The advantages of bulk installations

Several players have written comments or emailed me to ask my advice on the best buildings to buy for their kingdoms to get ahead. Before I answer that question I usually drop by to see what they’re doing.

One thing I’ve noticed is that novice players (and even experienced players) prefer to invest in one of each building rather than concentrating on multiple copies of the more lucrative buildings.

You can build an attractive kingdom and still focus on adding multiple copies of the more lucrative buildings. This layout is available by L6. Spend six dollars for three ice sculptor’s abodes and you will be able to attract repeat business. I didn’t add the abodes because I didn’t want to spend the money just to do this illustration.
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I understand the reticence. Until you really study the leading players its easy to follow the model of the players you order from every day. When players do stumble onto kingdoms that concentrate shops, it’s easy to think they’re the players making the wrong move.

There are a couple of other reasons I can imagine.
A game is rarely defined by its rules. Those are merely the stepping stones for players to develop strategic responses. These responses include making the rules and guidelines work to their advantage, often in ways the games’ designers never intended. It takes a lot of practice for players to see the difference between strategic and ordinary moves.

Another reason is that players follow the game’s achievements lists, which basically take players through a basic set of moves for building their kingdoms. What many players never consider is this: You can take the achievements on at your own schedule. You can earn the coins and experience first, then fill in the shops for the achievements lists later.

Players begin to make moves up the leader board when they realize they don’t have to build their kingdoms based on the buildings available at each level. The real goal is to reach the level where they can purchase the buildings with the best return.

Unfortunately, I think a number of players are afraid to install six or seven mines or ponds—even though the return per cost is better than many of the shops at higher levels—because they are afraid they will lose their money.

Players also seem to be extremely reluctant to sell back shops because they think it will cost them. They fail to understand a basic business principal that applies to this game: You have to spend coins to earn coins (and more experience).

Now that you can move buildings back to inventory, you shouldn’t have that fear anymore. When you finally reach a level where you need to install multiples of a better shop, you can move the older shops into inventory and put them in another realm later.

You should also remember, however, that every new shop you install also earns a lot of experience points up front. Items in inventory don’t add additional experience points. You will do even better to sell those old buildings off and add new buildings for the experience points.

Attracting customers

The number one reason why you should concentrate on multiples of the best shops rather than one of every shop is to attract customers. Players who want to move up in the game want the best return for their visit. If they know that your shop will have six viking ships and six medusa’s lairs that means they will have a better chance of finding a good shop than a kingdom with one of everything.

If you doubt this, think it through yourself. A young player orders from you so you return the order to keep her business. The player has several friends already and only ten different shops. Almost always the only open shops will be the mine and the lumberyard.

You return as soon as you get the notice that she returned your order, but the others remain filled. The odds are likely that you will not be able to place better orders, and the ones you can place just don’t return enough to make coming back again and again worth your while.

Another lower level player has four ice sculptor’s abodes, four cemeteries and four tailor shops in her kingdom. Which kingdom do you think is more likely to provide a higher paying return for your visit? Yes, this is a rhetorical question but even rhetorical questions have value when they remind you of what should be obvious.

Customers will go to the kingdoms with the better payoffs.

If you’re still not convinced, visit the leaders (and the leaders among your friends, whom you can also access from the leader board). You can look for two things:

  • How many copies of the better shops do they have?
  • What are customers ordering?

Most of the game leaders not only have tons of ruby groves, they also tend to concentrate their kingdoms on three or four shops. And these shops are almost always full.

The second question is probably more illuminating. In my experience, orders will always flock to the high value shops with only the occasional order being placed with the occasional lower valued shops placed for decoration or balance. The higher-return shops always get better traffic than the lower return shops.

Still pretty

I think young players may also be concerned that their kingdoms should have one of every kind of shop because they will look better. This isn’t necessarily true, at least later on as they reach higher levels and more decorative objects become available.

Great designers frequently repeat elements to create distinctive patterns and looks (and I will talk about this in the future). With thoughtful placement you can make a beautiful kingdom out of nothing but ponds, tailor shops, pine trees and roads.

If you don’t have multiples of one or more shops, but you do have some customers who drop by regularly, try an experiment for me. Invest in three of the most profitable shops available at your level before you add anything else. Make sure they really have a good total point and hourly payout.

If the customers gravitate toward the three shops, add another. You should find that the four copies of the same shop are always full and your other shops aren’t. This should be all the convincing you need.

If not, move the extras into inventory to use when you add new realms, and go back to the old way.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

Building your customer base

Let’s get the happy chit chit out of the way. We definitely seem to be on a three day a week product release cycle in We Rule. For the last two weeks ngmoco:) has released new items on Monday, Thursday and Friday. We also have a new level, 45, and a rounder castle to go with it (at almost a million coins).

According to the Mojo Farm, who have a much less tormented relationship with ngmoco:) than I, you will need almost ten million points to move to L45. Go for it, but be aware that ngmoco:) may be making it more and more difficult for newer players to get there than it was for those of us who have played longer.

The new citadel is still orange. I thought it might be gold, but Carol and I discussed it and both decided this was a stepping-stone citadel between L40 and L50. We decided the next citadel should be diamond. Perhaps when they finally unveil L50 we’ll also get a diamond cathedral for two million.

The developers have also been escalating the stakes. This week they released Olympus and the Chimera’s Temple, both of which have the two highest combined point payouts. Olympus blew the totals off the charts with 90cp per hour and the Chimera’s Temple follows with 75cp. The previous highs are in the 50s.

We have also seen some really weird shops. The Ferry of the Dead and Poseidon’s Fount both deliver high hourly combined totals, but in one hour. It hardly seems worth the effort. In fact, Poseidon’s Fount pays better when it’s idle than when it’s in use.

Who knows where this trend could lead? Certainly it forces players to keep spending on new buildings to stay competitive. What’s most interesting is the price inflation. The ratio of coins required to purchase versus mojo required to purchase is increasing rapidly.

The big ticket item when I first started playing, the dragon’s lair, sold for 100,000c or 50m. The next big ticket item, the jousting arena, also sold for 50m but the coin price increased to 150,000. Olympus and Chimera’s Temple still sell for 50m, but the coin price has leaped to 450,000 and 500,00c.

Both the original dragon and chimera were released as premium shops. The mojo price hasn’t changed, but the chimera is 400,000c more expensive.

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The coin price has increased 500 percent, while the mojo price remains the same. You do the math. The incentive is to clearly to buy with mojo where the purchase price has remained level.

In fact, when you think about it, the mojo purchase price has fallen significantly in terms of real dollars. The previous discount price for mojo had been 800 for $50, or 63¢ per mojo. This made the price of a premium item slightly more than three dollars.50.

Currently you can buy 2000m for $100 ($75 or $80 during sales). That brings the real cost down to a nickel per mojo at the non-discount price, or $2.50 per building—a 60¢ reduction. The numbers make it clear that ngmoco:) is building a subtle incentive to abandoning coin purchases and moving toward mojo.

Consider the real cost. If you add twenty new buildings a month to keep up with the competition, and you buy them with mojo, you could be spending upward of fifty dollars a month to do so. That’s four movie tickets and ten six-packs of cheap beer.

Or a week’s worth of groceries for one precious child.

But you need to invest in the best businesses available at your level to attract customers, and that brings me to today’s strategy tip.

Attracting customers

Kort22 wrote that he’s a L39 and still doesn’t have many customers. He wanted to know what advice I could give him to attract customers.

He already made his one move in the right direction by posting the question in the comments section and inviting readers to his kingdom. Nor is he (I’m assuming Kort is a masculine personna) alone. I frequently visit high level kingdoms with few customers, and I often see players slowly lose their customer base over time.

The player’s dilemma is not only attracting customers but keeping them. I found myself in the same position, but I started to address this much earlier. And while it’s never too late, the earlier you start building your customer base the better. Nor will I downplay the difficulty. Attracting and keeping customers is the most difficult challenge players face.

Not all players, but most.

Pure magic or luck

Carol started attracting customers right off the bat, and we never could figure out why she was more successful even though I put in so much more effort. And she remains just as popular even though I have the blog.

You just have to accept that some players attract more customers.

We have several theories, none of them provable, but they do come from our experience with promoting non-profits we’ve worked with in the past.

First, Carol chose the cuter name. Don’t laugh. Who would you be more attracted to for an impulse visit: Totalthinker or JennyManytoes?

Second, she had a cuter icon. She started with the pink kitten, and then we used the real Jenny’s face. I stayed with one of the generic icons for Godfinger for far too long. There’s something about pets for icons, they’re irresistible. One of my favorite players to visit is NYCaveDweller, partially because of the American Eskimo in her icon. He reminds us of our favorite dog Pooka, now long gone.

(Pooka was just like me. He always tried to find wiggle room in the rules. We trained him to do a down stay (lie flat on the floor with paws in front) and he never broke the position. What he would do, however, was ooch across the floor, on his belly, to wherever he wanted to be. And he would do it when we weren’t looking. How could you not love a dog like that.)

You don’t want to change your user name, but you should think long and hard about your player icon. I finally settled on variations of Bob Dobbs for all three kingdoms, not because people know who Bob is, but because the image is so iconic. And sales picked up.1

However, I will stick with cute as the standard. You can’t go wrong with puppies and kittens, maybe an endearing monkey if you can find one. But puppies and kittens are best.

Stock your kingdom with shops that give the highest return

I only shop with people who have shopped with me. That list is more than 100 names long so I have to rotate through it. I guarantee I would not start shopping from a kingdom that had low-paying shops if I didn’t already have a relationship with them.

Sorry, readers, but the sad news is that players who already have a customer base are not going to start buying from you if your best shop is the tavern or the inn. Yes, some players will cut you slack if you’re L16 because we want to help you get started. But if you’re L30 and your best shop is the cheese shop or the cobbler, we’re not coming back.

Which of the two kingdoms would you order from if you wanted to earn a higher return on coins or experience? Most players would rather order from Zimidar (the top kingdom), which is one of the reasons he’s ranked second. The bottom kingdom has a ruby citadel, so the player isn’t doing badly. But Zimidar’s kingdom is full.

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Suck it up, save the coins (or buy some mojo) and invest in the best shops available at your level. Not the most expensive, but the ones with the highest returns. Right now those would be Olympus, Chimera’s Temple and the Vineyards. Even if you add just two, you will start attracting customers because they hope to get the good shops on the return visit.

The shops that pay huge returns over a longer period of time are always the most popular. The shops that return in less than two days tend to take less orders, even if the hourly payout is better. People like to park their investments.

Throw in a couple of well-paying shops that are less popular, such as the red dragon, cartographer or apothecary and visitors will still probably place an order even if the best shops are taken.

If they return and see yet another high-return shop they didn’t see on the last visit, chances are even better they’ll return again.

Location, location

Don’t keep the old shops in your main kingdom and put the better shops in the new realms. A lot of players won’t make the jump if they don’t see the best shops right away. Sorry, but those are the cold hard facts.

You don’t have to clear out your main kingdom and keep all the best shops there, but that’s where you should install the first ones. Unlike me, you don’t have to plant shops just to find out what the return is. I try to have the numbers on each new shop posted by the end of that day and the Mojo Farm stays current too. Look for the best shops on the lists and buy them.

