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.

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Keeping up with the birds

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of residences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will black Friday move to We Rule?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Early Return Special Event Edition

From dragons to flutterflies

I planned to return from my sabbatical on Monday, but now seemed to be the better time. After all, ngmoco:) kept everybody waiting for a special event, moved it back from Thursday to Friday and then, at 10:30 PST (after midnight for half the country) when most of us had given up waiting and decided to party, they released the flutterflies.

Many of you may have been disappointed. Dragons seem a noble quest, flutterflies slightly less so. Had they been the ferocious turbocharged Mothra style monstrosities depicted in the early press release, players may have felt themselves up to a noble challenge.

Players may have been disappointed by the difference between the mammoth beast promised and the cute creature who finally arrived. I tracked the progress from promotional art to concept art to the final version in the game. I’m fine with it personally, but for many players I imagine it would be like ordering a Porsche online and finding a Kia in your driveway.

Maybe I’m being unkind. The reality of game design is that the more complex the creature the more pixels required to compute and redraw, the more processing power to refresh the screen with each flap of each wing. The more computations, the slower the game. On the other hand, cute butterflies wouldn’t have whipped up as much anticipation.

So the designers, developers and promotion team were faced with a dilemma, and they solved it by promising Mothra and delivering Flutter Fly. Maybe if they had the flutterfly breathe fire out of his ass instead of little butterflies, however, players would have been mollified.

Where are the rare creatures?

A number of players were frustrated on the last quest because they never spotted the crystal or crimson dragon. When those players embark on this quest I can only offer two pieces of advice:

  • Plant and harvest those lures at least as often as it takes them to mature.
  • Check in every couple of hours and capture every flutterfly that pops up even if you already caught one. You don’t have to use mojo, just keep catching them.

As with the last quest the creatures follow a pattern. The garnets are so easy to catch you don’t need the mojo net (I’m 32-2 with the free net). The amethysts are much harder to catch (I’m 0-7 without the mojo net) and the jades only show up once in every couple of dozen. I haven’t seen any of the rarer creatures but in my experience with the dragons they show up once or twice a day if you keep catching the common ones.

The amethyst temple for the first level is okay, with 1800cp for customers and about 76cp hourly.

Don’t wait to the last minute. Play now and often. Plan on using mojo for every type but the garnets. Multiples you catch in one round will not count for later levels but catch them anyway (but not with mojo).

The amethyst temple for the first level is okay, with 1800cp for customers and about 76cp hourly. This is a great deal for players at lower levels, not much use for players further up the level ladder. But the rewards will definitely improve with each new goal.

Beware of the downside to this event. If you really intend to play, your screen will fill with those little pests, and they will begin to seem like pests quickly. Even worse, all those little pests will really eat into your iPhone and iPad 1 processor, so expect a few more crashes than usual.

I’ve had to do a hard reboot on my iPad every time i wanted to play.

If you’re L65 and have all the cute crap you need, you may want to sit this one out. But if you want to play, and those temples look pretty, I would still go for it.

Special Update: Crystal Dragon Lair Unlocked

So I finally unlocked a crystal dragon lair and here is what I’ve learned:

This is the crystal dragon lair which is available as a goal at L2. This is probably another gateway to mojo purchases, trying to get even beginning players hooked on the big doses.

  • The value is relatively low at 83cp hourly and 2380 total cp over 30 hours. The vendors return is moderate at 105cp and 3175 total. You will have to decide if it’s worth it.
  • ngmoco:) claims the crimson lair which can be earned once you complete the crystal quest will be the most valuable building in your kingdom, but you will only get one and the value remains undetermined.
  • Once you earn a dragon, additional dragons don’t count toward the crimson quest. The counter resets at zero.

The six dragon pictures don’t really show the rarer dragons which have stripes and artifacts on their backs. The emerald, ruby and crystal dragons are really rare and hard to catch, especially the ruby and crystal. Use the mojo to catch one if you want one.

I don’t know about the crimson dragon, but the crystal dragon is not worth the sixty plus mojo it will cost to earn it.

In spite of ngmoco:)’s assurances that they are releasing more of the rare dragons, I haven’t seen anymore than usual. I’ve seen three emerald, one ruby and one crystal in three days.

