Dear Zynga, FarmVille needs a Labor Day for overworked farmers
This past Monday was Labor Day, and while I'm sure most of everyone enjoyed a relaxing day off from work, I can't say the same for FarmVille players. Nope. In fact, I'm fairly positive you were working hard on the farm at some point over the holiday.
Let's face it, FarmVille doesn't believe in Labor Days, but it does believe in laboring, even on paid federal holidays. Can a FarmVille farmer catch a break?
Before I turn this into a column of complaints about how FarmVille is becoming WorkVille I want to remind you that last week I tried to find a bright side to virtual farming oversaturation and suggested that instead of letting yourself become overwhelmed by the onslaught of new content and features in FarmVille, just do what you enjoy.
Of course there's always going to be complainers, people who simply ooze negativity. These folks are most often the ones who think I'm responsible for their missing Farm Cash or game freezing up. I'm here to help, but I can't fix the game's tech problems. There's always been a fair share of FarmVille players who want everything to be free, and expect the game to run perfect at all times.
This is not about those people. This is about the people who've happily played FarmVille over the years despite its imperfections. These players have invested so much time toiling over freshly planted blueberry plots and breeding new baby animals to share with their neighbors. These are the same people who call their FarmVille neighbors friends even though they may have never met in real life. It's the feedback from the daily players that I care about the most (and so should Zynga because it doesn't seem like they are listening). Almost everyone is overwhelmed on the farm. In fact, I don't think I've heard a single person disagree.
To Quest or Not to Quest: That is the question
It started with the quest complaints. FarmVille was not always a quest-centered game. In fact, I can remember a time when there were no quests in FarmVille, as in zero. Can you imagine such a place? What did everyone do? You planted whatever you felt like? Hold on, you actually had the time to visit your neighbors' farms too? Absurd. Many players were (and still are) torn between questing or not questing. Questing is still entirely optional, even though the occasional must-do quest comes along. Continue on. Now, there are as many as four active quests going on at once. Don't like it? Then, try to ignore them as best you can and farm on.
Am I a farmer or construction worker?
Then, came the multiple construction projects that made begging for parts a second job. This turns a lot of players off because it means that they are forced to rely heavily on their neighbors for help. They have to "beg" them for parts and for help. Some people simply dislike begging, especially covert farmers who don't want to annoy their non-farming friends on Facebook.
From my experience, it's even difficult for players with awesome neighbors to complete all of the ongoing construction projects before the next one rolls in. Many of these constructible features and buildings are under time constraints as well. I mean, everyone loves a good barn raising, but when there are so many projects circulating that you forget a building's purpose before moving on to the next? What's the point in that? We need a virtual project manager to stay on point. Gilda, with her list of items that need to be mastered, should introduce us to her friend Project Manager Paula, with a list of construction projects we need to complete.
Fast & Furious in FarmVille
Once upon a time, there was only one FarmVille farm -- now there are six. It's likely that more are in the works and rumors of a seventh farm are already circulating. More farms may mean more work, but it doesn't have to necessarily. The majority of players, myself included, do not have enough time to work all six farms. They may rotate farms and designate each farm a certain purpose. Maybe it's a Lighthouse Cove filled with Orchards or your Home Farm and English Countryside used exclusively for crops. I suggest doing whatever works for you and suits your interests, but don't feel the need to work each of your farms. I'm first in line when Zynga hands out new farmland real estate and even if I don't plan on working each farm daily, I like the options it gives me, just in case I feel like putting in some additional farming time.
Besides new content and features, there are the regularly scheduled market updates of Limited Edition items that occur on an almost daily basis now. With each new Limited Edition Tree and FarmVille Gnome, collectors have all but given up the notion of collecting anything in FarmVille. A lot is happening in FarmVille and the game keeps rolling out new stuff fast and furiously, whether you like it or not. If life in the fast (farming) lane isn't for you and if you can accept being left in the dust, well, a little virtual dust never hurt anyone.
Finding your zen on the farm
Finding a balance may be difficult in FarmVille, but it's not impossible. After all, it is still a game whose purpose is to entertain. FarmVille has been described as the perfect escape. The repetitive clicking that occurs in the plow, plant, and harvest cycle is a calming exercise for some, the equivalent of a virtual zen garden.
I remain optimistic about FarmVille farming and am hopeful that each player can find his or her own farming happiness. Quests can still be ignored, the high volume construction projects can be slim-lined, and despite the rigorous release schedule -- there is still a lot of fun to be had on the farm. One of the things that makes FarmVille so great is that there are no energy requirements like many of Zynga's other social games. You can always depend on FarmVille for a quick pick-up game or a marathon farming session.
Labor Day celebrates the working force's economic and social contributions to society -- a day of rest for those of us that keep things well, working. Here's celebrating you, FarmVille farmer, and even though FarmVille may not be your full-time job (even though it may feel like one) I think you deserve a break.
Then again, Zynga launchedFarmVille 2 this week, just in case you need another job to add to your faux farming resumé. FarmVille 2, the sequel to FarmVille, is a brand new game and farming experience. Check back for my take on FarmVille 2 next week.
|Angela Morales created and manages FarmVille Freak, the largest FarmVille fan site, which provides news, tips and in-game updates for Zynga's Facebook farm game.|