Halloween event: Will they deliver?

You may have noticed the splash screen promising a special reward for capturing (or appeasing) 250 monsters. For once I decided to take the event to the next level since the goal required a fixed accomplishment rather than a competition where I might have to commit all my time and mojo to the quest.

As you can see I appeased 250 monsters (and more). So I held up my end of the bargain.

I wanted to be able to tell readers if the reward was worth the investment. Sadly, even though I pulled it off I have yet to even learn what the reward will be. So I will not be conducting any more research since I can’t tell you guys if these post event rewards are worth the effort.

It wasn’t that difficult to appease the monsters. It seems ngmoco:) does reward players by making it easier to catch event creatures as their tally rises. My strategy was to lure only zombies because it only cost a single mojo to spring the lure.

Here was the contract. I’m waiting to see what my special reward might be.

That being said, I sure as hell am not going to capture another 250 monsters with the more expensive lure to test the challenge. If I do actually get the award, I’ll let you know in next week’s post.

Have you seen the new Halloween creatures?

I keep getting messages that a new Halloween creature has been released into my kingdom, but I haven’t seen one yet. They could be hiding in my buildings, or they may just be shy. If you see one, could you send a screenshot?

How could this have happened?

Carol and I were starting the final proofread of the Grimoire when we discovered every single one of the commas had been stripped out. So there will be a slight delay as we go through the manuscript and reinsert them. But it will be happening.

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Trolling for monsters

As many of us expected the latest event arrived in time for Halloween, and ngmoco:) still seems to be tweaking the formula. Some players are getting tired of this twice monthly formula but I suspect it’s proving popular or we wouldn’t be seeing so damn many of them.

The good news is players should be able to earn the Frankenstein’s lab and mummy’s tomb without spending mojo (or at least more than a handful). I was able to capture everything the first night in a couple of hours. (I did spend mojo to speed harvest and capture the rarer creatures so I could run the numbers).

Based on what I saw the zombies seem to show up with the same frequency. The wolfman is as common as dirt and I would never spend mojo to capture him. The swamp beast is more difficult and the nosfersatu is as rare as Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. The mummy seems to appear slightly less often than the swamp beast.

This are projections based on a hundred or more plantings. They will not necessarily reflect your experience.

The numbers are in

The mummy’s tomb has the highest overall return of any building with almost 1800ocp, or almost 5000 more than the thunderbird lair. It also provides the highest coin return with just under 9000. Hourly return is less lucrative. The tomb comes in fifth with just under 360hcp (and a 50 hour turn around).

If you want a quicker return, Frankenstein’s lab returns 464hcp in 16 hours (2nd behind the elemental forge).

You can find mine in my Halloween display for the second north kingdom. I thought about putting them in the main kingdom, but it is Halloween. Players should at least look for them.

My event rewards are in my second north kingdom which will be my Halloween display. If you can’t get to them, don’t worry I added plenty of new thunderbird lairs in my main realm.

Halloween event for Frankenstein’s lab

  • Zombies: Lumbering, shuffling and shambling—5m to capture,
  • Wolfman (common), Swamp Beast, Nosferatu (rare)—7m to capture,
  • Mummy (common), Frankenstein’s monster and his Bride—10m to capture.

Mastery event for mummy’s tomb

  • 3 of each zombie
  • 2 each of wolfman, swamp beast and nosferatu
  • 1 each of mummy, Frankenstein’s monster and his bride

The nosferatu is almost as difficult to capture as Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. This shouldn’t be a surprise since vampires hate coming into the light of day.

You have to reach L8 to participate but since it takes all of an afternoon to reach it, this shouldn’t be difficult.

If you don’t want to participate in the event, don’t plant the lure. Other players will still send you a few but the numbers should be low enough to keep you from going nuts.

Spooks and ghosts and goblins. Oh, my!

The Halloween design contest is on. So far as I can tell from the ngmoco:) blog site all you need to do is design one realm with Halloween and other spooky items from your inventory.
The deadline is Nov. 1 at 1o am PST, so get to work.

ngmoco:) has already returned last year’s Halloween items to the store in addition to some cool new ones. The candy cottage is supposed to come with a witch, but I haven’t seen her yet. If you haven’t either, don’t panic because it took a while for the ghost girl from the haunted house to show up last year.

The Haunted Hollow comes with two characters, the headless horseman and his head. For fans who remember Calvin and Hobbes, the head looks like it might be Calvin under his ghost robe running around looking for someone to trick.

The headless horseman and head come with the haunted hollow. It’s a treat to get two characters with the same building.

If you like anything, get it now because it will disappear soon after Halloween ends to make way for the Christmas/Hanukah, and, hopefully, maybe even a couple of Thanksgiving items like a Turkey pen. Last year I was hoping for a burning yule log but we didn’t get one. Let’s hope we’ll see one this year to burn in front of the Green Knight’s chair.

