Let's talk FarmVille farm expansions. Zynga has been adding a new destination FarmVille farm about every three months. The latest example of that can be seen with the release of FarmVille Enchanted Glen whose free access began last week. Before most players had a chance to visit Enchanted Glen, there were already rumors circulating about the next FarmVille expansion (expected to be Atlantis themed). When a new farm is introduced we can expect the same things. A week or two of early access granted only to players willing to divvy up the Farm Cash, followed by a regular access open to everyone for free, and complaints. Each time FarmVille releases a new destination farm it sparks bickering among players about whether a new farm is necessary or wanted.
Bring on the Farms!
A large group of players welcome the idea of more FarmVille farms. They like having options and are comfortable with the fact that they don't have to play on all their farms. They usually purpose their farms for different uses and having another farm allows them to expand on that notion. These people have a plan of action and usually stick to it. They play FarmVille how they want to and that makes them happy. It takes some amount of self-control to not get caught up in having to complete everything and they are okay with that and are probably having a more enjoyable farming experience because of it.
What if there were no new FarmVille farms?
Besides, the new slice of virtual real estate, additional FarmVille farms give us the option to store more items, create new themes on our farm, and experience farming from different seasonal and destination perspectives. My Home Farm will always hold a special place in my heart as my firstborn precious space of FarmVille, but nowadays I sometimes dread visiting it because I know how slow it will load. Despite being fully expanded to the largest land expansion size, there's not enough room for the collection of clutter (and treasures) since 2009. I still haven't found the time to give it a proper organizational overhaul. Imagine if there were no other farms and we had to fit everything on one farm.
No more farms naysayers
Everyday I receive complaints from FarmVille players who express their concern for FarmVille losing all its fun. These players are feeling overwhelmed on the farm with too much to do because they are overworked with trying to keep up with everything in FarmVille. They aren't experiencing the same enjoyment level any longer. Instead of FarmVille being a leisure activity, it's becoming more of a job for these players and they long for the olden days when things were simpler and less fast-paced in FarmVille. They see adding new farms as more work and more problems. Besides, being opposed to additional FarmVille game expansions, there are some valid concerns that most of these same people express. Some of these farmers feel that certain issues need to be addressed before more new farms (and features for that matter) roll out. We will go ahead and lump technical issues as well as in-game fundamentals into this category. It's the "Whoa farmers" and Sad Cows that have these players rejecting the idea of new farms and more stuff to do in FarmVille. There have always been issues in FarmVille, and it only makes sense that the larger the game expands with farms and new features there are bound to be problems that arise. I think that the more important problems reside in keeping the players happy when it comes to ways that make farming more enjoyable and enrich gameplay for everyone. Increased Fuel supply, requiring less parts for begging, and a larger capacity for Market Stalls to make it more compliant with farming nine farms are just a few areas that can easily be improved by developers and make every farmer a little more happy.
Here's my advice.
I must admit that it's easy to toss aside the latest FarmVille farm when a new one rolls in, but is this really a player's fault or the lack of interest in new features that really engage players? New farms can still be exciting if they are perhaps repurposed with genuinely something new, instead of the tired formula of rebuilding a broken down farm to its former glory to construct the same buildings and complete the same tasks in the setting of a different place. If players were provided with something entirely unique and useful for that farm to further their gameplay elsewhere perhaps that would be more appetizing.
Let's face it-- the production of new items, features, and even farms in FarmVille doesn't appear to be slowly down anytime soon. Zynga is rolling out FarmVille game expansions despite the complaints and rightfully so, because there are many players who welcome new farms. As long as it remains an optional part of the game, what is the real harm? There could be far worse things than adding another FarmVille farm. I'm happy that FarmVille remains relevant and although updates may be rampant and overwhelming at times, the opposite end of the spectrum could be very little new features, no new farms, and even worse, sun-setting the game like a few unlucky Zynga games that met their end recently. Now, that would be something to complain about! I often remind FarmVille Freaks that FarmVille is a game of options and choices. No one is forcing you to do everything offered in FarmVille and by no means should anyone feel obligated to work all nine farms. Instead, participate in features that interest you and work on the FarmVille farms of your choosing. It's okay if you want to rotate your farms, use a few, five, or even nine.
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 as it happens. She is also the co-author of FarmVille For Dummies book. Yes, it exists.