Seasons Greetings

As the snow falls on your realms, may you find peace and also find the gingerbread house, sled shop and other items you missed in the after-Christmas giveaway in the gift cart.

At least, this was what I planned to post and then ngmoco:) released another event for Christmas eve. Many players have been cleaned out of mojo buy all of the mojo only shops and trying desperately for the promised bounty of gifts. (So far I’ve seen a sled shop and a holiday lamp). This may not have been the most well-considered release.

If the event follows the past you will need to collect one each of the teddy bears, one each of the rag doll, wind-up mouse and rocking horse, and one each of the toy soldier, dragon and nutcracker. That will be the first round. In the second round, you will need to capture, three of each teddy bear and two dolls, mice and rocking chairs but only each of the top tier items. The grand prize, the toy museum, should be the highest paying building in your realm and the teddy bear worth half that. There may be an additional prize for collecting ten of each item.

I am extremely disappointed that ngmoco:) decided to double the mojo price for early harvest. Pushing up a teddy bear harvest will now cost 2m and a toy harvest a whopping 4.

I am with my family and we have the entire holiday planned so I will not have time to follow the event as much as I might like too. Honestly, if you have friends or family, you might find your time better spent with them as well. Then, maybe, ngmoco:) may at least offer an after-Christmas half-off mojo sale to lure you back.

Waiting for Santa

If you’re like me, you’ve been leaving space in your Christmas realm for all those gifts ngmoco:) announced for the gift cart last Wednesday. You may also be disappointed that it’s been almost a week and you still haven’t found one of those gifts.

In the past, ngmoco:) has spaced out the gifts they announced. The first one might not show up for a couple of days, the next for a couple more. But I have yet to see a single Christmas item. Moontown commented that she actually spent 80 mojo without receiving a single Christmas gift.

Still waiting for

It’s possible that ngmoco:) is waiting for Christmas eve to start releasing gifts, or they may start earlier this week. But I wouldn’t spend a lot of mojo trying to get them. If worse comes to worse, they will start showing up frequently after Christmas and you can stock them in inventory for next year.

In fact, they may start pouring in by the dozen once Christmas has passed.So what can you do with all those extra gifts you have lying around. Since ngmoco:) doesn’t seem to be warming up to WeBay, I recommend that you sell them when you want to install a new item you can’t afford. When I get a chance, I will start a chart of gift sale prices, but standard items that you receive as gifts sell for 10 percent of their purchase price. I wouldn’t empty it your inventory, but if you have a dozen vintage chateaus you can sell them to help buy a Jack Frost’s lair for the design display.

The great wall of Chickmix

One design that could be the cornerstone of a Christmas showcase it the wall in Chickmix’s north realm. The battlements would need to be replaced with holiday items, but I think it looks better than the winter walls ngmoco:) introduced. (Or, with enough ambition, a new one with diamonds would really sparkle on the snow). This wall required no hacking (unlike Guy 0084) so you should be able to figure out how it was done.

Chickmix installed the a great wall of We Rule in the north realm. You should check it out. It took a lot of patience.

I will be in Dallas over Christmas, so I my last chart update will be Wednesday night. I usually use my iPad to update but WordPress often drops entire sections when I update from my iPad. So I have to decide between leaving you a few days behind or risk wiping out the charts until I can get back to Austin. Enjoy your holidays and with a little luck, you might even stumble across a Christmas gift in the gift cart.

Winter’s coming

As winter content keeps pouring in, speculation has begun about a winter design contest to follow halloween’s design spectacular. I’ve checked ngmoco:)’s blog and Facebook site for information and found none, but that doesn’t mean their won’t be one.

Based on the Halloween winners, I should warn players that the ngmoco:) judges like gimmicky design tricks. I have nothing against mazes and halloween jack-o-lantern faces made with glowing jack-o-lanterns, but I do feel there is more to design than patterns. So, regardless of ngmoco:)’s plans, the Grimoire will be featuring it’s own winter design showcase.

Since there are plenty of realms available and plenty of winter decorations coming, this year I will ask for players to fill an entire realm with their winter design. The items don’t have to be exclusively winter related, but you stand a better chance of being featured if you add items we might associate with winter (e.g., St. Basil’s Cathedral would work, but not Mt. Vesuvius). Nor does the theme have to be Christmas. You could do Valhalla, which is definitely associated with winter.

I will be looking for some sense that you thought about the general appearance of the elements. I will be looking for balance and color selection, as well as design techniques (including patterns and repetition). Don’t rush it. Take your time and tinker. Sketch out some ideas on paper. To enter simply send an email with your player id and which realm you used for the contest. Yes, you can do more than one realm.

I have already set up my kingdom for the showcase. Santa and the elves are waiting for me to add make it look as festive as possible. I suggest you start with a focal point (I used the winter walls and frozen lake) and build from there.

Submit your contest information by December 26 (yes, 2011). I will review the entries and publish screenshots of the top three-to-five entries. No, you don’t win anything. That’s why I’m calling this a showcase and not a contest.

Hoping for more return appearances

We’ve already seen the return of some popular winter items from last season. I hope there will be more to come. I loved the peppermint cottage, candy cane forests and ginger bread shop.

Fortunately, I kept mine in inventory but I would really like to see newer players get a chance to install them.Two special items I hope to see are the toy bag with animated Santa and Santa’s sleigh. Santa’s sleigh took up very little room and delivered 100xp every few hours. They were inexpensive by this year’s standards and could be used to create some interesting designs.

