Declaration of independence from bugs (if only)

Readers who follow this blog on their iPads may have been surprised to discover (as was I) that the familiar appearance of this blog was replaced with an iPad based swipe interface featuring multiple threads and a Volvo like box-based appearance.

This decision was made by host WordPress and not by me, and implemented without warning. Oh, I’m sure there was an article on the WordPress site, but that assumes I actually have time to blog and read all their posts as well.

To make matters worse, the automatic posting feature stopped working so that blogs I save as a draft weren’t posted when instructed (this happened on my other blog as well).

I fixed the first problem so that the blog looks the same on your laptop and iPad, but I may switch back in a few weeks as I have more time to play with the design options (there aren’t many). I realized the post wasn’t up and manually posted it Thursday.

I have already posted a request on the WordPress forums asking that WordPress give readers the option to choose the iPad or standard browser interface rather than making me force all readers into the same box. Hopefully they will find a way to do this.

More gifts

Was anyone really surprised when ngmoco:) extended the gifts “by popular demand”? This would be like the decision to extend mojo by popular demand. Hey, ngmoco:), we would like you to offer free mojo every week by popular demand.

Or how about 50 free mojo as one of the gifts?

Nor were all players happy with the new friends realms feature that lists the players in order of who logged in last over their listing in the plus + friends section. This is understandable. I spend a lot of time deleting and adding friends again to keep the list in the order I want. To have this automatically replaced based on log-in sequence is kind of irritating and I’m not sure it makes ordering easier.

The bug hunt is over

Should ngmoco:) read the comments for this blog, they should no longer be under the illusion that the problems with We Rule can be attributed solely to the iPads themselves.

In fact, I reset my iPad to factory settings and tested We Rule as the first app opened, and it crashed immediately and several more times during the harvesting session. I’m sorry, but when a game crashes on an iPad rest to factory settings as the first app opened and only one running, the problem is ngmoco:)’s.

The crashes are so severe for some players that several are ready to abandon the game (and I might if it weren’t for the blog) and one, coffeebuzzard went so far as to complain:

My next step is to submit a formal complaint to Apple, and ask them to research the many other obvious user complaints, for accepting and allowing a broken app that takes users money in their store. Since Apple is accepting the money on ngcomo’s behalf and taking a percentage for themselves, they are culpable. The normal course for Apple is to pull the game until the developer can prove the issues have been fixed.
If this game were completely free, I would simply delete it and abandon its use. But due to ngcomo’s continued negligence, I have lost patience and money and clearly others have as well. They are no longer causing frustration for their users, they are committing a crime.

I’m not sure I would go that far, but I certainly understand his or her frustration. Players reported a lot of bugs, but three seem to occur to multiple players:

  • Constant crashes
  • Items in inventory can’t be returned to play
  • Missing mojo (sometimes because players used it without meaning to, others because it simply disappears).

iPhone players noticed some bugs too:

  • Crashes when switching from kingdom to realms and back
  • Crashes when notifying that payment was received
  • Ads float into friends realms hindering ordering

By and large the crashes are the biggest complaints.

People with older iPhones are also experiencing problems, and I think this has a lot to do with the combination of iOS 4 and We Rule Quests. It would be nice if ngmoco:) could work out something with Apple to let an older version (Red or Gold) run on 3GS and 3G iPhones.

There have been a number of causes suggested. Some blame stacking, and crashes due to stacking won’t be fixed. But kingdoms that don’t stack crash too, so we can’t blame the stackers. One reader suggested that crashes may be caused by players who don’t shut down completely but leave the game running in the background under iOS 4 and tying up the server. This very well could be, but ngmoco:) needs to fix that because players can’t be counted on to understand how background apps work.

I do think demands on the server, but, as I’ve said before, I suspect
memory leaks. Even after I restored to factory settings, I noticed that We Rule would launch other apps, shutting the game down. At this point I realized those apps were always apps in the same folder as We Rule, so I moved the game back to the main screen and it started launching those apps instead. Basically something in the code accesses the iPad’s memory stack or general system code.

Readers have suggested and I agree that ngmoco:) should devote their resources to fixing bugs before they add new items to the game. If you agree please copy and paste the following message to both ngmoco:)’s support address.

