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).

The wedding lottery arrives

The royal wedding received far more attention than I would have expected this week. A bridal boutique, Buckingham Palace, two carriages, two tower bridges, a floral arrangement, black jewelry shops and a dowry quest.

ngmoco:) is being more generous with the royal items than the gold and ruby items. So if you really want to blow mojo for a bridge or carriage, you stand a good shot of getting them on your first or second try. At least while they’re available, which may not be much longer.

Note that I said “chance.” We’ll discuss this more later.

Jesus only got bunnies last week, and they aren’t really Easter symbols but spring equinox symbols (you know, weird pagan ritual territory commercially transformed into cute children’s fluffy toys) . I’m sure Christians will be offended. I sure am. But even people who think he’s mythical should be perturbed that the bride of the son of a mythical ruler (I mean she’s Queen, but she doesn’t rule anything) gets more attention than the son of God (even if he’s mythical).

And what’s this Duke and Duchess of Cambridge nonsense? Surely this isn’t the Duke of the fine academic institution Cambridge? I mean William and Kate make a pretty couple, but scholars? No way. Surely they don’t mean the American Cambridge which also houses two fine institutions of learning. How about the Duke and Duchess of Fashion Icons, or Duke and Duchess of Paparazzi? Wouldn’t that be more appropriate?

I’m not sold on the royal black items either. Since when is black the color of royalty? Let’s be honest, these items are black because Britain is still covered with coal dust from the Industrial age. What do people think the London Fog really is? Coal soot and sulphur and other noxious particles from smokestacks. So the black buildings may not say royalty but they do say England.

Buckingham Palace was supposed to come with a guard, at least that’s what this weekend’s splash screen seemed to imply, but I have yet to see him. The only explanation I can think of is that the guard was originally modeled after a certain eighteen-year-old guard who ended up being fired this week for posting on Facebook that Kate was a whore and a cow because she didn’t wave at him personally.

Out of deference to the royal couple, ngmoco:) or DeNA may have decided to fire his character as well. All of which leads me to believe that the royal couple (we don’t capitalize royalty in America) received such deference either because British players buy more mojo than the rest of us, or that someone in the royal family plays and personally buys more mojo than the rest of us.

So, ngmoco:), on the next Christian holiday, say Veteran’s Day or the Fourth of July, let’s give credit where credit is due. Let’s have some American flags with crosses instead of stars like the founding fathers intended. And maybe a fireworks stand because nothing celebrates Jesus like fireworks, even if we shoot them off a week too late. And on Christmas, I want a We Rule nativity with a quest for each of the three kings.

Lottery Luck

My friend Ziessel wrote me in Trade Nations that he only spent eight mojo to boost gifts and he got a Black Dragon even though he’s only L34. He wanted to know if he did something wrong.

Readers—especially readers who spent hundreds of mojo and only got a handful of golden stuff—don’t be mad at Zeissel. The gift wagon is a lottery, aka a crap shoot. Some people do well, others don’t. Now it’s possible that ngmoco:) secretly tracks the amount of mojo spent and boosts the number of cool gifts with the amount of mojo you spend.

The question is, which would you prefer? Spending 50m on the chance of a gold tavern or a guaranteed black dragon?

Bug fixes(?)

ngmoco:) also released a new upgrade aimed at making We Rule more stable. And, in my experience, it is. It now only crashes once or twice when I harvest and not four or fives times like it used to. It does however, crash more often when I launch.

On balance, I’m happy with the improvements and I hope this bodes well for more to come. I suspect most long-term players will be too. New players, on the other hand, might wonder why a game this long in release is still so buggy. But that’s because they have nothing to compare it too.

So a genuine thanks to ngmoco:) for improved stability along with a request that it doesn’t stop.

We Rule birthers unite

I’ve set the blog back to iPad view because readers now have the option of viewing the standard site by clicking on the “standard site” link at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, however, if you’ve noticed the site displays only in text format, so have I and I have contacted WordPress support to see what the problem is.

Important Announcement! My new blog Righteous Indigestion officially launches May 21 and I’ve already posted a preview issue. This is important because, as you may or may not know, May 21 will be the first day of the end of the world. If you don’t know you really should read the preview post because Jesus will be putting an end to We Rule and just about everything else we hold dear (except, of course, Jesus).

Readers may not be aware, but the bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature requiring Presidential candidates to show their real, genuine, bona fide birth certificates (which means “Obama need not apply”) contains a rider requiring players who want to rule their own We Rule kingdoms must also prove their citizenship to play with the U.S.The bill’s sponsor, State Rep Carl Seel, says the bill isn’t intended to have anything to do with the fact that the We Rule king isn’t white and could possibly be a monkey. But it should be noted that the queen, who is clearly a white female, is exempt from the requirements. So you decide.