The mysterious moving castle

I noticed some buzz in the comments about Guy0084. Somehow he figured out how to move his castle and players want to know how he did it. I don’t have the slightest idea, but it’s certainly cool. Hopefully he’ll post a note to players on the Grimoire to share his secrets. I don’t see any competitive advantage, but I certainly see it’s design possibilities.

How did this happen? Guy0084 managed to relocate his castle to the back corner of his main realm.Hopefully he’ll share with other fans, since the trick offers no competitive advantage that I can see (unlike stacking).

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a demonstration on YouTube some day.

Slow down the push to mojo

The harvest feast is over and Zimidar won with almost 3800 delightful dishes cooked. I think Zimidar should also win the WRFF1 award because he’s been at the top of the leadership boards forever. He must also

  • be independently wealthy,
  • play non-stop 24 hours a day, or
  • have hacked into ngmoco:)’s server and created an unlimited supply of mojo

because he’s outlasted every player in the game and I can’t, for the life of me, imagine how else he does it.

Here are the top three leaders from the Harvest Feast. I thought it was difficult to catch two hundred. Think how hard they worked to collect in the thousands.

Oh, wait. I have a fourth possibility: Zimidar, like fishnships, is actually several different players. We’ve corresponded, and he seems like a really nice guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s a solo act. He may even have cloned himself.No, that stretches the realm of believability.He could also really be a nice guy (or woman who uses a guy’s avatar) who’s just way better than the rest of us. I believed that until this week when Herman Cain destroyed my faith in the myth that there are really nice guys who are just better than the rest of us. Because Herman’s dark underbelly forced him from the race, I had to throw all my Ayn Rand books away. So deep was my crisis of faith. Fortunately, I never read them because I had the Cliff’s Notes, and if you settle for the Cliff’s Notes you’ll never be good enough for Ayn Rand.Speaking of the Harvest Feast, how many of you thought the Mashed Potato dish looked suspiciously like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Do you think this might have been a shrewd product placement deal between ngmoco:) and the producers of Ghostbusters III?

Get rid of the butter and add a blue hat, and we have the Stay Puft Marshmallow man. Is this a sign of things to come?

If that’s what happened, can we expect a Ghostbusters event when Akroyd finally finishes the movie? Will we see Stay Puft, Zool, Gozer and a return of the Mashed Potato Man? My crystal ball is cloudy on this one. The fortune tellers fortunes have waned, and her powers diminished.

Mojo burnout

If you read the shop updates, you know the first winter release really pissed me off. The snow fort, which is another super high earner for vendors, can only be purchased with mojo. This follows the grand farm house, which can only be purchased with mojo, Segovia castle, which can only be purchased with mojo, and the necromancer’s lair, which costs $3. Of the six recently released high yield shops, four cost real money or mojo.Only the dragonslayer’s den and thunderbird lair outperform, and those require levels 65 and 68. The dark knight’s haven (L50) delivers a competitive hourly return at 3o0hcp, but a lower yield in comparison. It seems as though ngmoco:) is, in fact, moving toward the trend to offer exclusive items as I predicted earlier. Other games do this, but not with quite the same ruthlessness. Zynga mixes cash items with high-yield items customers can buy with coins. Trade Nations has some incredibly expensive cash only (aka magic bean) purchases, but none of them are for income generating properties. Magic beans buy highly decorative items (and one new realm). Dragonville charges a steep price for dragons, but, as one reader pointed out, players can breed them (although not always successfully).Had the farm and fort not been sandwiched around an event that were very expensive for mojo, I wouldn’t have been quite so taken by surprise. But it usually costs me fifty mojo just to plant, mature and process high level items to run the numbers. If I have to spend as much to get one, it becomes aggravating.Even worse, ngmoco:) announced on the splash sheet that they added new boosted gifts to the carpet but didn’t say what those gifts would be. Players willing to gamble on a lottery at least want to know what they’re gambling for. I don’t know any who would gamble for “an unspecified gift.”

Hey! We can get a boosted gift. Don’t know what it is. Maybe we can find out on their facebook blog (although half the time we can’t). How many people want to gamble real money on “something?” At least after they’ve been burned.

Okay, I do. The guys who buy blu ray players in boxes in gas station parking lots sight unseen. But they think it’s a blu ray player. Even those guys wouldn’t shell out money to someone who says, “Hey, buddy, I have something in this box. Want to buy it for $50?”I haven’t decided whether or not to stop counting numbers on mojo only items. On the one hand it might do a disservice to readers (which is why I always have in the past). On the other hand, it would undermine my own position in the blog that players shouldn’t invest in mojo only shops.The more players invest, the more willing ngmoco:) seems to be to accelerate their release. I also say this because ngmoco:) will simply replace them with an even higher yield item in a week or two. High yield shops deliver only a small boost to experience and revenue unless you invest in bulk. Players want to know there’s a chance they can actually place the order at that shop. To install six or seven shops with mojo costs several hundred mojo (around $30). It makes no sense financially to invest real money in an item that will be gone in a month or two. Especially when you will have to spend more real dollars to buy the mojo to buy the upgraded building.If ngmoco:) isn’t willing to give you a coin based version of the same building, stop buying the building. It’s not as though they won’t collect plenty of money from players buying mojo for gifts and events.

1We Rule Favorite Fan. Or we could go with We Rule Fan Forever.back