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.

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.


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.

Dobbie doesn’t know these elves

Important notice! I’m taking a few weeks off the main blog to pull together and update the best pieces and organize them into The Hidden Grimoire for release on iBooks to give readers a more convenient access to the essentials of the game.

I will continue to run the numbers and post them as usual, so I won’t be abandoning you, just not doing the weekly blog. I’ll be back around September 12.

Harry Porter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weezley1 found themselves in the kingdom of totalthinker with no idea how they arrived. Harry adjusted his glasses and scratched the phantom lighting bolt on his head that still seemed to pain him long after his last battle with Volderwort. “How did we get here again?” he asked, casting an impatient glance at Ron who had his nose buried in the want ads.

“Someone said there were new magical abodes in this kingdom and the prices have to be lower than the real estate prices around Hogwarts.”

Hermione slipped her arm through Ron’s and said, “Now that our twelfth redhead is on the way we need a larger house.” She put her free hand on her belly, a belly Harry imagined was now covered with stretch marks like a the paint patterns on a Jackson Pollock painting. He was so glad he married Jenny, who it seemed, did not share the Weezley proclivity to breed like flying bunnies.

After giving birth to Minerva Pamono Trelawney Porter, their third beautiful but non-magical child, Jenny cast a vasectomy spell while Harry was sleeping, just in case he he had his own Weezley moment and got cold feet at the muggle doctor’s. Which was fine with Harry. Royalties were down on his autobiography because Volderwort was a distant memory. Even his own kids shouted, “Dad, get over it. The time of dinosaurs has passed,” if the name ever came up at the dinner table.

“I don’t know,” Harry said. “This neighborhood looks a little wrong.” He swept his arm to indicate the orange trees and green and gold houses and the vast fields of orange grass. “Where are the giant spiders and the hippogriffs? Where are the magical abodes you came looking for? This looks more like the condominium nightmare of a game designer who dropped one tab too many of orange sunshine.”

This was the new subdivision Ron and Hermione visited to look for a bigger house. Everything in sight was green or orange and the trees all looked like homecoming mums.

“Those are in the southeast realm with the magical theme,” said a voice from behind them.

They turned to see a green creature that looked like a half human, half wart hog with a crown of tusks, a ram’s head staff and a purple kilt. He bowed before them. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am the goblin king, but since the Republicans took control of the house and no’d the economy back into a mudslide I’ve had to double as a real estate agent.”

“How’s that going?” Ron asked.

“I’m just glad I’m a character in this game, and not someone on the outside.”

Ever since he identified himself Hermione had been shaking her head violently. “You’re no goblin. I know goblins and they’re gray and sit behind desks and look down their noses at you because you don’t have any of the money they’re guarding in the vaults.”

“I do,” Harry said.

Hermione cast him a glare that Ron knew well. It meant I will make your life so miserable you will wish you stayed at home playing with your spells and never dated. And since Hermione couldn’t punish Harry herself, she would insist that Ron stop going over to Harry’s to watch the Manchester United Quidditch matches on his 70 inch high def TV. Which was really a punishment for Ron since it was the only evening of the week he got away from the kids.

Unlike Hermione, he sympathized with the goblin king. The damn Republicans had even slashed the budget to the ministry of magic as a “job creating measure,” and as a consequence Ron and his brothers were all laid off and his father’s pension slashed in half. Now Hermione was the sole bread winner and she never let him forget that either.

“Those are Hogwarts goblins, our distant cousins. They spend too much time indoors and lose all their color. Besides, people don’t know bank goblins get paid worse than anybody else so they have to sell their green skin pigment to the Federal Reserve to print money.”

“What’s the big deal, Hermione,” Harry asked. “You’re all about equal rights for magical creatures.” Ron cringed inside. Harry didn’t have to back down to Hermione because he didn’t have to live with her. It was hard to imagine she had been so agreeable, and so hot, back in school. When the upper classmen tweeted those nipslip photos of her at the beach, she’d been furious, but he’d been proud because that was his girl.

They wouldn’t be tweeting any pictures now.

“We need to move into a larger house,” Ron said. “We have eleven at home and this one. We’re living in my parents house and they had half as many kids.”

“Whose fault is that?” Hermione challenged. “Some of us do work for a living.”

The goblin king/real estate agent (GKREA) quickly beckoned for them to follow him, clearly a seasoned veteran at dealing with home buyer bickering. “This is our newest subdivision, the elven estates. We may have exactly what you need. All of the homes are modular and can be arranged to house four families, or one family of sixteen.”

As they followed the GKREA up the quartz steps they passed a siamese cat holding a sign that read: “More symeze catz, not black ones.”

Ron leaped back. “Holy muggles. How many claws does that cat have?”

“Thirty-five at last count,” the GKREA said, “but she’s actually from another blog. That’s Jenny Manytoes. She was upset that there were no cats in the kingdom, then someone pointed out that they were all black and hid well. So now she’s trying to save face by demanding siamese cats.”

A beautiful female creature with pale skin and pointed ears floated by, her feet about six inches above the grass. “What kind of creature is that?” Hermione demanded.

“An elf, of course,” said the GKREA. “I told you this was the elven realm.”

Ron and Harry could both see it coming. “That’s not an elf. An elf is short and dumpy and almost as gray as a goblin. What kind of place are you running here?”

Harry said to Ron, under his breath, “You’d think with all those thousands of books she read she would have stumbled across Lord of the Rings.”

“That was before she discovered the real magic weed in wizardry grad school,” Ron whispered back. “Hundreds of ‘study sessions’ and twelve kids later there isn’t too much space left in the memory banks.”

Both shut up immediately when they noticed Hermione’s glare was withering the orange grass at their feet.

The GKREA brought them to a courtyard filled with green, gold and glass houses. The sharp angles and arced roofs reminded Harry of lazy Bauhaus architecture. “I would sign up now,” he said. “The price is lower because of the rolling brownouts the developers created with this newest series of designs. Sometimes the kingdom disappears entirely several times a day. And elf houses are sturdy but they feel flimsy on account of elf materials being mostly air.”

