Archives for posts with tag: premium characters

Some time ago, Lee sent in this comment (and even further back Schpeen sent in something similar):

How many income-generating characters are there in the game (include all premium characters and those from special events & episode promos)?

Not all characters are income-generating, some are just walking decorations (eg: Mayan God). But I seems to take a much longer time to send everyone to tasks nowadays, with increasing number of characters.

Springfield is certainly getting busy because as of the date of this post there are currently more than 50 playable characters that you need to keep gainfully employed every day (and there are several more on the way). Here’s a list of the characters that have tasks (which means that the Funzos, the Whacking Day snakes, the Leprechaun, some of the Halloween characters, and the Animals and Pets are not included):

The Simpsons: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Grampa (set full)
Churchy Joes: Ned, Reverend Lovejoy
Villains: Mr. Burns, Hank Scorpio, Snake, the Rich Texan
School Workers: Principal Skinner, Willie, Edna Krabappel, Otto
Civil Servants: Chief Wiggum, Mayor Quimby
Business Owners: Apu, Comic Book Guy, Moe, Luigi, Lugash (set full)
C-List Celebrities: Krusty, Kent Brockman, Bumblebee Man, Sideshow Mel, Miss Springfield (set full)
B-List Celebrities: Duffman, Tatum
Oddballs: Cletus, Frink
Squeaky Voice Teen and Moleman: Squeaky Voice Teen, Moleman
Kids: Milhouse, Martin, Ralph
Toughies: Nelson, Kearney, Shauna
Wiseguys: Fat Tony, Legs, Louie
Barflies: Barney
Doctors: Dr. Hibbert, Dr. Nick
Plant Workers: Smithers, Lenny, Carl
Irishmen: Tom O’Flanagan
Oldies: Agnes Skinner
Halloween: Kang

As you’ll notice, some of the character sets are full. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’ll be no new characters for the set. As recently happened during Whacking Day, and with the release of Agnes, all that really means is that the developers may reshuffle the existing sets and create a new one. The bottom line is that’s there are now a lot to characters to organize – which means if you think you’re spending longer on the game than you have been in the past, you’re probably right. You are.

But this is all leading somewhere: who would you like to see added to the existing sets in future updates, and what new sets do you think there should be if they can only go in a set that’s full? We know of at least four main characters and 5 minor ones that are on their way in the Squidport expansion and levels 31 and 32 – so, why not think beyond that to level 32, 33, 34 and 35. Maybe someone from EA will see this and bring your favorite character that not there yet into the game.

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There have been a few questions about the Homer Buddha since the Yard Sale update and whether the odds have changed. I’ve checked the files and everything seems to be exactly as it was – nothing seems to have changed. So, here’s a repost on the odds of winning something good (this originally appeared at the end of March).

As the instructions to the Homer Buddha say, your 15 donut spend means that you win a premium item every time. But can you win anything really good, like the Duff Brewery or the Volcano Lair? Well, it turns out you can, although the chances of doing so are actually very, very low.

When you buy the Homer Buddha, your game is doing a little bit of calculating behind the scenes, and generating a random number between 0 and 1 (a bit like a roulette wheel). Each item available through the Homer Buddha has a number assigned to it – a “chance”. You win the item that has the first number that’s greater than the random number the game generates.

So, what are the chances, then, of winning any of those coveted premium characters or a pile of donuts (rather than a fence or a dumpster)? Here’s a list of what you can win and the probability that the Homer Buddha will actually give it to you:

Mystery Box – 9.98%
Bench – 10%
Planter – 10%
Dumpster – 10%
Picket Fence – 10%
Burning Bush – 10%
Orange Tree – 10%
Apple Tree – 10%
Tire Swing – 10%
Squeaky Voice Teen (or 30 donuts if you already have him) – 4%
Hans Moleman (or 60 donuts if you already have him) – 4%
Frink’s Lab (or 150 donuts if you already have it) – 1%
30 donuts – 1%
Tire Fire (or 40 donuts if you already have it) – 0.01%
Springfield Sign (or 170 donuts if you already have it) – 0.004%
Duff Brewery (or 190 donuts if you already have it) – 0.002%
Volcano Lair (or 200 donuts if you already have it) – 0.001%

So, if you’ve been lucky enough to win any of the last 4 items on the list(and I have seen reports), you’ve been very lucky indeed! And if you did, it would certainly justify a bit of Duffman-style partying down!