There is no reason not to start laying some items out to get a sense of your theme. You might even want to sketch a few ideas first so you don’t spend hours redesigning. And I certainly hope this doesn’t preempt the Grimoire’s second annual holiday contest coming up this winter.

I don’t know if there will be a Halloween design leaderboard, but ngmoco:) promises to send 30 mojo to players who enter. Don’t forget your basilisks and giant spiders. Maybe add some goblin fences.

There’s nothing wrong with blocking out your Halloween design now so you can tweak it during next week’s event. Start placing items for a general layout and leave room for a couple of items because there’s a good chance we will be catching spooks and will want to add the event rewards. You can fill in the trees and tiny details later.

New event coming?

The gift cart disappears on Tuesday. That’s usually a sign that a new event is coming. Since it’s Halloween, there’s a good chance we could be catching ghosts and goblins for some spooky cool items.

Zimidar suggested that you refresh your friends list during the event to make sure you send captured creatures to active players:

Best way to use this list of friends for Events is to refresh Social Map. On the iPad click twice and list will be refreshed. For the iPhone/iPod, to refresh social map is a two step process. First click Social Map and then go to Plus+ menu and close out of Plus+ (keep in mind, you are not closing out of WR app).

This refresh process to share does work for Events. The friends that are not active anymore will appear but after you have shared with active friends that appear on the Social Map. Best to delete inactive friends and add them back later if needed.

Oops

Janet Webster wrote to say her initials are JEW, hence the unfortunate choice of name “jewdog.”

Since we know that ngmoco:) doesn’t allow players to change plus+ IDs she will continue to use the name, but now we can congratulate a real person, Janet E. Webster, for winning the Merry Men event.

Some winners probably shouldn’t be named

I decided to wait to post today’s blog until after the Merry Men contest ended. Zimidar had been leading in Merry Men caught at 2 pm CST and then jewdog passed him to take the lead.

I might add that jewdog has managed to choose a player name only slightly less offensive to many players than niggadog who, fortunately for us, has shown enough wisdom not to use that name.

The winner of the Merry Man event is, well, I’ll let the screenshot speak for him.

The Merry Men event was much less frustrating this time around. As best I can tell players were able to collect bother rewards without mojo. Carol had everybody but one Will Scarlett by Saturday and she doesn’t play that often anymore.

I should correct myself for misidentifying King Richard as King John in my special update last week. It would have been Prince John. This doesn’t change the fact that King Richard wasn’t a merry man either; he was being held for ransom in the middle east at the time. He only showed up in Sherwood Forest as a surprise ending in the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood (we presume to teach Costner how to speak English).

I’m also including the final three choices for book cover for the Grimoire eBook edition for readers to see. Carol’s already told me which one to use. Even though I have every right to choose one of the others, anyone who’s married will know the decision’s already been made.

This may seem like a lot of work for a book cover that will end up being 120×180 pixels in iBooks, but I will include it as a cover page illustration as well.

Carol’s choice is the leather book cover design. The photographer is Billy Alexander and the unedited photo can be seen on StockXchang.

This was the original cover design based on screenshots from my kingdom. I like the comic book feel, but most of it would be lost when reduced to iBooks format.

This was an earlier version of the book cover design. In many ways it’s cleaner, but I no longer have a say in the matter.

Carol and I are doing the final proofreading and I am winnowing out the screenshots that will actually appear in the book. Then it goes to BookBaby to submit to Apple.

Merry Men under attack

One week later and yet another event is underway. Or perhaps it could be called a mini-event since it’s several days shorter and you have nine fewer creatures to catch (although these are people, not creatures). The sheriff of Nottingham is plotting against Robin Hood and his merry men (and, apparently, their new ally King John). In order to foil his plot you have to capture each of them at least twice.

As usual, the event requires two levels of mastery. In the first level you simply have to capture one each of the merry men and their new friend King John. In the mastery level you must capture:

  • Will Scarlett and Little John 3x
  • Friar Tuck and Maid Marian 2x
  • King John and the highly elusive Robin Hood

I was a little pissed because I found Robin and Maid Marion wandering in my kingdom as soon as I launched. I spent 20m to capture them both because of their rarity only to discover the captures didn’t count until after I placed the carriage in my kingdom. I’ll know better next event.

The lure this time is the carriage carrying the King’s taxes. This lure is a little cooler than past lures. When it’s finished collecting you can see the carriage filled with gold.

The carriage is much more elaborate than past lures. When it’s trip is complete gold spills out of every opening.

The rewards aren’t quite as lucrative. The vineyard pays off less than half the total coins of the last events grand prize, but still returns 270hcp (four fourth best overall). Of course, the event is slightly less challenging as well.

Robin Hood is the toughest to catch. I only saw him twice in 150 uses of the carriage (that’s right, I spent 300m) to get the numbers.

Robin Hood is by far the most difficult to catch. After I placed the carriage I only saw him twice in more than 150 characters who appeared. I realized the best strategy this round would be to try to capture every character with the weak bow until Robin Hood showed up. This time it paid off. In the first round I captured every one with the weak bow, except, of course, for Robin. In the second round I captured all but one Friar and Maid Marion before he appeared.