If players see a good shop in your main kingdom, even if it’s filled, they’re more likely to look for others in your additional realms. Even the top players don’t turn over their main kingdom overnight. So you can add more good shops in other realms as long as visitors see at least one in your main kingdom.

Here’s how I do it. If a new shop turns out to be the top earner, I put two in my main kingdom, even if something older has to go. If it pays in the top five or ten, I put at least one. Then I start adding more through my other realms as I earn the coins. If a shop stays full, I add another one immediately, and I continue to do so until one or two of them stop taking orders consistently.

In the past I’ve carried as many as fourteen red dragons, and I currently carry about that many vineyards. Now that the red dragons are starting to turn up empty, I will begin to replace them with new copies of Olympus or the Chimera’s temple.

Build loyalty

If you order from a player several times, chances are they will begin to order from you (if you have the best shops for your level). New players are desperate to find buyers so they are also good players to cultivate. If you find a kingdom at L30 or above with a lot of good empty shops, they also tend to return orders.

Keep track of who you order from, and—more importantly—who orders from you. If someone does order, you should return the order as soon as the kingdom is open, especially when that player is also trying to build their kingdom.

Screenshot the names of players who order before you accept. The name information often gets lost in later dialogues.

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When someone places an order take a screen shot of their name before you accept the order. This was the only way I could make sure I didn’t spell the players’ names wrong. You will discover that shop dialogues frequently truncate player names once the order is accepted so that opening dialogue is your best opportunity.

I kept a record of everyone who ordered from me and whether or not I had returned the order for several months. I only stopped when the log began to consume several hours of my day.

I kept a log of every customer and their order, and whether or not I had returned it, in Filemaker for the iPad. A spreadsheet or text file will work just as well.

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Players at my level are less likely to return orders quickly. Sadly, I’m just too busy to visit other kingdoms with the frequency I used to visit, and my list is now three time as long. I try to get back to work through my list of friends at least every two or three days. But I’m an exception and many players at the higher levels don’t return orders at all. So they are not the best customers to try to attract. Your main target is players who want your business too.

On the other hand, if I ordered from players more than three times and they still didn’t return the favor, I moved on. If they really want your business, they’ll give you theirs.

Keeps your shops open

Never ever order from shops if it will keep people from ordering with you. You can only have thirty orders in and out of your kingdom (give or take a couple). If you have ten shops and twenty five orders out, that’s five shops people can’t buy from.

As your shops multiply, you may want to stop ordering from your primary user id entirely (except for quests). Set up a second account with the same player icon and a number at the end of your current user name (e.g., leadbelly and leadbelly2). Keep it as simple as possible. I started with ttringer (totalthinker ringer) and it was nowhere near as successful as totalthinker2.

Advertise

When you return orders from your auxiliary kingdom(s), make sure to let people know they should order from your main kingdom. Roads or bushes are useful for writing messages. Keep the message simple. “Visit leadbelly” or “order from leadbelly” should do the trick.

Carol and I argue about this, but I don’t think it’s wise to add shops to your adjunct kingdom. Too many people simply order from those shops and don’t order from the main kingdom. I stuck a ship in one realm of totalthinker2 to simply decorate a lake and people kept ordering from that. I even put empty fields by the boat, but they still kept ordering. Don’t make your life harder.

On the other hand, Carol does allow people to order from her second kingdom and it’s reached L44. So there are arguments both ways.

Advertise anywhere you can. Post notes at Get Satisfaction letting players know you’re looking for customers. Write a review at the app store and leave your username so players can find you. Do a google search for other We Rule forums and post messages as well.

Just make sure other players know your We Rule username because your forum login can’t help them find you if it’s different.

Finally, you can even write a self-promoting ad in your username information box.

Play other games

I only started playing We Farm, We City and Godfinger because some of my customers invited me. I thought I would go ahead and shop from them in those games as well. I soon discovered I was bringing friends from We City and We Farm to my kingdom in We Rule.

The only way to get people to your shops is to let them know you’re out there and to let them know you have better deals than the players who don’t want to spend their coins on keeping their kingdoms up to date. You have to treat your kingdom like a business. I wouldn’t actually write a business plan, but if you have no experience with marketing do some research yourself and see if you can find new marketing tricks you can bring to your game.

Special Second Post: Stacking controversy continues

After my hopeful post on stacking a couple of weeks ago, ngmoco:) has decided to play hard ball with stackers. Yes, officially you can stack, but only within narrow guides. And now they don’t want building on building stacking either.

From what I can pick up on the grapevine, ngmoco:) is cracking down on grove and building stacking, albeit inconsistently. But the trend does seem to be there. One player, Albert70, was banned for life without warning. You can follow his thread in the Mojo Farm’s forums.

I don’t know what level he had attained, or how much stacked. Nor, so far as I can tell from following different forums, is there official information out there.

This is the information from Acehound’s comment in this blog. Evidently this comes from Joe Wagner at the ngmoco:) support desk.

“240 total groves in the main realm – regardless of type, combination or method of purchase.

196 total groves in directional realms – regardless of type, combination or method of purchase.

Sliding business on groves will not be tolerated.

Sliding business on business will not be tolerated. (my emphasis)

Although the game console allows you to purchase additional groves via different currency or alternate type of grove, it is up to each player to know the limit and play within it.”

I think ngmoco:) should write every player to announce this policy. I don’t understand why they aren’t willing to make an official communication. I get emails all the time about new quests and new buildings. It can’t be that hard to send an email explaining company policy on stacking.

Yes, there are supposed to be posts from players explaining the new conditions, but expecting players to spread the word hardly constitutes an official policy statement. And they seem to be inconsistent in their enforcement, as I discussed last week.

Most players don’t follow forums or blogs. Many aren’t even aware the posts exist. And even if they did, many couldn’t speak English.

We should have been informed of this policy before we made the mojo purchases to buy the diamonds (and in many cases rubies). I’m sorry, but this is the first case I have heard of where the seller demands an unconditional refund of the product from buyers without giving the money back.

I certainly understand why they would want to stop players from stacking twenty or thirty businesses together. I can even begrudge them the desire to avoid having a kingdom with a thousand rubies in every realm.

I think they are stepping over the line when they banish players for sliding one or two buildings together for aesthetic reasons.

I also suspect their lawyers would tell them they can’t tell players how to use items after they’ve purchased them through the game in good faith without attaching an official disclaimer prior to purchasing the mojo or the building. I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. But I have been involved in legal wrangling over similar circumstances involving other parties, and this is how I would interpret the situation.

Nor should they say it is up to each player to know the limit, when, in fact, it hasn’t been included in any disclaimers.

Here’s the bottom line, however. Suppose I cull 100 groves from one realm to get closer to the unofficial/official 192 ceiling. At 8m a grove that means I have just thrown away 800m in purchases (or the $50 package, assuming I bought at the discount).

That’s $50 I pissed away for groves I built in good faith. Let’s assume Acehound lost five hundred groves a realm in the purge and he bought the bulk of the groves with mojo. (I’m also assuming they left 196 groves rather than purging everything; otherwise he lost far more). That’s a thousand dollars he paid ngmoco:) to rent groves for a couple of months. Even if he bought one of every four groves with mojo, he still lost more than $200,

He’s being nice about it. He admits he took a short cut, and other players have played the game closer to the developer’s intention. The fact remains that it was an expensive short cut which he took in good faith.

And, yes, I do think that mojo makes it easier for players with the money to outperform poorer players. Stripping his groves isn’t going to make the game more equitable for players with less disposable income; it simply rips both the wealthier and the poorer players off.

But there you have it. You have to decide what you are willing to risk as a player.

The fine line between creative license and abuse

Sadly for defenders of the free market, there will always be people who can’t see the difference between creativity and abuse. And, as with any ethical question, there will always be examples that border on the ambiguous.

Conservatives hate regulations because they try to define a line where the ethical boundaries have been crossed. And, in their defense, a defined line will always create injustices both the people being regulated and those the regulations are intended to protect.

Unfortunately, without a defined line, someone will abuse the market or game at every opportunity. Almost everyone finds himself defending both ethical extremes at some point or other. For instance, those who want looser business regulations because it is better to allow a few businesses to abuse the market in order to protect the license and freedom of responsible businesses, would be perfectly willing to maintain capital punishment because they believe we can’t let the possible execution of innocents deter the certain execution of the guilty.

Fortunately, We Rule is a game and the creators have much more leeway to deal with situations where players discover solutions to the challenges of the game. To set such a precise number or threaten banishment for life (or mow down entire kingdoms of rubies) seems a little rigid.

Sliding one chimera’s temple slightly into another to break up the rigid symmetry of the grid seems like a good design choice. Should a player be banned for life for this?

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Should a player be banned for life for creating sight gags with buildings, like this boat crash? Or does a lifetime ban seem a little severe for expressing a sense of humor.

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Is a player who stacks six vineyards to create a wine condominium cheating, or is she experimenting with design? What if she builds a swimming pool from bridges, lakes and fences and places it behind the condo in the middle of a grove of trees? And then adds some tents and a gazebo for landscaping?

Too warm, too cold or just right? We can understand why stacking red dragons as tightly (as in the top example) might push the envelope too far. But I think it’s a shame that the example on the bottom would no longer be allowed. It completely changes the dynamic of positive and negative space without overpacking or making it difficult for players to select.

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How do we interpret her intent?

Is it fair to say a player with six buildings that he stacks so he can add a large lake with several ships is breaking the rules, when another player plants nothing but vineyards and groves from border to border, but doesn’t stack any of them? Or, in accordance with the standards, fills a ream with 192 stacked groves and wall-to-wall vineyards squeezed slightly together in the remaining space?

What if a player wants to stack 768 groves in one realm and none in the other three? Why force him or her to distribute them evenly?

It will be difficult to say determine when a player crosses a line, but I think, going forward we could establish rough guidelines rather than rigid rules followed by draconian punishment. Rather than placing a precise limit on the number of groves, especially since so many were placed before the uproar started, ngmoco:) might offer players the option of removing their groves, or accepting a reduction in their place on the leadership board. I would gladly move back a couple of hundred places to have more leeway with my design.

Why not simply set a limit on the number of productive groves a player can buy? Rather than locking them out of the ability to purchase a grove at a certain point, they could allow players to continue to stack but no longer earn experience points from the new groves.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot

What makes even less sense to me is that ngmoco:) has been encouraging players to use mojo to buy ruby and diamond groves with no indication that they will punish them if they go too far. But even if they don’t see the contradiction, isn’t the anti-stacking campaign going to financially undermine mojo sales?

Think about it. If I have a ceiling on groves I can purchase, and I can’t stack buildings, and I can’t expand into additional realms, what incentive do I have to buy mojo? I might as well just take my time and buy everything with coins. Sooner or later I’m going to end up in the same place as every other player who maxes his or her limits.

This is especially true since ngmoco:) still isn’t letting us inventory old purchases. Trust me, it is very hard to convince my readers they should be selling off older shops to invest in new ones (even with coin purchases which are financially painless). Why would they do so when they face a limit on what they can upgrade?

If however, they could slide a new building slightly into an older building’s space to make room for both, they might spend the mojo.