As a frequent player of We Rule I appreciate your tireless efforts to listen to player requests and add new features such as inventory, additional realms and site navigation. But I am also tired of the bugs that have plagued the game since it launched last year, specifically: 1) frequent crashes on both my iPad and iPhone, 2) the inability to return items to inventory, 3) the loss of mojo, often from an inability to make a final confirmation before I spend it, and 4) the app closing down to download new content while I am in the process of harvesting (often costing me the crops).

I read the blogs and forums and know these bugs aren’t specific to me but are frequently reported by other users. Please stop introducing new items and new features until these bugs are resolved.

Feel free to add any notes of your own.

I also posted this on ngmoco:)’s feedback page, “fix bugs before features.” If you feel strongly, please log in and vote this as your number 1 request.

Susan Moon found the most puzzling bug, a movable white square. This actually means the graphics aren’t refreshing after an operation, but if I had thought to have a weirdest bug contest, she would have won this one too. Readers also reported a spade or shovel over new buildings keeping them from accepting orders.

How’s this for weird. If anyone can explain the floating white box please comment.

Hopefully, with enough votes and comments ngmoco:) will get the message and at least cut the crashes back to one or two per session.

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Skwidspawn
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 10:30:53

    I bought an iPad 2 last week and since that time I’ve not had WeRule crash once. I’m betting that the combination of improved processor, graphics chip and RAM make it possible. WeRule was probably never meant to be run with so much stacking, and I’m betting that the memory and speed requirements display all of that information leads to a lot of crashing.

    That being said, I completely agree that the stability of the app is something that they need to work on. I have several other UI issues that I wanted to write up and send to ngmoco, but here’s a quick list (in no particular order):

    1: Mojo expenditures needs a confirmation window, and now. Tapping on an empty farm to plant something, having the app lag, and then seeing $2 worth of mojo go down the drain is more than annoying.

    2: Harvest bubbles should be placed exactly where one should tap to harvest that item, not three miles above them. This would make harvesting crops and buildings a hundred times easier; guessing on tap locations is NOT fun.

    3: Sortable friends lists. By level, name, and last played. I realize that this isn’t necessarily supported by Plus+, but the information is freely available, and letting us sort our lists would help us find and order from our friends better.

    4: We need gold, XP, and time-to-completion information on buildings in game. Having to make spreadsheets with hundreds of cells is not fun, it’s a hassle. You have the information, just make it available to us.

    5: Bring mojo prices in line. A typical iOS game of this caliber costs around $10. Bring the price of mojo down to around that, and then make mojo powerful enough to bring a beginner player at least half way through the game, and you’ve got a winner. It’s impossible to convince a new friend to try the game when they’ll need to spend over $200 (or almost a year of playing) to catch up with their friends. (also look at mojo costs in game, perhaps making items cost a % of the highest cost item based on g+XP/hr.)

    6: Make harvesting easier. Crop/grove/building harvesting gets EXTREMELY tedious at higher levels of play. I don’t care if I have to pay you $5 or maybe even $10 for the ability to one-tap harvest everything, I’ll pay it. And I KNOW I’m not the only one who would.

    7: Get rid of dead crops. It’s bad enough that we aren’t gaining anything by letting them sit there, let alone be punished for not being able to log in (sometimes including server issues on your end). It takes 6 hours to recover from even the most lucrative crop (mushrooms) dying, that’s pretty painful. At least lower it to a 1:1 or 1:2 (i.e. 1 crop cycle to replace a dead crop cycle’s cost).

    8: Crop planting is overly tedious, and “dangerous”. Accidentally selecting the wrong crop or using mojo because of fat fingers or lag is not fun. I dunno if it’s a patent issue, but PLEASE let us select a crop and then tap on the farms to plant it. At the very least have a crop “bar” slide out from the side of the screen when we tap on a farm so that the selection window doesn’t change positions every time.

    9: Make the selection window sortable so we can sort by profit/hr, XP/hr, or profit+XP/hr.

