We Rule…Just a Money Grab?!?

We Rule...Just a Money Grab?!?Courtesy of Steve Wampler

The first day I had an ipad, my kiddos were super excited and demanded that I get some games. Of course I had to listen!  After a few hours of Plants vs Zombies, they wanted more. Translation, I needed to find a new game for them to play. I remembered hearing about the game We Rule on a podcast so we took a look. The boys were instantly hooked!

We Rule might best be described as farmville on steroids. You farm your crops and the more you raise the better things go. You add businesses, houses and decorate the kingdom.  A nice feature is the ability to make an In-app purchase for what the developers refer to as “mojo”. Simply put, mojo speeds up the game.

The game has become great fun with my boys who want me to constantly check our crops and shops. When it comes time to make a “purchase” I let them decide. The game is highly addictive, loads of fun and a good way for us to work together as a family team.

We Rule...Just a Money Grab?!?

Recently I received a notification to download We Rule Gold. I was not sure what it was, but did download. I logged into my game account and our kingdom instantly appeared. Seems this was an update that fixed an orientation issue and added a new feature- you could now “buy” a prison and a few other items.

It was then that i discovered that this “update” was much more like a “downgrade”.  Available crops had been removed, “prices” had been hiked, and the “rules” seemed to have been changed overnight. There was a way to get things back to where they had been but that required pulling out a credit card and purchasing lots of mojo points. That’s right, to get planting and growing well again you had to actually spend real money to BUY virtual points.

We Rule...Just a Money Grab?!?

Yup, Ngmoco, the company behind the game, had effectively  eliminated virtually any possibility of advancing the game at an entertaining pace unless you got out the credit card and bought lots of mojo.  Now i have no issue with the company making money. That’s their business. I have no problem with them giving you the option to buy mojo. I do, however, have a problem with them getting people invested in the game and then making such a significant switch mid-stream. Many people who were actively playing the game on the original terms had suddenly found many of the features they were used to simply taken away…unless they were willing to pay. In the retail business this is known as a bate and switch it is just as wrong when you are talking apps as when you are talking refrigerators or cars.

I’m pissed, and a quick search of Twitter reveals that I am not alone.

People are unhappy with the company’s decision and many of them have spent real money already playing the game only to find the rules changed.

I plan on keeping my game for a bit longer, because my 5 and 2 year old sons do not understand that the Ngmoco is attempting a money grab and ruining the product we have come to enjoy. But I’m not happy and am looking for alternative games to play with the boys. One thing is for sure… When I find one it won’t be from Ngmoco. I’m not interested in being played, nor in making purchases from a company that pulls this kind of  bait and switch with their user-base.

It is a sad day in the kingdom!

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.

2 Comments on "We Rule…Just a Money Grab?!?"

  1. I also stopped playing after I reached level 25.
    In addition to the money issue, fundamentally the game is tedious, repetitive, and not fun. There is no economic model and building/producing costs are changing so drastically and arbitrarily, I lost interest quickly. It doesn’t help that We Rule is most frequently crashing app on my iPads.
    I also have problem with ngmoco in general. Take a look at their game portfolio and you will find very few of their games are original, and they mostly copy other games left and right. We Rule will be my last ngmoco game.

  2. Deni Tako | June 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm |

    I’ve actually found the gold version not to crash anywhere near as much as the original one did. I don’t get the out of memory notifications any more either.

    It seemed to me that the things that were taken away (Magic Asparagus & Magic Cauliflower were the only ones I noticed, but they don’t come back until level 40 – that could take YEARS to get to!) we kind of offset by some of the new items, the Orange Groves. The orange grove gives you 50XP every 6 hours (it was originally 3 days!) now and so I have quite a few of them. I kind of base what else I will plant on a schedule that will let me maximize harvesting the oranges.

    I don’t order from other kingdoms, since there is limit of 30 orders (orders you accept and orders you place combined) and I earn more on the ones I make, and I know for sure they will be delivered.

    I’m only level 24 now, just waiting for that jump to 25 so I can get more land, and then will be putting in even more oranges, until I can put in the Ruby Groves.

    I did buy some mojo, but I really only use it to finish off some orders when I’m close to a level up, or to instantly finish construction on new businesses.

    I don’t think it’s too bad, nor did I feel compelled to buy the mojo – I knew going in that it was that kind of game. Either wait a really long time to level up or pay into the game to advance faster. I played one of those on Facebook and got really into it for awhile, so I’m not shocked by this business model.

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