Comparing idle income

What’s up with Egypt? I know their president is in deep caca right now, but is that any excuse to get rid of the Egypt content that’s only been out a week? That’s pretty quick, even for ngmoco:).

It’s not like any of the content was politically sensitive. No references to Moslems or Coptic Christians. It seems pretty tame to me.

Nor were they clear about which content they’re removing today. Is it just the Cleopatra’s palace and Pharaoh’s temple or is it all of the new content? Even though I’m not doing anything with it now, I bought lots of palm trees, oases and sand. Then I decided to keep the oases for now because they do make money.

I had planned to convert my east kingdom to something Mediterranean but I wanted the weather to warm up a little. So I bought stuff just for storage until then. Which is probably what they’re counting on.

These are the new oases. They deliver a high number of coins and xp per hour. Or do they? We’ll consider that below.

Click image to see full size

In the past I’ve said they need sand tiles. Cool that we got them. Maybe in the fall we’ll get fallen leaf tiles and autumn colored trees like the maples in We City.

New levels to come?

I am so pleased that ngmoco:) has added 20 additional levels with buildings to We Rule since I started playing. The black dragon at L50 will allow them to add more high level buildings in the void between L40 and L50.

In the meantime, I find myself thinking ahead to L60. We have a purple, red and black dragon. Now we need a fire breathing dragon. It can’t be that hard. The comic characters in We City control their flights with bursts of fire.

What would be really cool would be a building that bursts into flames when the fire breathing dragon flies over.

We’ve discussed churches or cathedrals in the past, and I also think a gothic cathedral would be a great addition to the game, as tall if not taller then the three castles. It could have a vat of boiling lead on top that tips over and spills every once in a while. Quasimodo could be the character.

And while we’re at it, why does We City get Stonehenge when We Rule doesn’t? I think we should get Stonehenge and maybe even Avebury and The Ring of Brodgar, complete with a sacrificial altar, druids and forest gods. Hell, let’s bring in Asgard and the ring cycle and add Gladsheim, Vingólf and the Well of Urd. Toss in some Valkyries and we’re good to go.

In fact, as long as we’re doing Egypt, let’s add Lake Victoria and the Nile. Let’s do the Mayan and Aztec monuments as well. Then we can change the game’s name to We World Geography. We could then add Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom. And the Parthenon and Coliseum, not to mention a Labyrinth with a minotaur. How about grape groves with a dancing Dionysus?

Please, however, please please, no aliens or space ships. Or cartoon superheroes. We could use a sea monster for the lakes, as that would be far more appropriate to We Rule than We City, but no aliens, space ships or superheroes.

There are still so many real medieval items left that ngmoco:) really doesn’t need to stray off theme. In addition to the cathedral, how about:

  • A round table with a knight?
  • A goblin’s cave?
  • Now that I think of it, Asgard items are a lot closer to a medieval motif than some of the other stuff (especially since we have Vikings). Let’s have those. (So are the henges. We really could add two or three of those.)
  • A gallows?
  • A wood-block press shop to print broadsheets?
  • A monastery with monks?
  • A convent with nuns?
  • The tower of the Holy Grail?
  • An ogre’s lair? Disney can sue you for using Shrek but not generic ogres.
  • A brothel?
  • Shrines with relics?
  • A dungeon?
  • A torture chamber?
  • A haunted forest?
  • Sherwood forest tree with Robin Hood?
  • Pixie Hollows with real fairies this time?

Oh, yes, and finally: Wouldn’t it be great if ngmoco:) added inventory capabilities to all of their games? And more islands to Adventure Bay?

Idle income

The oases are the newest addition to the idle income producing products, joining the groves, founts and troll bridges. The founts and bridges are buildings technically, but they really don’t return enough to customers to make them worth ordering.

(I’m stressing the last bit because people still keep ordering my trolls when I have black dragons, Olympus mounts, chimeras and chateaus in other realms. This puzzles me. Players are free to order anything in my kingdom, and I am loath to be like the salesmen who steer customers to higher end products, but in this case the higher end products are worth more. Not only that, they cost players nothing—unlike Trade Nations where players have to pay for their purchases.)