    10: Put the gold-purchasable version of items in the “featured” tab, making that tab mojo only is an insult to our intelligence as it’s simply a ploy to trick us into spending mojo.

    11: Speaking of tricking… Stop making UI decisions based on tricking users into accidentally spending mojo. Instead, make mojo more reasonable so we’ll buy and use it. The decision on whether to use mojo, and what to use it on is MUCH too difficult. Giving us access to gold, XP, and time information would remove the confusion, and allow people to incentivize themselves to buy mojo since they would know what they would get out of it.

    12: Either allow people to stack, or stop them from stacking. Fix the bug that allows users to stack items, or give us the ability to do it as a “feature”. Maybe even associate a cost with it.

    13: Messaging. Allow us to send messages to our Plus+ friends. To be friendly, and also to coordinate building usage. This would make quest completion a lot easier, especially with players who reject orders from buildings with crappy returns.

    14: Crop suggestion: a crop that costs gold and gives a chance to return mojo. Say 10,000g with a chance to return 1-5 mojo per harvest, or something along those lines.

    15: Real gifting, not the crappy, random, spammy, and “yet another ploy to get us to pay real money, and this time with no guaranteed reward (aka gambling)” system you’ve just implemented. No. We want the ability to send items, gold, or mojo to our friends. This would make playing with friends A LOT more social, and fun.

    16: Speaking of spammy. The entire notification system needs to be deleted and re-programmed. I check my game about every hour, and if I’m not doing that I’m either sleeping or otherwise busy. I want notifications for only the things I tell the game I want notifications for. Hilariously, what I and my friends use the system for is the ONLY part that we’re allowed to control: crop notifications. Let us turn off and on order, crop, and now gift notifications at will.

    17: Idle timers should not reset when an order is accepted on a building. Idle timers should continue alongside an order, or resume where they were when the order is completed.

    18: Overhaul inventory/purchasing windows. These tabs have become so bloated and semi-random. Allow us to sort them by name, cost, g/hr, XP/hr, g+XP/hr, mojo, whatever. Just let us sort them in some kind of logical way. Display the items as a list with one item per row (maybe shrink the icons) instead of the current 3-column view. Make the window bigger on iPads (this goes for the social UI as well). Make it “sticky” so that it remembers where I was the last time I opened it. Make the scrolling smoother. The tabs are too small on the iPad, they’re difficult to tap.

    19: Show in the social window when one of your friends has a building open that you can use for a quest. Searching through 6 pages of friends to find the one friend who has an open building for your quest is frustrating, to say the least. In fact, the whole system of ordering is overly complicated and time consuming. This is partly a social engineering problem (people don’t put their best buildings where they are always most easily accessed) and partly an engineering problem (it takes too long to move between friends and realms).

    20: Stop buildings from blocking other buildings. I’m tired of not being able to tap on a building because the building “in front” of it is enormous (looking at you dark and light towers!), this could be alleviated a bit by #2.

    21: No buildings more recent than “Steam-punk Victorian”. Victorian is already pushing it in my opinion. There are millions upon millions of objects to choose from more ancient eras and fantasy realms. It feels sort of like you’re about to jump the shark, or merge WeCity into WeRule so I can have an ice cream truck next to my ballista.

    I could go on, but that’s pretty much everything I find annoying about WeRule at the moment. I still play it without these annoyances, I wonder how much more interested I’d be with them.

    Reply

  2. Skwidspawn
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 10:53:21

    sorry for the long post there!
    I added that post to the ngmoco feedback forum as well, titled 20 UI feature/gameplay ideas: http://feedback.ngmoco.com/forums/103825-we-rule-player-feedback/suggestions/1634079-20-ui-feature-gameplay-ideas?ref=title

    Reply

  3. sarahstroud@gmail.com
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 18:36:10

    I TOTALLY agree with you. I am so tired of it crashing and me losing items or crops, much less money. Thanks for putting it so clearly and helping others respond as well.
    I LOVE your blog so keep up the good work. Many of us depend on you for information, stats and general help.
    If I didn’t like We Rule so much I would quit too, due to crashes, but I am hooked on the game so I guess I’ll wait it out.
    Thanks again!

