To Buy or Not to Buy?

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon and We Rule as well. But not the Stephens family who firmly believes that no crisis should be addressed until the holidays when it’s too late resolve the situation to anyone’s satisfaction. Usually we wait until Christmas, but this year one sister and her daughters are headed to Africa meaning this all has to be resolved by this week.

Fortunately, ngmoco:) only released new items on Monday so I didn’t have much to write about. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother to tell anybody so I waited until Friday to update charts that I could have finished on Tuesday.

Usually, family holiday crisis is perfect fodder for writing, but this time the fallout won’t end until well after the New Year and, depending on how the pieces fall, it could take another year before I can figure out how to make it funny. By then we will probably have moved onto to another game.

Still, there have been a couple of developments in We Rule worth commenting on this week, and by next week I hope to be back in full swing with more fun stuff to talk about.

Resurrecting old deals

This is the first time I completely missed the mark on predicting new product releases. I anticipated some kind of Thanksgiving oriented product, and ngmoco:) ignored the holiday altogether. I think the prediction was reasonable since they flooded the game with Halloween products of marginal value.

The Halloween-themed releases did put them in line with other games, such as Farmville and the eighty dozen Tap games (TapZoo, TapKitchen, TapCity, TapFish, etc. I didn’t bother to go back to check and see if I had the names exactly right; they’re mostly iPhone games anyway). And at least ngmoco:) didn’t put a countdown on special items the way other games do. But in spite of cornucopia houses and pilgrims’ huts in Farmville, We Rule stuck with Greek mythology.

This leaves Christmas a toss up. We could see a Yule Log, since that plays into the game’s original medieval theme, but how far the developers will go with the holidays remains to be seen. And the fact that ngmoco:) is now a Japanese company could also be an influencing factor. I’m not sure Jesus and Santa top the cultural charts in that part of the world.

They did, however, resurrect the fairy tree, unicorn’s meadow and broomstick hut. These have little commercial value anymore; there are better shops out at all levels with similar or better returns. But for L11 players, they do provide a decent payoff, and some of us have a sentimental attachment to one or more of them.

I was hoping the fairy trees would have fairies this time, but, no, the fairies are still hiding. A reader once promised to send a screenshot of a fairy. Hopefully they will send it soon.

If you love medieval magic, however, the fairy tree and unicorn’s meadow do help tie your kingdoms back to the roots of the game, and they do pay better than many of the older active shops. It wouldn’t hurt to decorate your kingdoms with one or more if you missed them the first time around.

What I am hoping is that this will become a trend, especially since We Farm brought back the aliens. It would be nice to know that if we need to remove an item, it will show back up once or twice a year should we change our minds later.

We Farm and We City grow up

We Farm and We City both added realms this week. We Farm seems to have gone off the deep end with their Safari mode, but We City is going international. This week they added some Japanese items, perhaps as an homage to their new owners.

Or under orders from their new owners.

If you’ve gotten bored and abandoned one or the other (as I had been tempted to) these moves might pique your interest. We City is also adding some high value items slowly but surely.

Mojo blowouts

I am posting this before the mojo sale ends hoping that a few of you will have a chance to read this in time.

I would never encourage players to buy or use mojo, but I will admit that I indulge. One of the main reasons I use mojo is to mature new properties fast so that I can have the return values to post online the day a shop becomes available. But, I will also admit that spending the money on mojo allows me to open more of the newer shops than I might otherwise.

I try to buy one shop with cash for every shop I buy with mojo, and, if I am flush with cash, I don’t use it for shops at all. And, if you’ve visited my kingdom, you know I buy diamond groves with mojo because that’s the only way you can buy them (again).

Still there are some mojo strategies you can follow.

Save your money and only buy mojo when it becomes available for a 25 percent discount (as opposed to the 20 percent discounts which they also offer). This usually happens once a month and never less often than every other month. Buy the 2000m cask if you can afford it, and the 800m flask if you can’t. These give you the most mojo for your hard dollar.

