Dobbie doesn’t know these elves

Important notice! I’m taking a few weeks off the main blog to pull together and update the best pieces and organize them into The Hidden Grimoire for release on iBooks to give readers a more convenient access to the essentials of the game.

I will continue to run the numbers and post them as usual, so I won’t be abandoning you, just not doing the weekly blog. I’ll be back around September 12.


Harry Porter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weezley1 found themselves in the kingdom of totalthinker with no idea how they arrived. Harry adjusted his glasses and scratched the phantom lighting bolt on his head that still seemed to pain him long after his last battle with Volderwort. “How did we get here again?” he asked, casting an impatient glance at Ron who had his nose buried in the want ads.

“Someone said there were new magical abodes in this kingdom and the prices have to be lower than the real estate prices around Hogwarts.”

Hermione slipped her arm through Ron’s and said, “Now that our twelfth redhead is on the way we need a larger house.” She put her free hand on her belly, a belly Harry imagined was now covered with stretch marks like a the paint patterns on a Jackson Pollock painting. He was so glad he married Jenny, who it seemed, did not share the Weezley proclivity to breed like flying bunnies.

After giving birth to Minerva Pamono Trelawney Porter, their third beautiful but non-magical child, Jenny cast a vasectomy spell while Harry was sleeping, just in case he he had his own Weezley moment and got cold feet at the muggle doctor’s. Which was fine with Harry. Royalties were down on his autobiography because Volderwort was a distant memory. Even his own kids shouted, “Dad, get over it. The time of dinosaurs has passed,” if the name ever came up at the dinner table.

“I don’t know,” Harry said. “This neighborhood looks a little wrong.” He swept his arm to indicate the orange trees and green and gold houses and the vast fields of orange grass. “Where are the giant spiders and the hippogriffs? Where are the magical abodes you came looking for? This looks more like the condominium nightmare of a game designer who dropped one tab too many of orange sunshine.”

This was the new subdivision Ron and Hermione visited to look for a bigger house. Everything in sight was green or orange and the trees all looked like homecoming mums.

“Those are in the southeast realm with the magical theme,” said a voice from behind them.

They turned to see a green creature that looked like a half human, half wart hog with a crown of tusks, a ram’s head staff and a purple kilt. He bowed before them. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am the goblin king, but since the Republicans took control of the house and no’d the economy back into a mudslide I’ve had to double as a real estate agent.”

“How’s that going?” Ron asked.

“I’m just glad I’m a character in this game, and not someone on the outside.”

Ever since he identified himself Hermione had been shaking her head violently. “You’re no goblin. I know goblins and they’re gray and sit behind desks and look down their noses at you because you don’t have any of the money they’re guarding in the vaults.”

“I do,” Harry said.

Hermione cast him a glare that Ron knew well. It meant I will make your life so miserable you will wish you stayed at home playing with your spells and never dated. And since Hermione couldn’t punish Harry herself, she would insist that Ron stop going over to Harry’s to watch the Manchester United Quidditch matches on his 70 inch high def TV. Which was really a punishment for Ron since it was the only evening of the week he got away from the kids.

Unlike Hermione, he sympathized with the goblin king. The damn Republicans had even slashed the budget to the ministry of magic as a “job creating measure,” and as a consequence Ron and his brothers were all laid off and his father’s pension slashed in half. Now Hermione was the sole bread winner and she never let him forget that either.

“Those are Hogwarts goblins, our distant cousins. They spend too much time indoors and lose all their color. Besides, people don’t know bank goblins get paid worse than anybody else so they have to sell their green skin pigment to the Federal Reserve to print money.”

“What’s the big deal, Hermione,” Harry asked. “You’re all about equal rights for magical creatures.” Ron cringed inside. Harry didn’t have to back down to Hermione because he didn’t have to live with her. It was hard to imagine she had been so agreeable, and so hot, back in school. When the upper classmen tweeted those nipslip photos of her at the beach, she’d been furious, but he’d been proud because that was his girl.

They wouldn’t be tweeting any pictures now.

“We need to move into a larger house,” Ron said. “We have eleven at home and this one. We’re living in my parents house and they had half as many kids.”

“Whose fault is that?” Hermione challenged. “Some of us do work for a living.”

The goblin king/real estate agent (GKREA) quickly beckoned for them to follow him, clearly a seasoned veteran at dealing with home buyer bickering. “This is our newest subdivision, the elven estates. We may have exactly what you need. All of the homes are modular and can be arranged to house four families, or one family of sixteen.”

As they followed the GKREA up the quartz steps they passed a siamese cat holding a sign that read: “More symeze catz, not black ones.”

Ron leaped back. “Holy muggles. How many claws does that cat have?”

“Thirty-five at last count,” the GKREA said, “but she’s actually from another blog. That’s Jenny Manytoes. She was upset that there were no cats in the kingdom, then someone pointed out that they were all black and hid well. So now she’s trying to save face by demanding siamese cats.”

A beautiful female creature with pale skin and pointed ears floated by, her feet about six inches above the grass. “What kind of creature is that?” Hermione demanded.

“An elf, of course,” said the GKREA. “I told you this was the elven realm.”

Ron and Harry could both see it coming. “That’s not an elf. An elf is short and dumpy and almost as gray as a goblin. What kind of place are you running here?”

Harry said to Ron, under his breath, “You’d think with all those thousands of books she read she would have stumbled across Lord of the Rings.”