The We Rule king may claim to be native born, but some would question whether he’s even human. Now the Arizona legislature needs proof.

I should also say I already submitted my birth certificate from St. Paul, MN, and was told I needn’t worry since my name didn’t sound “Black, Latiner or Moslim (sic).” So I’m good to go. The question is, are you?The game focus has shifted from Africa to the Middle East with Turkish palaces, walls, gates and camels (the quest reward). One of the quest items is the Poseidon fount, which may be a punishment for stackers because it’s hard to see the customer order balloon when the founts are stacked closely together. Hopefully ngmoco:) will add a few more items, like a mosque, but only after they fix the bugs in the game.Speaking of which, evidently ngmoco:) has come up with a new upgrade that apparently fixes all the bugs and crashes.

Crash fix finally available

That’s right, I’ve heard from several readers who have already purchased the upgrade. It’s called iPad 2. For a mere $599 you to can have We Rule running with no hitches whatsoever. Kingdoms and realms will actually load in real time even if you have thousands of stacked items. And the price is cheap compared to the price of mojo. Just think, if you were to buy the mojo cask every month for six months, you would have paid just as much as a brand new iPad 2.This, of course, is all that any developer needs to fix their problems: wait for a hardware upgrade. So I recommend that you stop buying mojo and save for an iPad 2. Maybe ngmoco:) will get the message and release the bug fix for the rest of us.

Happy gifting

How’s this for a surprise? ngmoco:) told Edgar (no last name provided) that he had received this cool gift (see picture). He checked his inventory and that’s exactly what he got. Next thing you know, ngmoco:) will be running for public office.Providing they have their birth certificates.

Not only was there no gift in the picture, the was no gift at all.

Declaration of independence from bugs (if only)

Readers who follow this blog on their iPads may have been surprised to discover (as was I) that the familiar appearance of this blog was replaced with an iPad based swipe interface featuring multiple threads and a Volvo like box-based appearance.

This decision was made by host WordPress and not by me, and implemented without warning. Oh, I’m sure there was an article on the WordPress site, but that assumes I actually have time to blog and read all their posts as well.

To make matters worse, the automatic posting feature stopped working so that blogs I save as a draft weren’t posted when instructed (this happened on my other blog as well).

I fixed the first problem so that the blog looks the same on your laptop and iPad, but I may switch back in a few weeks as I have more time to play with the design options (there aren’t many). I realized the post wasn’t up and manually posted it Thursday.

I have already posted a request on the WordPress forums asking that WordPress give readers the option to choose the iPad or standard browser interface rather than making me force all readers into the same box. Hopefully they will find a way to do this.

More gifts

Was anyone really surprised when ngmoco:) extended the gifts “by popular demand”? This would be like the decision to extend mojo by popular demand. Hey, ngmoco:), we would like you to offer free mojo every week by popular demand.

Or how about 50 free mojo as one of the gifts?

Nor were all players happy with the new friends realms feature that lists the players in order of who logged in last over their listing in the plus + friends section. This is understandable. I spend a lot of time deleting and adding friends again to keep the list in the order I want. To have this automatically replaced based on log-in sequence is kind of irritating and I’m not sure it makes ordering easier.

The bug hunt is over

Should ngmoco:) read the comments for this blog, they should no longer be under the illusion that the problems with We Rule can be attributed solely to the iPads themselves.

In fact, I reset my iPad to factory settings and tested We Rule as the first app opened, and it crashed immediately and several more times during the harvesting session. I’m sorry, but when a game crashes on an iPad rest to factory settings as the first app opened and only one running, the problem is ngmoco:)’s.

The crashes are so severe for some players that several are ready to abandon the game (and I might if it weren’t for the blog) and one, coffeebuzzard went so far as to complain:

My next step is to submit a formal complaint to Apple, and ask them to research the many other obvious user complaints, for accepting and allowing a broken app that takes users money in their store. Since Apple is accepting the money on ngcomo’s behalf and taking a percentage for themselves, they are culpable. The normal course for Apple is to pull the game until the developer can prove the issues have been fixed.
If this game were completely free, I would simply delete it and abandon its use. But due to ngcomo’s continued negligence, I have lost patience and money and clearly others have as well. They are no longer causing frustration for their users, they are committing a crime.