So I thought I’d crunch the numbers to see which of the idle-income properties are most valuable. I’m including space taken into account because if a property returns four times as much income but takes up five times as much space, you might want to go with the smaller items.

Compare the grove and oases areas. Both are stacked, but a lot more groves can be stacked into the same area.

Click image to see full size
Item Cost Lvl Hrs c c/Hr Xp Xp/Hr Space
Orange 3000 15 6 5 0.8 50 8.3 1
Ruby 10000 23 6 100 16.7 85 14.2 1
Diamond 100000 27 6 150 25.0 105 17.5 1
Oasis* 100000 0 12 320 26.7 515 42.9 4
Sleigh† 7000 4 1 0.3 100 25.0
Fount 90000 18 6 125 20.8 240 40.0 1
Troll Bridge 70000 14 8 15 1.8 175 21.8 .5

It’s hard to say which of the income generating properties make the most sense. On an hourly basis the oasis outperforms the ruby grove three to one in experience and slightly more than 50 percent better in coins. It outperforms the diamond by 2.5 times in xp and only has a slight advantage in coins. The oasis ouperforms thefount by 25 percent in coins and only a fraction in experience.

Here’s where other considerations come into play.

You can fit approximatley four founts or groves into the space of one oasis The numbers will even out the more you plant.. When I try to stack them, I can fit even more groves into the same space and slighly fewer founts. The founts are slightly cheaper and the ruby groves cost ten percent as much (10000 v 100000c).

For high level players, with coins to burn, I would say it’s pretty much a wash. Make use of them all. But if you’re building your kingdom and pushing to reach L30 (and even 40), go with the rubies. The combined cost reduction and return for space make them a far better bargain. Drop an oasis in if you want the decoration (the first one’s free for finishing the quest), You will actually get a higher return in approximately the same space for about 40 percent of the cost.

This assumes, of course, that ngmoco:) doesn’t discontinue the Egypt quest as well.

Big announcement tomorrow

Actually, I have a couple of announcements tomorrow, including a project I’m doing with the help of Acehound. I’m calling it the February project (that’s the code name) for reasons you’ll see then.


*First oasis free with quest.
†Seasonal

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

Advertisements

Upgrade redux (and diamonds)

I’ve decided to go with more constant abbreviated references. In this column and the future I will be referring to coins, mojo and experience as:

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

You will probably have already noticed the addition of the Bizarro Tower of Light (aka the Dark Castle) since I posted this blog this morning. It really is the mirror of the Tower of Light (including installation cost) except it’s dark, comes with rubies instead of diamonds, and the coin and experience values are reversed. Get it? Because it’s evil you earn more money but less goodness (xp). If they really got their mythology right it would be twice as many coins but negative experience points (630c and -200xp).

Maybe if we put them in the same realm the witch and the angel will cancel each other out.

So will we see a head on battle between the light lady and the evil sorceress? Light lady’s been hiding since I installed the dark castle on the opposite end of my east realm. And the sorceress got a bigger picture on the splash screen introducing new objects.

Click image to see full size

My real reason to add this is because any comments about the Tower of Light in today’s post also apply to the Dark Kingdom.

Oh, yes, and most of the houses (except orange) have slowed down from returning every fifteen minutes to every three hours. Just to keep you confused.

You may have experience some confusion about the recent upgrade to We Rule Quests, and I, for one, have unwittingly contributed to the confusion. In addition, ngmoco:) has—at least for now—realized players didn’t want quests so much as the ability to move and store objects, and the ability to pay for diamond trees with something other than mojo.

Here’s where I was wrong: you can stack, you will be able to buy diamonds with coins (for a while), the quests aren’t quite as stupid as I suggested, and you will be able to move objects between realms.

You may also have noticed that houses pay off every fifteen minutes now. This is good news for new players with few resources to earn investment coins. In addition, you can download other games for coins (not all of them may be free), so this will also help build your account.

So let’s start the retraction process.