I even got far enough down my list to actually send a merry person (Marion) to Carol.

Had I not been trying to run the numbers for readers, I suspect I could have avoided paying more than thirty or forty mojo for the entire event.

I even ended up in the top four players for catches. It won’t last of course. I would rather one of you guys win the grand prize so from here on out I’ll only be looking for the merry men (and John) that readers send me.

Good luck. I think both the camp and vineyard are within your grasp.

Can elementals be contained in an iPad?

The elemental event ended this week and the winner was mellowy7 with 3518 elementals captured.

Wow. Did he/she sleep?

Zimidar was in second place, but he’s the perpetual leader board guy. Look on any leader board and he should be there somewhere. If ngmoco:) were to create an endurance leader board he would have to be the all time leader ever and ever amen.

Mellowy7 won the elemental event by collecting 3500 elementals. That is a lot of elementals for a supposedly mellowy player. How can he contain them? His iPad must be shaking like New York City in Ghostbusters with all the elementals trying to break free. Fortunately, there is no elemental Zool to release them.
We hope.

I kept playing to send elementals to other players who might need them, but I didn’t work that hard. But I only came up with 91. Then again, I really played to get the numbers so players could know what the rewards might be.

Without question, ngmoco:) did a good job with this event. Even the toughest elementals could be caught without mojo on the last day which should have made it easier for anyone to finish if they wanted. I caught four fire elementals, three lightning and wind elementals and two composite elementals on Wednesday, and I didn’t spend any mojo. And I stopped planting lures to attract them.

For poorer players this should send the message that if they hang on long enough they should be able to win without spending a lot on mojo. Hopefully this will continue into the next events as well.

The gift cart returned with no real changes that I can see. I noticed that gifts from ngmoco:) no longer boost themselves for you; you at least have to click the boost button again.

It was a first that ngmoco:) released more gifts than ordinary buildings this week. They released three boosted and one regular gift, one cash purchase item (the Eiffel Tower) and one building (Versailles). The theme would seem to have been the French Revolution except for the fact that the Tower was built a hundred years later.

I guess now is as good a time to depose the king and queen as any. I just wonder if we’ll see a guillotine to execute the We Rule monkey king and his consort. Now that would be entertainment.

Elemental event winding down

The elemental event ends Wednesday morning, and based on the comments players are far happier with this implementation than they were with the flutterflies near debacle. There have been far fewer crashes, and, in case you missed ngmoco:)’s notice when the game launched, turning off mojo confirmation will make the game even more stable.

Both rewards offer enormous payouts and the game seems to play essentially like the previous two. The most common elementals (in this case, the imps) are relatively easy to catch, with the mud being easiest and the fire imp less so.

As a rule of thumb, in all of these events the top left creature is the easiest to catch and the creatures become increasingly more difficult as you move to the right and down. The rarest three creatures are almost always impossible to catch.

I managed to catch all 27 creatures the first evening by harvesting spells with mojo and making sure I caught every one the first time. But that was to run the numbers. Nonetheless, it was far easier this time than in the last two events.

These are the creatures and number of creatures you must catch in the second round to win the elemental forge. The stakes are higher than with past events because you have to catch more of the rarest creatures.

So I would recommend with these games that if you definitely want the reward, spend the mojo on the three most difficult catches (in this case, since you have to catch the three rarest elementals four times each, that’s 120m). But with all of these events, you should be able to catch most items over the course of the week without spending mojo.

Making it to the top 100 in catches will definitely require mojo.

As the deadline looms on Tuesday, however, I would decide how badly you want to play. If you’re determined to succeed, cast spells and spend mojo to mature them as often as possible. Don’t worry about catching creatures after you’ve bagged your limit. Grab at them, and if you miss, move on.

Free orb harvests

ngmoco:) is assuring players that using the orb is permanently free, for now. The “for now” part, of course, means they’re hedging their bets. They are considering capping orb use, and charging a coins penalty for exceeding it. So use it guilt free for now, and don’t worry about what they might do.

Two enhancement requests

While I would never want new enhancements at the expense of processing power and stability, I have stumbled across two enhancements that might make the game more enjoyable.

  • Magic grapes. Okay, I’ve asked for these before. How hard would it be to give players a magic crop that harvests on the same schedule as groves? Especially if developers may cap orb use in the future.
  • Quicker planting I would love the ability to plant the same crop without going back to the crop menu. I’ve seen this in other games, and it would be really helpful for players with magic plots in every realm.

Currently you have to open the crop menu every time you plant a new crop, even thought the game remembers the last crop planted. Why not let players select one crop, and then plant the same crop by touching each plot in turn? If players want to change crops they can simply wait a few seconds before planting again.

I just finished playing Cityville Home Town to review for iPad Envy and one of the few things I like is the ability to select a crop once and then tap on each plot where I want to plant it.

If it means more crashes, however, I’m good.