iRule

Okay, don’t read too much into the title. I just needed something catchy, if not silly, for this entry. My hiatus from online gaming has produced a completely unexpected result for my gaming habits: casual gaming. Wait, what? Did I really just admit to playing “casual” games? Oh dear god. I did! But dear readers, it gets worse … I’m actually playing a facebook game. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Well, it’s not the end of the world. Sure I may have on occasion bitched about some of my facebook friends spamming up my news feed with their FB game spam, but fortunately for me, I don’t have to spam my friend’s feeds if I don’t want to. (At least I hope it hasn’t been spamming other’s feeds) Alas, this is not going to be an entry about Treasure Isle on Facebook. No my friends, I’ve succumb to the charm of an iPhone/iPod game: We Rule.

North : East : West : South

Comparisons to Farmville are not without merit, but We Rule is substantially different to deserve an examination without direct comparisons to that other game which is a blight upon the facebook society. Sure you grow crops in We Rule, but the game itself is very SimCity’sh with the ability to customize and build your kingdom as you see fit. You’ll build tailor shops, schools, bakeries, etc that your friends can place orders at which yield gold and experience for you and your friend when fulfilled and delivered.┬áIt’s all very basic, and yet addictive as SimCity was so many years ago.

We Rule is definitely not without its problems as it crashes, a LOT. There are also strange bugs with businesses not appearing open for business to friends and occasionally there will be frustrating collision problems when attempting to place objects around your kingdom. I’ve spent far too much time tinkering with the redesign tool to work around some of the collision problems in order to get my kingdom to appear how it does today.

I spent far too much time getting those darned trees to align properly.

Fortunately the growing popularity of We Rule is giving ngmoco a reason to address these issues. We’ve seen multiple updates to improve the stability (which still sucks) and speed (which is still slow as molasses) of the game as well as given us a few new toys to play around with. One of the biggest additions to the game has been the inclusion of magic vegetables which yield obscene amounts of gold and experience for a moderate gold and harvest time investment. Once I was able to plant magic cauliflower gold became trivial and I was able to go all out on designing my kingdom.

There are still plenty of updates I’d like to see to We Rule, the biggest being a sortable friends list. I’d also like it if there were benefits to being OCD in designing your kingdom, ie. roads increasing yields of your orders or a happiness factor to your kingdom. Other than personal preference and satisfaction there is no benefit to designing your kingdom. This presents a problematic issue for those striving for the leader boards: either stack dragon caves and gryphon nests all over your kingdom, or the continual building and selling of buildings just for the experience bonuses.

Another sterling example of my OCD.

Then I’d greatly appreciate an improved redesign tool where you could either lock objects in place or have it go into a pseudo-outline mode ala Adobe Illustrator. I can’t tell you how many times when redesigning my kingdom I’ll end up moving a road, fence, tree when I was trying to move something else. Rivers are also very problematic to place currently and I’m hoping ngmoco can make them function a lot more like the roads.

Anyways, I still need to figure out how to properly pay homage to Excalibur in my kingdom with the sword in stone object as well as figure out what I’m going to do once I hit level 25 and have more room for my kingdom. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch check out We Rule (it’s free!) and come place some orders in my kingdom (username: nevikjames).