A black dragon swooped at them and he beat it off with his ram’s staff. “Bloody buggers,” he swore. “They used to be the most rare and precious creatures in the kingdom. Now they’re as common as pigeons.”

He noticed all three staring and said, “Well, go on. They don’t breathe fire or anything. They just beg for food and petting.” He segued back into his sales pitch with nary a pause. “People can’t even place orders at the creekside properties, they just get a blank page or the order won’t process. We’re supposed to get a Pegasus Aviary and Assembly Hall, but the king has tried the gift shop several times and just ended up with another dozen giant spider webs.” He shuddered. “Who wants those?”

“How much for one of the corner residences?” Ron asked.

“Ron, don’t you think we should take some time to consider?” Hermione asked, in her casual stern threatening way. The bullying way that all positively cheerful girls develop when they reach middle age and discover other people still have minds of their own.

The GKREA jumped in ahead of her. “Better act quickly,” he said. “Unlike Hogwarts, things in this kingdom tend to go away entirely in a couple of weeks. If you wait, you may get stuck with sub Saharan mud huts or vampire mausoleums.”

“Can you loan us a couple of hundred thousand quid then, Harry?” Ron asked.

“Why call it a loan?” Harry answered. “It’s not as though you ever pay anything back.”

“We take mojo,” the GKREA said. “It’s the only real currency in play around here. And after the house Republicans tanked the economy by playing chicken with the debt deal, the mojo beats the pound or the dollar any day.”

1Even though the actual character names should be in the public domain, regardless of the status of the books and movies, I couldn’t afford to take the chance that JK Rowling might be as litigious as Disney.back

Get your design mojo on

and throw stacking out the window

We’ve gone from the peaks of Asgard to the molten depths in the last couple of weeks, and ngmoco:) really escalated the cash stakes since just about every high level building is 800k or higher.

They’re still 40-55 mojo though, about the same as shops that used to cost 100k. So clearly the push remains on spending real money to advance.

Even the wisdom trees are expensive at 160k and they generate almost no coins to help replenish the coffers. Fortunately ngmoco:) rethought the Poseidon founts and brought them back as a cheaper alternative.

In the meantime, as many readers know, ngmoco:) added a new design showcase to the leader boards. I’ve looked through their public blogs for any information on how they select the leaders (or assign design points), especially since they don’t seem to list my design points or those of my friends.

I found blogs explaining other leader boards but I couldn’t even find the design showcase image that showed up in the news tab. So I can’t really tell you how they decide or how burblegort moved from third to first on the board.

Personally, I think he belongs there, right along with jewingy, but many of the other designs were similar to kingdoms I’ve seen that didn’t make it. From what I saw, however, I sensed a few trends:

  • They love terracing. Many of the kingdoms experimented with creating a 3D terraced, or cliff-face approach, which may have been inspired by burblegort’s water falls (or he may have been inspired by someone else. I definitely remember stealing ideas from players (including Jolpet and ricknabby).

    Burblegort and jewingy are in first and second place on the design showcase leader board. They specialize in terracing, or creating dimensional layers. This is burblegort’s main realm and the bottom sample is from mockamore

  • If players don’t terrace, whoever is judging seems to like grids and patterns, with the grid boundaries created by decorative objects like flowers and trees.
  • They don’t like stacking, particularly grove stacking. I found a couple of exceptions, mostly with buildings. Jewingy created a heart with stacked rubies, which could be argued is a forgivable exception.

    Jewingy is one of the couple of design leaders accepted with stacking in his kingdom, but this example required stacking groves to make the heart. I think they let him off the hook. There may be another example with stacked groves (I didn’t look through every realm in every kingdom), but they seemed to be absent in the realms I checked.

If you want your crack at the leader board for design, these should provide you with a couple of starting points. For players who stacked everything, I certainly wouldn’t suggest tearing those groves and rows out, at least until ngmoco:) publishes the design guidelines on their blog. But if you think you have the design chops, start planning.

Update: Thanks to confuzed1 we have an answer to this from Joe Wagner the Mojo Farm site: ““We’re going to rotate a list of 10 players on that board at random intervals, so if you don’t see your name on there, or see it and it disappears you know what’s going on now. I’m also working on figuring out a way to best accept your nominations for this new leaderboard.” Evidently the numbers are meaningless and currently the nominations are internal. You can find more info in comments,

Get Satisfaction

I suppose mojo sales must have been down this week because ngmoco:) announced new improved gifting. So I checked it out and the only improvement I found was a button that allows us to directly return a gift to the sender. Do you get a lot more gold gifts for your fifty mojo? Not that I could tell.

Some readers have questioned the value of the gifts in the comments section and others love them because of the cool gold and ruby items. Here’s how I see it: The gifts are a lottery. Sometimes somebody will win a half million experience points and jump a level. More often than not, you’ll get a thousand xp or something you already have like a barn.

Even the gold items are a toss up. I’ve blown a lot of mojo testing this for readers and in my experience your chances of getting a gold item are close to one per 75 mojo spent. They’re pretty, but the return is far lower than some of the big ticket items you can get for 40 to 50 mojo.

On top of that, the chances are greater that you’ll get a gold item you already have the more mojo you spend. You could end up with three gold taverns and watchtowers and still not get the gold item you really want. Think of 50 mojo as the price of a scratch off ticket. Or the price of a box of cereal if they still do box tops and trinkets.

Can I take my castle back?

If you have the dark castle, check out the new castle in my kingdom or others before you upgrade at L55. The design is cool, but the color is the same as the original castles—blah blue. Maybe they’re planning on upgrading this one to ruby, orange and dark (or hopefully sapphire or emerald) but for now I want my dark castle back.

It would be even nicer if they remembered that I already bought this so I don’t have to upgrade twice should I like the next one. Or maybe they can just introduce the dark version of this one for L60 and two million coins.

