Sailing Off

If I had posted, a year ago today, that We Rule would close up shop most of you would have laughed. It would have been April Fool's, after all. A few wise souls saw it coming. I, who called so many things right, did not. In fact, I said it probably wouldn't happen.

This year my April fools joke is posted on Ask Tabby, where our polydactyl Siamese Jenny Manytoes explains bizarre people behavior to cats around the world. I type it for her, so you will still be hearing from me.

Shameless promotion aside (although you really will like her blog) (honest to goodness), is a day of morning for We Rule fans everywhere when the universal and final “unable to connect” was flashed on the game page.

(Speaking of shameless self-promotion, don't forget you can still buy my books Raising Hell and The Worst Noel for $1 on Amazon, Nook and iBooks. And we are finishing proofreading on Cigerets, Guns and Beer a thriller about bad cops, a bank robbery gone very wrong and maybe, just maybe, the crash site of a flying saucer. If you enjoyed this blog, you will enjoy those books.)

Yes, it's gone and we knew it was coming. Some of us simply gave up. Some mourned it's loss in the comments section, and others, like JennyManytoes tried valiently to leap through as many levels as they could. I took orders and sent them back, but really lacked the heart to progress any further. At 3 billion xp, it was doubtful there were any more significant milestones to reach.

Last night I redesigned my main realm to show ghost ships sailing off to tumble over the falls and crash into ships docked in the level below. Poor symbolism indeed.

And so the ghost ships sail off the edge, a symbol of my mixed feelings about spending (I am now embarrassed to admit) hundreds of dollars on mojo. I had more than 3000 so I could speed up buildings and plant numbers when ngmoco:) announced it would all be for naught. Had only they warned me.

The biggest tragedy of all is that they don't even maintain the small amount of server space that would allow players to at least visit and tinker with their realms. I hope you kept screen shots for your digital scrap books.

Players who enjoyed the game to the end can relish the memories, and it was fun. Players who still feel bitter and know a good class action attorney might consider pursuing a law suit. After all, players did blow hundreds of thousands of dollars in the belief that the game would be there as long as they wanted to play. If you know one, my wife an I may sign up.

I could end on a positive note, but there is no reason to celebrate. I no longer begin social network games because I know they're all dead ends. Snoopy's fair crapped out on me, leaving me with nothing as did every Zynga game I started. ngmoco:) has pretty much killed every good offering they launched: Touch Pets, Godfinger, and all the We games. I played Farmville 2 for a day, which was long enough to convince me I wouldn't be interested in We Rule 2 (should ngmoco:) raise the money to develop one).

I still play the Simpsons Tapped Out, but it's been a month since they added anything new and I have yet to trigger the events that would let me earn them. I'm not sure I have the patience to rack up 3 million points for a giant magnifying glass to torch the popsicle skyscraper that cost 2 million. The jokes are still funny, but I have seen them so many times now it feels like watching re-runs of Star Trek.

It's sad, because We Rule got a lot of things right. They were too frequent with new items, but at least they offered them on a regular basis. The characters were entertaining, and the events would have been really fun had they not crashed all the time. Looking back at all the social network games I played, there was a reason We Rule was so popular. It showed it's age, but it was still the best and most likely to keep players interested month after month.


The Game is On

To all those worried fans out there, the official word from ngmoco:) is that We Rule is not going away any time soon, if ever. But a few elements of the game are being reviewed sometime after Thanksgiving. This may include events (which are meeting with mixed feelings by players), their facebook presence and even future contests.

I didn't ask why, I didn't need to ask. The market is flooded with social network games demanding that players pony up real cash to buy game items. I've watched a number crash and burn, but they keep coming out. In fact, I've had so many social network games that use game center wipe out all of my progress permanently, I don't bother to even experiment with them unless they run from their own network (such a plus+, or OpenFeint). Game developers have to focus their resources to attract the dwindling dollars out there.

Actually, the only social network game I play now is We Rule. If I'm going to spend money, this is the game I spend for. But even I have a limited budget.

Enjoy the events? Then you might want to blow some mojo on the next one to let ngmoco:) know you want to make it worth their while to keep it around. Don't care? Don't play. The company is evaluating community components of the game, and the best way to tell them is to spend (or withhold) money.

So how can you help ngmoco:) decide what to keep and what to ignore? Participate (or not). Participation, or lack of it, is the best feedback a company can receive. If enough players spend even a little money on events, management will most likely decide to keep it. If you like the facebook updates, like them and comment every time they post a new entry. If you like the contests, follow the facebook posts and enter the contest.

