now that there is more room. I was getting tired of his grove/bee realms anyway (had to be said Zimidar… sorry 😉 .

    Finally, he is trying to confirm the actual limit on diamond groves from ngmoco for me… you can guess he has better relations with them than I do – lol. We are under the impression that the limits are 196 orange or 196 ruby or 196 diamond purchased with mojo + 49 with coin (the coin one seems mute now that the coin option is gone) so I am assuming it is 196 with mojo only.

    It has been made clear to us that stacking businesses will not be tollerated and to do so will result in a lifetime ban from the game if the offending items are not removed at their request… so do not stack businesses on business. Business on decorations is OK and encouraged…. Let’s get creative.

    Thanks again for the appreciation it means a lot. A lot of other players think I’m the devil incarnate but hey… it’s just a game.

    Reply

  3. Kort22
    Nov 19, 2010 @ 08:53:59

    I love this site and now love stacking. Thanks soo much!! Oh and by the way I have no buyers in my kingdom and I’m level 39. So come
    On by hahah

    Reply

  4. acehound
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 00:42:55

    Hello again. Joe Wagner gave me any update on the build limits. I thought I would update you and your readers.

    240 total groves in the main realm – regardless of type, combination or method of purchase.
    196 total groves in directional realms – regardless of type, combination or method of purchase.
    Sliding business on groves will not be tolerated.
    Sliding business on business will not be tolerated.

    Although the game console allows you to purchase additional groves via different currency or alternate type of grove, it is up to each player to know the limit and play within it.

    As also mentioned by Joe, the penalty for non-compliance is a permanent ban.

    Reply

  5. Judy Jameson
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 16:56:07

    I appr

    Reply

  6. Judy Jameson
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 17:03:09

    I am grateful for your analysis and insight as well as comments.
    You may have answered my question in another post. I know you strongly recommend selling orange groves and replacing with ruby. Now is it better to replace them with diamond. I have about 20 left to replace. I an not an aggressive player, have less than 300 total groves and am now at level 42; half way to 43. Thanks for any input.
    Keep redesigning and giving us pleasure. JJ

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Nov 21, 2010 @ 02:45:31

      I wouldn’t replace rubies you already have with diamonds, and I sure wouldn’t buy diamond groves with coins. Last week’s post explained that it would take a long time to make up for the difference in profits. If you are planting new groves, and you want to spend the mojo, diamond groves will give you a slight edge in the long run.

      Reply

  7. QueenMaub
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 04:54:09

    We have our first known permanent ban for stacking over the allowed max of rubies. Alfred70 got the boot. See this thread over at mojo-farm.com

    http://www.serifwebresources.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1920&forumid=339260

    Reply

  8. Hank Ashley
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 20:38:06

    hankbuck is my player name.

    I do very much appreciate your blogsite. The info you have compiled is valuable to me and other players, so thanks from me and others who may be thinking it and not saying it. I’m currently in the top 600 and have been rising quickly but I have been doing by stacking. Now after reading your blog I’m in a bit of a mental jail. Do I undo the stacking now and slow down the rise in rankings or do I risk the behavior being disciplined having just now found out about it being an undesired tactic? Undoing the stacking is going to take some time on the iPad.
    Again, thanks for your time on this site. It appears appreciated by more than just me.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Dec 07, 2010 @ 19:02:28

      Hank, as to the mental jail, I have finally heard back from ngmoco:)’s public relations through Joe Wagner and I will post his full reply next Monday. But my interpretation is that ngmoco:) has instituted their own internal limits on stacking. I do know that you will be locked after a certain number of coin-purchased ruby groves in each realm (this has happened to me). This hasn’t stopped the purchase of groves through mojo, although those limits may appear as well should you choose to spend and spend on mojo for groves. In the past, when they have removed excess groves they have reimbursed the value of every grove removed in coins.

      If the official version differs from what players report, I have to report the official position because that is the only responsible thing I can do. This does not mean that some players may have experienced something different.

      But no realms have been purged since We Rule Quest was released and, according to Joe Wagner, no one has ever (and I presume will be ever) banned for life.

      So as long as you stack in moderation and avoid going several thousand groves in your kingdom, you should be fine. We all have different definitions of moderation, I know. But would start with around two hundred in each realm and see what happens from there. That’s a thousand groves, which should generate plenty of income. Actually, it does for me.

      Reply

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