To see the castle in this weekend’s splash screen (which is by far the best illustration the artists have produced for the game, and I wish they would make it available without all the game crap), you could really want it for your kingdom. Everything’s at wrong angles and the entire effect of the image is Lovecraftian. But once you see the castle in the kingdom, the odd angles ruin the harmony of the art behind the game pieces.

This weekend’s splash screen was their best illustration ever, and the castle looks wonderfully bizarre and Lovecraftian in the frame. If only it looked that good with the game pieces.

Escalating stakes

There seems to be no question that ngmoco:) is escalating the building stakes. The time between big ticket items seems to be weekly or bi-weekly. Just about everything in the top six or seven hourly and total return slots has been introduced since Valentine’s Day.

The Hercules temple, alchemy lab and druid library all came in the last three weeks. The dragon hatchery, which came last week, has the best hourly pay out but only over ten hours. Then after unveiling the alchemy lab on Monday and the library on Thursday (and after I wrapped up my weekly update) they unveiled L60 and the Kraken which delivers 200cp per hour.

ngmoco:) is also driving up the cost of new items for players who want to keep competitive. The kraken costs 975oooc or 55m (the same mojo price as the black dragon) and requires L55 to install.

That being said, the slim differences between the items at the top means that vendors don’t need to rush into purchases. There was a time when I would swap out five big items at a time, but now it makes more sense to me to invest in one or two and wait to see if something better comes along next week. This was my strategy with the alchemist and druid and I was right, one day later they delivered the kraken.

I really, really hope we don’t get a black kraken tomorrow.

What do you want from the game

I decided last week that I got everything I wanted from competition in We Rule. I was able to spend more than a month in the top hundred, and reached 90, and that has been my goal since last July. But with the new realms, other eager players, and constant crashes I was spending more than three hours a day on We Rule alone.

So I decided, let other people have their shot at it. When a game stops being fun it stops being a game. I put all my buildings in We Farm and We City back into inventory, closed out my grills in Restaurant Story and relaxed. I had to sell all my shops in Adventure Bay because they have no inventory.

But I’ve had a lot more time to do other things I forgot I liked.

I’ve always said players can find a number of reasons to play besides trying to get to the top and I stand by that. I finally had time to redo my main kingdom and now I have time to think about what to do with my others. I still check in two or three times a day to process orders and once a day to harvest.

I figured I can start harvesting three times a day again when they introduce level 70 and the dark version of this castle. Or hopefully emerald, sapphire or even gold castles that better match the artistic style of the game.

Can you still compete with the leaders? Absolutely. Billr317, Barblaw and others have catapulted past previous leaders Acehound and Zimidar. They swapped places for the lead at least once over the weekend. Billr317 had almost four hundred million points on Thursday. Three months ago I would have said that’s impossible.

By Saturday Barblaw had four hundred fifty million with Billr317 close behind.

Both are rapidly filling all eight realms, mostly with Poseidon founts and battlements. But they is also stacking some amazing buildings; each has a realm with an entire row of stacked houses of worship (to a big payoff). Nor did they have to do it all with mojo. The more buildings they install, the more coins they generate. And if you ask them, or Acehound or Zimidar if they ever regret reaching number one, I’m sure they’ll all say they don’t regret it in the least.

Fifty million in two days. It took me almost nine months to get there. And if that intimidates you, don’t let it. Because there’s more to the game than moving up the leader boards.

So however you want to get satisfaction, feel free to play. You can play to make art, make friends, or teach yourself high-school level (maybe middle school) economics. But play to have fun. ngmoco:) is escalating the stakes, encouraging players to spend more real money to buy more mojo to build more and more expensive buildings. You can get your money’s worth without spending it all on We Rule.

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

We Rule Design Contest

I have two announcements today:

First, I will be taking a month away from blog Monday entries. I will return on Monday March 7 (which is actually only four entries missed).

I will still be updating the site with new building information on the day they are released, with a new analysis each Thursday. And if there’s something I really need to tell you, I will.

But I’m presenting at an international conference on religion and spirituality in society (who would have thought from this blog?) and I need to focus on finishing the slides and travel.

But that’s not the big news.

Readers may be aware that there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the status of stacking (or sliding) in We Rule kingdoms. Some players report locks on new ruby groves. I have also received emails about random scans counting the number of groves in player kingdoms.

ngmoco:)’s official position, at least in their correspondence with me, is that they haven’t been removing groves. But I haven’t received any promises that this will continue to happen. So Acehound has done a number of experiments designed to allow players to maximize the use of sliding while remaining under the radar.

This guy knows his stuff. I’ve posted screenshots of his amazingly well-designed pre-purge wall-to-wall stacks in the past. And this brings me to today’s announcement, the first We Rule: The Hidden Grimoire

We Rule design contest

Players can enter any of three categories:

  1. Theme design for a realm. Players should devote one realm to a specific theme (winter, Santaland, mediterranean, evil dead).
  2. Best use of building repetition. It can’t just be trees, rivers, roads and walls. Players have to build a symmetrical or assymetrical pattern using one to three buildings. They can use decorative objects and additional buildings to compliment the pattern or design.
  3. Most creative stacked object. It can be groves, sleighs or even (good luck on this) oases, but it should be something that returns income.

The prizes

Each winner will:

  • Have their realm presented with a screen shot on this site.
  • Receive a PDF file with Acehound’s stacking secrets. This is stuff I’ve never published on this site, and never will.
  • Be gratified that they have been recognized above the three+ million other players for their efforts.

We will also display screenshots of any other kingdoms we feel have merit. So even if you don’t care about learning Acehound’s secrets to stacking (although I can’t imagine anybody that wouldn’t want the secret just in case), you still have plenty of reason to submit.

