Not so extreme makeover

We Rule edition

ngmoco:) has seriously slowed down their new product launches, which could further fuel player speculation that they (or ubermeister DeNA) lost faith in the game. And it does seem long in the tooth after two years. Developers don’t seem to like holding onto old games, players get tired and want new stuff. The lukewarm reception to Dreamtopia and the recent announcement that We City was closing down didn’t salve anyone’s concerns.

When the player dropout rate exceeds the rate of new players buying in, the beancounting starts to weigh in favor of abandoning a game. Losing We Rule would be a shame for me because because I finally pulled the Grimoire from Book Baby (I sent it in February) and now have to deal with iBooks and Kindle directly. (And buy yet another ISBN number, and retool the book for each device.)

It would suck even more for players who sunk lots of money into mojo investments.

That being said, there are some ways ngmoco:) could make the game more attractive to new and familiar players without the grandiose mojo schemes that put them into the financial straits they find themselves in. I have a couple of ideas to throw out there:

Pocket God is one of many games that sells expansion packs and skins to enhance the gaming experience. Rather than requiring players to buy essential items for leveling up, the games provide optional custom kits and themes.
  • Undercut the cost of mojo. Every game and it’s mother is lined up at the well for player’s money. The game economy will go south if it isn’t already. In app game dollars are like Amway pyramids. The more games there are sucking money the less money players have to spend. So cut the cost of mojo by 75% and the cost of mojo purchases by 75%. With your game cash being cheaper than other games, players may be more willing to use it and keep We Rule afloat.
  • Expansion packs. Much of the fun of We Rule is decorating, especially with buildings featuring animated characters. But lately We Rule has skimped on the animation and decoration department. Why not release expansion kits for a dollar each? Over the months they could add a Steam Punk kit with two characters and decorations and street styles, a Persian or Egyptian kit, a Xena kit or even a warrior monk kit. Decorations could include weapons, special street tiles, or even costume changes for the main characters. Pocket God has done this with their iPhone app for years and it helps them maintain a quality product. ngmoco:) could even toss in a $2 kit where the characters fight or interact.
  • In app $1 purchases to unlock old events so that players can catch up on buildings they missed. With no time limit, players could play the long game with no mojo or spend mojo to get what they want now. They could even share creatures with other players using the expansion event.
  • Online game challenge mode. Battle Nations does this, although their version is so frustrating and expensive I finally quit playing altogether. Players could match fleets, or play Wizard’s checkers. Players who want to participate could buy enhancements and spells (but for 5m not 75 like the supertanks in Battle Nations). They could be limited to three spells per game to equalize the match.
  • Player to player communication. This is another feature available in Trade and Battle Nations. Players can send messages to any of their friends, allowing them to chat, coordinate realm designs and even announce new installations of high value buildings.
  • Collectables. I noticed that Snoopy’s Street Fair offers collectables such as trading cards that players can view in albums as they add new cards. They also have a decorative tree with collectable ornaments. ngmoco:) could drop eggs or gift boxes as players hit in-level milestones (e.g., delivering a dozen orders). They could then collect dragons and open them in a dragon aviary, or weapons that they could view in their weapons cache. Or players could be allowed to collect decorations for a solstice/Christmas/generic holiday tree. Players could email snapshots of their trees to friends.
  • Greeting Cards. ngmoco:) could offer players a holiday booth that changes items with the seasons. For instance, the spring booth could have flowers and the summer booth fireworks. The booth might also allow them to decorate with their dragon collection. Players could open the booth and create a decorative arrangement and send it as a greeting card to friends and family. Not only would this provide a fun game enhancement, the eCards could invite new players to join.
  • We Bay. I suggested this before as a joke but why not let players trade buildings and decorative items?

Just a couple of these enhancements might be enough to renew life to We Rule and even draw players back. Especially the drastic cut in mojo prices.

But don’t settle for my thinking. Email ngmoco:) and suggest game enhancements that might make players willing to stick with the game. Sooner or later someone will come up with an idea that sells. Just stress that you don’t want them to use this as an excuse to twist even more mojo out of our game wallets.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer du Sautoy
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 10:39:07

    Great ideas that could enhance the game. But I cannot accept that the game is tired at all. I think it is a classic with wonderful graphics and capable of endless complex designs. I love it so much and HATE to think it could disappear in favour of games like Dreamtopia which is so cluttered and ugly and with scant playability.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Jun 27, 2012 @ 18:50:13

      I didn’t mean to imply that the game was tired, so much as that ngmoco:) may think the appeal is fading (to accountants). I love the game the way it is, I liked it even better with the original quest idea. But if ngmoco:) wants to attract new players, or players who have lost interest (and they do exist), I believe there may be ways to attract them. And who could argue with a permanent 75% reduction in the cost of mojo?

      Reply

  2. CLindy
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 01:31:34

    I’d really like to see themes, too, maybe using a 3rd set of realms to the west. I’d like them to retire some things, too. The “build” tab is getting pretty cluttered. Plus, like beanie babies, you get excited about having things that no one else has, so if they retire some things (with all the “get it now before they’re gone!” hoopla) people will get excited about having the buildings again. Maybe not even retire them–just move them to a new “mojo only purchases” tab.

    As I think about it, a “night-time” realm would be particularly fun to decorate, especially with the lamps and Frankenstein’s castle.

    Reply

  3. HitMan8187
    Jul 06, 2012 @ 17:29:26

    I decided a while back that I will not purchase any more mojo unless it’s on sale. It takes what seems like forever to level up and I’m always tempted to buy and try, but’s it just not worth it in the long run. I strongly support the ideas of the not so extreme makeover and would continue to enjoy the game that way. However currently, I’m getting pretty board with it the way it is and how much it cost to move up. I like the game, but I don’t. Level 73.

    Reply

    • Totalthinker
      Jul 09, 2012 @ 06:58:35

      This week’s blog answers that. They are looking for ways to keep higher level players engaged. As to cost, I found that once I reached L70 it was easy to generate the coins to advance, so long as I added mutliple installations of the highest paying buildings and decorations (stacking helped). The more you invest, the quicker the coins return.

      Reply

  4. Noreen Gordon Winn
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 16:32:25

    Just wanted to say thank you for making the kindle book and this website.
    I play everyday if anyone is looking for friends. Thank you ID synosteus

    Reply

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