Only spend mojo when buildings and groves are also discounted. Unfortunately, ngmoco:) doesn’t always put both on sale at the same time. Most importantly, wait to plant diamonds until a 25 percent off sale. Because ngmoco:) can’t sell groves for 7.5m, they have to discount them by a full 30 percent.

This means that you can plant 14 groves for the price of 10. The savings increases because of the fractions involved. If you bought and spent 2000m you would be able to plant 285 groves, or 85 more than you would when the sales are gone.

I combined the 25% off mojo sale, plus the 25% off groves sale, to take advantage of a peculiar number. Reducing diamond groves by 25% forces them to round down to a 30% discount (from 10m to 7m). In essence this cuts the total real dollar cost of diamond groves by half, or from 5¢ for one grove to a fraction over 5¢ for two. This makes it more cost effective for me to replace a stack of ruby groves with a stack of diamonds, reducing the real dollar cost to replace 35 rubies from $1.75 to 91¢.

Click image to see full size

Let’s put this back in a real dollar perspective, however. If you took advantage of the mojo sale, and waited for the building sale, you still spent $75 for those 285 groves. That’s a hell of a lot of money for a game.¢

Stacking mystery deepens

John Wagner, the publicist for ngmoco:) posted a comment on this site that nobody has been banned for life from We Rule. I think we should take him at his word. I did my best to verify that the player who claimed to be banned was actually banned. His kingdom was gone, but it is possible something else happened.

I’ve asked both the player and Wagner for further details, but since this week was a holiday, I doubt we will hear officially for a while. My advice: Stay within the limits I posted last week for now (or close to them) if you haven’t reached them already.

If you have passed them, don’t get honest like I did and remove them. At least not until you hear something official.

Idle Income

Update 11/14/2010: I have revised my opinion on the ponds and there have been new additions of note. Please refer to the rent analysis page.


It was a mixed week for me in We Rule. I hit 400 on the leader board, if only for 30 minutes. On the other hand, I realized that even with 18 million experience points, I had fallen to more than 70 million behind the new leader aeroship (Steven Tyler’s going to be so pissed the guy can’t even spell the band’s name correctly).

When I first started playing in June, with 0 experience points, I was only 14 million behind the leader Zimidar. It seems a little disheartening to realize I have more points than the leader only to fall five times as many behind.

Boy, can that guy stack. It takes longer to load a realm than it takes to load my kingdom.

Even if you disapprove, this is an awesome accomplishment.
He must take more than an hour to harvest each realm.

It’s even more exciting to know that after the build up to the “major upgrade,” we got three more shops. Is there egg over my face or what?

Of course, the beauty of prediction is that sooner or later there will be something I can call a major upgrade, so even if none of the possibilities I covered in the column shows up I can still claim I was right.

Oh, wait. Three new shops in the same week. That’s never happened before. So I can claim that there was a major upgrade. And we got a 25 percent discount on new realms, so many players had an opportunity to do a “major upgrade” of their kingdoms. So I was right after all.

The real upgrade happened in We Farm, however. All of our farms finally received a geographic location. They are now officially in Roswell, New Mexico. It ngmoco:) broadcast in the TV world we could all say it has now officially jumped the shark with crop circles, UFOs and little green jumping men.

Of course they ran out of farm things to add. And all of the white trash stuff was really demeaning to farmers. I have cousins who are farmers and they don’t have pickup trucks on blocks or bait shops in the back yard. I’m surprised they haven’t added outhouses with TV antennas on the roof.

But how far can they take the alien thing? Are we going to have alien/redneck inbreeding? Little green rug rats with overalls and chewing tobacco?

Maybe they will add little EBE breeding pens when they discontinue the kangaroos. Or maybe it will be nests, since we don’t really know anything about alien gestation.

What happens when they add L40? Will our yellow country manor turn into Area 51? Will Mulder and Scully appear as characters when they add an FBI surveillance van?