Contest rules

  • Entries must be emailed by midnight CST February 27, 2011
  • Players can enter more than one category, but not with the same realm.
  • Players can only win in one category (they don’t need two copies of the PDF brief).
  • Themed realms shouldn’t have any objects that don’t compliment the theme.
  • Entrants must email a screen shot of their entry to wrgrimoire@gmail.com and ace_hound@yahoo.ca.
  • Entries must include “we rule design contest” in the subject field.
  • Entrants should include their plus+ id so we can look at the kingdom.
  • Entrants should include their name and the name of their theme or stacked object.
  • I reserve the right to disqualify any entry I feel is getting too squirrely with the few rules I’ve laid out. If you submit your entry at least one week before deadline, I will let you know if there’s a problem.
  • Neither Acehound, Carol or I can enter this contest.

So get to it. You have a month to go wild in any realm. That should give you plenty of time to harvest crops, plant groves and earn the coins you need to go wild.

Why wouldn’t my gorgeous realm win the theme category? Because the Medusa and chimera really don’t belong in the winter wonderland. The troll bridge and founts could pass, but definitely not the medusa and chimera.

Click image to see full size

See you in the blog spot in a month, and every Thursday with new shops analysis.

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

Reviewing investment strategies for the new year.

If I have one New Year’s resolution this year, it’s stop playing every online game. There’s just too damn many of them, and—as many of you know—they hook you with a formula that you already love or you wouldn’t have downloaded the free trial.

I’ve gone from a half hour every few hours to being sucked into playing hours at a time. I find it really tough because I review these games for iPad Envy. I have to give them enough playtime to make an honest evaluation and then I discover I’ve invested all this time getting my island, city, restaurant, farm, smurf hideaway, cat rooms or fish tanks set up and, damned if I don’t want to hold onto the little fiefdom I’ve built online again.

But I have to. Sorry Mi Mi, Buster and Velvet, my touch pet kitties. But Teddy Bear and Jenny Manytoes and Coco Puff, my real cats, deserve my attention and nothing hurts Teddy Bear’s feelings more than being told he can’t sit on my shoulder and purr because it interferes with harvesting coins from couches.

We Farm will probably be the next to go. I mean, honestly, aliens, polar bears, llamas and NASCAR? Farmville? It’s definitely on the chopping block. After all, who really wants their names posted all over Facebook for making level 12 in Farmville. The Smurfs? Already gone. They were cute, but how many cherry cakes can you bake before you run out of interest?

Adventure Bay looked really interesting, but I made it to Level 30 in two weeks (without blowing a lot of money on spice) and I’m not sure I want to wait around stacking jungles for a couple of months until they add another five levels and a new island. The game has a lot to make it really attractive and it it’s at my top of the list of new iOS social networking games. You can order, help players sail on expeditions as well as sail on your own, and you can also hunt for treasure.

The point of the game is to have fun.

That’s the point of all these games.

We Rule is still fun for me, but I notice a lot of the players I used to trade with have abandoned their kingdoms. So it’s luster seems to wane for some. The good news is, this means you can move up the leader boards as they fall off.

But this is my message for the New Year. Play it while it’s fun, and when it stops being fun, (or your spouse checks you into social game spenders anonymous) find something more fun.

Honestly, however, We Rule remains the standard for iOS social networking games.

If you read this blog because you actually like the writing, I will be posting somewhere even after you move on.

Quick Thoughts

Last seasonal decoration tour

If you’re still looking for a few seasonal decorations to enjoy, one reader suggested zenxacred’s east realm, and I finally got tired of working decorations around the layout in my west realm and redid just about everything.

Zenxacred went for the kingdom of darkness encroaching on Christmas approach. I didn’t see this before the Christmas posting, so I’m including it now. Thanks to reader Superknight98 for the tip.

Click image to see full size
After postponing the inevitable, I finally gave in and completely redid my west realm to reflect the season. Notice the stacked sleighs toward the bottom of the window. It didn’t dawn on me that I should do this until the night before ngmoco:) removed them from the game.

Click image to see full size

While I was redesigning I also noticed a new character, which brings me to my next quick topic.

ID alert

We have another new character I can’t identify. Since he’s holding the block of ice in his hand, I suspect he’s the ice sculptor. But the original release illustration showed the house without a character to accompany it. So I could be wrong.

Who is this guy? He just showed up in my east realm the other night. I’ve never seen him before. Any thoughts?

Click image to see full size

New content not downloading

Has anyone experienced a message that you need to relaunch the app so new content can download only to have the same old content download? This happened to me today for the second time in a month and it got me to thinking.

Recently a reader asked me to evaluate the sleighs in the comments and I didn’t know what he was talking about. Two days later, sleighs showed up in my content.

Is it possible that some players get items before others. Or is there a problem with iOS4 that blocks new content from downloading right away. I know this seems wierd, but if anybody actually got new content today, please let me know.

Investment Bets

Players continue to wonder what the best investment strategies are: groves, buildings or (the now defunct) sleighs. Should we pay real cash for buildings? Shouldn’t we consider the investment costs when making purchases?

The answers will always depend on the player and what you hope to accomplish from the game. But let me sum up some of the thoughts I’ve posted over the last few months:

  • It’s better to invest on items that will return on a regular basis—especially both coins and experience. Wait until you have a lot of spare cash before blowing it on a lot of decorations with a one time experience return.
  • Don’t worry about the up-front investment cost. The items with the better returns will pay for themselves over time. The buildings with the best return for you are the ones with the best returns for your customers. The more you buy, the more they will come to shop (provided you build your network).
  • The more you spend the more you make, provided you spend wisely. So don’t be afraid to buy.

I have changed my mind about total points. I think they’re as important as hourly return. But I try to balance both. For instance, the 650 points for the Falconry is still a high performer compared to others, but since it takes 72 hours to earn them I still think players are better off placing an order with something that pays off fewer points far more quickly.

On the other hand, total points earned is far more important for items that return in less than a day. Most players will accept and turn around overnight orders that process in the same day, but no quicker.