“That was before she discovered the real magic weed in wizardry grad school,” Ron whispered back. “Hundreds of ‘study sessions’ and twelve kids later there isn’t too much space left in the memory banks.”

Both shut up immediately when they noticed Hermione’s glare was withering the orange grass at their feet.

The GKREA brought them to a courtyard filled with green, gold and glass houses. The sharp angles and arced roofs reminded Harry of lazy Bauhaus architecture. “I would sign up now,” he said. “The price is lower because of the rolling brownouts the developers created with this newest series of designs. Sometimes the kingdom disappears entirely several times a day. And elf houses are sturdy but they feel flimsy on account of elf materials being mostly air.”

A black dragon swooped at them and he beat it off with his ram’s staff. “Bloody buggers,” he swore. “They used to be the most rare and precious creatures in the kingdom. Now they’re as common as pigeons.”

He noticed all three staring and said, “Well, go on. They don’t breathe fire or anything. They just beg for food and petting.” He segued back into his sales pitch with nary a pause. “People can’t even place orders at the creekside properties, they just get a blank page or the order won’t process. We’re supposed to get a Pegasus Aviary and Assembly Hall, but the king has tried the gift shop several times and just ended up with another dozen giant spider webs.” He shuddered. “Who wants those?”

“How much for one of the corner residences?” Ron asked.

“Ron, don’t you think we should take some time to consider?” Hermione asked, in her casual stern threatening way. The bullying way that all positively cheerful girls develop when they reach middle age and discover other people still have minds of their own.

The GKREA jumped in ahead of her. “Better act quickly,” he said. “Unlike Hogwarts, things in this kingdom tend to go away entirely in a couple of weeks. If you wait, you may get stuck with sub Saharan mud huts or vampire mausoleums.”

“Can you loan us a couple of hundred thousand quid then, Harry?” Ron asked.

“Why call it a loan?” Harry answered. “It’s not as though you ever pay anything back.”

“We take mojo,” the GKREA said. “It’s the only real currency in play around here. And after the house Republicans tanked the economy by playing chicken with the debt deal, the mojo beats the pound or the dollar any day.”


1Even though the actual character names should be in the public domain, regardless of the status of the books and movies, I couldn’t afford to take the chance that JK Rowling might be as litigious as Disney.back


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We Rule Hogwarts Edition

Cauliflower back on schedule

The good news is that cauliflower is back on a 12 hour harvest cycle. For newer players this may not mean much, but there was a time when you could harvest cauliflower twice every day and life was so much easier. Of course in those days L30 and the ruby citadel were the pinnacle of We Rule Success and we lived in tin shacks, went barefoot in the winter, our parents beat us every day and fed us shit for supper and we liked it. Not like kids today who have it easy.

It was nice to have a crop you could harvest twice a day on a regular schedule and not have to look at your watch and wonder if your crops were going to spoil. Then someone at ngmoco:) must have decided they could sell more mojo and set the schedule to 13 hours and 20 minutes, keeping us off-balance for the remainder of the game.

Thanks for giving us twice a day regularity, guys.

And now for what you really want to know

As of Thursday night I was prepared to speculate that this last week was Harry Potter week in We Rule. If they were trying not to be obvious to avoid a law suit, they blew their chances Friday with the Hippogriff and giant spider. In fact the Friday goal and gift releases managed to celebrate episodes 1 to 3.

In case you forgot:

  • Episode 1: The living chess board.
  • Episode 2: Aragog the giant spider.
  • Episode 3: The Hippogriff accused of mauling Draco Malfoy.

Now we can all don our wizard’s caps and cakes, our Harry Potter glasses, grab our wands and sneak our iPhones and iPads into the theater to harvest crops while watching Harry defeat Voldermort once and for all (at least until someone offers Rowling too much money for her to resist yet another installment, which I heard may be happening).

On Tuesday we got a magical abode and the wizard’s prison. I was thinking “Azkaban,” but since I’d never seen Azkaban (a CGI effect they left out of the movies so far—unless it shows up in Harry Potter 7.2, which I shamefully confess I’m waiting for the crowds to clear out to see) I couldn’t say for sure.

By Thursday we could track Harry Potter references for sure. The owlery is where the late Hedwig was raised. The herbology lab is where Snape conducted his nefarious potions. But the giveaway was the stone serpent’s vault with the basilisk. As far as I can tell, the poor basilisk only has one arm, but he’s pretty clearly a basilisk.

I clicked on him to see if he spoke parseltongue, but there was no sound at all. Can you believe it? So I guess we’re stuck with the official online parseltongue translator until the developers fix this grievous error.

If you look closely you’ll see that the basilisk has only one arm. The designers did the same thing to the poor unicorn, left him without one of his hooves. If I were a glass half-full kind of guy, I would say the designers were equal opportunity, giving handicapped characters their shot at the show. I think they simply forgot to save when they were tweaking the 3D models.

So now I want to know: where’s Hogwarts? There has to be a Hogwarts. Maybe that will be next week (although, in my experience, the game designers have the attention span of a three year old). Maybe we will get Hogwarts buildings and Hagrid’s cottage and the evil spider woods.

They don’t have to call the new items those things. They can do it on a wink, wink, nudge nudge basis. But what the hell? They’ve already opened the door to the law suit. We may as well get more Harry Potter in the process.