Or are they working up to a spin off game WE ET? After all, now that they’ve given us We City we no longer need verbs in the title. All I really know is that we’re rapidly reaching the point in We Farm where we have more buildings than the number of customers allowed, and when that happens we want the empty buildings to raise as much money as possible while they sit idle.

This has been an issue in We Rule for a long time, especially for those of us who don’t want to stack multiple realms with nothing but ruby groves. You can add buildings to enhance the look of your kingdom, for the cool characters, or to generate additional revenue and experience. Sadly, very few routinely generate high experience points, so let’s focus on income generation.

Idle income

Should you buy buildings based on their rent return? Quite frankly, at the early stages of the game you should. Once you reach L20 and you add your south and west kingdoms, it may be less of a concern, but you should still consider it.

As you reach the higher levels you may be thinking of other concerns, and after L30 it’s up to you. My main focus is appearance in four of the five realms. Only the my east realm has been sacrificed to revenue, and even then I still put a little thought into how it looks (not much, but a little).

Here are my thoughts on considering rent when making building purchases.

  • Levels 5-10, it should be as important a decision as buying buildings for shoppers.
  • Levels 10-20 you should concentrate on building shops that will provide the best value to customers.
  • Once you can purchase ruby groves (L23), those should be your primary harvest/revenue generating focus. If you’re just placing a building to occupy space, occupy space with a grove.
  • Once you have 30 customers consistently, or you reach L25 and your 3rd realm, you have to decide whether free space is for revenue or design. If it’s design, building rent is important. If it’s revenue, keep adding groves.

This means if you have a chance to buy and upgrade a realm, do it. At your first opportunity. More space means more space for rubies or rent making buildings. If you want a good looking kingdom, the more real estate you have the more room you have to spread out your ruby groves.

You should also understand that the experience return for rentals is low in comparison to the return for shopping. So the cash return will always be better when your building is idle.

Currently the best rent return is the Pirate Ship and Spice Shop, both paying between $20-22 an hour. The next two? Surprisingly, the pond and the Wizard’s Tower. Who would have thought? So if you see someone with a realm stacked with wizards, don’t laugh. The Pirate Ship isn’t available until L33, but the spice market becomes available at L21 so you can take advantage sooner. Both seem to occupy the same amount of space, even though the ship looks bigger.

However, I would still cash those ponds and wizards in for rubies as soon as you can do so. Wizards pay two coins more per hour than trees, but 13 fewer experience points. Not only that, but the tower occupies the same space as two groves. As a consequence, for the same space you can generate almost twice as many coins and twelve times the experience points.

Starting your kingdom

Until you reach L11, you should focus on building ponds and tailor shops. The tailor shops have an excellent customer return and the pond has a great rent return. The other advantage of these items is their extremely low cost, at 1500 coins each.

The pond takes a lot more room, so I would think in terms of two tailor shops for every pond. But remember, the tailor provides a pitiful return when it’s idle

It may seem counterintuitive to focus on a couple of items rather than building a village, and that is always an option. But in my experience, the more quickly you increase your return with a smaller investment, the more quickly you can expand your kingdom and add realms to make room for the more expensive, less profitable items.

Furthermore, because your investment is small, you won’t lose as much when you sell of the property to upgrade to a more expensive building.

Forget the mine after you install the first one unless you need to earn experience points immediately. The immediate payoff in experience points is 10 percent or 100xp, but from that point on, the return is terrible.

Expanding

After L10 you should focus on the more profitable shops. The higher return from your pond (whose customer value is pretty good too) and tailor shop should allow you to add the bigger ticket items that players like. The wizard’s tower is an excellent purchase because it pays off when idle at the same rate as the pond. It’s seven times more expensive to install, so don’t ditch those ponds and tailor shops yet.

But here’s the sad news. As far as idle profit goes, you’ll discover it’s a law of diminishing returns. After the wizard’s tower, rent rates collapse. So you might want to stick with the ponds you already have. The Wizard’s tower provides a decent return for customer sales, but don’t invest in too many. You might want to save your money for more profitable shops later.