I still think groves are the best of the regular return investments, especially the ruby groves. Poseidon’s Founts also have a good return, but they take longer to earn the money to invest (90K verses 10K). Until you have built up a large fortune, the groves will get you where you want to go faster for less money.

This doesn’t go against my argument about ignoring the cost of buildings. Players don’t shop at groves, they cash in every six hours. I wouldn’t spend 350000 coins for a building that only returns 20c and 15xp an hour, but an expensive building that pays off 2000 points to players in a couple of days will bring customers back to your kingdom, especially if you have several of them.

I missed the boat on the sleighs because of the Christmas holidays and my thoughts were elsewhere. For most of the season I thought they were cute but for 7500 for only 100xp return I felt they were pricey. Then on the last night of the season it dawned on me that since I had lots of coins to spend (and more groves than I could make room for already), they made sense for a player in my position. They also take up almost no space, can be stacked side-by-side without being difficult to tap for harvest.

Thank goodness, they stop coming with reindeer after the third one. Other wise I would have a reindeer infestation.

The sleighs may be gone for now, but they will be back next year and something similar will probably show up in the meantime.

I consider these a luxury investment. If you have stacked your kingdom full of rubies and you have a couple million coins to invest, founts will pay off more in the long run as will the next version of the sleigh they release. But players below L40 usually need cash, and rubies still provide the best return for the investment dollar.

Should you buy buildings?

I would say, yes for the viking. Maybe for the Wyvern’s Forge. Probably not for the castles unless you want to decorate with them (and players who have been to my kingdom know I do).

I know they’re costly. Three dollars for the wyvern’s forge is a lot, but unless you buy mojo in the 2000m cask, three dollars is still cheaper than the cash equivalent of the 50 mojo they would have charged otherwise. And the fewer mojo you buy at a time, the more expensive the cash cost will be.

And remember, you can shuttle them between realms. If you need to remove the other shops to make room for something new, you have to lose them for good.

But let’s return to the Wyvern’s forge. It offers the second highest hourly payout and the fourth highest total payout. If I were a player at L26 who couldn’t order the prestigious chimera, red dragon or chateau, I would have to consider making the investment. If, on the other hand, I were an L40 player with tremendous coin reserves but not a lot in my real bank account, I would go with the big ticket items that require coins.

Personally, I wished they would give players the choice of paying with cash or coins. Personally, I wish they would allow us to move everything back into inventory the way other games do.

Most of all I wish those forges weren’t so butt ugly. They remind me of the trailer house parked next to the gorgeous mansions of Olympus.

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

Christmas Tidings

It’s Christmas morning and parents round the world—the ones who celebrate Christmas or are culturally obliged to celebrate Christmas—will be dragged out of their beds by whiny children who have no idea how late their parents stayed up to make their Christmas as happy as possible.

Some We Rule players will have taken time off and others will cease the opportunity to move past them on the leader boards. I moved back into the top 150 in experience points and most visited, no doubt thanks to the better players who sought a more spiritual experience this week.

Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the countless readers who dropped by to order over the last few months.

I looked at quite a few kingdoms to see what folks were doing with the seasonal items, but only managed to see a fraction of what’s out there. I was saddened to drop in on old friends only to find their crops withered and their shops empty. But it is just a game, not even as popular as the far-less deserving Farmville (although that might change once DeNA releases a Flash compatible version for Mac and PC browsers and other smart phones—if they release a Flash compatible version).

People do have lives and who really wants to spend their holidays harvesting all those groves we stacked?

I’m tempted to say that if I wasn’t writing this blog, I would be tempted to move on by now. Except that We Rule really is far better developed than many of ngmoco:)’s similar games. Of the vast lot I have downloaded and tried for free mojo, I would have to say only Adventure Bay looks like it has the potential to be as good.

And it is good, and ngmoco:) does keep it fun even though it can get a tad expensive if you aren’t careful.

Not as many players actually bought and displayed seasonal items as I had anticipated. It’s hard to blame them since none of them really performed that well. It’s also hard to rearrange realms just to accommodate Christmas. I tried, but I was never happy, mostly because I wasn’t willing to chuck the basic layout of one of my realms and seize the spirit of Christmas.

But a few players did, and I want to point out the ones I felt did the most eye-catching designs. Remember, I taught design for several years so I will be looking for things many players wouldn’t. The main thing I looked for was for players who did more than map out a rectangular area and fill it with Christmas stuff.

I looked for how well they integrated the seasonal items into the overall design of the kingdom, I looked for players who integrated regular elements of the game into a seasonal design as well. I also looked for original and ingenious ideas. They didn’t have to be gorgeous, and a couple of my final selections rubbed against the grain.

And some just caught my eye. In the end that’s what kingdom design should do: catch players’ eyes so they remember one particular kingdom over the others and want to return to see more.

I’m not going to rank them, with one exception. The one that stood out for me above the others was Dinhkim,who used diamond and ruby roads to create a candy cane stripe motif.

Not only did Dinhkim work the seasonal elements into the overall design of his main realm, he accented everything with candy stripe borders.

Click image to see full size

Don’t take this to mean the others weren’t as good. This one just spoke to me a little more loudly.

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ravenpuff, whose name sounds reminiscent of the houses of Hogwartz, cordoned off the winter section with diamond grove, creating a clear boundary between the seasons. Although many players also set aside a small rectangular area for their seasonal display, this one used a number of decorative and design elements to make sure it stood out.
Leaderboard leader acehound was one of the players who tied his seasonal section into the overall design of his realm. He is also a master stacker.

Click image to see full size

Click image to see full size
I don’t know what he was thinking when he chose his player name, but chieftwit brought the Christmas feel to the realm. A few more snow capped trees would have been nice.
atonaltensor started out just like many players with a small rectangular section just for Christmas shops, but he set the whole thing off with a river and diamond bridge to spill the effect into the rest of his realm.

