The joys of stacking

We finally have fairies. Sugar plum fairies.

Their picture on the promotional splash page depicts them in a wide range of colors, from deep purple clothes to pink hair. But we saw fairies on the fairy tree splash page, so I had to look closely to be sure. We do have fairies, but they’re pink.

After the mishap with the university I would have thought the developers would avoid another cultural stereotype like pink fairies. But no, they just dropped them into the game to flit around. At least the fairies don’t play show tunes when you click on them.

Stacking rumors still abound

If you’ve been following the comments you know the rumors about stacking prohibitions and players being banned for life continue. I wrote Joe Wagner at ngmoco:) again, asking for any official statement and this was his reply:

Essentially, stacking is unintended and a glitch. We attempted a fix in We Rule Quests, but as with many things there was another way around it.

That being said we’ve placed build limits in the game to avoid players cheating and stacking thousands of Ruby Groves as they had in the past.

Again, stacking is not intentional, and we’ve tried many things to stop it. Players should recognize this as a glitch and not as a free ride.

We haven’t removed any assets from any players’ Kingdoms since We Rule Quests was released and players were given a full (Coin) reimbursement for any Groves removed due to the standing stacking bug.

He also posted a comment earlier that ngmoco:) had tried to contact players if they were going to take action but that many players use false email addresses to set up their identity.

It sounds like policy has changed since acehound, ~King and friends lost ninety percent of their rubies. According to the correspondence this seems to be ngmoco:)’s official position:

  • No one will be banned for life.
  • No one will have their groves removed.
  • The developers placed some internal limits on stacking groves.

That being said, I would advise players not to push ngmoco:)’s buttons by pushing every limit. The developers still consider excessive stacking cheating, and, to be honest, so do most players, including those who stack. So here would be a few suggestions to consider:

  • Don’t stack everything in your realm. Mix unstacked buildings and stacked groves.
  • Only stack buildings for special visual effects or to nudge one or two together.
  • Instead of spending coins and mojo for lots of little buildings to stack, invest in the highest producing shops at your level to draw customers to your kingdom.
  • Stack elements that don’t pay anything to create visual effects and illusions. It suggests you aren’t stacking only to squeeze every last dime out of your available real estate.
  • Make sure your account accompanies a legitimate email address so that ngmoco:) can contact you if they do feel you’re overdoing it.

Most of all, don’t be pissed if they figure out a way to stop stacking.

Write me of your experience differs from the reports here

I have tried to contact players who ran afoul, or claim to have run afoul of ngmoco:)’s antistacking policy. No one who claims to have been banned for life has returned my emails.

Acehound has written the blog about his experiences, but he is still stacking (although on a far more limited scale) and hasn’t been banned for life.

If you have experienced anything that runs contrary to the official accounts, send an email with the details so I can get back to you and share with the readers.

How to stack

There are videos that demonstrate how to stack, but I found they didn’t really do more than point me in the right direction. So after my emails with ngmoco:) convinced me they aren’t happy with the practice but they aren’t officially punishing players either, I decided to give players a little tutorial.

Stacking involves two or more objects. The semi-transparent stacking base(s) and the stacking object which must slide into position on top.

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You can’t stack unless you’re in redesign mode. Click on the redesign button at the bottom of the iPad touch screen or inside the build dialogue on the iPhone screen.

The most basic step in stacking is to select the base object. To do this you must select (or position) an element nearby and touch that. The white rotate or sale dialogue must hover above the object you want to use as the stacking base. You will then need to touch the object underneath the floating dialogue and hold your finger in place until the object becomes selected.

The edit object dialogue must hover above the object you want to select to be the stacking base.

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You will know an element is selected to be stacked upon when it turns darker. The dialogue will still be visible.

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You will know the object is selected when it turns darker. The dialogue should be visible during the entire process. You may have to try this several times before you become good at selecting objects.

Once the object is selected you can touch and drag the stacking object into place. The selected base will hide any elements of the stacking object that overlap.

Touch the stacking object to pick it up and slide it into place just as you would do when moving objects in the redesign stage. The selected base will hide the stacking object where the two overlap.

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Important tip: Don’t touch the stacking base again or you will deselect it and make it unavailable for stacking.

If you want to continue to stack, select the stacking object to add it to the stacking base. You can have multiple objects selected, but if you want to stack onto the object you just stacked it must also be selected. This allows you to create a string of stacked objects.

You cannot, however, stack more than one object at a time.

