The Game is On

To all those worried fans out there, the official word from ngmoco:) is that We Rule is not going away any time soon, if ever. But a few elements of the game are being reviewed sometime after Thanksgiving. This may include events (which are meeting with mixed feelings by players), their facebook presence and even future contests.

I didn't ask why, I didn't need to ask. The market is flooded with social network games demanding that players pony up real cash to buy game items. I've watched a number crash and burn, but they keep coming out. In fact, I've had so many social network games that use game center wipe out all of my progress permanently, I don't bother to even experiment with them unless they run from their own network (such a plus+, or OpenFeint). Game developers have to focus their resources to attract the dwindling dollars out there.

Actually, the only social network game I play now is We Rule. If I'm going to spend money, this is the game I spend for. But even I have a limited budget.

Enjoy the events? Then you might want to blow some mojo on the next one to let ngmoco:) know you want to make it worth their while to keep it around. Don't care? Don't play. The company is evaluating community components of the game, and the best way to tell them is to spend (or withhold) money.

So how can you help ngmoco:) decide what to keep and what to ignore? Participate (or not). Participation, or lack of it, is the best feedback a company can receive. If enough players spend even a little money on events, management will most likely decide to keep it. If you like the facebook updates, like them and comment every time they post a new entry. If you like the contests, follow the facebook posts and enter the contest.

Okay, this isn't completely true. Sometimes someone high enough in management gets obsessed over something and all of the wisdom and marketing share in the world won't stop them. But if the door is open, you should let them know. In the meantime, keep playing and inviting new friends to play. The game should survive barring a total meltdown in Congress next years and complete collapse of the economy because a certain party can't compromise at the fiscal cliff.1 And if that happens, we'll all have to hock our devices and stop playing anyway.


1I'm not going to name the party because most readers will have already decided it's the party they won't be voting for in November.back

Welcome to hell

It’s out at last. For real. The novel you previewed on this site, Raising Hell on Amazon. (You can find it on iBooks and nook after Thanksgiving). Best of all, it’s only $1. (Make sure to rate it.)

I am holding back on the release for iBooks and nook because Amazon will offer the book in their lending library if I give them exclusive rights for 90 days. (And because I let iBooks have the Grimoire first).

What the hell is Raising Hell?

Suppose you were Lucifer and you had lowered hell to the ultimate depths of agony and inefficiency. Every menial task is delegated, leaving you to punish anyone who displeases you for the least provocation. If the Lord It All Over You thinks he got the best of you, he couldn’t be more wrong.

Suddenly an innocent soul arrives in hell. There’s no explanation, just an untraceable administrative error. Even worse, this soul refuses to suffer. In fact, he can’t wait to make hell the best place of everlasting damnation ever. The only way to rectify the situation is to corrupt him as quickly as possible. If that isn’t bad enough, soon after you send him on an assignment that will seal his fate, the Allmighty Pain shows up and demands his return.

The fun doesn’t end with the book. I have also posted a pilot and proposal for a half-hour animated version at Amazon studios. Download the script and tell Amazon you love it. Even if you don’t, but you appreciate all these posts, the rating would help a lot. (After all, you don’t have to specify what the ‘it’ that you love is.)

Submit your own art

But wait, there’s more fun! I am encouraging fans to get their hands dirty and contribute themselves. I am looking for artists who would like to contribute character sketches (and even short stories based on the characters) for fans. I will post the submissions on the website g.d.i. Monday, the site devoted to promote the book and series. If you have talent or know a friend that does, check out the submission guidelines.

Design your own hell

If I like your hell realm I will feature it not just in the Grimoire, but on the g.d.i. Monday web site to reach a larger audience. How cool is that? Not to mention the prizes.

To celebrate the book, I’m also bringing hell to We Rule with a design contest. Design a realm that is so hellish, one of the book’s characters can come to visit. Designs I love will be features on this blog and the Monday site with snapshots of Raising Hell characters (maybe characters you designed or inspired) visiting. I will also award a copy of The Hidden Grimoire to my favorite design and a copy of Raising Hell to at least two additional designers.

To enter, send a screenshot of your realm to the grimoire. Make sure to mention the contest in the subject field as well as your player name and real name. Contest deadline is September 30.

Last pitch

In the meantime, don’t forget to buy copies of Raising Hell for yourself and gift them to all of your Kindle using friends. It will make a great early stocking stuffer and even your friends will owe you big time for thinking of them.

Surf’s up. If you can find the ocean.

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

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

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

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

Raising Hell to launch

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

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

Two billion and counting

On March 12 I announced that I had earned a billion points after two years of playing. I earned my next billion in five months. So maybe it’s bragging, but I also want readers to know how quickly all those investments add up.

I’m also earning about 20 million more coins a week than I did a few weeks ago. So if the game get’s frustrating, stick with it. You’ll be surprised how quickly your effort pays off.

There it is, 2 billion experience points. Who would have thought? It took me two years to earn my first billion, five months to earn my second. Seriously, the points really compound on you if you keep at it.

Stacking is officially recognized by ngmoco:)

Okay, they didn’t exactly come out and say it, but they selected s kingdom with extensive stacking to feature on facebook and reward with 1k of mojo (along with four others). While I certainly want to extend my jealous congratulations to all the winners, I found Phrazer’s kingdom to be an illuminating choice.

A little more than a year ago, rumors were rampant that ngmoco:) was threatening to ban players who stacked extensively, and even removed groves from ~king’s and acehound’s kingdoms. I doubt this means they welcome the practice, but I think they learned to live with it graciously.

ngmoco:) featured Phrazer’s kingdom on facebook this week, and awarded 1k mojo as well. I noticed his realm because of the extensive stacking to create the design. It wasn’t took long ago that ngmoco:) was trying to remove it from the game.

Thanks for testing

Seriously. After the last event’s disastrous launch, ngmoco:) wisely held off on the release of new content until they could test it on newly-serviced servers. I don’t know if the new content is an event or a new game feature, but I’m willing to wait for a stable release.

Hawking books

Why would you want to buy the Grimoire ebook when you have this wonderful blog? There are several reasons:

  • It helps me afford mojo so I can process new items and crunch the numbers the day of release. You get the most up-to-date charts.
  • I completely rewrote old posts so that the strategies and info are the most current available.
  • You don’t have to search through old posts to find strategies and tactics. You have one convenient source and everything in one place. I only wish ePub format allowed reference notes.
  • The only book more fun than the grimoire is Raising Hellwhich is soon to be released on iBooks and Kindle.

Residential real estate

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

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

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

But what’s not to love?

Residential tips

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

  • Cost
  • Overall return
  • Space consumed

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

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

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

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

Grimoire in iBooks

I’m not making the announcement official yet because I’m still working out the many wrinkles involved in getting the Grimoire ready to sell for Kindle. But if you want the iBooks version, it’s ready under consumer guides for 5.99. Search for We Rule.

The event is dead. Long live…

Never mind. It’s not coming back.

If you don’t follow ngmoco:) on Facebook you may know they cancelled the most recent disastrous event but you might not know they actually surrendered and gave everyone the frog castle and wishing well. They also gave everyone 35 mojo, which probably won’t make up for the mojo people spent trying to actually capture the frogs.

You can find the items with your other discontinued items at the very bottom (or top) of the build menu. The frog castle returns 3500cp over 18 hours (194 hcp) and the wishing well 10700 over 22 (487hcp).

You won’t find the event rewards in the featured items menu. You will find them as the most recently added items with the discontinued buildings in the standard build menu. You will have to scroll all the way to the end of the menu to find them.

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