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.

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.)

The lure of the necromancer

Harry Potter’s final installment hit home theaters this weekend and ngmoco:) celebrated with a magic wand shop and necromancer’s lair. The wand shop looks kind of cool and the necromancer’s lair is supposed to glow in the dark.

Oops.

It never gets dark in We Rule.

Even more interesting, ngmoco:) added a new wrinkle to high stakes shopping. The necromancers lair is officially the highest paying building available (at least until the next event) and pays almost double in coins the value of the next contender.

See how the necromancer’s lair is supposed to glow in the dark? I thought that would be so cool until I realized it never gets dark in We Rule.

Not only does it kick the thunderbird lair in the rear on total points by almost two thousand, it offers a significantly higher hourly yield. Furthermore, the thunderbird lair has only been around for a few weeks. Usually ngmoco:) waits three months before replacing the shop leader.

There is, however, a catch. Catch 299. As in $2.99. Each lair costs three dollars. To make up for it, ngmoco:) claims they gave everyone a free Merlin’s Keep, but really? Three dollars?

Would I recommend you install one? Absolutely. Would I recommend that you fill a realm with them the way many high level players do? No. Not a chance. Not on your life.

This doesn’t mean you won’t find some kingdoms with ten or twenty, but put this is perspective. Ten necromancer lairs cost $30. ngmoco:) now seems to allow players to take more than forty orders (at least players at L70). That would be $120. I’m not spending that much for items in a game and I recommend you don’t either.

Within a week or two ngmoco:) will release another event with shops that yield even more. Their pattern has been to top the thunderbird lair with the mastery shop every other event (and that would be the next one). Even though I haven’t seen any messages about strange creatures on their Facebook page I wouldn’t be surprised to see kangaroos and koala bears Wednesday.

Even worse, if they top the necromancer’s lair in four weeks the way they replaced the thunderbird’s lair, you will have to replace your entire investment. That’s not the worst possible scenario. If ngmoco:) sees that players will blow sixty to a hundred dollars to pack realms with top shops, you can bet only the people who can afford a hundred bucks a month will be able to add them.

This is Dragonvale where players have to buy dragon eggs with hundreds of gems, only they can’t earn gems. You have to buy them at a rate similar to buying mojo. Let us bow our heads and pray ngmoco:) doesn’t think of this as a good idea.

I looked at Dragonvale based on a reader’s recommendation. Some of the dragons cost 500 to 1o00 gems (which cost twenty five to fifty real dollars). I remember thinking that ngmoco:) might not be so outrageous with the mojo after all. The necromancer’s lair says they’re thinking about it, though, and I think the market needs to say, “NFW.”

Upgrade features hint at more to come

The promised We Rule 1.6 upgrade went live late last week, with five new realms and five clearly in the waiting for release with a future upgrade. As with all upgrades, ngmoco:) isn’t profuse with details other than to tell us the realms tab is on the left and you have to touch and scroll to find the new realm.

What’s missing from their blog posts is the implication of this development. We Rule developers intend the new interface to be a gateway for the continuous addition of new kingdoms and new realms. Like the social map, gamers can access realms by scrolling further and further to the left.

The new realms can be found to the left of the current realms by scrolling the realms window.

We can also watch the leader board scores explode again. Currently four players are tied for the lead with almost 218 billion (that’s right, billion) points. (This strange identical score could be because all four players are maxed out, but the fact that we have a four way tie for fifth place makes me think there’s a problem with the calculations).

The last time ngmoco:) expanded the realms the old leaders were ousted by new leaders with new energy (and maybe more money to spend for mojo) and this may happen again. Zimidar will probably remain in the top ten as he has since the game’s release. And scores will soon jump to 300 billion because players can now pack their realms with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and high-yield items.

Currently the leader boards feature two statistically weird four-way ties: one for first and one for fifth (or second for people who don’t understand how rankings are determined).

The creeping crawl

The downside of the new realms is that adding new buildings has become a painfully slow process for those of us on first generation iPads and next to impossible for older iPhones. I was building a sample realm for the cover of the iBook release of the Grimoire and it took the server almost a minute to place one item and accept a second item of the same kind.

This will not be fixed with graphics, it really is a problem of bandwidth, server response time and the devices’ processing power. But I suspect ngmoco:) will be able to use the influx of cash from new mojo sales to add and upgrade servers.

New harvest orb

I looked on all of ngmoco:)’s sites for information about the new harvest orb but can’t find anything. Readers may have more luck.

Most will have noticed that the harvest orb can now be used for free, although they no longer deliver a 15 percent boost. What I can’t tell is whether or not this is a permanent change or a temporary move. I’m hoping it’s permanent.

The new harvest orb is now free, but provides no additional boost. Most players will make up for this by checking in more often to harvest since they won’t have to pay every time they use one.

If you regret the loss of the boost, don’t. You can still come out even, if not ahead. I suspect most players have been using the orbs as I have—harvesting from realms with the most groves and residences and harvesting manually in less lucrative realms. I had also harvested only when groves blossomed because that was when I could get the best return for using the orb.

With the free orbs I can harvest as often as I want and move the orb into even the least lucrative realms because I don’t have to buy mojo to use it. I save time and earn more, probably as much as I earned with the boosts.

What? No citadel?

Were you as surprised as I (or at least as disappointed) that our new kingdoms didn’t come with upgradable citadels in the main realm? I would have thought there would at least be an auxiliary outpost to anchor the kingdom. I’m even more surprised because ngmoco:) could have charged outrageous citadel upgrade fees which would have spurred players to use mojo to buy more items to earn the upgrade fees.