You can select multiple objects and stack over them. In this screen shot one grove is stacked over two different groves to form a row.

However, you can only stack one object at a time.

Click image to see full size

Positioning can be very important in the aesthetics of stacking, and this can take a practiced eye. Creating an even line of groves, for instance, requires different parts and amounts of the stacking object to be visible after positioning. To stack downward or to the left, only a slim edge of the object needs to be visible after stacking. To stack upward or to the right requires more of the stacking object to be visible.

Some people are so good at this they never miss a step. I do, and I will admit to creating some lumpy rows. But it can be so difficult to dismantle a section of a row and start again, I rarely do. It can be done, but it involves making multiple selections in two areas of the row and guiding the missing groves in precisely.

Positioning can be everything, especially when creating rows and columns of groves. These screenshots should help you get a sense of what groves should look like when positioned correctly to extend a row or column.

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Making selections can really be difficult when the object you want to use as the stacking base is adjacent to a large object or one wall of a realm. When this happens, I use an ash tree or a road to create the edit dialogue. Both fit into extremely narrow spaces and the road can be rotated and partially positioned underneath difficult to reach objects.

When I find myself in tight corners I use ash trees and sections of road to select the stacking base. They fit into those tight spaces most of the time. Notice how I move the position of the road as I add new groves to the row.

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Stacking over multiple objects in different locations

You may discover that the building you want to stack has to squeeze between several objects in different locations. Don’t worry. This is the best time to use the ash tree to help you make a selection. Position it next to the first stacking base and make a selection. Then move it into position next to each object you want to add to the stacking area.

Be careful not to touch on of the objects already selected because this will deselect it. If that happens, however, you can always reposition the ash tree and select again.

You can select objects in several different locations to stack an object in between them. In this example I selected two corner like tiles, the lighthouse, the Medusa’s den and the chimera’s temple. I used the ash tree to make difficult selections. Once they were all selected the ice sculptor’s abode slipped into place.

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Some players may think they need to clear out groves they’ve already placed to stack new groves. This is totally unnecessary. If you have a row of unstacked groves, simply select the first grove in the row and slide the second grove into place. Then select that grove and keep sliding the remaining groves into place.

Important tip! Use stacking to make room for new objects in a stack. There’s no need to delete anything.

You don’t need to delete objects to add new objects to a stack. Stack the objects that are already there first. In this example I selected the top grove as the base and then moved the next grove into place. I add each new grove to the selection in order to stack the next grove.

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Adding new buildings or groves.

I like to have the stacking object nearby so that I can move it into position as soon as the stacking bases are all selected. But this isn’t always possible.

Some of you may think you can’t leave the editing process to add new buildings, but you can. I select the objects I want to use as the stacking base and then I move yet another object over the selected objects. For some reason this keeps them all selected even after you leave the editor. You can now add a new object over any previously selected object even though you are no longer in the editor.

Important tip: While you’re still in the editor, you can move any object across the stacking objects. This locks them into a selected state even if you leave the editor.

However, once you place the new object in your kingdom, you will have to return to the editing state to select it as a stacking base.

Stacking Order

Usually, the object you select before you move another object onto it will interact with the stacked object the way you expect. If you plant a river on a tree or a tree on a river, the tree will appear to be rising from the river.

Stacking order didn’t matter in this case. The trees will appear to rise from the river no matter which object is selected for the base and which is the stacking object.

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Occasionally, however, the results don’t turn out the way you want. The water hides the stacking object or the building you intended to be in front is hidden by the building you thought would be stacked in the background.

In order to get the demon’s cave to appear as though it were in front of the dark castle, I had to select the demon cave first and then move the dark castle behind it. Even then I had to try this several times to get the position and the look the way I wanted it.

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Most of the time you can avoid this by selecting the object you want to be stacked onto the top and then positing the stacking object behind it. Sometimes, however, you never get the effect you want. You may have to settle for something that resembles your vision, or scrap your idea until you figure out a better way to do it.

I never could figure out a way to keep the top right corners of the lake tiles from covering the bloom decorations I wanted to rise from the water. So I settled because I didn’t think the flaw was noticeable unless looked at carefully. With the Medusa’s lair in the earlier tree on river example, however, I had to give up on a second lake tile and build a faux island because I couldn’t make the lair rise out of the water. The second lake tile simply covered it up no matter which order I used for stacking.

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Stack happy

This about all you really need to know about stacking. Most of the art takes experience and practice. I know many of you have already figured most of this out, but I hope you may have picked up a couple of useful tips along the way.

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