    Reply

  4. Ravenpuff
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 03:58:25

    I’m with skwidspawn, I agree with many of the points listed, but especially with the buildings newer in timeline than steam punk. Don’t even think about Edwardian or Art Deco style buildings. I would love to see more mediaeval buildings, like laundry, coopersmith (barrel marker), cloister/monastery (breweries!!! Abbott Ale?), market square, weavers’ shop, carpenters’ guild and so on.

    Reply

  5. Pjsplantation/V3gasvamp1
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 04:27:40

    In response to skwidspawn.. I played storm8 until they muffed up the entire vamp game..went to team lava farm story..nothing new there for about 6 months it seems. Look at the price of their gems and you don’t receive free ones when u level. Ngmoco is such a ” friendlier” game.. Along with you would like some changes..especially about the crop selection button. Can’t tell u how many times I’ve hit birds of paradise. Yikes 3 days!! And that gift wagon.. Ugh. I Would love to b able to chat with peeps on social network. We used pal for secured chatting in VL..

    Reply

  6. We Rule Cheat
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 10:39:16

    I am so not surprised that they extended the gifts period, people are trigger happy, the more gifts, the more mojo they sell!
    I can’t believe I boosted for a piece of road!

    Reply

  7. JDTagish
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 17:47:12

    Seems like TotalThinker got dissed by Ngmoco on this one. Dismissed with no action – apparently they don’t think that pushing out new content is related to all of the crashing, and it’s 2 different teams working on separate paths, and they do not work together. Figures.

    I kind of wish that I could just give up on the game. But, it’s just the perfect “mindless” way to wake up in the morning. Tap, tap, tap… By the time I’m done, the caffeine has kicked in and I’m ready to start my day.

    I did decide to quit on the gifting thing though – actually my wallet did that for me! I blew through 2000 mojo in about 8 days, and with no sale going on, I’m not buying more, so no more boosting for me. I’ll stick to what I can get for free each day, unless and until they reevaluate the mojo to benefit relationship on gifting. Personally it just seems like it would be unsustainable for the majority of players on a long term basis. I’m sure a lot of people bought mojo to play with the gifts, and I’m sure that a lot of people blew through what they purchased pretty quickly, like me. It’s what happens next that will be interesting. Will people reload at full price? I kind of doubt it, especially with dozens of bride and groom statues, and walls and other low level things clogging up their inventory. The temptation to keep going for the “rare” gift is there, but at the cost, it’s not worth it to me.

    Reply

  8. Pjsplantation/V3gasvamp1
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 03:27:07

    Totally agree with the boosting the gift thing.. Way too many “junker” gifts with the boost.. How many mystic meadows can one use. Lol. Btw JD that’s a sh@! Load of mojo I thought I was bad with 75.

    Reply

  9. Moontown
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 06:18:15

    Total Thinker, Just to set the record straight, My real name is Susan Escujuri. Susanzmoon referes to a crescent shaped birthmark on my calf, so I use it as my e-mail address, and my game name Moontown just fell into the mix. So about the gifts, The very first day I boosted one gift and got a gold road. I said no way and that was it. So all my gift are either dumb stuff or an occasional 12000 coins but no fun buildings at all.But they are all free. Ill buy the stuff I want. But like i keep saying I love the game!

    Reply

  10. skwidspawn
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 06:47:19

    My biggest problem with boosting is that it is 100% gambling, and the house is taking waaaay too much from it. I mean, it takes them 30 seconds to tint a building gold (or ruby) and throw it into the pile and people shill out real money for the CHANCE to win one of them. It’s just not right IMHO.

    Reply

  11. JDTagish
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 07:27:58

    Yeah, it’s a lot of mojo, for sure, especially for crap. The gold stuff doesn’t even pay out that much more than the regular stuff. IF it paid out in mojo, or paid out way higher than anything else, it would be of value, and maybe worth the gamble, but the way it is now, nope.

    In my head, it was worth it to support the effort, because it was temporary. They did a really good job at creating that sense of urgency to get you to spend – both mojo and time, tapping the stupid “send to all” button in the hopes of getting even more gifts to blow your mojo on boosting. It did help me get the second kingdom through a bunch of levels – about 1 a day from 35 to 43 with the boosts in XP – I guess that was what kept me doing it more than anything else.