Okay, this isn't completely true. Sometimes someone high enough in management gets obsessed over something and all of the wisdom and marketing share in the world won't stop them. But if the door is open, you should let them know. In the meantime, keep playing and inviting new friends to play. The game should survive barring a total meltdown in Congress next years and complete collapse of the economy because a certain party can't compromise at the fiscal cliff.1 And if that happens, we'll all have to hock our devices and stop playing anyway.

1I'm not going to name the party because most readers will have already decided it's the party they won't be voting for in November.back

Dear ngmoco:): Please extend event

Special post

This week’s event finally paid off for those with the patience to hang with it. The fantasy zoo delivers 14000cp to players, which is the best event total ever. Hourly is about the same as the previous best event reward at 583hcp. The payoff for vendors is 21200cp, which is actually better than the solstice fortress, and a whopping 883 hourly. So if you’re close, play as long as it takes until they remove the event tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to connect for much of the weekend, and this could be hurting other players’ chances if it is a problem for everybody. As irritating as events can be for players who don’t care or already completed them, I would hope ngmoco:) would extend the event by a couple of days to give players a chance to make up for lost time.

And for any players whose orders expired in my kingdom, all I can say is theya culpa (which is, I admit, a terrible, however irresistible, pun and even worse Latin).

Valentine offerings slim

Not much news for blog’s return

I’m running behind on the articles I took time off to write, but I thought I should take the time to review the latest developments, or lack of them, in We Rule.

Once Christmas ended, and the incredible outpouring of items from the We Rule shop, ngmoco:) began to slow things down. Only three items have been introduced for Halloween, although they may still release some items on Valentine’s Day or Monday. Quite frankly, I’m relieved.

But I’ve also noticed that they’ve been sloppy and lax lately. They took a couple of days to add the splash screens to announce several items. Their blog and Facebook entries have been noticeably uninformative, especially about event rewards beyond the traditional two items.

Interestingly, they removed the experience point leaders from the leader boards but still have the leader listings for the Thanksgiving event (three events ago) without posting leaders for the two that followed. Okay, I had fallen a hundred places or so in the leaders when they dropped it, and perhaps they were afraid that new players would be scared off seeing leaders with three billion points. 

The landing strip and craft factory that were rewards for the most recent event were the coolest in a long time, maybe ever. I really liked the steam punk crafts as well. Too bad we won’t know who collected the most. ngmoco:) hasn’t updated event leaders since Thanksgiving.

Still, I have to think that’s a motivation. If Zimidar can earn three billion points, so can I. Admittedly he will probably have twelve billion by the time I collect my three, but still. I’ve never had a billion anything (except maybe molecules).

The rewards for events haven’t been that lucrative either. In the past you could count on the last reward for every second event producing the highest yield of any building in your realm. The return offered on the three events since Halloween have been decent, great for players at lower levels, but far less rewarding than shops available for coins at L60 and up.

So I have to wonder if DeNA isn’t growing as weary of We  Rule as some of the players seem to feel (or so it seems by their comments). I’m not sure what happened. Perhaps their ceaseless push to sell mojo finally put off a lot of players and they had to downsize the development, design and marketing teams.

Maybe they just decided to squeeze even more profit by cutting back. 

I am happy with the pace of new item releases, but I would like to think they’re responding to player requests to slow things down, not losing interest themselves.

Idle income bargains

I would like to point readers to two real bargains for generating idle income. The best, the golden temple, is only available to players at L59 or above and it’s very expensive. It’s also hidden next to the milliner’s shop in the build menu (at least in my build menu) and not with the items available around L60.

If you have coins to burn, this is a great way to burn them. The temple returns 430hcp (337 in xp) every 15 hours. You can add up to fifty a realm. Granted the cost is high (1 million coins) but by the time you reach L70, 337 xp hourly for a million coins is a good trade off. (It basically comes down to 750000 xp every two days for every realm with 50 temples).

Cupid’s cottage is another good deal, delivering 130cp every hour. You can get them at L23. Yes, you have to check in hourly to collect the full value, but let’s break down the numbers. One cottage costs 15000c, and delivers 780 points in six hours if you make every collection. Two ruby groves deliver 360 in six hours and cost 16000c.

That cute Cupid’s cottage can be incredibly lucrative if you’re willing to spend more time with the game. You can collect 130cp every hour.

When you’re at L23 you’re starting to get eager to level up because the number of experience points needed to jump starts to grow exponentially. If you want to install a Cupid’s cottage instead of 2 groves, and check in every hour or two, you will make the jump much more quickly. (If you only check in every six hours, the groves are the better deal.)