This brings me to a conclusion that seems really strange considering the fact that we’re playing a game.

We do have some power

I hate to say this at this stage, but it might be worth discussing a boycott on mojo purchases for a specified period of time.

I have already noticed some of the top players are bailing on the game, or cutting back their participation. I can’t help but think it’s the new unwritten rules that have encouraged their departures.

Why not make it clear to ngmoco:) and their overseas owners that banning players or forcing to sell off what they bought runs against their bottom line?

I don’t care if you oppose stacking or like it, ngmoco:) has made it clear that they are willing to change the rules of the game without telling players in advance, even when that means players will lose their investment. You may not like how players used that investment this time, but you may discover that the next time your innocent mistake will cost you money.

And we have to be honest. We Rule has become a big business. They are begging us to not only play and spend on We Rule, but countless other games too. The business tactics they take against these players in We Rule today, may become the business tactics they take with your game and your strategies tomorrow.

I’ve seen this happen before. Making an impression on a business takes teamwork. Carol and I have learned this over the years. She plays good cop, and I can play good cop or bad cop depending on the situation. In situations like these the best strategy is to combine the positive fan support of a site like the Mojo Farm and the threat of customer backlash from a second source.

So I’m throwing this out there. I will be scaling back my own stacking, but I want to see something back from the company because I put time, effort and money into the groves I’m about to start culling.

Nor was I upset when they locked me out of additional grove purchases—with coins. But it irritates the hell out of me I’m still allowed to buy them with mojo, which I paid for, in a gamble that they will overlook my stacking. Or that they expect me to take the initiative to search the blogs and forums to discover how much of a gamble that is, or to even become aware that it is a gamble at all.

And that is the ultimate gesture of cynicism and hypocrisy.

Beginning a discussion on the possibility of boycotting mojo (and Gro, and Zap and Awe) purchases for a week or two, or longer, is something we should consider. Hopefully the discussion will lead them to rethink their new approach to player relations.

If they continue to ban players for life, without warning, we should stop discussing. We should do it.

Power to the players.


1Do a word search on the web and send your hundred dollars. The invasion may be late, but it’s still coming.back

Abbreviation key:

  • c = coins
  • m = mojo
  • xp = experience points

Turn the Heat On

Monday evening update: As is this wasn’t long enough, I have to eat crow and admit the ghost girl did finally show up along with a new cemetery and tiny flying bats.

The truth is, I’m glad she waited so long. It allowed me to carp one day longer. Here is the ghost girl in my north kingdom.

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Spoiler alert! I will post next week’s blog on Sunday as a Halloween special, We Rule in Hell. A reader asked me for stories about We Rule characters and I promised him I would, but I decided to write an entry about people who play the game instead.

I originally intended to post a short blog today and post the special on Saturday. Then I wrote a long blog anyway because I can’t keep my mouth shut.


Halloween Bonanza

Let me start with a happy note. After ngmoco:) shamelessly promoted Tampa Bay’s baseball team in We Farm, the Rangers beat them and now they’re in the World Series against another team who’s gone just as long without a World Series championship, the Giants (at least they won a series since the move to the West Coast).

This is what ngmoco:) gets for shamelessly promoting a cause that has nothing to do with their games. I would never do that in this blog. At least not something like baseball.

Go Rangers.

Now, back to important stuff.

Aren’t the Jack O’Lanterns cool? And they actually give off reasonable experience points.

The Jack O’Lanterns are pretty cool and they actually provide a decent hourly return in experience points, which very few crops do. What I really want to know, however, is how do those pumpkins carve themselves before they’re ripe?

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After requests for seasonal items, ngmoco:) is really going overboard with Halloween trinkets. We have Halloween in spades. In addition to the Jack O’Lanterns, We Rule has already given us a Haunted House, a Broomstick Boutique and two kinds of spooky trees. With another week before Halloween we could still get a cemetery with dancing skeletons, a witches cauldron and even a fairy princess, because little girls love to be fairy princesses on Halloween.

Maybe we’ll even get turkey groves and pumpkin pie shops for Thanksgiving. And Indian canoes for our lakes to go right beside the naval ships. Perhaps a funny little Puritan hat factory. Wait until Christmas. We could get a yule log, and elf toy factory, reindeer stables. Maybe even a chimney for Santa Claus to drop down. I’m spinning with anticipation.

But you know me. I can never be happy. According to the splash pages, the house and broomstick were supposed to come with a dancing scarecrow and a ghost girl. The scarecrow didn’t show up in my kingdom until yesterday, and then only in my west realm. I have yet to see the ghost girl. Carol says she finally saw her jumping around late last night, but I never saw a screen shot of the fairies and I’m waiting to see a screen shot of the ghost girl before I’ll believe.

What’s going on here? I know ghosts and fairies are supposed to be invisible, but they have to pop up sometime.

The scarecrow didn’t show up until yesterday and I still can’t find him (or her) in my main kingdom. Somehow, he doesn’t look as comical as he does on the splash screen now that he’s reduced down to that tiny size.

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The bonanza didn’t stop with We Rule. On Friday, Both We City and We Farm gave us a Haunted House, and a Pumpkin Patch. We Farm also gave us Candy Corn for a crop. Godfinger added coffins, pumpkins and gargoyles. How cool is that?

Here’s the candy corn in We Farm. I bet you thought they made it in factories didn’t you? I did. This just goes to show how little you can know these days even with a post-graduate degree. Even my cousin Lee, who is a farmer, didn’t know you could grow candy corn.

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And we still have a week to go. Who knows what other holiday treats are in store? I hope you have room in your kingdoms.

By the way, you can see We Farm’s ghost girl. She started haunting the farm the moment her house was erected.

Here is We Farm’s haunted house. You can see the ghost girl floating nearby. So why can’t we see We Rule’s ghost girl? Or the fairies?

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See? Here’s We Rule’s haunted house, but no ghost girl. I want a ghost girl, don’t you? As a side note, isn’t it cool how I got birds in the spooky trees?

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They fixed the Vintage Chateau by giving us grape girl after the fact, so I want to see ghost girl and the scarecrow. You can add them late. We know you can do it now. And maybe you can make the fairies show up too.

Some people don’t have any more room, and that’s caused a flurry of new posts about storage for older buildings. And perhaps a little anger. Perhaps it’s time to segue into a new subhead.

Hey, ngmoco:), are you listening?

What should have been a happy weekend for ngmoco:) may have become a nightmare instead. After an initially positive response to the diamond groves, players are turning on the developers like Americans turned on Obama.

In Obama’s defense, we were in deep doody when he took office; the economy arguably would have been much worse for everybody without him. But he didn’t go far enough. The only people who seem to have benefited from his initiatives are the bankers who got us into this mess, took our money when they needed it and paid it back when they didn’t, and still never gave out loans to stimulate small businesses and the economy.

And Republicans. They benefited because Obama didn’t go far enough and now people forgot that they helped the bankers get us into this mess. (And Clinton, we can’t let his administration’s willingness to loosen banking standards off the hook).

Wait a minute, readers may be thinking. This is a game blog, not a political blog.

Fear not, I am not making a political point here, or encouraging readers to keep the Republicans from returning to power and mucking things up again. The Democrats have proved themselves just as capable of mucking things up so I say, let them stay in office and clean up everybody’s mess.

Nor am I making a political endorsement, I am drawing an analogy to the Obama-like decisions of ngmoco:). They to promised change in the form of a major upgrade. They listened to suggestions and gave us diamond trees and Halloween stuff. And just like American loved Obama for a week before they ran out of patience, gamers loved ngmoco:) for a week before they ran out of patience.

Why? Because they compromised and gave us half of what we wanted.

After many happy comments about diamond trees on this blog, I pointed out that they weren’t quite the diamond trees we asked for and now readers are comparing the diamond trees to a windfall for rich players who can spend freely on mojo while poor players fall further behind.

Okay, I agree on that one.

Come on ngmoco:), how hard is it to add diamond trees for 15,000 coins? That would price them at a comparative value to rubies (10,000c for 100c and 85xp six-hour return compared to 15,000c for 150c and 105xp six-hour return). Hell, chuck the price to 20000c if you have to be tight-fisted. I would still rather spend coins than mojo, and then I will have paid for them the American way, by earning them.

But I think what really set players off was all this Halloween stuff, especially the part where lower level players have to pony up real cash to buy mojo to enjoy Halloween in their kingdoms and they have no more room to place them.

Yes, President Obama, we all wanted health care reform (well those of us who weren’t making a profit on health care) (oh, and Republicans). But we wanted the economy fixed first. I know you were afraid that if you fixed the economy first the Republicans would kill health care just like they did during the Clinton administration. And, yes, the economy is better but who can remember that far back to make a comparison? You should know Americans well enough to know that better is never good enough, we want the economy fixed. You should have gotten your priorities straight.

And guess what, ngmoco:)? You should have learned the same lessons. Sure we wanted diamond groves and seasonal stuff, but we really wanted storage space so we could move items from one realm to another, or to store stuff like the new seasonal items when Halloween is over and the Thanksgiving items show up.

You should know players well enough to know that diamond trees and haunted houses will never be enough.

Listen to some of the posts on the Get Satisfaction site last week:

“Dan replied to We Rule realms: moving buildings and objects, a question about ngmoco.

IT’s BEEN 4 months since this was asked and they have still not done it. If your not doing it then please tell us.”

So what if he misspelled “your” (sic)? He’s angry.

How about this one?

“TurnTheHeatOn:

I agree with Dan. If you’re not going to do it, then just tell us so we don’t keep waiting for it.”

Or this one?

“Cindy:

I agree, I posted something months ago! It seems as if they figure if they just ignore it long enough, it will just go away. Keep offering more things to buy, but running out of places to put them. To bad that Ngmoco doesn’t have enough repspect for its followers, to at least like you say, tell us ‘we can’t or WON’T do it’ then we can move on and let this go……”

This may seem a little extreme, but ngmoco:) did reply to the original post, more than four months ago, that they were definitely taking this under consideration. And they did announce a major upgrade a few weeks back. Not just more shit. A “major upgrade.”

All I can say is, ngmoco:) had better deliver or the voters may kick them out of office in a couple of weeks.

Oh, wait.

All I can say is, Obama and the Democrats better act fast because unlike ngmoco:) the voters can kick them out of office in a couple of weeks. We Rule fans just have to enjoy the game we’ve got.

And keep complaining. Trust me, if we have to pony up for mojo, we have the right to complain.

Speaking of space

I’ve noticed comments on this blog and ngmoco:)’s Get Satisfaction site that some players don’t see the point in paying good coins for realm upgrades when they don’t get anything out of it.

This leads me to this week’s strategic analysis. If you don’t upgrade your realms you lose coins and experience. This may seem counterintuitive, especially since customers can only place thirty orders and you can fit thirty shops in a single realm.

This is true, but if you fill all of your space with shops and crops you won’t have any room left to plant groves. Investing in more space does provide a return on your investment. You can invest in more groves and properties to generate more coins to buy more realms and invest in more groves and properties. It was painful, but I invested in land as soon as the land became available. And I would invest in more land if ngmoco:) would make it available.

