Surf’s up. If you can find the ocean.

That's right. This week's newest items are for surfing fans. You can install a beach house, surfer's hut and surfer's lounge. My question is: How can there be surfer's lounges when We Rule has no oceans? Think about it. We have rivers and lakes, but you can't surf on them because they don't raise surf.

The lounges also have the distinction of being the best value a customer can find and a terrible value for the players who install them. Most shops earn more for the players who install them than those who order. But these earn less than half. (Players earn 1390hcp, vendors, 630, or less than half). This means that when you order, you are actually taking income away from those players that they could be earning if you ordered from the dragonslayer's den or solstice temple.

Does that mean you shouldn't order from the lounges? Absolutely not. Get the income. But it sure places players at L72 in an awkward position. Should they even bother to install them? I have no answer to that question. If you want to attract more customers (or keep them coming), sure. But if you don't want to spend close to two million coins on a sucker deal, you shouldn't feel guilty about passing.

If ngmoco:) continues to release devalued properties, there is only one possibility. We Rule is going communist. Is there any question that this move is suspicious during an election year? No doubt about it.

Raising Hell to launch

Raising Hell, which has been posted to this site (or at least the first few chapters), has already been sent to Amazon. Unfortunately, we are working out some file formatting problems, so it can't be downloaded yet. (Does this sound familiar?) I will let you know as soon as it becomes available.

These are the new surfer's lounges. They don't come with surfers, or an ocean for them to surf on. And vendors lose money when you order from them. But maybe we'll get some Hawaiian palm tress with coconuts and even a surfboard shop.

Residential real estate

The grimoire is finally available on Kindle at the Amazon store. It took a lot longer to get to Amazon because the file previewed very differently on the Kindle devices than it did in the Kindle app. Amazon’s only suggestion was to recreate the whole thing as a Word file, which wasn’t something I was prepared to do.

A few formatting problems slipped through the cracks even in the iBook version, so it isn’t perfect. But the text is still readable and the 5.99 you spend will save you a lot on mojo costs down the road. You will also be able to find the best information in the posts as of July 1 without having to search through the archives. The information is as current as possible as well.

Please buy the book and buy copies for your friends. It will help keep the blog afloat. Most important, please give review the book on iBooks and Amazon. Even if you don’t love it, the reviews help.

But what’s not to love?

Residential tips

There are so many residences now that you should take the time to consider which actually deliver the most value to your kingdom. You should consider three factors:

  • Cost
  • Overall return
  • Space consumed

Overall return makes more sense than picking coins over experience since both will add up quickly. You also want to consider cost to return, especially hourly return. If you don’t intend to check in more than a couple of times a day, residences may not be your best buy since they mature hourly.

You should also look for items that take less space. The Chinese residences take less space than the Japanese, for instance. When you can only pack 50 to a realm, however, this may be less important than with residences such as the Bird and Creepy residence, which seem to have unlimited placement. When you have to choose between the bird residences that can be packed tightly together, and the more expensive orcs that take far more space, the bird residences become the far wiser investment.

Fortunately, ngmoco:) scales the number of residences available with your level. This allows you to increase your investments with your ability to spend.

As you can see, the orc residences, which cost 10000c more than the birds, cannot be packed together as tightly. Since the overall return is the same (350hcp) you will produce a higher yield per realm by packing it with bird residences.

Keeping up with the birds

After months of frustration We Rule: The Hidden Grimoire the book is one step away from publication. I would like to tell you it’s ready, but I’m gun shy after months of frustration with Book Baby.

I did finally receive my iBooks account, the account that allows me to sell books, today. So unless another major setback occurs (like when iBooks accidentally sent me to the free books set up without explaining the difference, forcing me to set up a second account with a different id and email), I should be able to announce the book sometime this week.

Once I have the book available in iBooks, I’ll start preparing it for sale in Kindle format for Android gamers.

The good news for gamers is that with all of the setbacks, I was able to make some last minute rush changes to make the book as up to date as possible. The published version will include the new challenge to groves for upper end players, residences.

Carol and I are also rushing to finish the final proofread of Raising Hell, which you can sample in the pages section of the blog.

Speaking of residences

In case you were worried that ngmoco:) is getting ready to abandon the game, some of the new additions give hope for the future. Developers most recent releases have had major bonuses for players at higher levels, which means they are looking for strategies to keep players interested.

Remember the old days when players would stack row after row of rubies in their realms? In the days before ngmoco:) decided to shut the practice down, albeit unsuccessfully? They didn’t stop the stacking but they limited the number of groves you could buy with coins.

Players with lots of coins who have reached L61 might be interested in the new bird residences which, at least until ngmoco:) reads this blog, has no ceiling for installations in one realm. They deliver 350hcp and cost 50000c. This can get expensive, but you can actually pack 1365 into a single realm (leaving room for a very necessary harvest orb) without stacking.