I’m not sure I would go that far, but I certainly understand his or her frustration. Players reported a lot of bugs, but three seem to occur to multiple players:

  • Constant crashes
  • Items in inventory can’t be returned to play
  • Missing mojo (sometimes because players used it without meaning to, others because it simply disappears).

iPhone players noticed some bugs too:

  • Crashes when switching from kingdom to realms and back
  • Crashes when notifying that payment was received
  • Ads float into friends realms hindering ordering

By and large the crashes are the biggest complaints.

People with older iPhones are also experiencing problems, and I think this has a lot to do with the combination of iOS 4 and We Rule Quests. It would be nice if ngmoco:) could work out something with Apple to let an older version (Red or Gold) run on 3GS and 3G iPhones.

There have been a number of causes suggested. Some blame stacking, and crashes due to stacking won’t be fixed. But kingdoms that don’t stack crash too, so we can’t blame the stackers. One reader suggested that crashes may be caused by players who don’t shut down completely but leave the game running in the background under iOS 4 and tying up the server. This very well could be, but ngmoco:) needs to fix that because players can’t be counted on to understand how background apps work.

I do think demands on the server, but, as I’ve said before, I suspect
memory leaks. Even after I restored to factory settings, I noticed that We Rule would launch other apps, shutting the game down. At this point I realized those apps were always apps in the same folder as We Rule, so I moved the game back to the main screen and it started launching those apps instead. Basically something in the code accesses the iPad’s memory stack or general system code.

Readers have suggested and I agree that ngmoco:) should devote their resources to fixing bugs before they add new items to the game. If you agree please copy and paste the following message to both ngmoco:)’s support address.

As a frequent player of We Rule I appreciate your tireless efforts to listen to player requests and add new features such as inventory, additional realms and site navigation. But I am also tired of the bugs that have plagued the game since it launched last year, specifically: 1) frequent crashes on both my iPad and iPhone, 2) the inability to return items to inventory, 3) the loss of mojo, often from an inability to make a final confirmation before I spend it, and 4) the app closing down to download new content while I am in the process of harvesting (often costing me the crops).

I read the blogs and forums and know these bugs aren’t specific to me but are frequently reported by other users. Please stop introducing new items and new features until these bugs are resolved.

Feel free to add any notes of your own.

I also posted this on ngmoco:)’s feedback page, “fix bugs before features.” If you feel strongly, please log in and vote this as your number 1 request.

Susan Moon found the most puzzling bug, a movable white square. This actually means the graphics aren’t refreshing after an operation, but if I had thought to have a weirdest bug contest, she would have won this one too. Readers also reported a spade or shovel over new buildings keeping them from accepting orders.

How’s this for weird. If anyone can explain the floating white box please comment.

Hopefully, with enough votes and comments ngmoco:) will get the message and at least cut the crashes back to one or two per session.

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.

New realms, new bugs

This was supposed to be posted monday, but i’ve been having problems with my iPad and this new weird wordpress ipad interface. I apologize.

It almost always happens. Whenever I talk about the need for updates or player requests, ngmoco:) answers that week. Last week I asked readers to comment about the bugs they were experiencing and they commented in spades. Of course, the same day I posted, ngmoco:) announced a major upgrade. You could play without downloading this one (unlike the last) but the upgrade added some cool features. Much requested features, I might add.

We finally have a “Gone fishing” sign. I don’t know why we needed an upgrade for that; We Farm adds signs without upgrades. We finally received my biggest request—more realms. And to solve the problem of getting to them without arrows in the corners as well as the sides of the main kingdoms, ngmoco:) created a new navigation tab (which has been another popular request).

The new navigation tab comes with a menu that allows players to jump to any realm without going back to the main realm first. The new realms can be used to express your creative self, or spend more mojo to stack yet for more realms.

The really good news is, now that navigation isn’t a problem, ngmoco:) can continue to add new realms every six to nine months (provided they continue to add servers and upgrade bandwidth and scalability).

They also added player gifts, a popular feature in Farmville and Team Lava games like Restaurant Story. Of course, if you want to open all your gifts you need to spend mojo (which is something the other games never did but will probably start doing now). And the gifts will go away at the end of the week.

The gifts feature is nice, even if it is short term. But not even Farmville required players to spend game cash to open their gifts.

Unless, of course, players actually spend mojo to open gifts. Then it will most likely become permanent.

The biggest addition? More bugs than ever before. The additional crashes have added half an hour to every one of my harvest sessions. Carol and I have both noticed that the Mardi Gras floats no longer give coins, or, if reinstalled, count down to more coins.

The good news is: You can actually place the royal dragon in every realm. You aren’t limited to one.

So the bug hunt continues for another week. Please let us know if you notice any new bugs (I’m sure you will).