Click image to see full size

Click image to see full size
Yausung used the spooky trees left over from Halloween to suggest the barren trees of winter. It was a risky choice, because the bare trees lack the warmth of the snow covered trees. This could put off some viewers, but for others it will provide a stark contrast. Also, notice the ice sculpture rising from the lake, anchoring the two sides o the realm.
Drewtopia add a little touch of hellfire to his winter kingdom, perhaps in anticipation of my Christmas short story.

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Stocking stuffer for readers

I also included a heart-warming, if not conventional, Christmas tale within a Christmas tale that includes characters from the game: A Merry We Rule Christmas in Hell.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, A Salam Alychem and peace be with you always—not just once a year.

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

The legitimate joys of stacking

Spoiler alert! Today’s blog will explore some of the reasons players might want to stack that have nothing to do with increasing revenues to their kingdoms. If you are seriously opposed to stacking and have no intention of changing your mind, you can stop reading when the post reaches the headline about stacking.

On the other hand, I long ago learned to never decide I would never change my mind because that decision was usually an indication that I needed to have my mind changed. Carol shared this bit of wisdom with me when we first started dating, although I found out later she never intended for it to apply to her.

Last week ngmoco:) definitely took a turn to the dark side with lava, scorched earth, demons and death. They’re probably working out their unresolved anger toward players who keep asking for them to do more with less mojo. They also made a move toward daily product releases by releasing new items on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

This was followed up with yet another release today, which caused me to rewrite the intro to the post and delay the post until this evening. Olympus made me rethink the whole dark side impulse (if only for a moment) because Cerberus and the death ferry are also elements from classical mythology.

Have the really run out of medieval ideas? Are we about to see them veer off into the nether realms of alien abduction like they did with We Farm? We’ll just have to see. Maybe this means they will release a sacrificial altar for turkeys in time for Thanksgiving.

Olympus seems to be part of their serious move toward price inflation, with an hourly payout of 52c and 38xp over 36 hours. This is a major leap, and is no doubt intended to lead to more mojo purchases so players can install several in their kingdoms. It also means red dragons may soon fall out of the top ten list for hourly returns.

The new ferry of death has an equally high hourly payout, but also may be just about the most useless object of commerce in the kingdom. The hourly payout is high, 60c and 20xp, which is also the total payout because it harvests in an hour. By the time your order sits in a player’s kingdom waiting for it to be accepted, and the time it takes them to remember to return the order, your average hourly take will probably be down to 10c or less.

It isn’t as bad as the baseball field in We Farm which turned over in three hours, and spoiled within three hours of that. I tested the ferry for spoilage and it will go four or five hours at least without spoiling. Then I got tired of checking in and released it.

Still, you will now get to tilt the kingdom toward your light or dark side, as you wish. Maybe they will now grant another common request for a building—the gothic cathedral—so we can add an inquisition (see, there are still plenty of medieval to renaissance connections out there).

Perhaps even more interesting is the addition of a second building that can be moved into inventory, the dark castle. As with the tower of light you have to pay real money. This actually makes more sense to me than ngmoco:)’s decision to continue to release buildings which can’t be moved into inventory.

They’ve proved they can do it. So why continue to do it the old way? I suppose it’s because players would complain if they had to pay cash for every new building. So fine. They’ve already done the dual mojo/coin release trick. Why don’t you release buildings for cash, mojo or coins. If you want to restrict the inventory capabilities to the cash purchases, you still haven’t locked out players from the buildings. We just have to pay for the ones we want to keep with inventory capabilities (like the unicorn’s meadow for me).

So, developers, now you have something else to brood about and take out on us with new releases.

The new featured items section

Beware of ordering from the new featured items section before you checked the regular buildings tabs. I had mistakenly noted that the demon caves and death ferry were only available with mojo because I (stupidly) assumed they would have included the versions you could pay for with coins if they had been made available.

I don’t think it was a conscious assumption, but it was stupid nonetheless. Carol realized this when she realized that Olympus was available at L30 and L38, but she couldn’t find the one with coins in the featured section.

So when you see a cool item (or at least cool to you) available in the features section but only for mojo, check he regular shop areas. You may find them available for coins.

The monkey king

Another retraction from last week’s retraction is the fact that the throne does come with a king. He didn’t show up when I planted my first throne until later and then Carol and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what building he came with. We decided the best thing to do would be to post the picture and ask readers if they knew who the monkey was.

It turns out, readers wrote in to tell me in response to my comment about the kingless throne. I never got the chance to ask. We Rule’s throne is a monkey king, which may be another way of ngmoco:)’s developers getting back at those of us who criticize them for not doing everything we could possibly ask.

The monkey king is an ancient Chinese myth who I know all about from the Hong Kong movies I used to watch before I discovered Bollywood. The Monkey King was Stephen Chow, a trickster who made buffoons of all the stuffy gods and Kung Fu fighters in the Chinese Odyssey movies. And now he’s in our kingdoms.

I wonder how our new queen took it when she found out who her parents had arranged for her to marry.

Carol and I were wondering who the monkey was and what building he came with. I was going to ask in this week’s column, but readers already told us. He’s the king, albeit a monkey king, who comes with the throne.

Click image to see full size

Stacking is back

Last week I retracted my announcement that stacking was gone. It turns out there was another method I didn’t know which required the items you wanted to stack to already be installed. I’m assuming this is the method so many of the players who were very good at it used. That method is still in play.

In the meantime there have been rumors whirling around that ngmoco:) is stripping the stacks from kingdoms. I have no idea whether or not this is true. A little more than a week ago I would have told you that I do know that three of the top stackers no longer do so, but even that’s not true.

~King, the most notorious stacker and the source of most of the original controversy, seems to have resigned from the game entirely. Acehound, who moved into first place had removed all of his stacked groves, but he’s started to replace them. And I’m glad, because his were gorgeous.

This was the stacking scheme in Acehound’s kingdom before the upgrade. This is gone now, which is sad because this is gorgeous.

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This is one of his realms, post upgrade. The stacks are back, on a smaller scale, but the design is excellent. And we will be discussing design in a column very soon. It was his (now) constantly changing kingdom I showed in the blog last week.