Final Harvest Update

The building sale ends today, the harvest event ends Thursday morning. This will give you plenty of time to catch all of the trophies you need.I don’t know what’s going on with the statues. I’ve caught a dozen of the ruthless dinner rolls, ten pies and cranberries and still no dinner roll or cranberry statues. All of the statues deliver 2500 coins and experience every ten hours no matter how rare the item. But I can only verify that there are actually four statues, contrary to my earlier assumptions. But if people keep sending them, keep catching them. Maybe I’m wrong and you’ll unlock different statues.

Plenty of themes

The good news is that you have plenty of holiday theme material to play with. Based on last years Christmas releases you should see a lot of new holiday items and there’s a good chance they’ll rerelease the items from last year (which should be affordable to players at lower levels). Let’s see what you can do with your realms. We had some great ones last year and I’m betting we’ll see even more fantastic realms this holiday.

Loading new content: Statues work now

The harvest event, which had originally been set to end on 12/1, and then shortened by two days, has been extended to 12/1 again. We got the Black Friday sale I requested but only 25 percent off on buildings, and no mojo sales. Next year I will ask that the Black Friday sale include every thing for free and maybe we’ll get the 50 percent sale.We definitely need another mojo sale though because players’ coffers have been decimated by the last two events and all the high profile buildings.

Oops. Retraction time. Statues produce.

Contrary to my report Tuesday night, the harvest statues do produce idle income and you can earn a statue for every item by cooking ten of that dish. Once I earned the yam statue, I saw a banner above my corn statue that said it was initializing. Suddenly the statue earned 2500c and xp every 10 hours. I just earned my mash potato statue (I refuse to use mojo to capture) so I won’t know until late tonight if the rarer items have higher returns than the common items.The yam statue delivers idle income as well, so I’m going to go out on a limb to predict that all nine statues will produce at least 500hcp. I can only think of two explanations. Either I had to earn a second statue to start generating income from the first, or (and this is more likely) the statues didn’t produce until the developers fixed the items after I posted my report. In case you wondered why you keep seeing the message “loading new content” but no new items, I suspect it’s because the developers are fixing the bugs in individual items.

Contrary to my earlier report the harvest statues suddenly started producing yesterday. I’m waiting to collect one of each category to tell you if the return improves with the rarity of the delinquent dish. But the return is hefty; at least 500hcp over 10 hours.

Oh, wait. I just thought of a third explanation. My statues waited until Thanksgiving to start earning.I would have posted all this yesterday, but it was Thanksgiving for goodness sake. And the Texas/Aggie game was too exciting to ignore to post the numbers. Sorry for that last second field goal, Aggies. Oh, wait, I’m not. 1So….

Ignore my previous advice. Earn the statues.

I’m not advising you to capture them with magic pots and mojo, but even if all statues produce the same you will be able to add 4500hcp to your kingdom just by earning the statues. And, yes, even though there are only three goals with harvest statues, there are nine statues.

1For those of you who haven’t kept up with Texas football politics, which is most of you, UT asked A&M to help them develop a media sports network. Then, when it was ready to launch, UT decided to keep it for themselves and launch “The Longhorn Network,” which only a few hundred people in Austin can access with their dish accounts. A&M’s athletic director decided this was the last straw and followed Nebraska out of the Big 12.
Unlike Nebraska, however, who went to the Big 10 where they actually have a chance of winning, A&M went to the SEC where they will have to tackle teams who have won every national title in the last…well, forever. This explains why every restaurant in Tuscaloosa now includes “Aggies” among the appetizers on their menus. It would be like We Farm leaving ngmoco:) and joining a league with Trade and Battle Nations.
At least this is how I recall the story developing in the news. I’m sure the Texas and A&M officials will deny everything in this footnote.back

Attack of the corn stuffing

I think everyone knew it was time for another event. This means, if ngmoco:) really wants more people on board they need to follow my advice and have a half off mojo sale. I know I need it. I spent more than seven hundred mojo trying to get through the last challenge because it took 320 tries for both terrible turkeys to finally show up.This is it for me. In the future I will finish the first level on event release nights and it should be safe to assume the mastery reward will be somewhere around double the return of the first event level. In this event 6300cp for the bakery and 13050cp for the deli (more than double) but 122 hourly for the bakery and 218 hourly for the deli (less than double).

The other pattern that seems to be developing is that every other even delivers the highest producing building available (at least for a couple of weeks) and the events in between don’t. This will be an in between event.If you’re new to events you will need to catch nine different delinquent dishes in two rounds. The first time around you catch one of each, the second challenge becomes more difficult. Here’s the rundown:

  • Yams, corn and rolls must be caught three times each and the guaranteed catch costs 5m.
  • Pumpkin pie, cranberry jelly and mashed potatoes must be caught twice for and cost 8m each for the guaranteed catch.
  • The casserole, ham and turkey need only be caught once (10m), but the turkey will be hard to find on the mastery round.
The Herculian ham is about the dumbest event creature I’ve encountered. I normally kid the designers, who do an excellent job with only a few rare clunkers (like the university professor), but this ham is clearly a gigantic hambone.