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This post has been a long time in coming, particularly as Otto is one of my favorite characters. At just 120 donuts, he’s one of the cheaper character plus building combinations – and honestly, one of my favorites. And I really don’t know why it’s taken so long to write about him…

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Before going through the reasons for and against spending donuts on Otto, here is his task list:

Task Length Dollars XP
Smoke Break (inside the bus) 30 minutes $60 15XP
Work on the bus (under the bus) 60 minutes $105 26XP
Jam on the guitar (outside the bus) 4 hours $260 70XP
Get guitar restrung (at King Toot’s) 8 hours $420 105XP
Sleep it off (on top of the bus) 12 hours $600 150XP
Squat in the Brown House 24 hours $1000 225XP

So, just why do I think he might be worth those hard-earned donuts? Here’s some reasons in his favor:

1. He’s a character with a “building” (and I use the term loosely) – but the School Bus makes a great addition to the game. And as an 8×8 square, the bus is very easy to place.
2. At just 120 donuts, he is really the most affordable of the character and building combinations (except perhaps if you decide to buy the Aztec Theater and the Squeaky Voice Teen together).
3. He earns premium rates for all his tasks. While this is true for most premium characters, it certainly makes him a better purchase than Tatum, Barney, and Miss Springfield, who all earn standard rates due to their legacy as event prizes.
4. He comes with a quest (and I’ll be posting on this in a day or so), adding a little additional extra enjoyment to your game while you wait for the next big thing.
5. He helps you to complete the School Workers character set and gain that set completion bonus cash and XP.
6. He uses King Toot’s and is the only character to do so regularly. This helps keep whoever runs the store from going bankrupt. Otto knows how to support local businesses even if his fellow Springfielders have no clue.
7. You’ve already got the school – you need a School Bus.
8. It’s Otto, man!

And here are a few reasons against:

1. He doesn’t interact with other characters and doesn’t have a role to play in any standard quests or tasks (but that’s the same as other premium characters really, so you can see how I’m struggling to come up with reasons not to buy him.
2. While he has a voice, he’s one of the quiestest characters in the game and can be quite difficult to hear.
3. If you don’t have King Toot’s yet, you may want to put off buying him until you do.
4. If you have strict views on game characters using controlled substances, you may want to pass on him.

On balance, though, Otto and the School Bus is a good, relatively affordable purchase that really adds value to your game.

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Miss Springfield was the 10th prize during Whacking Day when, with enough whacking, she was available free. Once Whacking Day was over and the Yard Sale update was released, she joined the ranks of the premium characters at a rather pricey 225 donuts.

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So,if you didn’t win her is she worth the donuts? Here are some reasons why she might be, and some reasons why you may decide to avert your eyes from the sordid goings-on at the Sleep-Eazy Motel. First, the reasons in Miss Springfield’s favor:

1. She’s a female character and, as many people have commented, those are few and far between.
2. The Motel, a bit surprisingly for something that’s meant to be sleazy, has a size, shape and color scheme that makes it a pleasing addition to your game. You can see what it looks like here.
3. She comes with a quest, which adds a bit of extra enjoyment to your game.
4. She has a nice range of tasks, with my favorite being her 60-minute task to open an event (it’s great if she does this while Mayor Quimby is giving a speech). My second favorite is her 3-minute joint task with the Mayor – but there’s only so many times you can send them off to the motel together for their “meeting”.

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And here’s why you may not think she’s not worth the high donut price:

1. She has no voice – which, all things considered, is a probably a good thing, partly due to reason 2…
2. She may be a female character, but she’s certainly a very stereotypical dumb blond. In fact, one of her tasks is to take reading lessons, underlining the game’s own joke that the writer’s don’t know how to write for female characters. But then Homer is not exactly the most positive male role model, either, so there you go…
3. As she was initially free, her tasks only earn you the standard rate, rather than the premium rate that everyone else earns. The same is true of Barney and Tatum.
4. You don’t approve of extra-marital relationships with Mayors or anyone else.

So, she’s a nice character to have, but it’s questionable whether she’s actually worth the 225 donuts that you’re being asked to hand over.

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Sometimes your Tapped Out characters seem to have minds of their own, and end up in combinations that can’t help but raise a smile. Here’s a screenshot sent in by Rood of Shauna tempting Duffman with ducks:

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And here’s one from my game, of Kearney and Tom O’Flanagan joining forces in an Irish jig:

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And another one from around St. Patrick’s Day (hence the green rivers) of Fruit-Bat-Man completely failing to punch out Snake:

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Please feel free to share images of any of your favorite character combinations.

