We Rule…Just a Money Grab?!?

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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.