The two best rental returns after the tower are the honeybee hive and the magic emporium at $15.25 and $14.58 per hour. However, you can fit two into the space of one tower. As always, there’s a catch. The beehive is only available with mojo, and the emporium, at level 18 is 55000 coins.

This is a tough decision here, and you need to think seriously. Personally, since you can purchase orange groves for $3K (or 5 mojo) at L15, I wouldn’t make a heavy investment in rent properties anymore. The groves will push you more quickly to L17 where you can start harvesting magic cauliflower. The cauliflower will give you a good cash return ($1300 per field profit on eight fields, which will soon expand).

My best suggestion would be a couple of towers, two-to-three honeybee hives and a couple of emporiums once you reach L18. If you want more rentals to fill your new south kingdom, 1500 coins to buy ponds is still your best bet. You should be relying on cash income from crops, experience from oranges and cultivating customers by investing in the most profitable shops.

L23 and beyond

Once you can install ruby groves and harvest cauliflower, focus on profitable shops. The Spice Market, available at L21 is an extraordinary investment because it performs superbly for customers (with 50 combined points and and almost 60 for you), and empty ($20 per hour). So don’t worry about rental return any more. The pond and tower still outperform every shop but the spice market for idle income until you hit the mid-thirties.

The only better performer for cash income than the market, pond and tower is the Pirate Ship at L33, which pays close to $22 per hour. The ship, spice market and red dragon finish in the top 3 for combined points. So the bottom line after L30 is the shops that are good for customers are also the shops that perform well empty.

I’ve included charts below so you can study the numbers. In a week or so, I’ll move this all to the analysis pages where you can find them more easily.

I’ve also included a chart of the animated characters, which should also be a factor in purchasing once you’re at the higher levels and design becomes a concern. This includes the really cool characters—like the pirate, the bar wench, the knight and the butterfly swarm—as well as the dogs—the candlemaker, the drunk stumbling home from the tavern with his pot of ale, and whoever that nerd is that ngmoco:) decided would best embrace the brothers and multi-cultural diversity.

Sadly, the three-hooved unicorn, who is so charming in spite of his disability, is no longer available to new players. I really love my unicorns. Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat, loves them too. She likes to bat at them and chase them off the screen. She would eat them if she could. I don’t want to eat them, but I would pet them if I could. I would raise them in my backyard and let them chase off the tea baggers canvassing me before the elections now that I’ve unplugged my phone so I can’t hear their robocalls.

Rent by levels

 

Level Cost Hrs Net/Hr Exp/Hr Total
L 5            
Pond* 5 1500 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
Guild Hall 10 7500 16 $12.50 1.1 13.6
Barn 10 6500 48 $7.29 1.0 8.3
Windmill 9 6000 48 $6.25 1.0 7.3
Tailor 6 1500 24 $4.17 0.8 5.0
Mine 5 1000 10 $4.00 0.8 4.8
School 7 2500 24 $3.33 0.9 4.3
Lumberyard 8 4000 35 $1.03 1.0 2.0
L 10            
Wizard’s Tower 11 11,000 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
Beehive 12 10m 18 $15.28 5.6 20.8
Magic Emporium 18 55,000 24 $14.58 1.7 16.3
Tavern 16 22,000 36 $13.89 2.8 16.7
Butterfly Garden 16 35m 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
Stables 14 18,000 12 $12.50 2.3 14.8
Fairy tree 20  