I wouldn’t spend mojo on every dragon you see, but I would try to catch as many dragons as possible with the free net in case they trigger even more of the rarer dragons.

I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not you can catch one of the common dragons (green, purple and orange) with the free net before you catch one with the mojo net. It has yet to happen for me in either of the two quests.

Based on my experience, the free net catches about one in three purple dragons, one in four to five green dragons, and one in ten orange dragons. Since the free net costs nothing, and each dragon caught is passed on to another player.

The no mojo approach to leveling up

First of all, let me apologize to fans about the math in Friday’s special update. I intended to say 100,000 coins every four hours (approximate, of course, 112,000 if I really used my calculator or spreadsheet). Then once I typed it wrong, the wrong number got locked in my head and I somehow projected it to 400,000 for four hours.

Carol would have caught this in proofreading, but I post the special editions without proofreading because I want to get them up and hate to ask Carol for yet another favor.

It’s been fixed now. Thanks for all the comments trying to keep me honest.

I stand by my original statement that the black dragons are twice as big as the red and purple dragons. I did discover later, however, that black dragons exist in two states—the large, puffy state and the smaller wing flapping state. This could just be a bad entry in the code scaling the one graphic.

As the screenshots indicate, the black dragons are twice as big as the others, at least before they take off. Once they flap their wings, however, they seem to shrink. Not quite Shroedinger’s cat, but they do seem to exist in a similar dual state.

Click image to see full size

No mojo kingdoms

Two players have stepped up to the plate recently to prove you can build successful kingdoms without mojo. One, Fendora, commented this weekend that he is only a day or so away from level 50. Fishnships has been running a thread on the Mojo Farm to keep players abreast of their community approach to kingdom building.

Both reflect different approaches to overall kingdom design as well. Fendora has focused on increasing his experience through shops and groves. Fishnships has chosen to build a kingdom that reflects the communal vision of a real community.

I really want to point out that Fendora has chosen to focus on installing two types of high-yield shops. His main kingdom exclusively features chateau’s and Olympus mounts, with a commitment to double down on the chateaus. I know some players may be skeptical of this approach, fearing that customers will want a wider variety of shops, but his shops seem full.

Fendora’s kingdom was built with no mojo purchases. It took him awhile but he’s a step away from L50

Click image to see full size

I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts swapping these out with black dragons as he earns more coins.

His other strategy has been to stack groves within the published limits. You will notice the ruby stacks which are consistent from kingdom to kingdom. I haven’t counted them but I’m betting they’re very close to the 192 grove limit that has been bandied about by readers and fans at different sites.

This also limits his kingdom’s overall growth but it also demonstrates how players can move up in the standings with just groves and high-yield buildings.

Fishnships poses some grammatical problems when it comes to writing and editing this issue. The entity Fishnships is singular but since the activity behind it is collaborative, the reference could also be considered plural. So Carol and I had a long discussion on verb/noun agreement and whether or not the pronoun reference should be “it” or “they.”

Fishnships is a collaborative kingdom with a lot of fans. Fishnships’ emphasis is more on design, but they’ve still reach L50 with no mojo

Click image to see full size

The players in Fishnships keep track of just about every move and change on the players’ thread comment thread. Fishnships isn’t a single player, but a community effort to build a collaborative kingdom. Not only do they keep readers posted on their progress, they recommend the shops with the highest yield (although the black dragon has moved to the top of the list).1

Fishnships has also managed to build to L50 without stacking or even a heavy emphasis on groves, which is also pretty amazing.

Click image to see full size

Both kingdoms will probably forego upgrading to the regal castle to add a few black dragon lairs to their kingdoms first. This is something else to consider when building yours. Install the money making elements first, and the decorative elements next.

I know that many players want to avoid spending money for mojo, and these kingdoms prove it can be done. I try to keep players abreast of ways to play and spend as little money as possible. If you feel tempted to speed up your kingdom, but have an extremely tight budget, use these guys as your inspiration.


1By the way, did you notice how we dodged the plurality problems?back


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Email The Hidden Grimoire.

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