What Ngmoco has been doing lately…

That is still the most ironic tagline I’ve seen in a game.  “Your Rules”.  So long as it agrees with Ngmoco’s greed policies…

Its been a while, Ngmoco, its been a long while.  So what has my ex-favorite company been doing lately?  See, for those that don’t remember or weren’t following me at the time, I talked about We Rule when this blog started.  You can search for the posts on my blog using “We Rule” but this was the “last” post I made on it.  We Rule was a great game then.  It was a Free-to-play game and on my new iPod touch, the game appealed to me and it was fun at first…well, you can see what happened, my enjoyment dried up and I became very disenchanted with the game as the developers showed more and more greed with each update and I simply couldn’t tolerate it anymore.  (Especially when interacting with friends required even more $$)  F2P should not equal we-take-your-money-all-the-time.  And do I really even need to talk about the failure that is Plus+?  The social network that is dying and many games have left?  Didn’t think so…

It seems that I missed the anniversary of We Rule.  (Now called We Rule Deluxe)  Shame I guess, wait, no, not really.  Back then, it startled me though when I would hear about people spending thousands of dollars on the game. It explains the appeal F2P can have to developers when they could possibly extract way more cash out of their customers than a simply 99 cents (or $60) each.  Alas, I still hold hope that eventually F2P games get to the point where they are enjoyable without making you sick from all the greed….but I’m still waiting for that day.  Team Fortress 2 is so far the closest I’ve gotten to that hope.

Oh and to celebrate this anniversary, Ngmoco gives its players two things for free: 1: A confirmation screen making sure you want to spend your cash in the game.  2: A forced upgrade requiring all their customers to get the latest apple tech in order to play….wait what?  Here is the exact quote from their own website:

Starting with We Rule 1.6, the following Apple devices will no longer be supported by ngmoco:). You may still be able to play We Rule, but we cannot offer technical support or specific updates for the following devices:

iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch 1st Generation (All Models), iPod Touch 2nd Generation (All Models), iPod Touch 3rd Generation (8GB Model)

There are several reasons behind this decision. First and foremost, since these devices are no longer receiving iOS updates from Apple itself, compatibility naturally becomes a problem over time as we must develop with the latest version of Apple iOS in mind. Also paramount is the overall quality of We Rule, including its stability. In its current state, We Rule is essentially bound to the constraints of these older devices. By accepting the fact that we can no longer support these devices, our team can focus on new features for the 95% of players who play on newer generation devices.

Now sure, this sounds like you can still play the game….except you can’t.  According to the iTunes reviews, people on a unsupported device can no longer access their game.  I might be wrong on this part as I do not own an older device, but I have to say its a dick move to force this upgrade on your customers, especially if they were paying for the game.

Yes, Apple is forcing everyone to upgrade to a 3rd or 4th generation device for iOS 5.0.  Except here is the BIG difference between Apple’s policy and Ngmoco’s.  Those devices can still work with their present OSes without a problem.  Its not like Apple is going to come along and just brick those devices. But Ngmoco went and “bricked” those devices for its game.  Boy, it just makes you want to trust them doesn’t it…*sarcasm*

I do love that Ngmoco says 5% of their players are on unsupported devices.  According to the three star average rating on iTunes for We Rule, I think quite a few customers disagree with Ngmoco.  True, it could be trolling from the consumers, but I’m not going to go into that argument in this post, otherwise I’ll be talking all night ;). I also love that they mentioned “quality” in that post.  I’ve seen their level of “quality”…its not impressive.

Oh I almost forgot to mention that Ngmoco’s developers apparently threw in a “mojo-confirmation” screen, which basically confirms that you wish to spend your $$ in game.  Yes, it was possible to “accidentally” spend your $$ in the game.  Since the spend-mojo button tended to be a very big, in the middle of the screen button that was just so easy to hit while collecting your $$ from the game.  I’m sure Ngmoco called it a “feature”.  See the screenshot below this paragraph to see what I mean.  The next one is what it took took the coders, apparently, a year to program it in.  Think on that for a moment.  Best part of the confirmation screen is that you have to go into the settings app of your all your devices you play We Rule on, find the We Rule settings and flip the switch to “On”.  Because, you know, there is no way customers would want to protect their hard earned cash on default….-_-…my brain hurts.

See that “Use Mojo” button in the above screenshot?  That is right in the center of the screen on an iPhone or even iPad and it has a habit of moving sometimes depending on where you pressed on the screen.  This same design showed up in their We Farm and We City games, which clearly shows that Ngmoco wished you to push it often, whether on purpose or accident.  No refunds for accidental pushes either, so you lost $$ on wasted pushes sometimes and Ngmoco went “tough luck” to those that had.  Those use-mojo buttons would sometimes cost a good chunk of mojo. The picture to the right is what they finally put into the game once you turned on the setting and this would show up anytime you might try spending mojo.  Truly, that took a year to create and program into the game.  *sarcasm*

So to add to the mess,  We Farm and City have been discontinued. Yup.  They simply pulled the plug on new content updates and the games will sit unchanged until the next OS breaks them and you might see an update to fix the problems, but more likely Ngmoco will pull them and cut them from their server, considering how they are treating their other games on the App store…

So to top it all off, Ngmoco removed a portion of their apps from the store.  They are as follows: Post from Website here.

The following games will be retired on October 27, 2011:
  • We Doodle
  • Charadium
  • Star Wars: Imperial Academy
  • Touch Pets Dogs
  • Adventure Bay
  • We Bowl
  • Solitaire & Prizes
  • Blackjack & Prizes

Even if these games were on your device, they are unplayable due to the fact they were server games and were stripped from said server.  I actually bought two of those (way back when) and I feel ripped off.  Sure, I haven’t played them in a good long while, but imagine if you just bought those games and they were ripped from the store and made unplayable to you?  I’m not sure if Apple would refund your $$ either, and I know that Ngmoco wouldn’t.  Most of the games were hardly on the store for half a year.  I think its pretty much unprecedented for such a large company to pull support of that many apps.  Just that alone should shake anyone’s confidence in them, if nothing else I’ve talked about before hasn’t already done that for you.

Clearly, Ngmoco has decided that it should just pull the plug and cut costs.  However, those cuts ultimately hurt those that used their hard earned money to enjoy their games, even if they were questionable games.  But to be honest, it just all adds up to be a greedy and evil company.  My next post on Ngmoco is up.

-King Isaac Linksr

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