The Rich Texan arrived as part of the level 28 update – and instantly made a contribution to the political debate in new Springfield. Whether that’s for better or for worse really depends on your own views. But, given that he’s part of a set of Villains, don’t say you weren’t warned:

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Here are some reasons why he’s worth your donuts:

1. At 85 donuts, he’s just that little bit cheaper than recent stand-alone characters and costume, which makes him worth a second look.

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2. He has a voice – which means that you can hear all about his new liver and how “America’s not a place for seat-belt wearing cowards.”
3. He comes with a quest that involves Cletus, Burns, Tea Party rallies, gambling and football. What more could you want?
4. His 12-hour mechanical bull riding task is one of the best in the game.

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5. He makes his own contribution to the gun-control debate by discharging concealed fire arms in the middle of town for 24 hours straight.

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6. He’s someone for Lisa to engage in deep and wide-ranging discussion on environmental and social issues… Okay, scrub that – I just realized, he’s celebrating Texas-style outside my Springfield Buddhist Temple. I think he’ll probably be skipping the debate.

And some reasons why you shouldn’t:

1. You don’t like 2 day tasks in quests – the Rich Texan has one as part of his storyline, although once it’s done, it never appears again.
2. He has no building – and you really only think premium characters are worth it if they have buildings as well.
3. He’s a relatively minor character. Tarnation – in the game, he doesn’t even have a name!
4. And you probably shouldn’t even consider buying him if you’re a Tea Party supporter with no sense of humor.

On balance, he’s not an essential character, but he’s a bit of fun. If you’re on a donut budget, though, consider saving up the extra 5 donuts for Dr. Nick.

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This questions comes up several times a day, so it’s probably about time I addressed it in a post.

Whacking Day is the fourth of the Tapped Out events (following Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day) – and it’s only following the Christmas event that the prizes have been transferred to the premium store. During that event, you were able to win Barney’s Bowlarama, Try ‘n’ Save, two of the three Funzos, the Mapple Store, and Santa’s Little Helper. All of these appeared in the premium store once the event concluded on January 11 (although the Mapple Store disappeared from the store very early on in the Android launch, possibly as part of an arrangement with Google). Now, this didn’t happen for either the Halloween or the Valentine’s event, so it’s difficult to say whether we can expect the post-Christmas experience to be repeated following Whacking Day.

But there’s one thing that’s very different about this event compared to any of the others which makes it more of a possibility that they’ll be premium purchases following Whacking Day – and that’s the fact that you can use donuts to accelerate towards a prize. This means that each of these prizes already has a donut price. So, my guess (and it’s only a guess) is that some of the prizes at least will continue to be available after the event as premium items, either for a limited time or permanently. Prime candidates would clearly be Fort Sensible, the Duff Stadium, Tatum and the Coliseum, and Miss Springfield and the Sleep-Eazy Motel.

But I have to stress that this is nothing more than speculation at this stage – there’s nothing to indicate that this will actually happen, other than the fact that it would make really good business sense for EA. But the post-Christmas experience and the donut price on the prizes certainly makes it a possibility.

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Just a reminder of one of this week’s polls – even more relevant thanks those 12 free donuts from EA. The poll asks what building/character combination would make the best first donut buy (and, yes, it probably should have included Squeaky Voice Teen and the Aztec Theater as, even though they’re separate items, they work well together)?

As you’ll see, Duffman is in the lead, at least in part due to his new Duff Stadium task (which I’m pretty sure he’ll get to keep after Whacking Day). But, there’s also a groundswell of support for Otto and Frink.

If you haven’t voted yet, choose your favorite and help those first-time buyers of premium characters decide what they should do. And if you want to see how the voting turned out on the cheaper premium characters, take a look here.

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I’ll be doing a full post on the Rich Texan soon, but it’s important to know that there may be a glitch in one of the tasks that makes up his quest. He needs to ride on a mechanical bull, which is a great animation, but for some people he really seems to have trouble staying on. As soon as you’re not looking, he’s off it and you need to start all over again.

This is very similar to the glitch that people are seeing with Smithers and Burns exercising together. The problem is that the Rich Texan’s task is 12 hours and it takes 6 donuts to skip over the task, which seems to be the only way to complete it.

My advice would be that unless you don’t mind spending 85 donuts on him and then 6 more to get through the task, to hold off buying him until the glitch is fixed, despite the fact that he’s a great character. It’s important to relize, though, that not everyone is experiencing this glitch (as you can see from the comments below) and that your Rich Texan may be perfectly fine.

