Tag Archives: Farmville

“Dailies have destroyded the game.”

So, I hear there’s a lot of dailies?

I’m not yet 90 myself, I’ve been trying to follow this: An Underachiever’s Guide to 90 by Tome of the Ancient, but I keep failing at the one and only step to success:

Yep, that’s it. Stop it, stop it, stop it with the pet battling already. Simple, easy. There’s my guide.

Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I’m having main-character-doubts, I’m like a split personality victim these days – do I want to play the elemental shaman, the shadow priest or the new’ish hunter? So, yeah, I’ve been dabbling around pet battles (okay, more than dabbling, I’ve been ADDICTED), I’ve also been playing my new gnome monk, and I’ve been leveling the shaman and the hunter. I really need to gain some focus!

When you go to see the Master Pet Tamer Zoltan (the smug blood elf in Felwood), don’t look his kneeling cultists straight in the eye – or maybe don’t look at them at all…

Anyways, back to the dailies! – There’s a lot of them! – Some people are unhappy! – So unhappy that a thread has become a hot topic on the forums, of course sporting an overly dramatic, punctuated and misspelled title, as we WoW players do it best!: “Dailies have destroyded the game.” I love it already!

The argumentation goes back and forth, there’s not exactly consensus, although the OP has been rated highly, but I think the discussion raises a few relevant topics.

  • The line between work and play can be very blurry

Old time classic game theorist Roger Caillois included in his definition of play, that it had to be free and nonobligatory. The less we want to do the dailies, the more they feel like work to us, which makes us question why we even bother in the first place. It’s my impression that in the thread, this has been wrapped up as lazy players vs. Protestant work ethic players. I don’t see it as a matter of being lazy or not, but of play gradually feeling and looking like work to a lot of people.

  • Dailies are in a way revealing the fact that the vast majority of activities in MMO’s are repetitious tasks consisting of simple click commands

Kill X mob Y number of times – Kill X mob to collect Y number of BWAINS! – Collect Y number of poops – Join Z instance and continuously press your AoE button. Of course, then, some clever guy realized that instead of coming up with new X, Y, Z’s they could just have us do the SAME stuff every day.

  • Power gamers/achievers and the pressure of optimization

If you care about progression, doing dailies will be even less voluntary, especially if members of your raid team are all grinding away. I’m not an achiever player-type, and even I feel a stint of that pressure. It’s more comfortable, in many ways, to stick to the large bulk of the wave, as it sweeps over the new content. Soon the learning phase is over and knowledge is expected a priori – that’s mostly what has me feeling stressed.

  • Are there ethical responsibilities in relation to designing games?

If we acknowledge that there is a pressure to optimize and touch that first row ceiling, does the designer have a responsibility to not ask too much of the player? Are players able to keep their heads cool under all the peer pressure? Do we trust players to be autonomous enough to manage and prioritize their own play time and activities under all circumstances?

How we lean on these subjects are influenced by what kind of player we are. I’ll usually fall in favour of an upper limit, like there used to be – 25/day, where as now it’s unlimited. But that’s probably also because I’m not very tolerant of long grinds, extremely low drop rates and camping spawns. I’d prefer they had kept the old 25/day limit in, which instead would have forced players to prioritize what factions they wanted exalted with first.

Previous Storylines in Chronological Order

This is an overview page made to help putting the various posts, that have a storyline, in order.

The Minecraft Letters

You Should Know About Minecraft, You Need to Know About Minecraft
The Making of the First Hideyhole
Minecraft – The Lego Game
Maybe This is Paradise
If You Think This Sounds Slightly Schizo, I Won’t Argue With You
A Hundred Billion Bottles
“Who Set it to Hardmode? I Can’t Handle Hardmode!!!” – Piglet Cried
Always Bring Flowers When Visiting!
Who Lives Here – Besides Me?
Why Are You in My House?
I Hope this isn’t the Resident of the House Visiting
It Turned Out the House Belonged to “ALIEN
Art and Bragging in Minecraft
This game is all about me – me me me!