I shouldn’t really call it retraction because the only item I was really wrong about was stacking. The other three had been true when I wrote them. I guess the loud complaints from disappointed players, who weren’t quite as pacified by the quests as ngmoco:) thought, finally got through.

Slightly cooler quests

Let’s start with quests. The rewards are improving. I’ve earned them all so far, but the only ones I really like are the thrones.

I take that back. I didn’t do rock, paper, scissors because I would have lost coins and experience points while three high-paying shops were tied up so I could could earn the equivalent of spare change in coins and experience points. In fact, even beginning players are better off ordering from the high value shops than the total return they will earn from the quest.

As I wrote before, however, the thrones are kind of cool. If ngmoco:) had thought to add a king to the throne like they did with the queen, the first throne would have been even cooler. So hopefully they’ll add the king later or allow us to conduct another quest for a throne with a king.

I haven’t changed my assessment of the quests themselves. They need to add newer and more high value purchases to the quests. It’s not worth it to me to reinstall a watchtower or a butcher shop so people can quest. But Carol still has some of the older stuff at JennyManytoes and its vassal kingdom ptsringer (don’t blame her for the name because I set it up and let her take over).

Stacking

Contrary to my previous announcement, you can stack. You just can’t stack while you’re installing items like you could before. This was a dicey proposition at best, usually allowing players to stack three items at once, and occasionally as many as six or seven. But that method is gone.

There’s so much to the stacking question that I’m going to hold off until next week to devote the entire blog to it. So I’ll drop that subject for now.

Storage

A number of players were disappointed when the ability to move objects wasn’t released with the official upgrade. To add to their anger, word got out of a a notice posted on the ngmoco:) support page:

“Due to technical limitations of We Rule at this time we are not planning to implement the ability to move items between realms. It may or may not be possible in the future. Thanks for your feedback and feature requests.”

It turns out this notice (in a tiny, tiny font size with light gray text) was posted last August, but word didn’t get out until after We Rule Quests arrived. Ironically, about the time word got out, the Tower of Light appeared. Once players built it, many discovered they could remove it and return it to inventory.

The catch, there’s always a catch, is that you can’t earn coins or buy mojo to purchase the new tower. You have to buy it for real dollars.

So we will be able to move and store objects. What we don’t know, and probably won’t know for a while, is whether or not ngmoco:) will go back to make all buildings moveable or whether this will be for special “pay for cash” buildings only. The fact the the mermaid isle can be purchased for coins or mojo but can’t be moved back into inventory makes it more likely that the option will be for cash items only.

The question now is whether ngmoco:) is making a move towards making all new buildings moveable and pay only, or will they be releasing both types of buildings. I don’t like either option, but since I liked the mermaids better than the tower, I would prefer the former.

Better yet, just release a five dollar version of We Rule where all our objects are movable, including the older ones. I would pay five dollars for that and it would give players the option.

What I really want to discuss is diamond groves, which became available for 100,000c on Thursday (along with diamond roads). For many players this may seem like a good thing, and I originally thought so. But now I’m not so sure.

Are diamond groves worth the investment?

You can now purchase diamond trees with coins. And ngmoco:) very reasonably settled on my original suggestion for a price, $100K in coins. This means they followed up on two thirds of my campaign for diamond trees—the ability to plant groves and (at least temporarily since they say the offer will be discontinued soon) the ability to purchase them for a $100K.

I hate to complain, but they missed the most important part of the suggestion, that if the price increases by ten times the price of rubies, so should the pay out. I originally suggested a reward of 1000 coins (c) and 850 xp every six hours.

Unfortunately, in spite of the high price in coins, the payout for diamond groves hasn’t increased and remains the same as before at 120c and 105xp.

I suggest you seriously think before you pay the coin price on diamonds. The return for the same 100,000c investment in ruby groves is 1000c and 850xp. which is substantial. The trade-off is in real estate. Ten ruby groves occupy ten times the space. So the payout for ten spaces is 1000c and 850xp for rubies verses 12000c and 105o0xp (about 2000 more for each).

But that’s comparing one diamond to one ruby. If you look at the total investment price, the payout difference for the same investment is 1000c and and 850xp every six hours for rubies verses 120 and 105 for diamonds.

