FrontierVille: Where have all of the Bears gone?

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As we told you yesterday, the last 12 Days of Christmas mission in FrontierVille seems to have very simple requirements - one of those being to "Scare a Bear." Under normal circumstances, one need only to chop down one or perhaps two fully grown trees to lure out a Bear, that can subsequently be scared away, but since the launch of this mission, that has completely changed.

Many users, myself included, have gone through a veritable forest's worth of trees, chopping down everything in sight, and have yet to receive a single bear. It's always seemed that when you are on an active quest for an item, the item will be less likely to appear on your land, in order to offer challenge in completing whatever quest you may be working on at the time, but this has gone a little bit too far, in the eyes of many players.

The official FrontierVille forums have exploded with thread after thread discussing the lack of bears. One thread in particular has 200 posts, most from users that have chopped down multiple trees (more than a dozen, in some cases) and have yet to receive a bear. Some lucky users did receive a bear after just one or two trees, but for those that haven't, a very real concern has now developed, that being - "Will we get a bear in time, before the mission expires?"

Every 12 Days of Christmas mission will expire on January 7. While most of the other missions have been completed by users some time ago, this final mission for Day One offers a real threat of expiring without completion due to this sudden disappearance of bears in the game. While a week may seem like plenty of time to accomplish a task, when we take into account the time it takes for new trees to grow, so that they can chopped down as users try once again to lure out a bear, it isn't nearly enough time at all.

While a simple change in the rarity of bears to add challenge to the mission is one thing, other users believe that something far more sinister is going on. Could this be Zynga's way of "forcing" users to spend Horseshoes, just so that they can complete the mission in time? Unlocking the task from the mission's menu costs 20 Horseshoes, a little more than $2.00 US. One can also purchase fully grown trees from the market for either 10 or 12 Horseshoes each, but again, there's no guarantee that you'll actually receive a bear when chopping them down. We want to believe this isn't the case, and yet....

So where exactly did the bears go? Have you received a bear in your Frontier after activating (but before completing) this mission in your game? Share your theories with us in the comments.
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