Click image to see full size

Players who want to know how to stack can access two different videos on YouTube to explain how. The videos aren’t as precise as they could be, and there are some wrinkles I’ve discovered that they left out, but the videos can get readers started. It actually took me a day or two to figure out how to really stack after I saw the them, but they definitely pointed me in the right direction.

You should also be aware that ngmoco:) is making a countermove by locking ruby groves that can be purchased with coins after a certain number have been planted. This is a trick they started with We Farm’s blueberry bushes and apple trees, but the threshold is much higher in We Rule. I probably had several hundred planted in my kingdom before the lock showed up, but suddenly, this weekend, it was there.

I know there are a lot of people opposed to stacking, and they have legitimate reasons. Most of the players in the top 25 reached that level by stacking their adjunct realms with several thousand ruby trees and packing their main kingdom with thirty copies of the highest returning building. It made for some ugly but profitable kingdoms. On the other hand, people can abuse any system no matter how well conceived.

Goëdel’s theorem is a metaphor for this principle. Goëdel basically proved that no logical system can be devised that won’t ultimately contradict itself.1 The same goes for games. Players find away to defeat the intent of rules, the officials change the rules, and the same players figure out how to circumvent those.

But We Rule is a game we pay for. More so now than we did last summer. Objects in our kingdoms are becoming increasingly obsolete as ngmoco:) releases more and more higher paying, more attractive and more popular items. The developers even added seasonal items, which we will feel compelled to replace as the season fades.

We Rule isn’t a social contract, like the US is. It’s a game. No, I would have to say it’s a commodity.

Now that I’ve played with it a lot more, I can honestly say I see a lot of good reasons for stacking, and I will share them here. And none of these have to do with making more money (although, we know that’s the most important one).

Making things fit

Here are some things that always irritated me in We Rule. Let’s say you wanted to run a river from one border to the opposite borders. You can try, but the river tiles don’t stretch from wall to wall. You will find a small gap that isn’t large enough for a river tile.

I know, you can fudge with a bridge or two to fill the gap(s). But it isn’t the same as a wall-to-wall river.

How about this one? The phoenix nest and jousting arena take an inordinate amount of space, including space that stretches beyond their visible boundaries. On top of that, the phoenix nest isn’t even centered right.

The solution? Stack the rivers. Or use stacking to bump another building right next to the edge of the arena.

You can use stacking to make items fit together. I was able to get this river to flow to the edge of the kingdom without fudging with bridges. I was also able to adjust the lower left shore of the lake to compliment the new farm pattern.

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Stacking let me expand a lava river to a fuller lava flow. I found this same trick in Acehound’s kingdom the next day.

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More creatures

Let’s say you really like demons, and red dragons and pegasi. Let’s say you want to fill your kingdom with flying creatures. You can stack their buildings to launch more into the skies.

The buildings don’t always stack exactly, so some combinations may work and others may make you decide not to stack. But it’s a great way to add more creatures without taking much more room in your kingdom.

You won’t always get good results by stacking. In fact, some of the compounds could be downright unattractive.

Click image to see full size

The downside of stacking buildings this way is that you may not be able to collect money from all of them. In a couple of cases I unpacked a stacked series slightly. In others, such as the three pegasus springs I piled into a unicorn’s meadow, I’m quite content to not collect the money from all of them. I wanted winged horses.

I piled three different pegasus springs into a unicorn’s meadow. It’s impossible to collect the coins from two of them, but I get three cute flying horses.

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Fun design stunts

I think that, as more people learn to stack, we’re going to see more people trying to create visual gags and cool design effects. Instead of just stacking iron fences to create the illusion of a wall, players can stack the fences in front of dragons’ nests.

One of the most attractive stacking effects I’ve seen is to create groves from groves. The best example used to be in Acehound’s kingdom (which I showed above), but others are creating some fantastic groves too.

Vicariage created this stunning grove of groves. He probably can’t click on all the rubies to collect, but I’m sure that didn’t factor into his decision to build this intricate structure.

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I’ve already managed to crash two boats, grow groves from rivers and fuse the dark castle with the demon’s cave. It’s even fun to plant fountains, sundials and trees in the chateaus. It’s fun to tinker with effects, especially because you can just break the mistakes apart. Hopefully readers will spot more gags created with stacking for me to display or point you to in the future.

The first time I saw stacking, in fact, wasn’t to compress rubies. I don’t remember who the player was, but he had planted groves inside his jousting arenas. It was a great way to maximize space.

So when you see people stacking, don’t worry about the jerks who turned their kingdoms into cash cows. It’s just a game.2 Look to see some of the cooler tricks the more creative players have tried. You might even want to try a few yourself.

1Okay, this is a gross oversimplification, but this is a column about gaming, not philosophy and mathematics. We would have to discuss sets that do and not contain themselves and self-referential systems, things that I find interesting but no one I’ve met since grad school does. In fact, most of the people i knew in grad school liked to talk about stuff like this, but never really read it themselves.

Which is understandable if you’ve ever tried to read Goëdel, Wittgenstein or any of their contemporaries. back

2Save that anger for the real jerks who trash real communities to turn them into cash cows, as is happening to the wonderful old southern suburbs of Austin.back

Special Update: We Rule Quest

reposted from 10/28

Spoiler alert! Just to let you know what to expect with We Rule Quest:

  • You can logout, which means you can manage multiple kingdoms.
  • They added quests. Kind of. Nothing like the quests in Castle Craft.
  • No storage, moving or gone questing signs. A lot of bummed out players.
  • No more stacking. At least the kind I can figure out how to do.
  • A lot of wrinkles they need to iron.

We Rule Quest was released yesterday, the mother of all upgrades designed to replace all the other versions of We Rule you had floating around on your iPad. I had five of them.