My revenues grew faster the more land I bought because I could stack the land with groves. You don’t have to spend mojo on diamond groves either. Ruby groves are extremely profitable too.

The maximum upgrade provides room for almost 200 groves (I think Carol and I figured 192 but I forgot to write it down so I would be exact). It costs about 350,000 coins to buy the maximum upgrade (unless they’ve dropped the prices since I last upgraded). Those rubies will pay for themselves in six days if you harvest three times a day (of course you also have to pay for the groves). Once the land is paid off your realm will generate almost 57,000 coins a day.

It’s not a question of whether or not you can afford the realm upgrade, its a question of whether you can afford not to.

Besides, if players finally upgrade all their realms, maybe ngmoco:) will get off their behinds and release that major upgrade with storage space to allow us to move and redesign our kingdoms.

I certainly hope so because I’m tired of buying stuff I need to sell off a month later to make room for new stuff. Some things I just want to keep because I like them.

Like fairy trees and unicorns’ meadows. And they’ll probably make the Halloween stuff unavailable while our kids are recovering from their sugar rushes.

And the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day stuff like champagne factories and little heart-shaped red hot plants.

Funky Foto

Oh, and one last special entry. My funky foto (sic) of the week (not that I will do one every week). I caught our college professor, whom I’ve already ridiculed mercilessly, practicing self-decapitation for Halloween. Does ngmoco:) think we’re still living in the days of Amos and Andy? Come on, give the character some dignity and upgrade him already.

Where’s the professor’s head? Why is this guy so clueless? When are they going to replace him with a medieval Moslem scholar, a brother with dignity? Someone to acknowledge that both people of color and Moslems were actually better educated than many Europeans once upon a time.

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Bean Counting: The Farmer’s Lifeline

Charts beneath blog. Now include L9 Jack 0’Lantern, correct charts and some strange bogies (“/”) I can’t eliminate.
Two major developments this weekend:

Number 2:

Aeroship became the first player to cross one hundred million points in We Rule. I’m so happy for him because I crossed twenty million and I’m even further behind. Still, who would have thought anyone would have the patience to collect that much digital swag?

100 million points. More importantly, how the hell did he stack all those vintage chateau’s?
How will we touch one to order? (touch to enlarge)

Number 1:

We got diamond groves. All of the comments were so happy that they “listened to us” that I didn’t want to spoil the party with a more objective anaylisis. I do tend to find a storm cloud in every silver lining, and since readers don’t get to make decisions about game design, why push the downer on them.

Buy after all of the celebratory comments, Pvac1138 had to deflate the balloon by pointing out the diamond groves only give out 150c and 105xp and, you have to buy them with mojo. There’s a lot of subtext here, so lest you think this is a knee-jerk reaction…

Wait, let’s examine the subtext behind “knee-jerk reaction,” for this phrase in and of itself can be peeled away layer by subtextual layer. “Knee-jerk reaction” is in fact a metaphor for someone who reacts to stimulus without thinking. But the contextual development of the metaphor was reflex testing in which a doctor would strike a patient in the knee with a hammer to see if his “knee would jerk.”

In fact a knee-jerk reaction is a good thing because it means the body is prepared to respond to external stimulus and possible harm. The patients who don’t have a knee jerk reaction are the ones who need medical assistance.

So this knee-jerk reaction is the body’s and mind’s ability to react quickly in response to physical information. It is a smart move, not a dumb move.

Subtextual layer two: I originally started the posts at get satisfaction requesting diamond groves, so I should be happy we got them. But there was a rather large contextual plane being developed to support the diamond grove not as a decorative object but a way to change the strategy of the game.

Surface plane, a pretty ice blue decoration to compliment the also requested snow theme.

Beneath the surface plane, a strategic game structure to allow more players access to non-mojo game artifacts. The diamond was seen metaphorically as the most valuable gem, in fact worth ten times as much as rubies. So we were hoping to get a grove that was very expensive with an extremely high return (100,000c to buy delivers 1000 coins and 850xp). And not have to buy it with mojo.

Are we happy to see the diamond tree? Absolutely. Will it improve the color palette or our kingdoms? Absolutely. Do we now want a crystal clear star diamond grove that costs 100K and gives 1500c and 1050 xp? Even more absolutely, even though “even more” is superfluous since you can’t be more absolute than absolute.

We also learned why things have been a little crazy on our farms, kingdoms and cities. The Gojira of Japanese game companies, DeNA, snatched up ngmoco:) and the plus+ game network.

You could see the confusion too. One week after the alien invasion of We Farm, deputy Andy drives into town to drive them off. In fact, we also get a country schoolhouse and a still.

Sure, they can call it a root beer brewery but I know enough about both to know that’s a still. Probably made with alien technology.

Then we get our shops in erector sets in We Rule. First we get the buildings, then we get the people. That’s right, the vinter woman was a last minute after thought. Which makes me wonder, if they can add her after the fact, When are we going to see the fairies?

For that matter, when do the college professors get their extreme makeovers? I saw three of them together and they just look wrong. They look like the kids the real brothers beat the crap out of after school. “Wear our colors, m____ f____? Watch us pound your round white glasses up your fat black….” I don’t think I need to explain further.

The brothers need a makeover before they get a beat over.

Crop crunching and bean counting

It’s interesting that Tammy posted a comment about crops since I had just decided to get off my ass and post a crops analysis for this week’s blog.

I had dithered on a farming analysis because running the numbers on crops is far more complex than running the numbers on buildings. You not only have to decide how much the crop is worth, you have to decide how much your time is worth. Crops involve something I call the babysitting factor.

The babysitting factor boils down to how much time you’re willing to invest to earn money from your crops. Typically the best returners harvest in very little time. Which means you have to invest more time in the game.

I don’t know about you, but I want to spend less time harvesting crops, not more. So the question is not, do I want to plant longer harvesting crops, the question is how much am I willing to lose to save my precious time?

I’ve tried a number of methods to analyze the numbers, but the best I have been able to do is make it easier to find the patterns, not draw them clearly from the data. And I have created dozens of charts which I think will be more confusing, not less, to people who don’t inhabit my head.

Since the people that already inhabit my head make life difficult to get along with, I don’t think any of my readers would want to join the crowd. So I’ll do the best I can.

You really need to think of farming as two different enterprises. The long-term regularly scheduled enterprise, and the special harvests for special situations.

As a rule you don’t need to think about experience points. With a couple of exceptions, which I will note, they tend to run about the same ratio to coins with all of the crops. So a higher coin return will tend to have a slightly higher experience return.

Mix crops?

The one policy I don’t advocate is hedging bets by mixing crops. Not only do you need to be an accounting whiz to predict the optimal mix of crops, you have to juggle multiple schedules. For most players it’s easier to develop a routine schedule and stick to it.

Low maintenance crop schedules

Sooner or later you will want to develop a fairly low-maintenance crop schedule. Farming is no fun, and figuring out which crops to plant less so. So they key is to decide which crops manage themselves most profitably.

Once players reach L17 they earn magic cauliflower and for most players that will be their staple crop for the rest of the game. The question is, now that it takes thirteenhours to harvest, what should we plant for the other eleven?

Rather than trying to fill every free hour, I look to pair one other crop that will provide the best return in the long run.

Cauliflower doesn’t provide the best cash return per hour, but it provides the best return of plants that aren’t high maintenance, with 100c and 27xp an hour. Yes, the net profit for the 13 hours is lower than if you were to plant bamboo, eggplant, tomato or peas. But you don’t have to devote time to those crops either. This makes it the perfect overnight crop.

The question is what crops to plant in the remaining 11 hours. This will depend on your level. At L40 I basically do one cauliflower planting overnight, and three blackberry plantings during the day. Blackberries deliver 500xp with every harvest. With 23 fields and 3 harvests my farms can generate 34,500xp a day.

So in one day my cauliflower generates 30000c and 8000xp, the blackberries deliver a piddling 575c and 34,500xp. That’s 30,000+c and 42,000+xp every day.

Depending on your current level, you should study the charts to find the best partner for your cauliflower because it will change as more crops become available. But some crops are good low maintenance performers and others are dogs.

Once you earn the magic cauliflower you might look at pairing the following crops as you reach different levls (the coin totals are net coins earned):

  • Peppers (L16): 255c and 105xp in 11 hrs.
  • Oats (L21) 240c and 100xp in 9 hrs.
  • Honeydew (L27) 550c and 125xp in 9 hrs.

The following deliver less cash than the honeydew but far more experience:

  • Dragon fruit (L32) 450c and 200xp in 6.67 hrs.
  • Grapes (L34) 450c and 575 in 6 hours.

The following require a little more effort but can harvested at least twice in the 11 hours before the evening’s cauliflower planting.

  • Lavender (L37) 525c and 145xp in 4 hrs (2 harvests double the return of the single honeydew harvest in 9 hours.)
  • Blackberries (L28) 500xp in 3.33 hours, or 1500xp in three harvests between cauliflower plantings.
  • This list is based on the low maintenance assumption that you only want to perform two harvests a day, not that you want to do three or four plantings each with different harvesting intervals.

    But I can’t get the cauliflower

    When you reach L11 you’ll be so happy to see the magic asparagus that you won’t care about the cauliflower. Each field delivers a net of 800c in 13 hours while you sleep. Multiply that by eight fields and you’ll feel rich every morning. Just don’t forget to save 400c for every field or you won’t be able to plant those asparagus again. If you want to remain low maintenance during the day, you could plant potatoes because they won’t spoil before it’s time to plant more asparagus. But I think you should be a little more high maintenance this early in the game, so at least do a round of potatoes and a round of pumpkings (better yet, four separate plantings of onions).

    Before L11, I would go with potatoes overnight because they don’t spoil easily and pumpkins and strawberries during the day. Your farm is new and you need to put some time in the fields.

    Overall winners

    There was a time when the choice was easy. Magic cauliflower (L17) delivered 1300c and 350xp every twelve hours. Before that the Magic Asparagus delivered 800c and 250xp every twelve hours once you reached L11. You could do your morning and evening harvest and get a really decent return.

    Then ngmoco:) ruined our delightful harvesting schedule with the digital equivalent of global warming. Players were doing very well, incomes were raising the temperature of the game, so they cooled things down by stretching the harvest schedule. Harvests went from every 15, 20, 30 and 60 minutes to 12, 18, 24, 36 and 70. By breaking away from a schedule that works with familiar day-to-day schedules, they really screwed us.

    Nonetheless, a few crops stand out for delivering special values:

    • Best hourly return: No getting around it, corn, at $400 per field per hour. They turn around every seven seconds, so expect some carpal tunnels.

      When I needed money and experience fast before L30 I would spend many evenings turning over corn fields, only stopping to plant wheat when I needed to go to the bathroom or grab a beer from the refrigerator.

    • Best cash return short term:Bamboo at $333 per hour per field every 45 minutes. Even if you harvest every hour, you still make a killing.
    • Best cash return medium term: Lavender at $131 per field per hour over 4hrs. This makes it a good compromize investment. It’s the best cash return for any crop that harvests in more than four hours.
    • Best cash returns for lower levels: Onions give you $100 per field per hour from L3 on. The 23 and 46 minute crops pay more, but an hour gives you time to do real stuff before returning to the game. The shorter intervals pretty much ruin your ability to think about other tasks.
    • Best return for cash and experience: Cat whiskers blossom fast at 12 minutes and spoil just as fast, but if you can take the time to groom them they return $225 and 225xp per field per hour.