The Farmville Letters

Traveling the Multiverse
You’re the Friend I Don’t Want To Be Seen With
What a Slacker I am!
Do You Want Me to Play or Do You Want Me to Pay?
My Best Random Friend in Farmville


The GTA III Letters

Traveling the Multiverse
My Parents Would Call You Bad Company
Now That We’ve Met, I Guess I Can Call You GTA?
I Should Have Seen It Coming
Does This Make Me a Thief As Well?
Whatever GTA… Whatever!
The Thing is, I Have a Game Trauma
I Told You We Would Celebrate, Didn’t I?

My Best Random Friend in Farmville

I recently added a few complete strangers to my Facebook friendslist. It wasn’t some kind of scheme to make me look more popular, nor was it to stalk random people. It’s what a lot of Farmville players have to do to be able to play the game at a reasonable level, unless you’re willing to pay your way out of a lot of things OR fortunate enough to have 45 friends who also play Farmville…. I had two (and paying Farmville instead of playing it, is rather expensive).

So not long ago, I sat with this friend-request on my screen, thinking whether or not to press the send button.  I found it so creepy to be writing to someone I didn’t know whatsoever asking them to be friends.

Even the text (which is in danish) says "Only send this request if you know him personally".

Adding Fredo would be blending offline friends with not only online friends, but also with people who are just plain random. I didn’t know if I wanted to make my Facebook profile into an extension of Farmville…

… and then I went ahead and did it anyways. Only because of this experiement, not at all because I needed to upgrade my farm….. … ..

Fredo's farm caught withering. That's bad style Fredo!

I found my first “unknown” Farmville neighbour Fredo off the “add me” part of the Farmville forum, in a running thread where people post their Facebook account links, for others to add them as neighbours. It’s get deleted ever so often because posts are quickly outdated, and a new thread begins.

Sometimes Farmville drops in advertizement, which is usually pretty lame. Right now it's "GagaVille".

I’ve been playing Farmville for a few months now, and I have not put any real money into the company behind the game, Zynga Games.

It is easily possible to play the game for free, even though it is based on microtransactions and advertizing.

However, you will have to make a few compromises, mainly that of adding random people to your Facebook account. The logic of Farmville is, the more friends you have as neighbours, the easier it is for you to play. The number of neighbours and plotsize are the two essentials to how quickly you level up and in general are able to be efficient in the game. It’s like a marketing strategy built into the game system, kind of clever. This also means a lot of Farmville players, to not involve their primary Facebook profile, go and make a fake one.

I chose to use my real profile and as time has gone by, I’ve added a total of 4 random people to my Facebook friendslist. I’m keeping the number low, as I’m just playing a casual game casually. It is however possible to powergame Farmville.

This is how powergaming in Farmville looks like. The majority of the space is for crops, the rest is lined on the side. It's about efficiency, not aesthetics, for the powergamer.

I’ve set my Facebook up so that these people can’t see much of my activity, and in return my real friends can’t see the Farmville posts – if they could, they would have blocked me months ago, it’s VERY spammy.

One of my new “friends” is Linda D. It turns out, Linda D’s Facebook profile is not fake, which her adorable portrait picture also shows. Linda looks to be a round 50 something American woman. Her profile picture shows her leaning in over her grumpy husbands shoulder smiling at the camera. When I saw her picture, I couldn’t help but like her, she looks like the nicest person on earth.

Linda has a very well designed farm, I like her layout.

She’s also a nice neighbour, dropping by regularly to fertilize my crops, something Fredo never does.

Once in a while I can see her commenting on her friends and relatives posts and then today I saw this status update from her.

Linda D. considers me her friend!!!! I forgive her for posting chain messages, I forgive Linda D.

But I don’t want to post that as a status update myself, and as I was trying to write something nice like “You’re a good neighbour too”, I paused and deleted it. I’m still learning how to manage these modern internet related “friendships”. How to handle a friendly but random Farmville neighbour on Facebook without being creepy?