12 $12.50 0.8 13.3
Inn 16 23,500 48 $11.46 2.6 14.1
Jewelry Store 17 40,000 36 $11.11 6.9 18.1
Dragon 20 100,000 72 $11.11 2.1 13.2
Candle shop 17 25,000 37 $10.81 1.9 12.7
Bakery 12 12,000 24 $10.42 1.2 11.6
Griffin Nest 19 75,000 48 $10.42 2.1 12.5
Naval Ship 20 18m 27 $8.89 7.8 16.7
Cobbler 14 20,000 24 $8.33 13.5 21.9
Prison 18 20m 48 $7.81 6.3 14.1
Book Store 19 98,000 16 $7.81 14.1 21.9
Blacksmith 14 16,000 48 $7.40 1.1 8.5
Watchtower 15 18,000 48 $7.29 1.3 8.5
Butcher 13 14,000 36 $6.25 1.2 7.4
L 21            
Spice Market 21 100,000 10 $20.00 7.5 27.5
Phoenix 25 250,000 46 $15.22 7.3 22.5
Millener 28 180,000 22 $13.64 4.3 18.0
Hall of Justice 26 165,000 60 $10.00 4.6 14.6
Theater 28 190,000 18 $9.72 10.8 20.6
Serpent’s Lair 27 220,000 34 $9.56 7.4 16.9
Cheese Shop 21 90,000 29 $9.48 6.0 15.5
Fish market 29  

30 $9.33 10.0 19.3
Falconry 24 120,000 60 $7.50 6.7 14.2
Jousting Arena 25 150,000 60 $7.50 7.5 15.0
Unicorn 21 NA 48 $6.77 10.4 17.2
Clocktower 22 105,000 48 $6.67 6.7 13.3
Shipyard 23 115,000 42 $6.55 11.9 18.5
Archery 22 25m 8 $6.25 12.5 18.8
Fortune Teller 23 95,000 64 $5.47 6.6 12.1
L 30            
Pirate Ship 33 285,000 28 $21.79 6.4 28.2
Cartographer 32 275,000 42 $18.45 7.1 25.6
Red Dragon 35 300,000 60 $16.67 10.4 27.1
Apothecary 31 250,000 54 $15.74 9.1 24.8
Butterfly Garden 32 280,000 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
University 30 275,000 48 $8.75 8.8 17.5

Rent by Income

Building Rent Return
 

Level Cost Rent XP Hrs Rent/Hr XP/Hr Combined
Pirate Ship 33 285,000 610 180 28 $21.79 6.4 28.2
Spice Market 21 100,000 200 75 10 $20.00 7.5 27.5
Pond* 5 1500 150 10 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
Wizard’s Tower 11 11,000 150 10 8 $18.75 1.3 20.0
Cartographer 32 275,000 775 300 42 $18.45 7.1 25.6
Red Dragon 35 300,000 1000 625 60 $16.67 10.4 27.1
Apothecary 31 250,000 850 490 54 $15.74 9.1 24.8
Beehive 12 10m 275 100 18 $15.28 5.6 20.8
Phoenix 25 250,000 700 335 46 $15.22 7.3 22.5
Magic Emporium 18 55,000 350 40 24 $14.58 1.7 16.3
Tavern 16 22,000 500 100 36 $13.89 2.8 16.7
Millener 28 180,000 300 95 22 $13.64 4.3 18.0
Butterfly Garden 16 35m 280 170 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
Butterfly Garden 32 280,000 280 170 22 $12.73 7.7 20.5
Stables 14 18,000 150 27 12 $12.50 2.3 14.8
Guild Hall 10 7500 200 17 16 $12.50 1.1 13.6
Fairy tree 20  

150 10 12 $12.50 0.8 13.3
Inn 16 23,500 550 125 48 $11.46 2.6 14.1
Jewelry Store 17 40,000 400 250 36 $11.11 6.9 18.1
Dragon 20 100,000 800 150 72 $11.11 2.1 13.2
Candle shop 17 25,000 400 70 37 $10.81 1.9 12.7
Griffin Nest 19 75,000 500 100 48 $10.42 2.1 12.5
Bakery 12 12,000 250 28 24 $10.42 1.2 11.6
Hall of Justice 26 165,000 600 275 60 $10.00 4.6 14.6
Theater 28 190,000 175 195 18 $9.72 10.8 20.6
Serpent’s Lair 27 220,000 325 250 34 $9.56 7.4 16.9
Cheese Shop 21 90,000 275 175 29 $9.48 6.0 15.5
Fish market 29  