What were they thinking? Or not thinking?

New event coming?

Readers may have noticed the following on ngmoco:)’s facebook page:

Reports are flooding in from the citizens at the borders of your Kingdom. They all claim to have witnessed hulking beasts marching through the outskirts of the Realms, being led by smaller, unidentified creatures. We’ve sent Scouts to verify these reports. It’s probably nothing to worry about!

Since I haven’t seen these beasts and creatures, I have to wonder if they aren’t gearing up to another event. In the first round we collect the smaller creatures, whatever they are, and graduate to beasts. ngmoco:) has been announcing they will remove the gift cart during the next event, so this little blurb may be their second hint.

It’s possible that they earned so much on mojo from the flutterflies that they won’t need to charge mojo for the harvest orbs any more.

We can only hope.

Early Edition: Sneak release and promised update

I don’t know how many players noticed it, but ngmoco:) actually released a couple of major items with no announcement last night. I have no idea why. I simply noticed the “new content” bar and decided to check (even though quite often the new content is nothing). At the bottom of the featured items I found the Thunderbird Lair. On a whim I checked the castles and found the new azure fortress.

The thunderbird is quite electric. Similar to the phoenix he collapses for a while and then revives to take flight. He’s also a very valuable creature, the first to top five figures in combined points.

As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, the crimson dragon lair wouldn’t be the second most valuable item in player kingdoms for long. The thunderbird’s release topples all other building for return, by almost 6000cp. It also breaks the million coin price barrier, clocking in at 1,250,000c (60m).

I’d been saving up my coins for a while because I know that ngmoco:) releases a blockbuster item every three months or so, but this almost doubles previous returns. It also means even more expensive buildings in the future, but as return values rise with them they should be more affordable. More experienced players may remember the paltry 4c return every four hours for the cottages at the beginning of the game. Last I checked they were 10c every 5 minutes.

The azure fortress is even more expensive at a million and a half coins. It’s incredibly large, hiding a number of groves and fields.

The azure fortress is absolutely enormous. It’s a deeper shade of blue than earlier fortresses, although I think the dark castle was the most attractive so far. The emerald and orange fortresses were fairly pretty too.

Click to see larger image

Save those coins

ngmoco:) has announced the pending release of version 1.6, which apparently will include a new kingdom with five new realms. So start saving coins to fill those new realms (and buy them). They also promise a lot more stability.

Developers are reducing the bit depth of the graphics which will make them a lot less processor intensive. If you don’t understand, the number of bits in an image drastically increase the processing power required to render them. Since the game isn’t photorealistic the reduction in pixel depth should’t hurt the look of the game at all. In fact, they could probably do it with eight bits and still get decent results.

Finally, ngmoco:) says they will be removing the gift cart during future events, so this also means we will see more flutterflies, dragons and their offspring in the future.

It’s been a busy week so we’ll count this as Monday’s post. Hopefully the game will get more exciting and a lot less aggravating.

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


Goblin infestation. Call Orkin now.

ngmoco:) unleashed a goblin infestation this week. At first people were hoping the goblins signaled more Harry Potter goods at the end of the week, but instead we got even more goblins. Not civilized banker goblins from Harry Potter but nasty rural goblins with no couth or manners. Goblin butchers, goblin bakers, goblin rangers, ordinary goblins and even a goblin king.

This infestation is part of a new trend in We Rule game development, which is to flood the landscape with new (and usually temporary) items that are gone within a week or two. Some players find this exciting, but others are beginning to feel overwhelmed, at least from what I read in the comments.

I filled a quarter of a kingdom with this week’s goblin items and I still haven’t scored the regular goblin swamp. My advice? Wait until you’re L50 to buy everything they release, but focus on a few key items now. A lot of it will recycle as gifts anyway.

The last week of July saw the introduction of five new goblin shops, two goblin swamps, goblin barricades two residences and a variety of gifts including a goblin watch tower which I spent quite a few mojo boosting to track down only to have it pop up as a regular gift. I’m assuming the small goblin swamp won’t need boosting either.

This means there will probably be gold goblin gifts in a week or two.

A year ago they were adding two buildings a week; now they’re up to ten. Ten different items in one week for more than 100 mojo (not including boosts) or 200000c.

I might add that I’ve noticed another new trend. ngmoco:) doesn’t always release gifts on the same day they’re announced. So you might blow 150 mojo, as one poster did, get dozens of one gift and never get the gift you want. (Don’t laugh, I bet a lot of you have done it and were too embarrassed to admit it).

Daily rewards

We’re also getting daily rewards now, which are nice. I don’t know if you earn more rewards for higher levels or not, but the daily rewards most of us want are free mojo.

How about 200 free mojo for every 2000 mojo purchased? Kind of like cashing in for a free coffee after you buy five?

Book coming

After next week’s post I’ll be taking my summer break to work on pulling together and updating the best posts and releasing the Grimoire on iBooks. I don’t have a release date set because I’m still deciding which vendor to use, but I will be releasing an ePub version for $5.

Sales on the book will be used to recoup the mojo I spend to install, grow and test buildings so I can have the numbers posted by the end of the day. Back in the days when I only needed to run the numbers on two or three buildings a week, it wasn’t a problem, but I now blow through a hundred mojo or more a week just getting the numbers.

It will be fun, contain some new, non-essential material and will probably save more than it’s worth in mojo.

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