Do You Want Me to Play or Do You Want Me to Pay?

Dear Farmville

I should tell you, my first real harvest was a pleasure. I didn’t expect wheat, goji berries and what is that – strawberries? to grow that well.

This gave me a real sense of accomplishment and harvest time has since been the main reason I’m still hanging in there.

At first I took a dive into the idea about efficiency and maximizing my income, thinking that the more coins I earned, the better and bigger things I would be able to buy. I believed and hoped there would be some huge reward at the end. What had my mind boggling about your system though, was your repeated rewarding of weird achievements I didn’t even know about – not my hard labour. I put so much effort into managing the harvest time schedule, that I almost overlooked the fact you rewarded me more coins and xp for getting “ribbons”.

Okay then Farmville, I missed the mark, but I’ll just change my strategy! Now I’m going for xp, ‘cause I want to level up and when I level up I want to… eh… What then?

I reached level 12 today (“grats” – why thank you!), but I’m still waiting for the big revelation… when will it come Farmville? When will you be able to show me why I should keep spending time with you?

I hope you’re proud of me when I say this though: I’ve even taken it a step further, to be a better friend, although I have to say, you were not exactly subtle about it – You told me to get friends, more of them, in fact you LOVE when we all hang out together. I’m hoping this will show a different side to you, so I got Loggy McChopperson to play as well. Here’s me and Loggy (with the nice beard), although I know you’ve met him already.

I also allied myself with a pro, that is a level 70 farmer. If you can’t spot her, it’s because she’s dressed as a turkey, some kind of “go native” effect I suppose…

And visiting her farm made me realize what’s in store for me (literally): Lots of STUFF.

And here’s the deal Farmville, you’ve got that button that I know a lot of gamers hate: The I-Win-Button. I can farm and be a whole lot of efficient with my resources, but anyone can buy what can also be earned.

Let me give you an example: The Duck Pond

I bought this duck pond for 5000 coins. It awards 50 xp but requires a lot of help from my friends to build, depending on how many volunteer gift-givers I have.

To build this pond, I need 19 Watering Cans and 20 Shovels. These are not items I can buy with coins. I have a few options to finish the pond:

  • Either I rely on the helpfulness, or more often reciprocity, of my friends to give me ONE item per day (you can give one free gift to each of your friends a day).
  • Or I can build it faster the more my Farmville friends share on their Facebook walls, for me to loot. In this game, most of the looting (i. e. getting stuff) is done on the walls of people’s profiles. This can take quite some time, is rather grindy and requires a lot of Farmville-friends.
  • I can also press “ask for part” which will require people to press “accept”, yet again through Facebook. Apparently it has become the norm that people don’t ask for more than one item a day, as it is a rather spammy procedure. Again, the more friends the faster.
  • Or I can just buy them all, either piece by piece or by pressing the “complete now” button, which will ask me if I want to spend 39 Farm Cash to finish it straight away
  • Of course, as you award me ONE farm cash per level, I could also wait till level 40, but come on, no one has that kind of impulse control.

Phew… that was a lot of options Farmville, you surely make it seem simple *rolls eyes*.

There’s apparently another alternative to the whole build a duck pond, it’s also called “Duck Pond” but it’s purely purchased using Farm cash. The DIY version is at the upper right corner, while the I-Win-Button is at the lower left corner.

I now ask you Farmville, how do you explain the difference in xp? At level 12, my total accumulation of xp amounts to a mere 2194 as we speak. If I had cashed out the money as level 1, you would have given me 4000 xp up front, and I could have been at mid level 15 INSTANTLY!

And this little trend of yours runs as a straight line through your marketplace. You don’t want me for my good gaming skills, my efforts to play well, you only want to be friends with me for the sake of a glimpse of my wallet.

Just to be clear about it, underneath is a screenshot of your Farmville Cash Converter.

So, for my duck pond, which costs 40 farm cash, it would cost me 8,4 USD, given I would buy at the 55 cash exchange rate. Items ranging at these price levels are common.