For those of you who can afford the mojo, the decision is obvious, investing 10m for the diamond grove will pay off much better than than investing 8m for the rubies. I would even suggest replacing rubies with diamonds if you have real money to burn.1

I could run a Kindometrics analysis on the groves to tell you what the long term payout differences are, and I may even do so one of these days and add it to the analysis section. But I did run a quick calculation and it will take 208 days (harvesting every six hours), or almost seven months, for your diamond grove to start turning a profit. If you harvest three times a day you’re looking at more than nine months to return an investment for what will become a twenty percent increase on the return from a ruby grove.

Oh, what the hell. Let’s at least project investment and earnings over a year. And for a really dramatic comparison, lets compare the costs and earnings for one grove versus those for planting ten.

I ran a sample comparison of investment costs and profit for one and ten ruby and diamond groves. As you can see, even though the diamond grove is more profitable in the long run, it will take four years to recoup the money you would have lost by investing in a ruby grove.

Click image to see full size

The numbers indicate that you will earn far more from the ruby grove than the diamond grove at least in the immediate, and even near long-term future. Why? Because the difference in earning (about 20,000c more per year) is lost in the difference in the increased investment cost. We’re talking more than four years for the diamond grove to pay off the difference in profits and start outproducing the ruby grove.

I’m basing these profit numbers on the assumption that you will harvest your groves three times a day because you don’t want to get up in the middle of the night to harvest every cycle. Even if you do four harvests a day, the numbers won’t change significantly, except to speed up the payoff by a year.

That’s assuming, of course, that you really want to spend the next three years harvesting diamonds every six hours.

Here’s another way to look at it. The mojo cost of a diamond is 25 percent more than the mojo cost of a ruby. The coin cost of a diamond grove is ten times the cost of a ruby, or a thousand percent more.

If you’re still playing in four years, however,2 those diamonds will really start to pay off.

Let it snow, let it snow

We didn’t get snow tiles like the bridge tiles, which was another priority on my upgrade wish list. But the diamond roads come close. When you cover the ground around buildings, they resemble glistening snow. It’s a pain to actually pave ground with diamond roads (or any roads for that matter) and then place and move buildings around on top of them. I can’t begin to describe how big a pain it is; you’ll just have to wait until you have to move six roads to select a building. But they are pretty.

Best of all, We Rule Quests now lets you drop roads and bridges beneath buildings (and partially beneath buildings) you already placed. In the past you had to lay the pavement and move the buildings on top.

I still want pure white square tiles, but these are close. I’ve already seen some great stuff. Happy decorating.

This is perhaps the best example of diamond decorating I’ve seen so far. Notice how he/she noticed those were diamonds spilling from the Tower of Light and has them pouring onto the ground? You’ll see more of this kingdom (and I’ll tell you who it is) next week.

Click image to see full size

No, Virginia, there is no more We Rule

Most of you noticed this, but a couple of players have written so let me make it official: You have to upgrade to We Rule Quest. Any version of We Rule you might have on your iPad or iPhone has been crippled by ngmoco:). To the best of my knowledge this one wasn’t ngmoco:)’s decision, it was a consequence of Apple’s new interface guidelines.

By the way, did you know that “redux” isn’t pronounced to rhyme with “ducks”, but with “dew”? (It’s in the title, in case you’d forgotten). Actually, it’s French so the closest American pronunciation would be “ray-dyu” with something between the “uh” and “oo” sound. This isn’t going to help you play We Rule better but if you run into one of those pseudo-intellectual jerks who insist on correcting you and they just happen to say, “reduces,” you will have the perfect gotcha moment.

1Which most of us don’t. But with the new Congress those of you who can afford mojo will be able to afford a lot more of it before the 2012 elections, and those of us who can’t will probably not even have the money to contribute to our favorite candidates even more.back

2See footnote 1.back

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.

Click image to see full size

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?

Click image to see full size

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.

Click image to see full size

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.

Click image to see full size

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?

Click image to see full size
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?

Click image to see full size

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.

Click image to see full size

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