FarmVille one year ago -- remember when?

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farmville one year ago old farmville history
FarmVille was released on Facebook in June 2009. Though the game has only been out a year and a half, it feels like it's been around for an eternity. With almost daily updates, fixes, new features and items, the virtual farm game is constantly changing. In fact, FarmVille has changed so drastically in the past year, you may not even remember the game as it once was: a simple click-farming game that pretty much consisted of planting and harvesting virtual crops.

With the approach of 2011, we decided to turn back the clock one year, and re-examine what FarmVille was like before the creation of Co-Op Jobs, Crafting Buildings and the Farmer's Market.
farmville one year ago old farmville history
Crop Mastery was a new (and awesome) feature
Crop mastery was not an original feature of FarmVille. In fact, if we look back at FarmVille exactly one year ago, Crop Mastery was still a relatively new feature. Released in September of 2009, long time fans had mixed feelings about the new feature. They were excited that FarmVille was adding more depth to the game, but feeling disappointed that their months of diligent farming didn't contribute to their crop mastery. Now, of course, crop mastery is a stable of life in FarmVille.

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farmville one year ago old farmville history
Fertilizer was a mysterious farming phenomenon
We weren't always able to fertilize our crops. Fertilizer didn't arrive until October of 2009, and even then it was extremely rare. It was so rare that we had a hard time finding an image of it. The picture you see above was end-result of a long, arduous search.

The sight of sparkly crops was brand new and had us super excited to see what fertilizer features were soon to come. Fast-forward to present day and fertilizer is as common as dirt; friends can fertilize five crops or plots every time they visit your farm. But there was a time where fertilizer mystified us and it was a red-hot farming commodity.

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farmville one year ago
Harvest Markers weren't always big pink carrots
Also in October of 2009, a big visual change hit FarmVille. If you recall, the pink carrots above your ready-to-harvest animals weren't always there. Instead, animals used to light up with a pink outline when they were ready for collection (pictured above). Like all new features, there were those that loved the change, but there were even more that despised it. "How could you mess with the FarmVille we know and love!?" we cried. One year later, I think the pink carrots are actually a lot nicer. Who woulda thunk it.

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farmville one year ago old farmville history
Storage was on the way, and boy were we excited
In the olden days of FarmVille, many veteran farmers experienced a peculiar problem: simply having too much stuff. Back then there were no barns, no garages, and no storage at all. Once our inventories filled up, we were forced to either place the item on our farm, or get rid of it. Unfortunately, I lost many baby elephants this way -- a loss I mourn to this very day. So imagine our luck when FarmVille announced storage, we were ecstatic!

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farmville one year ago
Finding lost animals was a big event
Before the rise of Co-op Farming, Crafting Buildings, the Farmer's Market, and other FarmVille features, the game was pretty simple. There were crops, trees, and animals; and that was all we needed. At the time, one of the biggest features was FarmVille lost animals. While this feature has all but disappeared in the game now, in the past I used to get so excited every time I found an Ugly Duckling. And, of course, I'd immediately post it to my wall.

Animals used to be special too. Instead of just harvesting them, you'd pluck feathers from a turkey or milk a cow. Now you just get coins. While this may have been awkward for animals like the cat or elephant (what do you harvest from elephants that wouldn't alert PETA?), it was a feature that made my animals feel special, and made my game feel more like a real farm, and I liked that.

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farmville one year ago old farmville historyfarmville one year ago old farmville history
Our farms were tiny
One year ago, the Mighty Plantation 24 x 24 farm expansion was just being released for fans only, and it was very buggy. These days, seeing Farm Estates that are 28 x 28 is commonplace. For the record, that's an increase of 255 more plots! How did we ever manage with so little space and no storage?

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farmville one year ago old farmville history
The Villa was the end-all, be-all of FarmVille
In the olden days of FarmVille, people farmed mostly for fun. But even so, I don't think there's one FarmVille player out there who wasn't at least partially going about farming, making money, and leveling-up, to buy the Villa. This building was no joke. Not only did it cost one million coins, but you had to be level 34 to buy it. Achieving those two milestone was no easy FarmVille feat. The Villa was a symbol that screamed, "I'm awesome at FarmVille," and nobody can deny that they wanted the majestic abode on their farms. Unfortunately now, there are more and more items that dwarf the Villa's one demanding presence on our farms. Now, it sits humbly in the corner of our estates, as a token to the FarmVille of old.

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farmville remember when facebook updates
Non-FarmVillers got an overwhelming amount of spam
While many would argue the first few months of FarmVille were the golden era, for those who didn't play the game, it was definitely the dark ages. Before Facebook released updates that limited gifting and moved game requests to separate menus, our friends received an inhumane amount of requests. This was awesome for those who loved getting lost animals and other FarmVille bonuses. But for those who didn't play, the dozens of spammy Facebook game requests clogging up their notifications and news feeds could not have been more frustrating. But oh well, it was their fault for not playing!

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farmville one year ago farmville.com
FarmVille.com was just getting started
On November 18 2009, FarmVille became playable on FarmVille.com in addition to Facebook. The feature was initially greeted with enthusiasm, as people assumed you would no longer need a Facebook account to play. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Not only did FarmVille.com still require you to log into Facebook, it also required your real email (and we all know how that turned out). FarmVille.com ushered in a new era of spammy, gimmicky FarmVille features. Since then, FarmVille.com players have always received bonus items and goodies just for playing on the site. Is it too much to ask that FarmVille players receive equal treatment regardless of where we play?

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farmville one year ago old farmville history
Which do you prefer?
I've taken you through some of the ways FarmVille has changed. But this begs the question: did these changes make FarmVille better? On one hand, the changes have made FarmVille a deeper, more engaging Facebook game. But on the other hand, the simple farming game we could escape to for a few minutes a day is gone. You can't log in to FarmVille without being bombarded by notices announcing new features and items. So ultimately, it's up to you:

Do you prefer the new FarmVille, or the FarmVille of one year ago?

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