Farmville – Do you want me to play or do you want me to pay?

Your empty piggy bank

- Ironyca Lee

What a Slacker I am!

Dear Farmville

We’ve spent some time together now, a little bit every day since I started seeing you. You’re not that interested in reeaally hanging out like me and GTA does, instead you want to make appointments, you would much rather hang out regularly in small doses than for hours …are you trying to tell me I’m boring?

You say to me “see you tomorrow”, or you ask if you can send me an email when my crops are ready for harvesting, whereafter you expect me to promptly pop by and say hi – “HIII Farmville”.

Yeah, you’re always super excited when I do, you actually pay me a small and peculiar amount of coins when I go to the “Model Farm”. And yes, I get your point: “Please stop by once every day”.

I had a feeling you were obsessive, but I didn’t know how eager you were at teaching me how to manage my time. You’re not just the friend I don’t want to me seen with, (and indeed I did have to tell you continuously NOT to “share” all kinds of simple and noobish level 5 garden stuff with the whole of Facebook) you’re also astonishingly adult and organized …does this reflect back on the general company you keep? Whenever I want to sow something nice in my garden, you make sure to let me know in an orderly manner, how long things take to grow, and of course what it costs, how much I earn and how much xp i gain by doing it.

You appeal so much to order, organization and managament, that I had to rebel!

I chose a purple mohawk, some random clothing (i.e. you did not present ripped jeans nor a leather jacket to me) and a facial expression that resembles teenage angst – at least that’s what I aimed for. I’m still deeply dissapointed you did not offer me a UNIBROW, it’s my signature!!

I feel the next picture perfectly portrays my first relog into Farmville.

I know now that you were teaching me a lesson: “If you don’t manage your time well, your produce will wither and you will lose coins”. Yeah I know Farmville, I’m such a slacker. But don’t get me wrong, the picture tells the story – the distressed look on my face, how misplaced I look in my own garden and of course, it was strawberries I let rot …I love strawberries. What a slacker I am!

Yours, sincerely

- Ironyca Lee

You’re the Friend I Don’t Want To Be Seen With

Dear Farmville

It’s a bit late at the time I’m writing this, I’m not sure whether you’re up for it right now, I’m a little tired myself and I don’t know yet if you’re a total party animal, keeping people up at night. If you are, I’d be thoroughly surprised.

Cause, to be honest with you Farmville, you’re the friend I don’t want to be seen with. You’re the kind of friend who pops up everywhere, you seem to know everyone, but I can’t figure out if you’re truly fun, or just kind of obsessive and sticky.

You’re also a gossipy Facebook game. What will my other friends on Facebook think of me, once I start hanging out with you? And if I know your kind right, you’ll make sure to shout out loud in detail every little thing we’ve been doing together, keeping everyone updated – it’s so embarrasing!

It’s not just that, you also have the tag of casual and you wear it like a crown. Perhaps you havn’t noticed, but more often than not casual is opposed to hardcore, and you can tell me which one sounds cooler. It’s about my reputation Farmville, what will all the skilled gamers at school think when they see us together?

That’s why we have to keep our friendship a secret for as long as possible, and before we can really do much, you will have to promise to keep your mouth shut …sorry.

However, that gardening thing… I kinda like gardening, and as I live in an apartment right now, I don’t have a garden. But you can give me one, right Farmville? We can garden together!!! I appreciate qualities of governance, establishment and growth in games, I enjoy watching beauty and hard work bloom.

This is why I’m determined to see if we can get along, despite my prejudice …because maybe I’ll actually like you afterall.

I’ll see you soon!

Kind Regards

- Ironyca Lee

Traveling the Multiverse

Recently Vaneeesa called me a great multiverse traveler. I thought it sounded cool, so I went with this theme for an assignment I was recently given at my digital game theory course: Find two games, any two games and blog about them for the coming three weeks (using Tumblr). I figured I’d repost my journey here.

The next while will be about my two new potential friends and their worlds: Grand Theft Auto III and Farmville.

I hope they are not reading this…