      Once I hit L30 my corn nights were gone. My ruby groves outperformed my crops by a large margin. So if I needed an additional quick cash and experience boost like the old days, I turned to cat whiskers. I could set my alarm for 12 minutes, harvest and plant my cat whiskers and grab the free coins from the promotions if they were available. I couldn’t work on my blogs productively, but sometimes you make sacrifices for what’s really important.

    • Best overnight returns: Cauliflower (L17). But I’ve discussed this at length.
    • Least likely to die: Sunflowers (L34). At $20 per field per hour the return is terrible (in a tie with carrots for fifth worst hourly return). But if you need to spend some time away from the game, or just get tired of planting, these won’t spoil for several days and scare customers away.

    Overall Losers

    • Beans at $13.60 per hour in 25 hours.
    • Artichokes and Cotton at $16 per hour in 20 and 25 hours.
    • Watermelon at $16.67 per hour in 18 hours.
    • Pineapples at $19.06 per hour in 16 hours.
    • Carrots at $20 an hour in 13 hours.

    Harvesting with Mojo

    What about harvesting with mojo? With a couple of exceptions, I wouldn’t do it, and I would never do it at the higher levels. Mojo is expensive and the more fields you have, the more it adds up. For instance, lets say you spend two each to harvest six fields when you’re L12. That’s 12 mojo. With 23 fields at L40, you’re looking at 46 mojo, which is a bundle by any means.

    Now let’s put both in perspective. Twelve mojo you don’t spend at L12 is a chocolate shop you can buy and that will generate 320 coins and 120 xp every day, even if it sits there doing nothing. Or you can save the mojo and buy one ruby tree later on. You can keep collecting 100 cash and 85 experience points every six hours after that. At L40 you can buy four diamond trees, which, again, will produce 150 and 105xp as long as you have them. Or you can buy a vintage chateau (40m) and earn $1500-2000 every three days (I don’t have the numbers yet and probably won’t for a couple of weeks since all six of my chateaus are always booked)

    Economically, you’re better off with constant and larger return from buildings or groves.

    However, if you’re trying to get to a new lower level and you feel you have to burn mojo on crops this is what I would do. Pumpkins, which normally harvest in three hours are the highest returning crop that you can harvest with a single mojo. One mojo will produce a return of $160 and 65xp. If you look to plants with higher mojo to buy out, expenses begin to escalate.

    Let’s say you’re in a hurry to jump to L10 so you can expand your castle
    With six farms of pumpkins, six mojo will net 960c and 390xp. Seven pumpkin harvests will generate the experience points you need and more than enough cash to generate the level 10 land and castle upgrade. Those seven harvests will require an investment of 42 mojo, which will mean a $10 purchase. Ten real electronic dollars.

    And again, I want to stress that the coin and experience return is one time only. You will not be creating anything to build for the future.

    I’m not going to try to talk you out of a mojo level jump from L9 to L10. But let’s review those numbers at 19 to 20. You now need 33,500xp to make the leap, about 12 times more than the leap from 9 to 10. The mojo cost will be 515, and now you’re looking at fifty dollars to buy a mojo flask.

    Is it worth fifty dollars for a one-time mojo splurge that will do noting other than get you to the immediate goal?

    By comparison, 515 mojo would buy you 51 diamond trees, which would generate $23K and 16K xp every day. In three days you could buy a magic emporium and now both will generate income. In less than two weeks you could buy the new vintage chateau, which earns 3K in coins whenever someone places an order. And your diamond trees are still coughing up the money.

    What if I plant the wrong crop?

    Sell the farm, don’t harvest with mojo. You will lose 225c (the price of the farm less the ten percent sell back price) but you won’t lose the mojo. If the return on the crop you intended to plant is less than the cost of the farm, let the current crop rot or wait until it harvests and plant something else that can be harvested in approximately the same amount of time as the time remaining on the crops you do want.

    It’s easy to think, what’s one mojo for a field of wheat (or even cat whiskers?). Think that ten times and you’re out a diamond tree again.

    Truthfully, crops diminish in importance as you kingdom grows. But if you plant smart, you’ll move through the levels more quickly.

    Crops by level

    Level Sell for Cost Net Exp Time/Hrs Net/Hr Exp/Hr
    Bamboo 39 3450 3200 250 60 0.75 $333.33 80.0
    Cat whiskers 30 65 20 45 45 0.20 $225.00 225.0
    Lavender 37 1475 950 525 145 4 $131.25 36.3
    Grapes 34 1200 750 450 575 6 $75.00 95.8
    Dragon fruit 32 1250 800 450 200 6.67 $67.47 30.0
    Sunflowers 34 2500 2000 500 450 25 $20.00 18.0
    Blackberries 28 275 250 25 500 3.33 $7.51 150.2
                     
    Tomato 24 115 20 95 35 0.53 $178.24 65.7
    Eggplant 20 75 15 60 25 0.37 $163.64 68.2
    M Cauliflower 17 2000 700 1300 350 13 $100.00 26.9
    Honeydew 27 700 150 550 125 9 $61.11 13.9
    Broccoli 18 175 45 130 58 2.2 $59.09 26.4
    Lettuce 19 215 55 160 70 4.33 $36.95 16.2
    Radishes 25 250 50 200 85 5.5 $36.36 15.5
    Oats 21 300 60 240 100 9 $26.67 11.1
    Pineapples 23 375 70 305 130 16 $19.06 8.1
    Cotton 22 500 100 400 165 25 $16.00 6.6
                     
    Rice 15 65 10 55 22 0.30 $183.33 73.3
    Peas 12 100 20 80 33 0.53 $150.00 61.9
    M Asparagus 11 1200 400 800 250 13 $61.54 19.2
    Peppers 16 315 60 255 105 11 $23.18 9.5
    Watermelon 13 375 75 300 125 18 $16.67 6.9
    Artichokes 14 400 80 320 120 20 $16.00 6.0
                     
    Onions 3 125 25 100 40 1 $100.00 40.0
    Strawberries 8 150 30 120 50 1.75 $68.57 28.6
    Jack O’Lanterns 9 225 40 185 200 3.20 $57.81 62.5
    Pumpkins 9 200 40 160 65 3.20 $50.00 20.3
    Squash 5 225 45 180 75 5.5 $32.73 13.6
    Potatoes 10 250 50 200 80 6.67 $29.99 12.0
    Carrots 6 325 65 260 65 13 $20.00 5.0
    Beans 4 425 85 340 140 25 $13.60 5.6
                     
    Wheat 2 25 5 20 8 0.12 $171.43 68.6
    Corn 1 5 0 5 1 0.01 $400.00 80.0

    Crops by harvest time

    Level Sell for Cost Net Exp Time/Hrs Net/Hr Exp/Hr
    1 hour or less                
    Corn 1 5 0 5 1 0.01 $400.00 80.0
    Wheat 2 25 5 20 8 0.12 $171.43 68.6
    Cat whiskers 30 65 20 45 45 0.20 $225.00 225.0
    Rice 15 65 10 55 22 0.30 $183.33 73.3
    Eggplant 20 75 15 60 25 0.37 $163.64 68.2
    Tomato 24 115 20 95 35 0.53 $178.24 65.7
    Peas 12 100 20 80 33 0.53 $150.00 61.9
    Bamboo 39 3450 3200 250 60 0.75 $333.33 80.0
    Onions 3 125 25 100 40 1 $100.00 40.0
    2 to 5+                
    Strawberries 8 150 30 120 50 1.75 $68.57 28.6
    Broccoli 18 175 45 130 58 2.2 $59.09 26.4
    Jack 0’Lantern 9 225 40 185 200 3.20 $57.81 62.5
    Pumpkins 9 200 40 160 65 3.20 $50.00 20.3
    Blackberries 28 275 250 25 500 3.33 $7.51 150.2
    Lavender 37 1475 950 525 145 4 $131.25 36.3
    Lettuce 19 215 55 160 70 4.33 $36.95 16.2
    Radishes 25 250 50 200 85 5.5 $36.36 15.5
    Squash 5 225 45 180 75 5.5 $32.73 13.6
    6 to 9                
    Grapes 34 1200 750 450 575 6 $75.00 95.8
    Dragon fruit 32 1250 800 450 200 6.67 $67.47 30.0
    Potatoes 10 250 50 200 80 6.67 $29.99 12.0
    Honeydew 27 700 150 550 125 9 $61.11 13.9
    Oats 21 300 60 240 100 9 $26.67 11.1
    11 to 16                
    Peppers 16 315 60 255 105 11 $23.18 9.5
    M Cauliflower 17 2000 700 1300 350 13 $100.00 26.9
    M Asparagus 11 1200 400 800 250 13 $61.54 19.2
    Carrots 6 325 65 260 65 13 $20.00 5.0
    Pineapples 23 375 70 305 130 16 $19.06 8.1
    18+                
    Watermelon 13 375 75 300 125 18 $16.67 6.9
    Artichokes 14 400 80 320 120 20 $16.00 6.0
    Sunflowers 34 2500 2000 500 450 25 $20.00 18.0
    Cotton 22 500 100 400 165 25 $16.00 6.6
    Beans 4 425 85 340 140 25 $13.60 5.6

    Crops by net

    \

    \

    Level Sell for Cost Net Exp Time/Hrs Net/Hr Exp/Hr
    Corn 1 5 0 5 1 0.01 $400.00 80.0
    Bamboo 39 3450 3200 250 60 0.75 $333.33 80.0
    Cat whiskers 30 65 20 45 45 0.20 $225.00 225.0
    Rice 15 65 10 55 22 0.30 $183.33 73.3
    Tomato 24 115 20 95 35 0.53 $178.24 65.7
    Wheat 2 25 5 20 8 0.12 $171.43 68.6
    Eggplant 20 75 15 60 25 0.37 $163.64 68.2
    Peas 12 100 20 80 33 0.53 $150.00 61.9
    Lavender 37 1475 950 525 145 4 $131.25 36.3
    Onions 3 125 25 100 40 1 $100.00 40.0
    M Cauliflower 17 2000 700 1300 350 13 $100.00 26.9
    Grapes 34 1200 750 450 575 6 $75.00 95.8
    Strawberries 8 150 30 120 50 1.75 $68.57 28.6
    Dragon fruit 32 1250 800 450 200 6.67 $67.47 30.0
    M Asparagus 11 1200 400 800 250 13 $61.54 19.2
    Honeydew 27 700 150 550 125 9 $61.11 13.9
    Broccoli 18 175 45 130 58 2.2 $59.09 26.4
    Jack O’Lantern 9 225 40 185 200 3.2 $57.81 62.5
    Pumpkins 9 200 40 160 65 3.2 $50.00 20.3
    Lettuce 19 215 55 160 70 4.33 $36.95 16.2
    Radishes 25 250 50 200 85 5.5 $36.36 15.5
    Squash 5 225 45 180 75 5.5 $32.73 13.6
    Potatoes 10 250 50 200 80 6.67 $29.99 12.0
    Oats 21 300 60 240 100 9 $26.67 11.1
    Peppers 16 315 60 255 105 11 $23.18 9.5
    Sunflowers 34 2500 2000 500 450 25 $20.00 18.0
    Carrots 6 325 65 260 65 13 $20.00 5.0
    Pineapples 23 375 70 305 130 16 $19.06 8.1
    Watermelon 13 375 75 300 125 18 $16.67 6.9
    Cotton 22 500 100 400 165 25 $16.00 6.6
    Artichokes 14 400 80 320 120 20 $16.00 6.0
    Beans 4 425 85 340 140 25 $13.60 5.6
    Blackberries 28 275 250 25 500 3.33 $7.51 150.2

    Idle Income

    Update 11/14/2010: I have revised my opinion on the ponds and there have been new additions of note. Please refer to the rent analysis page.


