Zynga looks to improve Pioneer Trail, but is it too little too late? [Poll]

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FrontierVille was once a booming Zynga property, overflowing with millions of users with no end in sight, but all of that changed once the game became Pioneer Trail in August of 2011. After that point, the game became a seemingly never-ending cycle of goal releases, unfixed bugs and loading issues that make the game unplayable for a large chunk of users and simply not worth the time for so many others. Both Facebook stats and AppData agree that Pioneer Trail currently sits at around just 1 million players, but Zynga Customer Support is apparently taking it upon itself to try and boost that number back up.

Formerly dedicated players have started to receive unsolicited emails from Zynga Customer Support, acknowledging the fact that they stopped playing Pioneer Trail, and asking for those players' feedback for why they quit playing the game in the first place. If those players respond, they'll receive another email from Customer Support with the promising news that the support side of Zynga is trying to make a case to the game's developers for updates that will fix those issues. Here's a complete look at these emails.

Email 1:

We noticed that your Pioneer Trail game has been quiet for some time. Just a short time ago, your game was thriving from your TLC and creativity. We wanted you to know that your game misses the sweet sound of your mouse clicks.

As a part of the Player Advocacy Team, I wanted to check with you to see if you had any game-related issues that made you move on to other pastures. And because you were so dedicated to your game, I'd love to get your feedback on what would we could have done better. We value all of our players and want you to know we're on your side.

Let us know how we can get your game going again and we will do our best.

Email 2:
Thanks so much for your feedback. We truly appreciate you taking time to voice your opinion. I am gathering feedback from several dedicated players such as yourself to make a strong case to the Pioneer Trail studio for game updates.

For your inconvenience, I've credited your account 40 Horseshoes, so that you can still have some fun in the meantime. Thanks again and I sincerely hope that you will consider visiting our games in the future.

While there's no promise here that Pioneer Trail will change for the better, it is at least a good sign that Zynga Customer Support has acknowledged players' (even former players') unhappiness and is trying to find a way to improve the game before it fails altogether. The main question is: is this too little, too late? With only 1 million players still actively logging into their Homesteads at least one a month, it seems like the development team's never-ending release schedule (without fixing issues) is finally coming back to haunt them.

Even if Zynga does slow down the rate of goal releases and fixes the game's many remaining issues (freezing loading screens, overall slow loading times, etc.), there's no guarantee that former players would even be willing to give the game a second chance. The longer a player has been away from the game, the more overwhelmed they'll likely feel when coming back, as their mission log will be full of potentially dozens of quests, with likely few active neighbors remaining to actually help them finish them. Sure, Zynga may give players some free Horseshoes for coming back (or even offering feedback, as seen above), but if a user has already abandoned the game altogether, that also probably won't be enough to make them come back or stick around after they're spent.

While there's been no official statement concerning the closure of Pioneer Trail, we have to assume that the game is heading in that direction if it continues to hemorrhage players as quickly as it is now. Is there anything that can save Pioneer Trail, or is this the case of an old game that has simply run its course? Only time will tell, but you can be sure we'll follow along with the game's progress into the future. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the game in our poll below.



What do you think of the current state of affairs in Pioneer Trail? Are you still an active player, or did you quit playing the game long ago? Have you received emails such as those above, asking for your feedback about Pioneer Trail and why you left? Do you think the game can be saved? Sound off in the comments!
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