Wishful Features: Automatic neighbor additions in FarmVille

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I've been playing FarmVille since around the time of the Halloween celebration in 2009. During that time, I've accumulated around 80 neighbors, which is a respectable number, but nowhere near the mass amounts of some of my friends. Regardless, one of the biggest technical issues concerning FarmVille neighbors, in my mind, is simply what a hassle it is to add those neighbors to your in-game account in the first place.

Other games, from other developers, seem to have figured out that users who are adding a game probably want to play that game with friends, and have since incorporated an automatic neighbor addition tool that will show you each and every friend that has installed the game on your neighbor bar, even if they stopped playing the game months ago. Why can't FarmVille do the same?

One could argue that Zynga refrains from adding such a feature because it would throw off the items in the store that require you to add a certain amount of neighbors to unlock access to purchase them, but this just doesn't seem fair.

As I look at my in-game neighbors page, I see seven people that actively play FarmVille, but technically aren't my neighbors. I can send them gifts via Facebook news feed items, and we can send free gifts between one another, but I can't visit their farm. The most basic of social interactions in FarmVille and I have to go through special steps to activate it. Sure, it doesn't take much for a neighbor request to be sent or accepted, as it is done through a basic "gift request" scenario, but the fact that we have to do it in the first place just seems a bit silly.

For now, though, I guess I'm stuck with trying to remind myself to frequently check on my Neighbors page to find those farmers that I've left out in the cold. Hopefully that won't be the case for much longer.

Do you regularly check your Neighbors page to find those neighbors that you may have forgotten to add? Which other Facebook games would you like to see automatic neighbor addition added to? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

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Wishful Features is a new regular column on Games.com - The Blog in which we talk about the features we wish were present in our favorite social games. Leave your ideas and feedback in the comments!

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