ChefVille Aftertaste: The problem with timed quest events
While most Facebook gamers are familiar with the idea of timed quest events in their favorite Facebook games, many games release these timed events in one major release, and then allow all players the same amount of time to finish everything off. In the case of ChefVille's recent County Fair event, however, we saw timed quests being released in stages, but with the same overall time limit for each item.
While this may not seem like a problem, it's actually a cause for concern or even panic among chefs that don't have time to play the game as often as Zynga would probably like. Let's break it down a bit. At the beginning of the County Fair event, players had two major quest lines to complete. One dealt with the Mustard Dispenser, while the other focused on the Hot Dog Cart / Meat Grinder. Both came with plenty of time to complete them, so players were able to sit back and leisurely complete these quests without a struggle.
However, in the middle of the event, even more County Fair quests were released, in addition to a second Mustard Dispenser that needed materials to build. Even though these quests were new, they were given the same time limit as those that were released at least a week before, suddenly putting so much more on each player's plate, without increasing the time each player had to actually complete them.
From a business standpoint, staggered releases like these make perfect sense, as the less time a player has to complete something, the more likely (in theory) they would be to spend premium currency to complete it. However, for players that aren't comfortable with spending real money, this often brings about a backlash, as games become "more work than play," and users abandon games altogether.
Thankfully, the quest requirements in ChefVille's County Fair aren't so overly demanding that they're impossible to complete within the established time limit, but it's still a bit jarring to see an event suddenly expand, without warning, and without an appropriate increase to that new content's time limit. Hopefully, this first timed event in the game has seen Zynga work out the kinks, and we'll find a better balance in features moving forward. If not, this could be the beginning of the game's journey down a very disappointing path.
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What do you think of the time limits in quests in ChefVille or any other Facebook game? Will you have time to finish all of the game's County Fair events before they expire? Sound off in the comments!