Oh – and if you’re a Tea Party supporter with no sense of humor, you may want to give him a miss altogether!

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I have a soft spot for limited-time premium premium characters that come with buildings, even when they happen to be quite expensive, as Lugash and his Gym is at 175 donuts. Is he worth the price, though? Read on and see if you come to the same conclusion that I do…

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Here are some reasons why he’s worth the 175 donuts:
1. Lugash and his building come together, and a premium character with a premium building is always a tempting combination.
2. His tasks all earn the premium rate of at least 50% more than regular characters for tasks of the same length.
3. He has a quest (and there’ll be a separate post on that) – and it certainly raises a smile at least.
4. If you have Lugash, you’ll also get a couple of extra stages to the Gymnastic Lisa quest at the third prize level (the quest still completes, but it’s shorter without Lugash – more on that soon, as well).
5. He’s a limited time character, which means that there’s a very good chance that if you don’t buy him during Whacking Day, you won’t ever be able to buy him again.
6. He has a task to attend anger management classes at the Adult Education Annex, which means that Lenny is no longer alone in using that particular building.
7. He’s a voiced character.
8. He is Lugash!

And a couple of reasons on the other side:
1. The price is probably the main reason to give you pause. He’s one of the more exepensive offerings in the premium store.
2. You can play your game and the Whacking Day event perfectly well without him – like all items in the premium stores, he adds to the game and not having him doesn’t affect your progress in any way.

As you can see, I’d certainly recommend buying Lugash – if only to be able to have a character that you can make intimidate children and confiscate their pets!

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One of the many, many premium items available for Whacking Day is Lumpy the School Snake – and he costs all of 55 donuts. Lumpy is in the Whacking Day purchase menu that appears immediately after Homer and Lisa finish their 24-hour task in Whacking Day Part 1. But is he really, really worth it?

This is actually going to be quite a short post as I’m trying very hard to resist being unfair and unblanaced and trying to avoid giving, right up front, the answer I really want to give. First, some reasons to buy him:

1. He (or she or it – I’m really not sure of Lumpy’s gender) is a limited time “character” – that means that you’ll only be able to add Lumpy for the duration of the Whacking Day event. After that, you’ll no longer be able to buy him/her/it for any price.
2. You’re a completist and know you’ll forever regret passing up the opportunity to buy Lumpy whenever you see that Lumpy-shaped shaded space in the Whacking Day character set.
3. Springfield’s classroom’s are seriously overcrowded and Lumpy is the ideal solution.

And some reasons why not:

1. Lumpy, like the Funzos doesn’t have any tasks and simply slithers around your town – which means he doesn’t earn you anything extra (just like the Funzos and Santa’s Little Helper).
2. There are no quests associated with Lumpy.
3. Lumpy’s a snake so doesn’t really say anything at all.

So, if you’re on a donut budget, I really would pass on Lumpy, the school snake who adds very little more to your game than making up 50% of a character set. If you’re a completist like me, though, you probably already have him.

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At 90 donuts, Dr. Nick is the most expensive stand-alone premium character in the store. Why is he so expensive and is he worth it?

The stand-alone premium characters that were initially available were all relatively cheap. The Squeaky Voice Teen is only 30 donuts and Kearney, Bumblebee Man, and Hans Moleman are only 60 donuts. Since October last year, however, the price of the newer stand-alone characters (as well as costume prices) seems to have increased. Shauna cost 90 donuts, as did Witch Marge, Santa Homer, Mr. Plow and Fruit-Bat-Man.

So, 90 donuts seems to be the price we can expect to pay for stand-alone characters or costumes at the moment (and if Ninja Homer finally comes, that’s probably how much he’ll cost). And is Dr. Nick worth it? I think so – and there’ll be a post coming this week on just why.

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Yesterday, I posted on how many donuts you would need if you wanted to buy all the premium buildings and characters the game has to offer and came to a grand total of 2547 donuts (you can see that post here).