If you haven’t upgraded yet, however, check and see if you can still get the new gone fishing sign (if you want it). If you can, and you don’t plan on adding new realms, I’d hold out until you hear the bugs get fixed. The new navigation won’t be that convenient.

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.

Bug Hunt

No one is more grateful for some of the new items in We Rule than I. I advocated for winter items, diamond groves and sapphire groves and ngmoco:) delivered. As players level up they can build their kingdoms around the Mediterranean, Mardis Gras and even Mechanical wonders.

Admittedly, the new mechanical wonders may be perplexing players. We could see the mythological, Egyptian and even far eastern elements with a little bit of rationalization. After all, commerce and mythology were important elements of medieval civilization and no university student could be considered educated without a through grounding in the classics.

We could even embrace Santa Claus and Mardi Gras. After all St. Nick has roots in customs dating back to the third century and Carnival was the church’s attempt to accommodate the Roman practice of Lupercalia while letting Christians blow off steam before getting down to the serious business of lent.

But machines? I felt as though I had stepped from the pages of Le Morte d’Arthur and into one of Michael Moorcock’s multiverse novels. (It doesn’t matter which one, he’s written hundreds.)

Surely we could have stayed closer to home. How about a Da Vinci helicopter? Or an alchemist’s studio with beakers and green smoke? If developers insisted on mechanical devices, why not take their clues from the Inquisition? They came up with racks, iron maidens and any number of devices which later inspired the Bush administration to reinterpret the Constitution.

The cog quest

The cog quest may be the most bizarre launched so far. To finished the quest, players have to successfully place orders at the brand new steam ship, flying machine and inventor’s studio. Since the studio requires L45 and 7o0000c and the flying machine requires L37, there aren’t going to be many out there. In fact I looked in more than a L37+ dozen kingdoms and only found quest shops in mine and Carol’s.

ngmoco:) seems to have figured this out because you don’t need to finish the quest to get the steam-clock reward.

Which leaves the question, why bother with the quest? By the time players have their shops installed, ngmoco:) will probably discontinue the steam-clock anyway.

Number 1 player request: More bugs fixed, fewer new shops

I find myself agreeing more and more with players like glitchcity: Less stuff, more bug fixes.

Partially I say this because I would like to get a little of my life back. It took me forever to process Thursday’s three new shops to crunch the numbers. Usually I install a shop, use mojo to vacate two or three orders and then place a sample order with a dummy kingdom.

Thursday people were placing orders faster than I could clear them out. After spending about a hundred mojo to clear out shops in a futile attempt to place an order, I finally had to reject several just to get in to order from the new shops. Then I had to use mojo to build two of them and mojo to process the orders.

When I say more bug fixes, I don’t want ngmoco:) to get too hasty. They’ve spent a lot of effort (and, by some accounts, still are) trying to prevent stacking which many players still see as a cool feature. I think players are doing fun and creative (as well as admittedly unsightly) things with stacking and no longer even consider it a bug.

So maybe I should say, less stuff, less attention to stopping stacking and more attention to the bugs that make it difficult to play the game.

I would say the number one player complaint remains a bug that has plagued players from the beginning. We Rule likes to crash. Some evenings it crashes six or seven times (not counting the “can’t connect to server” messages) in the course of ten or fifteen minutes.

With iOS 4, dealing with excessive crashes is more complex. You have to shut down all of your running apps (double click on the home button, hold your finger on the app until the “x” appears) and do a hard reboot (hold power and home button at same time until the apple appears). If that doesn’t work, you may need to delete and reinstall the game.

Since the game crashes for players with different frequencies I suspect there are a couple of places to look. The first is the server. Crashes tend to happen more often in the evening (at least for me), which is when I suspect more players are logging on.

But I also think the game has some serious memory leaks. I suspect this because two or three times a week I will touch an item to harvest and suddenly another game app opens (usually another ngmoco:) game app).1 In addition, if I put my iPad down with We Rule running in order to run to the bathroom or flip through the channels, it shuts down.

Carol reports entirely different problems, so I have to suspect the game bugs react differently with different apps running in the background. This also tends to indicate there may be some problems addressing memory.

Let’s start a bug hunt

I know there have been a number of comments about bugs, but I honestly don’t have the time to review the hundreds posted (and keep up with the charts and my life). So please submit the most irritating bugs and crashes in the comments over the next week and I will compile them for ngmoco:).

1Notice how their company name (ngmoco:)) screws up the whole open and close parentheses thing? suddenly the smiley face turns into a double chin. Maybe they should have done more focus testing. back