A lot of people will love this, others will be pissed. Why will they be pissed? Because you still can’t move or store objects from one realm. I think this has pretty much been foremost on many readers and players minds for several months. On the Get Satisfaction website ngmoco:) said they would “take it under advisement.”

Kind of like my dad used to say, “we’ll see.”

Kind of like Carol says, “I’ll think about it” because she knows how much I hate the phrase “we’ll see” from my childhood. Even though they mean the same damn thing.

No “gone fishing” or “gone questing” option either. A number of people begged for that. But we did get “questing” if that’s any consolation.

The most important change? You can logout and login as another user. I found out completely by accident, when I was lost in their menu hierarchy (which I’ll discuss in a few paragraphs).

Then I realized ngmoco:) did announce the feature at the bottom of a long list of stuff in We Rule Quest’s description in the app store. The button isn’t quite as easy to find as the post describes. According to the post you just “click on the blue + button” and you can log out.

What they don’t say is that you actually have to click on your user id tab first then, when you get to your user section, touch and scroll as far down as you can. The logout button is at the very bottom, hidden unless you know it’s there. On top of that, you can’t just log back in, you have to restart the app.

You can manage multiple kingdoms by logging out. If you know where to find it. To make matters even easier, you have to restart to log back in.

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I know this may be disappointing to some, but it’s probably the most necessary of the upgrade requests. I still want to be able to move some items into storage so I don’t have to trash them them when I redesign, but multiple kingdom management allows families to have kingdoms for each family member on a single iPad.

They will still have to fight for time on the iPad, but at least no one will be stuck trying to manage their kingdom with We Rule Red which is completely iPad averse. So I’m going to give We Rule quest a thumbs up. This also means I can re-review it on iPad Envy and maybe even cut and paste stuff from this blog.

Stacking’s out

At least until players figure out a new workaround, stacking seems to be out. I tested this afternoon to see if I could at least stack one on one and the server seems to know automatically if there’s any overlap in objects.

You can object to stacking on principles, but this means that new players will never be able to advance on older established players (including me).

I for one will miss it, and still be looking for new opportunities to stack.

The quests

The most notable addition to the game is the addition of quests, and I suspect players will be divided down the middle as to whether the quests are a truly valuable feature.

These aren’t the quests of games like Castle Craft where you have to scout, attack, build weapons and fortresses and a dozen other tasks. These are little shopping trips. I stress “little.” More like trips to the convenience store than trips to the mega mall.

If you haven’t tried them, a quest consists of buying three specific objects from other kingdoms. For new players this will encourage them to explore other kingdoms. For higher level players, I’m not sure it’s going to be all that interesting since the objects in the quest tend to be low return items like the barn and jewelry store.

This also means that players at the higher levels who have started culling these older and less profitable buildings out of their kingdoms will lose business as well. It would be nice if the quests mixed items available at different levels. Perhaps a wine tasting where players have to visit a bakery, a cheese shop and a vintage chateau.

The new quests send players shopping from specific buildings in other kingdoms. Most of the quests so far are for objects available below L20.
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The reward for at least two quests is more kingdom swag. So far they’ve add a pig pen and king’s throne in a new rewards section of the build menu. I went with the pig quest and Carol went for rock, paper and scissors. She’s irked now that she discovered there’s no special item her quest unlocks.

Once you complete a quest, you unlock a new object for your kingdom. I’m not sure I really want the pig pen, but the throne might be cool.

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I’ll have to wait until the other kingdoms return my pig orders to know if the quests are worth my time. I would be interested to see the throne.

I also have to say that players will not be able to poke the pig with me.1 I refuse to have any butcher shops in my kingdom so I can be vegetarian in principle. I eat meat in real life, but at least my kingdoms can be animal cruelty free.

This brings another problem with the upgrade, poor documentation. All I can find are brief in-app descriptions which seems somewhat vague to me. For a moment I thought I saw a tag that might be instructions in the plus + menu, but when I went back it was gone.

The new menus

The new plus + menu is screwy. It seems to change every time I look at it. I thought I was mistaken at first but I opened the app several times and I found one menu layout most of the time, and an entirely different layout others. The most noticeable was the leadership boards. At least twice I found them as soon as I opened the menu. Other times I had to go to my user section and then shuffle through the leader boards for every game available.

The menu contents seem to change each time you open it.

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I also noticed two new leadership categories, which I think could have been thought through better. There is a category for most visited kingdoms, and the first time I looked I was listed at 113. How cool was that?

The next morning I had fallen to 202.

I wondered how I could tumbled so quickly then it dawned on me that people were running up their own visit totals. Is it that easy to do? Yes. I managed to get credit for visiting myself ten times in two minutes, logging in only once. I’m not going to tell you how I did it, but it isn’t difficult to figure out.

Stacking I get (or, sadly, I got). Running up your own visit totals seems a little too much. But ngmoco:) opened that door. We City has categories for most orders placed and most orders placed by others in your kingdom. Those make a lot more sense to me because those are much more difficult to tamper with.

The other new category is most kingdoms visited for orders. This is another one that works against more advanced players who either no longer order because they will lock out potential customers from their kingdom, or players who order from a second kingdom because they don’t want to lock customers out of theirs.

I’m personally irked because they wiped out my entire list of friends so I now have officially ordered from only three people—the people I ordered from for my quest. That’s a whole lot of friends and a whole lot of orders I know longer get credit for.

Possible password problems

Finally, Ravenpuff reported this problem in the comments in case you missed it:

Had to reset my password because my original password was 16 characters long. It took three requests for a new password before the link took me to the Plus+ site where I could change it, otherwise it kept taking me to a Plus+ page that said “Request not found!”

So much for the “use a safe secure password” theory. How about “letmein” or “password” ? If you’re having Ravenpuff’s problems, I bet you can use one of those.

1Now that I say that phrase “poke the pig with me” in my mind it sounds really disgusting. At its least disgusting its the inspiration for an SNL skit and at it’s most disgusting….I really don’t want to think about it.

That’s why I moved this from a parenthetical comment to a footnote.back