    It was a mixed week for me in We Rule. I hit 400 on the leader board, if only for 30 minutes. On the other hand, I realized that even with 18 million experience points, I had fallen to more than 70 million behind the new leader aeroship (Steven Tyler’s going to be so pissed the guy can’t even spell the band’s name correctly).

    When I first started playing in June, with 0 experience points, I was only 14 million behind the leader Zimidar. It seems a little disheartening to realize I have more points than the leader only to fall five times as many behind.

    Boy, can that guy stack. It takes longer to load a realm than it takes to load my kingdom.

    Even if you disapprove, this is an awesome accomplishment.
    He must take more than an hour to harvest each realm.

    It’s even more exciting to know that after the build up to the “major upgrade,” we got three more shops. Is there egg over my face or what?

    Of course, the beauty of prediction is that sooner or later there will be something I can call a major upgrade, so even if none of the possibilities I covered in the column shows up I can still claim I was right.

    Oh, wait. Three new shops in the same week. That’s never happened before. So I can claim that there was a major upgrade. And we got a 25 percent discount on new realms, so many players had an opportunity to do a “major upgrade” of their kingdoms. So I was right after all.

    The real upgrade happened in We Farm, however. All of our farms finally received a geographic location. They are now officially in Roswell, New Mexico. It ngmoco:) broadcast in the TV world we could all say it has now officially jumped the shark with crop circles, UFOs and little green jumping men.

    Of course they ran out of farm things to add. And all of the white trash stuff was really demeaning to farmers. I have cousins who are farmers and they don’t have pickup trucks on blocks or bait shops in the back yard. I’m surprised they haven’t added outhouses with TV antennas on the roof.

    But how far can they take the alien thing? Are we going to have alien/redneck inbreeding? Little green rug rats with overalls and chewing tobacco?

    Maybe they will add little EBE breeding pens when they discontinue the kangaroos. Or maybe it will be nests, since we don’t really know anything about alien gestation.

    What happens when they add L40? Will our yellow country manor turn into Area 51? Will Mulder and Scully appear as characters when they add an FBI surveillance van?

    Or are they working up to a spin off game WE ET? After all, now that they’ve given us We City we no longer need verbs in the title. All I really know is that we’re rapidly reaching the point in We Farm where we have more buildings than the number of customers allowed, and when that happens we want the empty buildings to raise as much money as possible while they sit idle.

    This has been an issue in We Rule for a long time, especially for those of us who don’t want to stack multiple realms with nothing but ruby groves. You can add buildings to enhance the look of your kingdom, for the cool characters, or to generate additional revenue and experience. Sadly, very few routinely generate high experience points, so let’s focus on income generation.

    Idle income

    Should you buy buildings based on their rent return? Quite frankly, at the early stages of the game you should. Once you reach L20 and you add your south and west kingdoms, it may be less of a concern, but you should still consider it.

    As you reach the higher levels you may be thinking of other concerns, and after L30 it’s up to you. My main focus is appearance in four of the five realms. Only the my east realm has been sacrificed to revenue, and even then I still put a little thought into how it looks (not much, but a little).

    Here are my thoughts on considering rent when making building purchases.

    • Levels 5-10, it should be as important a decision as buying buildings for shoppers.
    • Levels 10-20 you should concentrate on building shops that will provide the best value to customers.
    • Once you can purchase ruby groves (L23), those should be your primary harvest/revenue generating focus. If you’re just placing a building to occupy space, occupy space with a grove.
    • Once you have 30 customers consistently, or you reach L25 and your 3rd realm, you have to decide whether free space is for revenue or design. If it’s design, building rent is important. If it’s revenue, keep adding groves.

    This means if you have a chance to buy and upgrade a realm, do it. At your first opportunity. More space means more space for rubies or rent making buildings. If you want a good looking kingdom, the more real estate you have the more room you have to spread out your ruby groves.

    You should also understand that the experience return for rentals is low in comparison to the return for shopping. So the cash return will always be better when your building is idle.

    Currently the best rent return is the Pirate Ship and Spice Shop, both paying between $20-22 an hour. The next two? Surprisingly, the pond and the Wizard’s Tower. Who would have thought? So if you see someone with a realm stacked with wizards, don’t laugh. The Pirate Ship isn’t available until L33, but the spice market becomes available at L21 so you can take advantage sooner. Both seem to occupy the same amount of space, even though the ship looks bigger.

    However, I would still cash those ponds and wizards in for rubies as soon as you can do so. Wizards pay two coins more per hour than trees, but 13 fewer experience points. Not only that, but the tower occupies the same space as two groves. As a consequence, for the same space you can generate almost twice as many coins and twelve times the experience points.

    Starting your kingdom

    Until you reach L11, you should focus on building ponds and tailor shops. The tailor shops have an excellent customer return and the pond has a great rent return. The other advantage of these items is their extremely low cost, at 1500 coins each.

    The pond takes a lot more room, so I would think in terms of two tailor shops for every pond. But remember, the tailor provides a pitiful return when it’s idle

    It may seem counterintuitive to focus on a couple of items rather than building a village, and that is always an option. But in my experience, the more quickly you increase your return with a smaller investment, the more quickly you can expand your kingdom and add realms to make room for the more expensive, less profitable items.

    Furthermore, because your investment is small, you won’t lose as much when you sell of the property to upgrade to a more expensive building.

    Forget the mine after you install the first one unless you need to earn experience points immediately. The immediate payoff in experience points is 10 percent or 100xp, but from that point on, the return is terrible.

    Expanding

    After L10 you should focus on the more profitable shops. The higher return from your pond (whose customer value is pretty good too) and tailor shop should allow you to add the bigger ticket items that players like. The wizard’s tower is an excellent purchase because it pays off when idle at the same rate as the pond. It’s seven times more expensive to install, so don’t ditch those ponds and tailor shops yet.

    But here’s the sad news. As far as idle profit goes, you’ll discover it’s a law of diminishing returns. After the wizard’s tower, rent rates collapse. So you might want to stick with the ponds you already have. The Wizard’s tower provides a decent return for customer sales, but don’t invest in too many. You might want to save your money for more profitable shops later.

    The two best rental returns after the tower are the honeybee hive and the magic emporium at $15.25 and $14.58 per hour. However, you can fit two into the space of one tower. As always, there’s a catch. The beehive is only available with mojo, and the emporium, at level 18 is 55000 coins.

    This is a tough decision here, and you need to think seriously. Personally, since you can purchase orange groves for $3K (or 5 mojo) at L15, I wouldn’t make a heavy investment in rent properties anymore. The groves will push you more quickly to L17 where you can start harvesting magic cauliflower. The cauliflower will give you a good cash return ($1300 per field profit on eight fields, which will soon expand).

    My best suggestion would be a couple of towers, two-to-three honeybee hives and a couple of emporiums once you reach L18. If you want more rentals to fill your new south kingdom, 1500 coins to buy ponds is still your best bet. You should be relying on cash income from crops, experience from oranges and cultivating customers by investing in the most profitable shops.

    L23 and beyond

    Once you can install ruby groves and harvest cauliflower, focus on profitable shops. The Spice Market, available at L21 is an extraordinary investment because it performs superbly for customers (with 50 combined points and and almost 60 for you), and empty ($20 per hour). So don’t worry about rental return any more. The pond and tower still outperform every shop but the spice market for idle income until you hit the mid-thirties.

    The only better performer for cash income than the market, pond and tower is the Pirate Ship at L33, which pays close to $22 per hour. The ship, spice market and red dragon finish in the top 3 for combined points. So the bottom line after L30 is the shops that are good for customers are also the shops that perform well empty.

    I’ve included charts below so you can study the numbers. In a week or so, I’ll move this all to the analysis pages where you can find them more easily.

    I’ve also included a chart of the animated characters, which should also be a factor in purchasing once you’re at the higher levels and design becomes a concern. This includes the really cool characters—like the pirate, the bar wench, the knight and the butterfly swarm—as well as the dogs—the candlemaker, the drunk stumbling home from the tavern with his pot of ale, and whoever that nerd is that ngmoco:) decided would best embrace the brothers and multi-cultural diversity.

    Sadly, the three-hooved unicorn, who is so charming in spite of his disability, is no longer available to new players. I really love my unicorns. Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat, loves them too. She likes to bat at them and chase them off the screen. She would eat them if she could. I don’t want to eat them, but I would pet them if I could. I would raise them in my backyard and let them chase off the tea baggers canvassing me before the elections now that I’ve unplugged my phone so I can’t hear their robocalls.

    Rent by levels

     

    Level Cost Hrs Net/Hr Exp/Hr Total
    L 5            
    Pond* 5 1500 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
    Guild Hall 10 7500 16 $12.50 1.1 13.6
    Barn 10 6500 48 $7.29 1.0 8.3
    Windmill 9 6000 48 $6.25 1.0 7.3
    Tailor 6 1500 24 $4.17 0.8 5.0
    Mine 5 1000 10 $4.00 0.8 4.8
    School 7 2500 24 $3.33 0.9 4.3
    Lumberyard 8 4000 35 $1.03 1.0 2.0
    L 10            
    Wizard’s Tower 11 11,000 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
    Beehive 12 10m 18 $15.28 5.6 20.8
    Magic Emporium 18 55,000 24 $14.58 1.7 16.3
    Tavern 16 22,000 36 $13.89 2.8 16.7
    Butterfly Garden 16 35m 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
    Stables 14 18,000 12 $12.50 2.3 14.8
    Fairy tree 20  

    12 $12.50 0.8 13.3
    Inn 16 23,500 48 $11.46 2.6 14.1
    Jewelry Store 17 40,000 36 $11.11 6.9 18.1
    Dragon 20 100,000 72 $11.11 2.1 13.2
    Candle shop 17 25,000 37 $10.81 1.9 12.7
    Bakery 12 12,000 24 $10.42 1.2 11.6
    Griffin Nest 19 75,000 48 $10.42 2.1 12.5
    Naval Ship 20 18m 27 $8.89 7.8 16.7
    Cobbler 14 20,000 24 $8.33 13.5 21.9
    Prison 18 20m 48 $7.81 6.3 14.1
    Book Store 19 98,000 16 $7.81 14.1 21.9
    Blacksmith 14 16,000 48 $7.40 1.1 8.5
    Watchtower 15 18,000 48 $7.29 1.3 8.5
    Butcher 13 14,000 36 $6.25 1.2 7.4
    L 21            
    Spice Market 21 100,000 10 $20.00 7.5 27.5
    Phoenix 25 250,000 46 $15.22 7.3 22.5
    Millener 28 180,000 22 $13.64 4.3 18.0
    Hall of Justice 26 165,000 60 $10.00 4.6 14.6
    Theater 28 190,000 18 $9.72 10.8 20.6
    Serpent’s Lair 27 220,000 34 $9.56 7.4 16.9
    Cheese Shop 21 90,000 29 $9.48 6.0 15.5
    Fish market 29  