They released the residences after the chess king (L80) which delivers a whopping 450hcp idle. I spent 140 million coins installing 70 which deliver 943000cp every 30 hours.  A realm filled with bird residences costs 68 million coins by contrast and delivers 478000cp every hour on the hour.

I was able to fit 1365 bird residences and a harvest orb into one realm without stacking. ngmoco:) developed them to overlap on two sides so that you can add 37 to a row.

In other words, for half the investment, you get the same return if you only collect twice in thirty hours. If you collect six times a day, you get three times the return. Realistically, you can only collect twice every three days from the chess king. If you only collect three times every day for three days, you earn three times as much as the chess king delivery.

This is one of those cases where hourly return doesn’t always result in the best payoff. In addition, if you start to fill two realms with bird residences starting from the time they become available at L62, you can buy all the chess kings you want when you reach L80.

You don’t have to do this at one. Two rows of bird residences cost 4 million c. By L61 you should be able to add a couple of rows a week. And by the way, in case you were wondering, if you did stack you could fit just under 5500 residences at a cost of 240 million c and a finger tip worn to the bone.

I think I’ll just wait for a new realm to open.

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.

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.

Has the character well run dry?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but fewer and fewer buildings are coming with characters. We had five martial guilds introduced this week and not a single warlike character.

In the past we would have had women with bows for the sisterhood of archers, turbaned characters with daggers for the assassins’ cartel and a new wizard for the wizards’ college. Maybe another knight or Viking berserker for the warrior’s clan. This time, nothing.

I could see it for the plant buildings last week. What could they have come up with? Fly traps on four legs? Or flies swarming the fly trap? Dancing sunflowers?

There may be some good reasons for the scarcity. It’s possible that with the new retina display, the number of pixels in play make animation eat into the processor. Or bad reasons, like, perhaps, ngmoco:) let the animators go during the cash crunch.

In the past, players would request new buildings. Maybe we should request new characters instead. How about a phantom marauder swinging a ghostly battle axe? A sabertooth tiger? A crone with a cane that points and zaps? A wise man with a camel might be cool, wearing robes and a cone hat like in Bartholomew Cubbins and the Oobleck. How about an Anglican priest and Pontificating Pope? Or maybe we could get the entire Borgia family in honor of the Showtime series.

Hopefully we won’t reach a time when we’ll stop installing new buildings because we don’t want to lose the few characters we have left.

Have they given us a gryphon yet? An adult, not the baby? How about leviathan? Maybe a replica nautilus, the submarine, floating on top of a lake tile.

Almost singlehandedly saving We Rule

I noticed a disturbing trend in one of my realms recently. Time and time again the harvest orb wanted to know if I would complete 666 harvests.

If you saw this often enough, wouldn’t you consider it to be an omen? I mean, this number, of all numbers, the mother of all symbolic numbers. I found it truly disturbing.

If you don’t know the significance of 666….Well, how could you not know and still live in the 21st Century? After all, we see the number in every Omen movie and just about every other episode of Supernatural. We had a president with six letters in all three names only 30 years ago, and a second whose name would have spelled “666” if he was smart enough to spell.

I knew what it signified. The coming of the Antirule. The time when We Rule would be overcome by deadly corporate interests who would replace medieval whimsy with cheap commercial greed.

I showed my findings to Carol. I asked her if this could be the end of We Rule as we know it. She said, “Add another building.”

And that’s how I saved the world of We Rule. I now have 667 buildings to harvest. Crisis averted. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Hail Odin statue

A reader asked me to do an analysis of statues, which was timely since I had planned to do one anyway. Glad to know I’m in synch with my audience.

Most statues in We Rule are mere ornamentation, but a few deliver coins and experience. Several, such as the Ganesh statues, are gifts and can only be acquired by the luck of the draw. I included them in the Idle Income charts. But a couple can be purchased and deserve a closer look.

Just because a statue earns, doesn’t mean you should install it for income. The stone bull pillar, which costs 18000c, returns a lousy 20hcp. You’re far better off with just about anything if you want a serious return on your investment.

Odin’s statue, on the other hand, returns 183hcp every 18 hours and takes up about the same space as a grove. This is three times the return of a Poseidon fount for only twice the price (180000c). The Persian lion only costs 60000c and returns almost 90hcp every 20 hours. This is two thirds of the cost of a fount with half again the return. The Khmer Lion turns around every six hours at 120hcp for 80000c.

Odin’s statue is the newest in a series of high return statues that become available around L40. Statues tend to take up less space than other items, which can increase their value. The persian lions are minuscule compared to Odin.

So far the statues are luxury buys, which may be why they are available only at higher levels. They also tend to be limited to a few dozen per realm, which means you can’t plant as many. Players should concentrate on groves and residences first, but once you realize you are making enough to buy one or two a day (and not per week) it would be a good time to start adding a few.

As always, you shouldn’t worry about the initial investment cost. Higher priced items may take longer to pay off, but once they are paid off the performance return makes them far more valuable.

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