Lee asked a follow-up question that is well worth a post: what about the premium items that are no longer available – the limited time items available only for episode promotions and special events? How many additional donuts would you have needed to buy one each of those? So, here’s the answer:

Premium item Donut cost
Kang w/ Raygun 150 donuts (although apparently it varied)
Witch Marge with Cauldron 90 donuts
Mausoleum 60 donuts
Bart Raven 60 donuts
Itchy Balloon 40 donuts
Snowball 2 Balloon 20 donuts
Santa Homer with Santa’s Village 200 donuts
Reindeer 20 donuts
Christmas Tree 75 donuts, but one was given free during the Christmas event
Mapple Store 90 donuts, but could initially be bought with Santa Coins during the Christmas event
Mr. Plow Costume for Homer 90 donuts
Homer Snowman 20 donuts
Bart Snowman 20 donuts
Shauna 90 donuts
Gorgeous Grampa Billboard 40 donuts
Wishing Well with Leprechaun 150 donuts
Fruit-Bat-Man Costume for Mr. Burns 90 donuts

So, how many donuts would you have needed to buy one of every one of these? Because one Christmas Tree was given free, I’m leaving that out of the totals, as I am with the Mapple Store, which could initially be bought without donuts (feel free to add either one back into your own calculations.) That, then, gives a grand total of around 1140 donuts.

Add that to the total from yesterday, and that means you would need to have spent around 3,687 donuts to buy every premium item that’s ever been in the game.

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Many people play the game successfully without buying a single donut, while others want every building, character or decoration that the game has to offer. So, if you do decide to go down the premium route, just how many donuts will you need to get one of everything there is?

Let’s break it down a bit. I’m going to look at what’s currently in the game and ignore the limited-time premium items that are no longer available:

– At moment, there are 11 premium characters (that come with or without buildings). These will cost you 1200 donuts.

– There are 4 buildings that come without a character. These will set you back 335 donuts.

– There are 3 big decorations – the Springfield Sign, Mount Carlmore and the Tire Fire. Together these cost 330 donuts. (Thanks to Kaitylyn and warlach!)

– There are Santa’s Little Helper and the Funzos – characters that essentially do nothing except run around your town. If you want these, you’ll need to spend 330 donuts.

– There are 17 smaller premium decorations. To buy one of each, you’ll need to spend 352 donuts.

So, based on the premium items that are currently available, you’ll need to have 2,547 donuts on hand if you want one of every item. That’s a lot of donuts – even for Homer.

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I’ve posted on this before, but for newer players who may well have been hurrying through tasks to get to a possible update, the answer is absolutely not – never, ever waste donuts on speeding up tasks if it can be at all avoided (and it usually can be).

Donuts are precious – and the great thing about the game is that there’s no requirement for you to use them to move ahead. They’re best saved for the premium items (especially anything that’s limited time) – they add value to the game and earn you more money at the same time.

Level 27, at a normal rate of play, should probably have taken 10 days to 2 weeks – EA certainly seems to have planned it that way, as there were some quite long tasks early on. Speeding up tasks or builds with donuts on new levels just means, at the higher levels of the game, that there’s a lot more down time before the next new thing happens.

And for lower level players, the game is at its most enjoyable once you adjust to its rhythm. Take the scenic route, rather than the expressway and you’ll enjoy it far more!

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One frustration that many players have with the game is that there is no way of getting back any donuts you accidentally spend – and accidentally spending them is so easy. But the fact it was an accidental tap makes no difference at all, because once those donuts are gone, they’re gone for good.

An update we’re all looking for is a confirmation button on any donut purchase. But until that happens, you just need to be careful. And that’s because if you accidentally buy a premium character (whether it’s Dr. Nick or a Funzo) or anything at all from the premium store, it’s yours for good. There’s no way to return it and get those donuts back.

The lesson, then, is to tap carefully, particularly if you’re playing on a smaller screen. Never be in too much of a hurry when you’re on the build menu or in the premium store because it always pays to think before you tap – and often costs you if you don’t.

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Strangely, this entry in the premium character and decoration guide has taken a while to get around to. Hans Moleman, who constantly proves that there really is life after death, is one of my favorite characters, and maybe I’d just assumed that everyone should buy him.

Anyway, here, finally, are the reasons why you might want to think about adding Moleman to your game, and a few reasons why you might not want to do so yet or at all.

First the reasons why:

1. Moleman is very affordable at only 60 donuts, making him one of the easiest premium characters to save for.
2. Like most of the other premium characters, he earns 50% more money and XP than regular characters do for jobs of an equivalent duration.
3. Once you get to level 25 and the arrival of Smithers, there’s a role for Moleman in the storyline (although the quest continues without interruption if you don’t have him).
4. He has a voice!
5. You get to see him experience a football-induced blow to the groin during his 24-hour task to make a short film.