The items are much harder to catch with the free trap than they have been in the past. The ante has increased too. In previous events you could speed up the lure for the most common creatures with 1m.

This event requires 2m to speed up all lures.ngmoco:) added a new twist with three goals. If you catch ten corn, ten potatoes and ten turkeys you collect a corn, potato and turkey statue for your kingdom. The corn statue, which I went ahead and earned, produces no idle income. I’m not about to speed up lures and spend mojo for magic captures for the other two just to find out if they do earn. If you capture every corn with the magic trap (which should be unnecessary) it will cost 50m. There is an outside chance you could catch ten potatoes without mojo. The turkey is rare and impossible to catch without magic, so it will cost 80-100m.So why would you want these statues for your kingdom.

Because they release the delinquent dishes into the realm where you erect them. I planted the corn statue in my Halloween realm because it was the only place where the carnivorous corn character didn’t stand out like a bleeding, blistering and painfully throbbing thumb.

The statues that accompany the three extra goals unleash their related delinquent dishes into your kingdom. You may like them. I think they’re annoying.

Unlike some players I kind of like the events, but, as I said earlier, I just can’t afford to run all the numbers the first night of the event anymore. To be honest, were I not writing this blog I would have passed on this event had I know in advance the value of the new items. I would have been better off saving the mojo for an event with a better return.

Opting out of events

If there was any weekend to check into the hospital this was the once since there is absolutely nothing new to report from the kingdoms themselves.

The Halloween event ended and Mellowy7 led the kingdoms in captures with 3000. Zimidar finished second with just under 2600. After complaining that ngmoco:) never delivered my award for catching 250 monsters I found it with the gifts in my available buildings. It would have been nice for a little dialogue to let me know, but at least I found it.

No doubt there will be another event in a week or two. I’ve noticved more and more people are complaining about them. Look on the bright side, events are slowing down the constant release of new buildings, which many players also found wearying.

You don’t have to participate. I found that when I removed the lure I never saw another monster. If you’re truly annoyed with the events try planting the lure and then removing it. You may have to catch the few creatures that have already been released, but that will be the end of it. No more annoying monsters.

TMI to follow

As I said it’s a good thing things in the kingdoms were so slow because I spent most of the weekend in the hospital. I had a routine colonoscopy on Friday and woke up with horrible pain in my abdomen on Saturday. I called my doctor’s after hours clinic as instructed if I was experiencing abdominal pain.

The nurse asked me to grade it on a scale of one to 10 and I said I had no idea what the base line of comparison was. I mean, I’d never had my arm ripped off and never passed a kidney stone, which is what I would rate a 10. All I knew was I’d never felt that much pain in my life.

I explained that to the nurse and she still wanted a number so I told her it must be a 6 or 7 since that was where would would rate it on the scale of worst possible imaginable pain. She told me to drink lots of water and tough it out.

Two hours later I decided the nurse could go to hell and asked my wife how much it would cost to go to to the emergency ward. She said a couple hundred dollars for the co-pay so I decided to drink more water and tough it out. Fifteen minutes later I realized I had an objective measure of pain. I was willing to spend $200 to make it go away.

I explained that to the admitting nurse and they must not have accepted “willing to pay $200” and “worst pain ever” as a 10 because it took three hours before they finally delivered the pain killers. In the meantime I paced around outside the room, and groaned and tried to make my face twist in as much pain as possible, but they must have figured I was on to them and was just acting out to get their attention.

I saw the doctor at 3 and they gave me two doses of Darvocet at six. The Darvocet did nothing. I think they finally started to take me seriously. They gave me a super strong dose and then a Vicodin. No help.

They finally did a CT scan and told me I had a kidney stone. I asked the doctor if that meant I had an objective measure for 10 on the pain scale. She assured me that qualified as a 10.

So take this as a lesson, if not one for gaming. If you hurt worse than you ever hurt before, just tell them it’s a 10 on the pain scale. Then scream. Maybe they’ll admit you right away and not wait around for three hours to give you the drugs.

After I passed the stone this morning I found a kidney stone building among the gifts in We Rule. Who would have thought? So I installed it in my Halloween realm long enough to take a screen shot.

This is my kidney stone in the middle of my Halloween realm. Don’t look for it. I ran the numbers and it returns 0cp. So I took it out. But I did want to keep a record.

I hope that wasn’t too much information, but I warned you.

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.

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.

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