    30 $9.33 10.0 19.3
    Falconry 24 120,000 60 $7.50 6.7 14.2
    Jousting Arena 25 150,000 60 $7.50 7.5 15.0
    Unicorn 21 NA 48 $6.77 10.4 17.2
    Clocktower 22 105,000 48 $6.67 6.7 13.3
    Shipyard 23 115,000 42 $6.55 11.9 18.5
    Archery 22 25m 8 $6.25 12.5 18.8
    Fortune Teller 23 95,000 64 $5.47 6.6 12.1
    L 30            
    Pirate Ship 33 285,000 28 $21.79 6.4 28.2
    Cartographer 32 275,000 42 $18.45 7.1 25.6
    Red Dragon 35 300,000 60 $16.67 10.4 27.1
    Apothecary 31 250,000 54 $15.74 9.1 24.8
    Butterfly Garden 32 280,000 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
    University 30 275,000 48 $8.75 8.8 17.5

    Rent by Income

    Building Rent Return
     

    Level Cost Rent XP Hrs Rent/Hr XP/Hr Combined
    Pirate Ship 33 285,000 610 180 28 $21.79 6.4 28.2
    Spice Market 21 100,000 200 75 10 $20.00 7.5 27.5
    Pond* 5 1500 150 10 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
    Wizard’s Tower 11 11,000 150 10 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
    Cartographer 32 275,000 775 300 42 $18.45 7.1 25.6
    Red Dragon 35 300,000 1000 625 60 $16.67 10.4 27.1
    Apothecary 31 250,000 850 490 54 $15.74 9.1 24.8
    Beehive 12 10m 275 100 18 $15.28 5.6 20.8
    Phoenix 25 250,000 700 335 46 $15.22 7.3 22.5
    Magic Emporium 18 55,000 350 40 24 $14.58 1.7 16.3
    Tavern 16 22,000 500 100 36 $13.89 2.8 16.7
    Millener 28 180,000 300 95 22 $13.64 4.3 18.0
    Butterfly Garden 16 35m 280 170 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
    Butterfly Garden 32 280,000 280 170 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
    Stables 14 18,000 150 27 12 $12.50 2.3 14.8
    Guild Hall 10 7500 200 17 16 $12.50 1.1 13.6
    Fairy tree 20  

    150 10 12 $12.50 0.8 13.3
    Inn 16 23,500 550 125 48 $11.46 2.6 14.1
    Jewelry Store 17 40,000 400 250 36 $11.11 6.9 18.1
    Dragon 20 100,000 800 150 72 $11.11 2.1 13.2
    Candle shop 17 25,000 400 70 37 $10.81 1.9 12.7
    Griffin Nest 19 75,000 500 100 48 $10.42 2.1 12.5
    Bakery 12 12,000 250 28 24 $10.42 1.2 11.6
    Hall of Justice 26 165,000 600 275 60 $10.00 4.6 14.6
    Theater 28 190,000 175 195 18 $9.72 10.8 20.6
    Serpent’s Lair 27 220,000 325 250 34 $9.56 7.4 16.9
    Cheese Shop 21 90,000 275 175 29 $9.48 6.0 15.5
    Fish market 29  

    280 300 30 $9.33 10.0 19.3
    Naval Ship 20 18m 240 210 27 $8.89 7.8 16.7
    University 30 275,000 420 420 48 $8.75 8.8 17.5
    Cobbler 14 20,000 200 325 24 $8.33 13.5 21.9
    Book Store 19 98,000 125 225 16 $7.81 14.1 21.9
    Prison 18 20m 375 300 48 $7.81 6.3 14.1
    Jousting Arena 25 150,000 450 450 60 $7.50 7.5 15.0
    Falconry 24 120,000 450 400 60 $7.50 6.7 14.2
    Blacksmith 14 16,000 355 55 48 $7.40 1.1 8.5
    Watchtower 15 18,000 350 60 48 $7.29 1.3 8.5
    Barn 10 6500 350 50 48 $7.29 1.0 8.3
    Unicorn 21 NA 325 500 48 $6.77 10.4 17.2
    Clocktower 22 105,000 320 320 48 $6.67 6.7 13.3
    Shipyard 23 115,000 275 500 42 $6.55 11.9 18.5
    Archery 22 25m 50 100 8 $6.25 12.5 18.8
    Butcher 13 14,000 225 42 36 $6.25 1.2 7.4
    Windmill 9 6000 300 48 48 $6.25 1.0 7.3
    Fortune Teller 23 95,000 350 425 64 $5.47 6.6 12.1
    Tailor 6 1500 100 20 24 $4.17 0.8 5.0
    Mine 5 1000 40 8 10 $4.00 0.8 4.8
    School 7 2500 80 22 24 $3.33 0.9 4.3
    Lumberyard 8 4000 36 35 35 $1.03 1.0 2.0

    Characters

     

    Level Male Female Creature
    Apothecary 31 Chemist  

     

    Archery 22 Archer  

     

    Bakery 12  

    Mrs. Pillsbury
    Barn 10  

     

    Brown Cow
    Beehive 12  

     

     

    Blacksmith 14 Sword Smith  

     

    Book Store 19  

    Buxom Librarian  

    Butcher 13 Butcher  

     

    Butterfly Garden 16  

     

    Butterfly Swarm
    Candle Shop 17 Wax Maker  

     

    Cartographer 32 Mapmaker  

     

    Cheese Shop 21  

    Milk Maid  

    Clock Tower 22 Clockmaker  

     

    Cobbler 14 Cobbler  

     

    Dragon 20  

     

    Blue Dragon
    Fairy Tree 20  

     

     

    Falconry 24  

    Falconress  

    Fish Market 29  

    Dowager  

    Fortune Teller 23  

    Fortune Teller  

    Griffin Nest 19  

     

    Baby Griffin
    Guild Hall 10 Knight  

     

    Hall Of Justice 26 Judge  

     

    Inn 16  

    Bar Wench  

    Jewelry Store 17  

    Fiance  

    Jousting Arena 25 Jousting Knight  

     

    Lumberyard 8 Hooded Woodman  

     

    Magic Emporium 18  

    Flying Witch  

    Milliner 28  

    Well-Dressed Woman  

    Mine 5  

    Prospector  

    Naval Ship 20  

     

     

    Phoenix 25  

     

    Phoenix
    Pirate Ship 33 Buccaneer  

     

    Pond* 5  

     

    Frog Prince
    Prison 18 Executioner  

     

    Red Dragon 35  

     

    Red Dragon
    School 7 Boy With Slingshot Running Girl  

    Serpent’s Lair 27  

     

     

    Shipyard 23 Dockworker  

     

    Spice Market 21 Hindu Merchant  

     

    Stables 14  

     

    Horse
    Tailor 6  

    Seamstress In Pink  

    Tavern 16 Drunk  

     

    Theater 28 Thespian  

     

    Unicorn 21  

     

     

    University 30 Clarence Thomas Faux  

     

    Watchtower 15 Watchman  

     

    Windmill 9  

     

    Dappled Cow
    Wizard’s Tower 11 Wizard  

     

    How major will the major upgrade be?


    Friday ngmoco:) announced a major game upgrade. I jumped the gun with a preview of this blog on Saturday in case they intended to launch the upgrade over the weekend. They didn’t, so here is the blog as I originally planned.


    I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for We Rule enhancements on ngmoco:)’s Get Satisfaction site. A lot of cool suggestions; a number of dumb suggestions. I even remember suggesting lakes in the middle of a list of feature requests. Who would have thought that would be the one thing they would pick up on?

    I thought lakes would be a good idea because the rivers couldn’t be arranged to form a continuous water surface. I also requested rounded road curves, which, while also down on my list of things, would have been even nicer I think. I was considering building my magical creatures kingdom and at that time I envisioned winding paths though the rubies and dragons.

    I can’t claim complete credit. I found one other person on the site who suggested a sea faring theme and I’m sure there have been other. Now that I think of it, the sea faring probably was a better suggestion.

    So now we have pirate ships, naval ships and lakes. And a fish market no one wants to buy from even though it has an excellent overall return for cash and experience points. In fact, the fish market knocked the sea serpent’s lair off the top five for overall cash and experience returned per hour. Sadly, I installed three and have only had one in use. In fact I have only had one order for the two naval ships I placed, so the return on my investment hasn’t been that great.

    I really, really like the whole lake, sea faring thing. But they use an inordinate amount of real estate. You can plant the ships by themselves, but they kind of look stupid all alone on a single water tile surrounded by red dragons and cartographers shops.

    P TextOnly the pirate ships are really worth the investment if you’re looking for a decent return for ship objects. The naval ships and ship yard are below average performers, unless you’re L20 or below. The naval ships will be your top returner until you reach the higher levels.1

    This is where it gets complicated. You need nine tiles to build even a small lake (six if you simply want to surround a ship with water). That’s a whole lot of real estate. You may not think that’s a problem until all five realms are full and you have to sell something profitable to build your lake.

    I’ll sell in a heartbeat because—while I wouldn’t trust the free market to save my job in the real world—I’m an ardent virtual capitalist. You have to sell stuff to install more stuff and earn those experience points. Capitalism works like it’s supposed to work in a game because it’s just a simulation. I’d clear out an entire kingdom if I thought it would jump me a hundred places on the leader board.2

    You need nine separate pieces to build a lake. Not nine pieces, nine completely different pieces. That will eat a hole in your kingdom’s available real estate.

    Click image to see full size
    If you want to float your pirate ship, you need at least six different pieces.

    Click image to see full size

    There would be a nice way to compensate players for all the extra space they’ll need. The developers could open up the four remaining adjacent realms. This, in fact, has been requested by several players on the Get Satisfaction site (including me).

    Other players have written that they can barely fill the five kingdoms available so why would they want four more? That’s the beauty of additional realms; only players that want them have to buy them. I know of several L40 players who haven’t spent the money for their Citrus Citadels (and at least one who hasn’t even upgraded to ruby). They spent that movie on ruby groves. More power to you all.

    I want more realms so I can build my lake realm.

    Will ngmoco:) listen to players and add more realms? We’ll find out soon. As many of you noticed, they shut down the server for a half hour Friday to prepare for a “major” upgrade.

    What will that entail? We’ll find out soon, but I’ve seen a number of popular requests and it will be interesting to see which requests ngmoco:) actually took seriously. Some of the requests have to do with the game interface, others with game play and a few merely affect kingdom appearance. I think they all have merit, and I wanted to mention a few here.

    If ngmoco:) ignores them this time around, hopefully they will listen eventually. When I was reviewing the posts on the get satisfaction site I discovered that the orange and ruby groves had originally been suggested by a player early in the game. So either ngmoco:) listened, or that player wasn’t paying attention to the game and had requested a feature that had already been installed.

