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.)

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.

Will black Friday move to We Rule?

Based on the sheer amount of shops dumped onto the We Rule Market in the last ten days, I fear for the prospect of a We Rule Black Friday.

With luck we’ll have a Thanksgiving event poaching the king’s royal woods. We could capture turkeys, ducks and rabbits, who are easy to catch. The rare creature challenge would be to hunt wild boar and deer and the delicious but useful goose that lays golden eggs.

Maybe we could even keep one of each to wander around our realms between now and Christmas.

The last ten days have made me feel we are more likely to get a feast of conspicuous We Rule consumption. More shops with higher returns, making us desperate to spend mojo for those grand farms and dragonslayer’s dens we could otherwise not afford.

In the past it’s taken about three months to replace the top earning shop with a new one. It was a matter of weeks before the necromancer’s lair replaced the thunderbird, and the dragonslayer’s den arrived to top the necromancer four days later.

The dragonslayers are eating the thunderbirds. For the first time since I can remember, ngmoco:) has replaced the top earning shop, not just in a matter of weeks, but over a single weekend. I hope you didn’t install more than a couple of the necromancer’s lairs over the weekend because they cost $3 and fell into second place with the next new release.

Here’s a quick run down of shops in the last ten days:

  • Adventurer’s tavern, L22
  • Axesmith, L44
  • Paladin Citadel (gift)
  • Magic wand shop, L32
  • Necromancer’s lair, L55 (top earner)
  • Dark Knight haven, L50 (outperforming the previous L50 leader, the Black Dragon)
  • Dragonslayer’s den, L68 (new top earner)
  • Fall trees, L11 (decoration)
  • Corn Maze, L18 (super high idle income producer)
  • Pie Shop, L42
  • Turkey Pen, L24
  • Cider Mill, L34
  • Grand Farm House, L62 (third highest performing shop)

That’s 13 different items in a ten day period (15 if you count the three different fall tree varieties).

If you add the seven Spanish items in the two prior releases, we’re talking 20 new items in two weeks. Can you say, “conspicuous consumption?” The only other competing developer I know who can come close to that pace is Zynga, who is ahead of ngmoco:) in gross profits.

Trade Nation usually introduces about six items a month, although many of those items require extraordinary gem expenditures. Would you pay 750m for a poodle?

I just want to remind readers that you don’t have to buy something just because ngmoco:) releases it. Buy shops only when they improve the return of the shops at your level. You may think you need that turkey pen for Thanksgiving, but by the beginning of December you will have forgotten all about it.

I save my coins to invest in the highest producing shops available at my level (which will usually be the highest producing shop for the next several levels, at least for a few weeks). If you’re below L20, look to invest in two or three. From L20 to L30, invest in four to six. Above L30 try to install as many as ten (or until you find no one’s ordering).

You don’t have to do this at once. Add them as you have money. Then invest in decorative items like rivers, trees and roads to spruce things up until you can afford to add shops just to decorate.

Here’s my Black Friday request to ngmoco:): Fifty percent off mojo and fifty percent off every shop available. You’ll still make a bundle and your fans will feel a little more appreciated.

Spooks and ghosts and goblins. Oh, my!

The Halloween design contest is on. So far as I can tell from the ngmoco:) blog site all you need to do is design one realm with Halloween and other spooky items from your inventory.
The deadline is Nov. 1 at 1o am PST, so get to work.

ngmoco:) has already returned last year’s Halloween items to the store in addition to some cool new ones. The candy cottage is supposed to come with a witch, but I haven’t seen her yet. If you haven’t either, don’t panic because it took a while for the ghost girl from the haunted house to show up last year.

The Haunted Hollow comes with two characters, the headless horseman and his head. For fans who remember Calvin and Hobbes, the head looks like it might be Calvin under his ghost robe running around looking for someone to trick.

The headless horseman and head come with the haunted hollow. It’s a treat to get two characters with the same building.

If you like anything, get it now because it will disappear soon after Halloween ends to make way for the Christmas/Hanukah, and, hopefully, maybe even a couple of Thanksgiving items like a Turkey pen. Last year I was hoping for a burning yule log but we didn’t get one. Let’s hope we’ll see one this year to burn in front of the Green Knight’s chair.

