Have Zynga's FarmVille and FrontierVille become more like 'BegVille?'
Alright, so it isn't Deliverance bad yet. But since quests have been recently added to FarmVille, the community has responded less than favorably, if a recent poll on the forums is any indication. With 470 votes as of this writing, 37 percent of them have claimed that Quests in FarmVille are "Not for me." While this is isn't necessarily an overwhelming majority, it most definitely speaks to how a large number of farmers might feel about the relatively new feature.
And despite a pretty small majority voting against Quests in their game, the rest of thread seems to imply a much worse situation with some commenters alluding to FrontierVille, which many claim has too many Goals. But that isn't their only beef with Quests and Goals. It seems as if a large amount of players are unhappy with how quests operate with one player writing, "Not in favour... especially if they involve constant begging from neighbours all the time. Lately, we seem to do that 90% of the time as it is. They should change the name of the game to BegVille."
"BegVille," huh? Let's get a better understanding of (and a way to stop) this interesting, chuckle-worthy moniker after the break.
What the forum member seems to have meant by calling both FrontierVille and FarmVille "BegVille" is that he feels too many of the requirements in both Goals and Quests involve asking our friends for various items that are essentially intangible in the game world. For instance, FrontierVille's recent "Playtime" Timed Mission requires players to ask their friends for 20 items in just 48 hours. While this is vastly easier thanks to the new Zynga Message Center, it's still a daunting quest to finish. And the same goes for the Winter Wonderland Quest in FarmVille, which asks farmers to tap their friends for items at nearly every turn.
And what does this get us? A nearly endless list of requests in our Message Center nearly every time we log into either FarmVille or FrontierVille. Games like Cafe World and Mafia Wars aren't off the hook either, but we'll get back to them.
Unfortunately for some and a good old time for others, this is intrinsic to Zynga's quest design and, quite frankly, one of the few things that keeps the precious "social element" in its games. There is always Gifting, but is sending a generic message to your friend truly social? Without these item requests, players wouldn't interact with one another outside of random visits in FrontierVille (most of which are driven by Goals anyway) and Co-Op Jobs in FarmVille. Wait, that's it!
While some players think thousands of item requests are fine and dandy, there's a large amount of us that want something more... interactive. Cafe World has its Catering Orders, Mafia Wars has its Secret Missions and FarmVille has its Co-Op Crafting Jobs yet none of them are integral to our progress in each game. They can easily be ignored in the wake of hundreds of crops, recipes and odd jobs to master. It's only FrontierVille, the major culprit, that doesn't feature something similar.
With that being said, why not make collaboration as rich a source of XP and items as personal bests like Mastery? For instance, take the recent Headless Horseman Goals for Halloween in FrontierVille. Instead of each homestead having its very own Horseman (though, he did appear in friends' homesteads, which is a start) for pioneers to defeat with the "help" of friends, why not make the Horseman a collective enemy to defeat with a progress bar much like Cafe World's Catering Jobs or FarmVille Co-Ops?
Players would rally their friends to gather the required items to contribute to a collective achievement rather than a personal one, rewarding everyone involved with coins and rare items rather than the individual. Or if you're that attached to your rare items, these Quests could easily be repeatable with a randomized loot system and Mastery (I'm looking at you, Secret Missions). And what do you know, it's a brand new way to progress through your game that actually involves your friends working toward a larger goal.
Obviously, this is far from limited to holiday events and would require some creativity from the games' respective design teams to think up new ideas for collaborative missions that fit into each game's world (bandits in FrontierVille, anyone?). Not to mention that this type of Quest would be released way less frequently than what's possible with the current Quests. But if that's what it takes to keep players from calling these games names like "BegVille," I'm willing to wait. Are you?
Does this approach to Quests or Goals sound appealing to you? Would you be willing to wait longer for collaborative Goals if they meant a deeper social experience? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.