280 300 30 $9.33 10.0 19.3
Naval Ship 20 18m 240 210 27 $8.89 7.8 16.7
University 30 275,000 420 420 48 $8.75 8.8 17.5
Cobbler 14 20,000 200 325 24 $8.33 13.5 21.9
Book Store 19 98,000 125 225 16 $7.81 14.1 21.9
Prison 18 20m 375 300 48 $7.81 6.3 14.1
Jousting Arena 25 150,000 450 450 60 $7.50 7.5 15.0
Falconry 24 120,000 450 400 60 $7.50 6.7 14.2
Blacksmith 14 16,000 355 55 48 $7.40 1.1 8.5
Watchtower 15 18,000 350 60 48 $7.29 1.3 8.5
Barn 10 6500 350 50 48 $7.29 1.0 8.3
Unicorn 21 NA 325 500 48 $6.77 10.4 17.2
Clocktower 22 105,000 320 320 48 $6.67 6.7 13.3
Shipyard 23 115,000 275 500 42 $6.55 11.9 18.5
Archery 22 25m 50 100 8 $6.25 12.5 18.8
Butcher 13 14,000 225 42 36 $6.25 1.2 7.4
Windmill 9 6000 300 48 48 $6.25 1.0 7.3
Fortune Teller 23 95,000 350 425 64 $5.47 6.6 12.1
Tailor 6 1500 100 20 24 $4.17 0.8 5.0
Mine 5 1000 40 8 10 $4.00 0.8 4.8
School 7 2500 80 22 24 $3.33 0.9 4.3
Lumberyard 8 4000 36 35 35 $1.03 1.0 2.0

Characters

 

Level Male Female Creature
Apothecary 31 Chemist  

 

Archery 22 Archer  

 

Bakery 12  

Mrs. Pillsbury
Barn 10  

 

Brown Cow
Beehive 12  

 

 

Blacksmith 14 Sword Smith  

 

Book Store 19  

Buxom Librarian  

Butcher 13 Butcher  

 

Butterfly Garden 16  

 

Butterfly Swarm
Candle Shop 17 Wax Maker  

 

Cartographer 32 Mapmaker  

 

Cheese Shop 21  

Milk Maid  

Clock Tower 22 Clockmaker  

 

Cobbler 14 Cobbler  

 

Dragon 20  

 

Blue Dragon
Fairy Tree 20  

 

 

Falconry 24  

Falconress  

Fish Market 29  

Dowager  

Fortune Teller 23  

Fortune Teller  

Griffin Nest 19  

 

Baby Griffin
Guild Hall 10 Knight  

 

Hall Of Justice 26 Judge  

 

Inn 16  

Bar Wench  

Jewelry Store 17  

Fiance  

Jousting Arena 25 Jousting Knight  

 

Lumberyard 8 Hooded Woodman  

 

Magic Emporium 18  

Flying Witch  

Milliner 28  

Well-Dressed Woman  

Mine 5  

Prospector  

Naval Ship 20  

 

 

Phoenix 25  

 

Phoenix
Pirate Ship 33 Buccaneer  

 

Pond* 5  

 

Frog Prince
Prison 18 Executioner  

 

Red Dragon 35  

 

Red Dragon
School 7 Boy With Slingshot Running Girl  

Serpent’s Lair 27  

 

 

Shipyard 23 Dockworker  

 

Spice Market 21 Hindu Merchant  

 

Stables 14  

 

Horse
Tailor 6  

Seamstress In Pink  

Tavern 16 Drunk  

 

Theater 28 Thespian  

 

Unicorn 21  

 

 

University 30 Clarence Thomas Faux  

 

Watchtower 15 Watchman  

 

Windmill 9  

 

Dappled Cow
Wizard’s Tower 11 Wizard