ChefVille Aftertaste: Hey Zynga, make friend visits more friendly

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While one could argue that ChefVille on Facebook is already a complete experience, allowing players to gather ingredients, cook dishes and earn mastery points in a cycle that clearly "works," the recent County Fair event exposed an issue that I had never originally anticipated having before: players need to be able to speed up their friends' appliances when visiting.

Let's set up a scenario faced by many players during the County Fair event. It's 24 hours before the timer expires, and you need two more mastery ribbons to complete the final quest and earn the final Carousel reward. The problem? You need to cook two six-hour cooking time dishes on the same appliances three times each. If we do the math on this, a single appliance can only cook the same six-hour dish four times a day, so if you need to cook two dishes three times each, it's literally impossible for you to finish without spending Chef Cash, and that simply shouldn't be the case.

Instead, players should be able to send out a call for help, asking their friends to visit their restaurants and click on those appliances to speed up the timer. It's not like this sort of thing is unheard of in Facebook games, or even in ChefVille, as players can freely click on their neighbors' rose stands to shorten the six hour timer before roses are available for picking. So, why not extend that feature to cooking appliances as well?

The only logical answer here is that Zynga hopes desperate players will spend Chef Cash to finish these timed events before it's too late, and while some probably will, this is likely to backfire in the end. If anything, I'd expect players to let the County Fair event go as a learning experience, but if the same thing happens with the current timed Halloween event, and further features into the future, how much longer will the game be able to hold onto its high user-base before non-paying players say "enough is enough?"

The problem with any of these events, that being the event timers, could easily be solved with the ability to speed up friends' appliances. Sure, we might sacrifice our random chance of earning ingredients by tending appliances instead, but that's a small price to pay if it means keeping more friends happy and playing the game along with us into the future.

Play ChefVille on Zynga.com now >

Were you able to finish all of the Country Fair quests and earn all 30 ribbons before time ran out? Would you tend your friends' cooking appliances if you knew they needed help? Sound off in the comments!
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