ChefVille Aftertaste: Why are users punished when games break down?


To say that the past few weeks have been troublesome for Zynga's gamers would be an understatement, as players across a variety of Zynga's games have faced new bugs, server outages that completely blocked the game from play, or rollbacks that wiped players' progress in some rare (but still annoying) cases. ChefVille has suffered its fair share of issues as well, as the game was unavailable for play earlier this week, while the New Year's Breakfast event timer continued to count down in the background.

While players had quite a few days to finish these themed Breakfast dishes for full Mastery Ribbons, therefore earning the prizes that were exclusive to this event, the game's recent outages and general problems stopped many players, myself included, from having the time necessary to earn the last few Ribbons they needed to finish the entire event. Even when the game was available for play, many news feed posts wouldn't actually post or they'd be broken, and individual friend requests would never be sent.

Such issues are to be expected in online games, but it's the way developers react to these issues that makes them acceptable or not. In the case of ChefVille, the breakfast event wasn't extended, dishes were allowed to spoil, and many players were left with a feeling of general annoyance that we weren't compensated for the game's downtime.

What can players do about this? It's presumed that by contacting Zynga Support, players would be able to earn the prizes they missed out on, but wouldn't it be much better to simply have an extra day added to the Breakfast event timer instead? That way, all players would be given the same chance to finish the event as those that may not have suffered from as many issues, and player morale wouldn't be allowed to crumble.

It's not as though ChefVille is the first game that has had technical issues, which leaves us to wonder why we as players are punished for something that we had no control over. Technical programs have bugs and can occasionally have isolated or widespread problems - I get that - but players shouldn't be forced to spend Chef Cash to restore dishes or complete quests because of a lack of time brought about by those same problems. Hopefully, this is the last time ChefVille suffers from game or quest-breaking bugs, and hopefully, we'll all have the same fair chance to complete the next event that's sure to release.

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Did you finish the Healthy Eating Breakfast event, or did the game's outage cause you to run out of time? Have you ever run out of time on another Zynga event due to bugs or something beyond your control? Let us know about it in the comments!