There is no reason not to start laying some items out to get a sense of your theme. You might even want to sketch a few ideas first so you don’t spend hours redesigning. And I certainly hope this doesn’t preempt the Grimoire’s second annual holiday contest coming up this winter.

I don’t know if there will be a Halloween design leaderboard, but ngmoco:) promises to send 30 mojo to players who enter. Don’t forget your basilisks and giant spiders. Maybe add some goblin fences.

There’s nothing wrong with blocking out your Halloween design now so you can tweak it during next week’s event. Start placing items for a general layout and leave room for a couple of items because there’s a good chance we will be catching spooks and will want to add the event rewards. You can fill in the trees and tiny details later.

New event coming?

The gift cart disappears on Tuesday. That’s usually a sign that a new event is coming. Since it’s Halloween, there’s a good chance we could be catching ghosts and goblins for some spooky cool items.

Zimidar suggested that you refresh your friends list during the event to make sure you send captured creatures to active players:

Best way to use this list of friends for Events is to refresh Social Map. On the iPad click twice and list will be refreshed. For the iPhone/iPod, to refresh social map is a two step process. First click Social Map and then go to Plus+ menu and close out of Plus+ (keep in mind, you are not closing out of WR app).

This refresh process to share does work for Events. The friends that are not active anymore will appear but after you have shared with active friends that appear on the Social Map. Best to delete inactive friends and add them back later if needed.

Oops

Janet Webster wrote to say her initials are JEW, hence the unfortunate choice of name “jewdog.”

Since we know that ngmoco:) doesn’t allow players to change plus+ IDs she will continue to use the name, but now we can congratulate a real person, Janet E. Webster, for winning the Merry Men event.

There’s only one message. Read it.

And if visitors don’t, don’t cry for them

I remember when I was teaching at ACC we closed the visual design labs to hold teacher workshops. We announced the labs would be closed in classes, posted signs that the lab would be closed a week before on all the building’s outer doors, in the lab hall way, in every classroom, and on both lab doors. Big signs too. They were hard too miss.

Students still interrupted the workshops wanting to know why they couldn’t use the damn labs, and were pissed that we hadn’t warned them.

I don’t think people are dumb, but I do think there are a lot of dumb people.

Ellylons525 is hardly the first player to notice that visitors continue to place orders even when the Gone Fishing sign is posted (I made that comment recently). She shut a kingdom down and had to move everything into inventory because people kept ordering even though she had posted the sign.

I did that with We City and We Farm. I didn’t inventory Adventure Bay because, well, you can’t yet (at least not since I last looked a month or two ago,)

ngmoco:) could actually set up a database that you could notify when you’re on vacation. It could post a dialogue saying “This player has (gone fishing)(is on vacation)(is no longer taking your orders.”) It would be nice, but they would probably charge mojo to do so.

I finally came to the conclusion that if players place orders even when your fields are empty and “Gone Fishing” signs are posted in every realm, don’t cry for them. Let their orders spoil. Half will go back and realize they screwed up.

The other half will think it’s your fault and stop ordering altogether. This is a shame if you’re trying to build a customer base, but, believe me, others will show up.

The real irritation is the push notifications that keep popping up, and the solution to that is easy. Go into the iPad or iPhone settings, find “Notifications” and turn them off for We Rule.

Indian items

This week’s theme is Indian items for a limited time only. This is also an attempt to get less experienced players who aren’t floating in cash to spend mojo. Don’t fall for it. By the time you have decent cash reserves, the Indian items might be gone, but something equally cool will be available.

Yet another floater from the ngmoco:) design team. She should at least sing half the duet from Lakme, wouldn’t you think?

Plus, ngmoco:) recycles discontinued items as gifts, or special sales. So if you miss the Indian temple this week, you’ll probably see it again. I suspect that every Halloween and Christmas item from last year will return.

We will also see brand new Halloween and Christmas items because ngmoco:) doesn’t want those of us who have the old ones in inventory to recycle old items back into our realms.

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