Second guessed again

This weekend I had the post written earlier because a publisher asked me to referee several articles and get them back asap. The post was built on the premise that ngmoco:) had only introduced three items in three weeks. I had already posted about a “new content” notice with new content where every angle I covered proved to be wrong. Had I 15 minutes posted earlier I would have had mud on my face again.

Not only did ngmoco:) release a new event this week, they released three new blockbuster items. I’ve been saying for a while that players at L65 should save their coins and this week they released a blockbuster shop for l65 and l70. Since both came at the same time players may have missed the new items.

On the other hand, ngmoco:) did nothing to make players want to play the event because they completely hid the reward items. You could see pictures of them, but that was about it. They don’t even show up in the featured menu when you win them anymore. You have to scroll to the very bottom of the build menu where your old inventory items are stored.

They also increased the cost of harvesting the attractor early to 5m. As always I went ahead and played through the first round and the reward for capturing the ogres, cyclops, golems and harpies was a food court.

You have to win each round before you even find out what you’re playing for. In the past they included the rewards in the features menu so you would at least know what they were. The first round award is a food court.

Come on, ngmoco:), surely you can come up with a better reward than a food court. And this food court is a tiny little thing. Hardly seems worth the time to win it. Sure, the payoff is decent, 300+ tcp, which is phenomenal for players at L8. But since the new ghost academy has an even higher return, it’s hardly worth the mojo spent for players at L45 or higher.

Usually the next item is worth double the value of the first level, so the next item should be 600+ hcp. However, you have to collect three of every item, which means that id you spend mojo to capture them you will spend 180m. Play if you want, but wait the game out. You will probably be able to collect all 24 creatures by then without spending mojo.

The food court looks really puny next to other buildings, especially the new solstice and undead temples.

The solstice fortress, however, delivers almost 15000cp in 18 hours (812hcp) which makes it by far the most valuable shop ever. The slayer’s den still delivers more total points (19400) but takes twice as long leaving a much lower hourly return. Vendors will get 10000 total coins for one item for the first time ever.

You should see a lot of solstice fortresses by the end of the week. Between the solstice and undead fortresses (606hcp), the thunderbird lair and dragons layer’s den you should have quite a few shops to help you level up more quickly.

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Leaving the farms

If it seems boring lately, you still have to remember that ngmoco:) introduces new items at a faster rate than other games, with the possible exception of Snoopy’s Street Fair. But their new products usually require Snoopy Bucks. Trade Nations can go for weeks without anything new, and, well, I haven’t played anything else in so long I can’t keep up anymore.

I even gave up on Trade Nations. The only reason I kept playing was because I had 32 consecutive weeks and was waiting for another cool thing to show up. I quit actually doing anything but check in a couple of weeks ago. Then, Saturday, my wife and I had to get up early to attend a hog fry with the Cherokee Nation in Belton, Tx. I completely forgot about Trade Nation, my streak ended and there was no need to play any more.

Trade Nations did have one feature I really wish ngmoco:) would pick up for We Rule. You can leave a message for other players that pops up whenever they visit. As soon as they load your kingdom they can see a dialogue with a personalized message if you want to leave one. You can wax poetic, let people know you’re on vacation, or tell them to leave your shit alone because you can make more money ordering from yourself than from other players (which, admittedly, is rather bizarre).

No “gone fishing” sign which people ignore. No ambiguity. You’re message is there for everyone who drops by. How hard is that? Just something to think about for the “We Rule Superquest” release.

This is my farewell message for Trade Nations. Maybe I shouldn’t have waxed quite so poetic. It took a couple of weeks for other players to figure out I really was retiring from the game.

Maybe one day I’ll write about the game that I loved but which pissed me off more and more so often I finally said to hell with it (in spite of spending way to much money on their version of mojo called nanopoads) and haven’t played since. If you want to talk about a game that gave an advantage to players who spent money, that would be the one.

Okay, I’ll talk. One of the things that pissed me off was that I invested a lot of time earning credits to build their new heavy tank, as did a number of other players. After finally building my fleet up enough to actually win at least half of my battles with other players, they introduced a super tank which players could buy with nanopods. Sure enough, within days everybody with money had super tanks and the rest of us were back to losing four out of five battles.

So when I think about We Rule, I put things in perspective. The game is fun while you build your kingdoms, once you have reached L70 you will start generating enough coins to redesign as often as you want, and with the harvest orb you can harvest all 13 realms in less than half an hour.

Except for farms

Time to leave the farm.

Farms take more time than any aspect of the game. When you’re beginning, it’s no big deal, but by the time you reach L70 you have 35 farms in addition to any magic farms.

Nor does ngmoco:) make farms easy to work with. You have to look up the crop each time you plant one. If you’re lucky, the game will remember the last crop you planted.

Other games, such as Farmville and Cityville let you pick a crop and then touch the plots until you want to change crops. When you have a hundred or more farms that becomes painful.

Farmville even lets you buy a planter so you can run your finger across farms and plant row after row at once. You have to pay farm cash for gas, but you have the option.