    They clearly don’t care what the people who have really invested themselves in the game think – they want the quick turn-over and quick buck. They’ll pay lip service to wanting input, so they can get items that people will shell out more money for, but without fixing the actual problems.

    I kinda miss the “old days” when the highest level was 25, dragons were the best thing you could have, there was only 1 realm, and you really had to think about what you wanted to put into it, because it was all the space you had.

    Reply

  12. chezmah
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 09:41:24

    always such a pleasure to read your comment and those of our fellow we rulers. Skwidspawn did a great job of synthesizing the major woes of we-we rulers.

    personally my main gripe is the new social list. not being a pro of technical it terms, i have been begging for a concise explaination of the notion of what it means to be “active”. in reading skwidspawn’s comment i learned that it was related to logging in.
    not being aware of this function, i never log in or out…. i just stay connected. so i learned today that that may not be optimal for a number of reasons.
    could i as one of you guys who are far greater technical geniuses than many of us common users to give us a clear and complete rundown on the MO of the new social lists.
    I can not agree more that this new list is extremely frustrating and TIME CONSUMING. I find it hard to believe that with a little effort, there are enough brilliant minds and technical savvy to come up with a more efficient system that allows sufficient versatility for those who wish to manipulate the social list to their personal playing style.
    Despite my very limited technical know how, i find ithard to believe that plus+ has made a real effort to analyse the possibilitiesand implement an optimal system.
    on the other hand, we all LOVE we rule !!!! and i do realize that they do make an effort to hear our comment…and at time take action to hear our prayers.
    however, many devoted ( adicted) we”we rulers” are the first to implement tactics of a highly competitive natue (oftentimes regarded as human natue). that is to say, using methods aiming towards the notion of GAIN. it is unfortunately difficult to expect this compulsive notion of GAIN to be eradicated from human nature anytime in the near future. therefore one can hardly expect ngmoco to do what they do without attaching the gain factor. and just like many of us, one tends to get rather caught up in it.
    there is however a way to balance out that tendency, and we”we rulers” do have the keys to that kingdom.
    We habe the ultimate power, not only in the game (but also in real life).
    we do not need to QUIT THE GAME ( i personally cringe at the thought of losing my dear we rule ” friends” !!!! But we can, and likely should, send ngmoco a message that can be orchestrated in advance to pick up a ignificant impact factor. why not ? say we all put our adiction asside for 72 hours and during that timespan … we do not touch our kingdoms ????
    now this does not mean that we should wreak havoc or use our power unwisely or unfairly. ngmoco does a great job on many levels and we should work together towards common goals and not start wars !!!! but we do have the power as “adicted consumers” to make them aware that we need each other and that a balance of cooperation is best for all.
    we rule is an awful lot like an image of our world and the perfect environment to play out our little dream worlds….
    so…. if we take the time to make a reasonable list of possible improvements, communicate our needs and make it clear that its in everyones interest, and certainly within our technical abilities to optimize “the game” … the rest should be a question of negotiating priorities and time lines….
    sometimes the only way to open effective dialog is by demonstrating our commitment to a cause, and for that it may be worth sacrificing 72 hous of we rule playtime. not all of us we rulers have stacked up alot of reserves, but the most competitive of us certainly have the notion of GAIN and have acquired ample profits. surely all of us, rich or poor can tale 72 hours off gain-time to persuade ngmocco to cut off a bit of their excess gain in profit of a long term investment in a better we rule future for all !!!
    after all….. it is called. WE RULE!

    Reply

  13. chezmah
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 10:02:07

    ps. SOOOOO SOOOORRY for all my typo errors in the above comment !!!! talk about fat fingers !!!! i just cant seem to adapt to the ipad keyboard after close to 30 years of the old style keyboards !!!! although my IT techie son has expressed his admiration for my efforts to integrate to the ipad keyboard, i personnally find that i am seriously lacking in the fairy fingers domain !
    you may need to extend some deciphering abilities in order to read my all too long rantings ! my sincerest apologies !

    Reply

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