Magic orbs, magic harvests

It should have been a milestone for me this week. Clocking in at 200 million lifetime experience points. Who wouldn’t be excited. And then I realized the game leaders earned almost that much in a couple of weeks.

I admit, I chose to stop competing once I passed into the top hundred (which had been my goal all along). And my timing couldn’t have been better. I just don’t have the time to stay competitive with nine realms, much less five.

This is America, after all. And in America you’re no longer good enough unless you win it all. And sometimes, if you’re Black and born in Hawaii and your name sounds suspiciously Moslem, even that’s not good enough for some people.

But the game is still seductively fun, isn’t it?

The great product dump

I actually wrote this column late Thursday night figuring I could get the work done early only to log in late Friday night and discover even more crap, including levels, minotaur and labyrinth, and the new emerald castle, or fortress. I’m no longer sure how they differentiate between castles, citadels and fortresses.

The emerald fortress is huge. It completely blocked a place of worship from view. I’ve been asking for emerald themed items for a while, and even predicted an emerald castle (diamond and gold still to come; all gold at L100?). Maybe we’ll get some emerald groves, too.

The new emerald castle is enormous. It may completely hide objects you already have in place. The perspective in the friend’s map is a little skewed because your kingdom is always bigger than the others

Corporate farming comes to We Rule

In addition to the usual buttload (or boatload, if you prefer) of crap that ngmoco:) usually dumps on players, this week saw the introduction of one of the most innovative, and probably controversial additions to the game: the harvest orb.

So let’s get the downside over with. You get one free harvest orb. After that they cost 75 mojo apiece. They also cost 2 mojo, every time you use one. You can install more than one in each realm, but that would be a waste of mojo since the minute you use the first orb, the other is useless.

Obviously, and this was my first reaction (as well as others), ngmoco:) has either:

  1. once again come up with a way to soak the mojo out of unsuspecting players, or
  2. given players with money to burn a huge advantage over poorer players, or
  3. All of the above.

Not only was this my first reaction, I haven’t changed my opinion one whit. Players who have loaded up their realms with stack after stack of high-priced, high-yield items can boost everything they harvest by fifteen percent. The result? Two billion experience points is right around the corner. And for only two mojo they can harvest everything in that realm that’s ready to harvest all at once.

The new harvest orb will harvest every ripe grove, crop and fount in your realm with one touch. Well, one touch and two mojo.

Click image to see full size

Look at all those experience points and coins. That’s usually ten to fifteen minutes worth of harvest work and a sore finger to boot.

This is the genius of the harvest orb. A lot of players have abandoned the game because they were tired of clicking on those damned groves. I found myself experiencing Carpal Tunnel in my index finger. The magic orb will save lots of harvest time, making the game a lot less painful and a hell of a lot less tedious.

If you can afford it.

That being said, if you already spend mojo, this is the item I would invest in. Forget boosting gifts. Yes, if you harvest every realm three times daily you will be out 54 mojo (or 1600 a month, which is pretty damn close to $80 monthly on mojo). But if you only do it once a day, players with heavily stacked realms can save an hour or more of harvest time.

It does change the game metaphor a little. After all, when we’re no longer harvesting crops one at a time like real farmers, we’ve become corporate farmers. It’s tempting to say there were no corporate farmers in medieval times, but let’s be real. Back then they just called them Lords and Kings.

Sadly, the game shuts down completely every time I use the orb, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Let’s face it, when has ngmoco:) ever come up with an innovation that ran smoothly? And the game crashes three times as often on launch all of a sudden.

The bottom line? You don’t have to use it, but it’s there and it’s one of the few items that’s worth the investment should you choose to make it. But use some restraint, eighty bucks a month is a lot to piss away on a game.