    I didn’t start playing until June, I honestly don’t know what the first releases had oranges and rubies or not. Hopefully, however, the next release will include the following:

    Interface requests

    Log me in, Scotty

    One of the most useful interface upgrades would be a login feature. I mentioned this in Saturday’s post and, while this isn’t the most requested feature, I think it will be one of the most appreciated. The inability to logout out and login with a new interface is one of the most frustrating features of the ngmoco:) games.

    The games were originally meant to be played on iPhones. I get this. But iPads aren’t cheap and I can’t imagine too many families that can afford even one, much less more than one.3 Right now, a family of five can kind of sponsor their own iPad kingdoms if they download We Rule iPad and iPad Gold and also We Rule, We Rule Red and We Rule Gold. Of course, only the iPad versions let you build and expand your kingdoms from your iPad, and iPad Gold crashes at least once during every ruby harvest, so no family member gets a completely satisfying gaming experience.

    Allowing players to log in and log out would make it possible for every family, even the ones with four or more kids, to play with just one version on their iPad. The Mojo Farm recently reported that a shift in the Apple guidelines would force ngmoco:) to remove all those versions of We Rule and implement login, but Apple hasn’t seemed to follow though on that.

    I also know that the lack of a login makes it difficult for players to operate multiple kingdoms. This may be ngmoco:)’s rationale for withholding a login option. But it hasn’t stopped players from developing multiple kingdoms, so it seems pointless to handicap families to stop the players who play lose with the rules.

    Better information

    .
    It would be helpful if we could actually see the name of players who order from the shops instead of having the player name squeezed off the screen by the catchy order name. This would allow us to keep better track of who is ordering from our kingdoms so we can return the favor.

    Which do I need to know more? That I’m rescuing a princess or who placed the order?

    Orders summary page

    An order summary would be even better than simply making names more visible, and I have to say it’s one of the best ideas I’ve seen on the Get Satisfaction site. Being able to see what orders you have out and who ordered from you could help players cultivate long term friendships. The servers already have this information in their databases, or they couldn’t keep track of how many coins and experience points to award shop owners when an order completes.

    It shouldn’t be that hard to create a simple summary form with a list of orders out and orders in. I can do it in Filemaker Pro in a couple of minutes and databases are at the bottom of the list of my computer skills. ngmoco:) could simply add a report option along with the list of friends and followers.

    In game messaging

    I personally love the fact that I can have friends with absolutely no obligation to be friendly with them. But some players would like to be able to keep in touch. The ability to send a simple text message would be nice. I have written to ngmoco:) about this, especially since other games they developed do allow players to communicate and send challenges.

    I can recall one experience in We Farm when both Carol and I had orders with one player and they seemed to be tied up forever. I asked ngmoco:) if we would be able to contact that player to see if the problem was a game glitch or if (we assumed it was a) she was simply pissed at us and not returning the order.

    The developers replied that we couldn’t contact the player but that orders automatically expire after 72 hours. More than a week after the reply, the order simply expired. Perhaps if we could have contacted this player, and all three of us complained, the problem could have been resolved without tying up two windmills for eight or nine days.

    Game features

    Whenever I log into Get Satisfaction, I find two requests remain at the top of the most popular posts. Only the second-most popular made it to ngmoco:)’s “under consideration” list. So let’s start with the one I stumble onto over and over and over.

    Players want to move and store buildings and decorations

    I used to be skeptical of this, mainly because it’s actually more profitable to sell old buildings and build new ones. Every shop you build and tree you install actually earns more experience points. I even posted several comments on the Get Satisfaction site to this effect, and got into a heated discussion with someone who told me that if I was at L30 like she was, I would understand her concern.

    I was at L35 at the time, and a few days later I discovered I was at L40 and didn’t even know it. (Actually, I didn’t even know I was at L35 until they added an L35.) In fact, I wouldn’t have made it to L35 and L40 so quickly if I didn’t sell off buildings to replace them with better ones. But I didn’t see the need to bring that into the debate. The fact is, you advance more quickly by selling off buildings and installing new ones.

    I changed my mind about the ability to move (or better yet store) buildings when ngmoco:) began to discontinue shops. Now if I want to move a Fairy Tree or Unicorn’s lair from one kingdom to another, I can’t replace it. This is an even bigger problem in We Farm where they discontinue stuff every other week, and it looks like We City is discontinuing buildings as soon as they release them (like that stupid colosseum with its gladiator who wanders around with a sword to whack on all those business people).

    I would love to be able to offload a meadow or fairy tree to a storage locker while I rearrange kingdoms. Or even put it into storage until I come up with a new kingdom theme a couple of months down the road. I would store my fish markets because I suspect that building is going to go fairly soon. That’s because it’s butt ugly. I mean, really, it looks like something that belongs in the slums and the old lady looks like she hasn’t bathed in weeks even though she works next to a lake. I know I made fun of the token professor and the buxom soft porn babe that runs the bookstore, but this may be too extreme a reaction on the developer’s part.

    Will we receive this ability with the next major upgrade? I hope so. And it will make lots and lots of players happy. Best of all, more players will hang onto the stuff they bought and they won’t be earning more experience points to bump me off my spot on the leader board.

    Gone Fishing

    This request actually made it to ngmoco:)’s under consideration category. The idea behind it is that players who want to take time off from their kingdoms would be able to post a “gone fishing” notice so players won’t order from their kingdoms until they return.

    This request has a lot of merit. Currently the only way to let players know you’re out of the game is to stop planting crops, or to let your crops wither. But players who want to shop from you won’t know if this is a temporary absence or if you’ve abandoned the game entirely (and a lot of players to simply walk away, especially when they look at their bank statements—or their spouse looks at the bank statements—and realize how much they spent on mojo).

    My spin on this is that the game needs a “gone questing” notice. Fishing belongs in “We Farm.” The developers don’t even need to put a lot of effort into this one. They simply need to add a decoration of a knight waving a flag that says “gone questing.” Players can buy this decoration and place it next to their citadel when they leave, and sell it back when they return.

    How hard is that?

    Additional realms

    I know that sooner or later we would fill even the new realms and run out of space again. But additional kingdoms might take the pressure off players to sacrifice between developing pretty realms and stacking them with rubies.

    I recognize that some players will stack all eight realms with rubies so they can have 72 million experience points. Still, it would be nice to explore more themes with my kingdoms. I had to give up my rural kingdom with mines, farms and barns to build my mall kingdom. I had to sacrifice my martial kingdom with jousting arenas, watchtowers and guild halls to have one realm to stack rubies and move past the top thousand. I had to give up my mansion to redesign my main kingdom. And now I am going to have to sacrifice my suburb kingdom to build my sea faring kingdom.

    I have screen shots of the old kingdoms to remember them by, but it would really be nice to keep my designs around a little longer.

    My original rural kingdom, now paved over to build a mall.

    Click image to see full size
    My original martial kingdom, sacrificed to rubies.

    Click image to see full size

    Kingdom appearance

    The only consensus I have found as far as kingdom appearance is a request for seasonal items. Christmas and Halloween shops top the list, although other players think Christmas is totally wrong for We Rule and want Solstice shops and decorations. I certainly think seasonal items, such as pumpkins or pumpkin patches and fallen autumn leaves (similar to the rocks) would add some variety to the game.

    I originally requested snow tiles in the same post I requested lake tiles.

    The snow tiles need be nothing more than white squares the same size as bridges. The developers certainly don’t need to add top, center, side center, bottom center titles the way they did with the lake.

    In fact, now that we have lakes, sand tiles in the same color as the roads would be nice. This would allow us to build islands in the lake. If they added palm trees, we could make tropical islands.

    In addition, the developers could throw in a few snow covered trees, and some autumn trees like the maple trees in We City.

    We have debated the inclusion of churches in the comments on this site. I don’t see any harm to adding, say, a gothic cathedral with a little animation of Quasimodo at the top. It could sell dispensations for 500 xp and 400 coins. Wouldn’t it be neat if it came with a priest who tried to exorcise the witch whenever they occupied the same square?

    Don’t laugh. I’ve seen the prison guards try to lob off the heads of wenches. Why can’t the priests and witches duke it out?

    Check out this guard trying to axe murder one of the village women.

    If the cathedral seems too religious for some, how about a monastery that sells kegs of ale for 300 xp and 300 coins? Or a relics shop that sells saints’ bones?

    I will close with a request I make at almost every opportunity.

    I would like to see diamond groves. They could sell for 100K and give out 1K in coins and 850 experience points every six hours. Or sell them for a million apiece and give out 10K coins and 8500 experience points every six hours. They could have white gems instead of red gems and they would look great with the snow tiles and snow covered trees in the winter kingdom.

    The wish list I presented isn’t mine (except for the snow and diamonds). I compiled it from the many requests on ngmoco:)’s Get Satisfaction site. What remains to be seen is whether or not the next major upgrade includes player requests.


    1Unless, of course, ngmoco:) decides to screw those of us who worked hard to earn L35 and the red dragons only to have them handed out like candy to any one at L16 for a weekend. Players at lower levels will, of course, love this. But for those of us who earned our red dragons the hard way, it feels like paying a thousand dollars for an HD TV only to have the same store give them away for free to people who buy a case of Cokes the very next day.back
    2Oh, wait, I did. After hanging around the 550 on the leader board for more than a month, I replaced my entire main kingdom and finally hit my long term goal of landing in the top 500 players. Was it worth trashing all those buildings, trees, bridges and gold roads only to replace them with different buildings trees, bridges, gold roads and a few more river tiles? Absolutely.
    Unless, all of you do the same thing and knock me out of the top 500. That’s the problem with the free market and competition. There’s always someone more ruthless than you who wants to take your place at the top of the financial food chain.back
    3And, let’s be honest, if a certain party wins the election on fiscal reform campaign promises, they will slash corporate taxes even more, run up the deficit just like they did for the eight years they were in power, blame Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats just like they did for the eight years they ran up deficits, and ship the few jobs that remain that aren’t with Walmart, McDonalds and KFC out of the country. Then Walmart, McDonalds and KFC will have to close up their stores and move overseas because Americans will be too broke to even buy their cheap crap. After that, the only iPads in circulation will be the ones that sold before even Apple was forced to sell the Chinese and Indian customers who have the jobs we used to have. And the only tea party we will be having is one with empty cups.
    Before you complain about the politics here, at least I put them in the foot note instead of throwing them in your face and whining about the liberal media. Oh, and the bailout money and stimulus bill they say is ruining the economy? Don’t forget, that was an extension of Republican initiatives begun before Obama took office. To bad the Republicans are blaming the Democrats for their initiatives because it turned out the treasury may have made a profit on the bailout. And, no, I don’t worship at the church of Bill Mahr, I just happen to agree with him on this. And if I wasn’t typing this in bed while fighting off an allergy infection caused by Ragweed (although in Austin it could be anything because the pollen around here is big enough you can see it floating in the sky on windy days), I probably would refrain myself as well, but sometimes you just have to vent. You know?back


    Visit my kingdom at totalthinker, and Carol’s at JennyManytoes. Write me at wrgrimoire@gmail.com.

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