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And here are the reasons on the other side:

1. Most of Moleman’s tasks are indoors – only the film-making task and his 6-hour task to provide security at Krusty Burger take place where you can see him.
2. To make the most of him, you need to have Krusty Burger, the Power Plant, Springfield Penitentiary, and the Town Hall. Buying Moleman won’t make these unlock any faster – you’ll still need to do that through normal gameplay.
3. He doesn’t come with any new buildings of his own to add to your town.
4. He really doesn’t have a quest – just a series of tasks that you need to make him do.
5. You think you have a good chance at winning him from the Homer Buddha (for your actual chances of getting lucky with Moleman, see here)

Even with those points against him, he’s a purchase I’d recommend. And watching that football hit him in the groin should at least raise a smile – although Moleman is naturally, less than thrilled about it.

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Some time ago, I linked a video from NUCLEARVIDEOSHD on how to maximize yor game dollars (and you can find it here). Here’s what RerockerFC has to say on the topic:

How can you earn more money in the game? Here are the main things you can do:

Send your characters on tasks frequently!

As much as you can, send them on short tasks (30 minutes or 1 hour) while you’re sitting by your game – the moment they finish, you can collect the rewards. However, when you’re not playing, send them on tasks almost equal to the amount of time you plan to be gone. For example, if you’re going to sleep, send them on 6-8 hour tasks. You can also send all your players on 24 hour tasks and, when they’re all done, you’ll have a big pot of gold waiting for you (around $10,000).
Tip: Premium characters and characters in premium costumes generally earn 50% more money than regular characters for tasks that take the same amount of time.

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Premium Items

As much as most of us don’t like spending our precious donuts on premium items, I have to say it’s worth it. After all, they give you bonuses on all cash and XP you earn. Consider buying at least a couple and especially the ones that fetch you higher bonuses, such as the Springfield Sign (my favourite).

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Conform-O-Meter

Getting higher stars at the Conform-o-meter not only demonstrates (to an extent) your progress in the game but also gives you a greater bonus. However, even if the bonus is lower than the maximum, it’s still a bonus! With 5 stars you get a 5% bonus on all the money and XP you collect, making it a useful way to increase cash for those who don’t want to buy premium items. And if you don’t want to get the stars to get the bonus, at least get them to impress your friends!

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House Farming

Housefarming is always a point of contention among players. But it’s also the best way to make money fast. House farming basically mean a large number of houses whose rent added together gives you a lot of money and XP. It’s my favourite source of extra income for my Springfield – and if you’re a level 27 player it also helps you hit the bonus levels and those free donuts much more often.

After following these methods I make around 60,000 every morning! Following on from yesterday’s post, let me know what you collect, and share any tips you have on making money fast!

RerockerFC

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The Homer Buddha has come up a lot in search terms hitting my blog – and that’s probably due to the release of the Springfield Buddhist Temple. That means it’s probably time to update this post from a couple of months back:

The Homer Buddha is not an object you can place in your town and has nothing at all to do with the Springfield Buddhist Temple. What you get for your 15 donuts is really a Mystery Box that gives you a premium item every time, as the information says:

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You’re much more likely to get some great buildings and characters from the Homer Buddha than you are from a Mystery Box. People have reported getting Hans Moleman, the Squeaky Voice Teen, and Frink’s Lab. But you’re just as likely to get a picket fence (worth 1 donut), a dumpster (worth 10 donuts), or a burning bush (worth 20 donuts). There’s no guarantee of exactly what that premium item will be.

And you’re also likely to get a Mystery Box, which is itself a premium item. And while the Mystery Boxes themselves are premium items, the things they contain usually aren’t. That means it’s more than a little disappointing when you buy a Homer Buddha and it contains a Mystery Box that contains a Brown Fence, a Dumpster or a Newspaper Dispenser.

Basically, the Homer Buddha, like the Mystery Box, is a gamble. You may get something good – but you may also get something you don’t want and don’t need.

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With two limited time premium items only with us for another couple of days, this news report from a couple of days ago is a timely reminder to parents that there are a couple of steps you need to take to make sure that your kids aren’t spending your hard-earned cash on donuts.

Widely reported last week was the case of an 8-year old boy from Belfast who clearly wanted his Springfield citizens to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. In the process, though, he gave his parents a nasty surprise by spending £980 (approx. $1500) on donuts. Fortunately for the parents, Apple gave a full refund, which they were under no obligation to do.

This article from the UK’s Guardian newspaper sets out step-by-step what protections parents should set up on their kids’ devices to make sure that this never happens to them. Maybe you’ve already done everything the article suggests – but if you haven’t, it’s certainly worth a look:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2013/mar/13/stop-children-spending-money-in-ipad-games

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