So why would you want to keep farms? Because at lower levels they are among the best earners available and plots are cheap. You can pay for your next crop with your current harvest.

At the advanced levels, however, the cost v. return advantage loses out to more expensive items such as the golden temple and some of the new residences, such as the Persian and (admittedly ugly) creepy residence. When you earn a million or more coins every two or three days, the residences are easily afforded. When you earn a couple of million a day, so are the golden temples.

I’ve already yanked every farm to inventory and it makes the game much quicker to play.

Even before that I discovered I could rotate planting and harvest times. As long as I stuck to cauliflower I could do half the farms on one round, and the other half on the next. But the time finally came and I yanked them all. My revenues have actually improved thanks to the high return buildings I was able to stack on to what used to be farm land.

Remember, however, I was already at L75 before I even considered this option. But when you reach that level you may be looking for ways to make the game quicker and easier.

Upgrade request summary

To summarize my upgrade suggestions:

  • Customizable greeting dialogues when players visit
  • Let players keep planting the same crop without having to reselect it for each plot.

No news is no news

Last week I wondered to myself if we weren’t in for another event this week. This seems to be the pattern after a week without new stuff. So today, when We Rule asked me to shut down for new content I figured, “Aha, this is it.”

Instead I have been unable to log on in the hours since. All I get is the message, “unable to connect.”

For a brief instant I thought we were back in business when I got a new message asking me to shut down for even more new content, but when I logged back in I was unable to connect yet again. I finally decided to post and start a whole new wave of speculation about ngmoco:)’s future.

All I’ve seen when I tried to play today is “unable to connect.” Does this portend an upgrade or new event? Or are we facing a We Rule apocalypse? Or did someone screw up and disconnect the servers? We can only wait and see.

It’s not that they haven’t had their servers down before, but never this long and never without a message warning us that the servers would be down for maintenance or upgrades.

By the time you read this, the suspense may be over, but at this second in time I have to wonder if there is another upgrade coming (with all of the bugs that follow), a new event, perhaps with the Sta-Puft marshmallow man and other movie monsters, the long awaited release of the blockbuster building that will deliver more than 20000cp, or a going out of business sign.

I, however, believe that speculation is a crap shoot. Throw enough speculations out there and one of them is bound to happen. That’s why I think I have my bases covered with the speculations above. Whatever happens now, I feel confident that next week I will be able to say, “I predicted it.”

Dream heights fails to reach

In the meantime, for those of you who were disappointed with ngmoco:)’s newest release Dreamtopia, take heart. Zynga is now pushing “Dream Heights,” their new game where you build a custom condo tower. It might sound original if I hadn’t already downloaded at least three similar games. And they all suck.

Maybe if Zynga created Jinga Towers where you build a tower with shops and apartments and then have to remove them one-by-one without collapsing the tower. Then you could see all the animated characters scream and flail their arms as they fall helplessly as their tower crumbles around them because you should have left the gay bar where it was. That might be as fun as Dreamtopia. Which still wasn’t really fun.

But it does mean Zynga, ngmoco:)’s big bully of a competitor, is feeling heat too. So We Rule fans can at least have a moment of schadenfreude to compensate for our crushed dreams of dreamtopia.

Is the game running again? I’ll quit writing to check….

No, still not connecting.

Oh, I forgot one other possibility. The new item may just be another collection of residences and shops. Or new crops.

Now I think I have my bases covered. Remember, whatever they end up doing, I predicted it here.

Postscript from the evening

Well, I finally got back in, had to wait for new content to download, relaunched and discovered my predictions were all wrong. In fact, the new content is…well there is no new content. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t.

It’s possible the changes will show up overnight in the form of an event, but knowing ngmoco:) I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing happened.

Time to mix it with your groves

In the past I’ve always promoted residences as a replacement for groves as your income grows and you can afford to add two or three a day. But I’ve always though ruby groves were the best investment at lower levels when cash remains hard to come by.

In fact, if Book Baby ever gets around to releasing my book, you will discover that’s still my opinion in the official Grimoire. However, things change and the new mongol residence is that game changer.

Mongol residences deliver 65xp every hour (20c) for 13000c (4m). This is only 5000c more than a ruby grove (and half the mojo) which delivers 30cp an hour but every six hours. You have to clock in every hour to make mongol residences worth your while, but they will be worth your while.

Best of all, you can get them at L18. This means you can start adding them to your kingdom before you can start installing ruby groves.

The mongol residence delivers 85cp every hour. You can start installing before you become eligible for ruby groves.

Should you forego ruby groves altogether? I wouldn’t go that far. Rubies still earn more over a stretch longer than three hours, and I doubt you will be able to cash in on mongol residences 24 hours a day. You will also reach a point where it’s no longer worth your while to harvest every hour or two. When that happens, you will find the groves pay off far better.

I would recommend a mix of two groves to one residence (two to two max). Once you can start installing the higher value residences, however, especially the Persian residence, move on. The mongol will lose its value the higher your level.