Game Review: Farmville

January 07, 2010
Deepti Lamba

I was anti-Facebook for a pretty long time and sometime back deactivated my account as well. I found it to be juvenile and a waste of time but I reactivated my account after convincing myself it was just another form of social media and a good way of getting to know people.

I had seen Ideasmith talk about her Farmville farm on Twitter off and on. I gave in to curiosity and decided to create a farm of my own and that was my undoing. I was plowed under and soon an avid farmer.

The game has become part of my daily routine. After sending kids to school I check my farm before I read the papers, watch the news and head off to the gym. I remember the harvest time of my crops and ensure I’m online to harvest the crops and play the game.

Initially it took some fortitude to play the game at lower levels. Money was scarce, the plot of land limiting and the rich neighbours with their gorgeous farms enviable. When I visited deserted farms I realized lack of interest in the game couldn’t be excused by lack of time but lack of consistent will power and discipline.

In many ways Farmville is like real planting and harvesting. After plowing and seeding one has to wait for things to grow and one can only plant what’s available at the level and though Zynga has the option of buying cash and coins with real money most of us realize it’s just a game and don’t give into temptation. It is best to go up the hard way from level to level and be helped initially by Ribbons and extra cash thrown our way by having bountiful harvest. Facebook reports that there are more people on Farmville than even Twitter.

Ribbons: Winning Ribbons means extra coins and XP. There are all kinds of ribbons.

Free gifts: Free gifts section opens up as one goes up the levels. There are trees, animals, objects and currently presents are still lingering around from Christmas season.

Neighbours: The more neighbours one has the more XP one can gain by fertilizing their plants, getting rid of weeds, bugs or animals by single clicks.  More neighbours one has more the chances of getting one’s land fertilized and the number of gifts one gets also goes up. Also one needs certain number of neighbours before one can expand their farm.

Seeds: There are all kinds of seeds available and the crops are time bound. Some are for easy money making and others can be planted for three four days and then harvested. The most profitable plants are at the higher levels. A useful guide to the economics of Farmville is on Mahalo.

Animals and Trees: One can have a steady stream of money pouring in from animals and trees. Some can be bought from the market and others gained as gifts from neighbours. They mature and can be harvested. Horses are brushed for their horsehair while truffles can be picked from pigs.

Buildings: Buying buildings such as cottages, villas etc are expensive but they help one gain the architect ribbon, more XP and even get to the next level. Its a good idea to get a chicken coop and dairy farms to make your cows and hens more productive, and don't forget to adopt a bull for your dairy farm so you can occasionally share a calf with your neighbors.

Tips and Tricks sites: There are lot of sites which promise tips and tricks to get to the higher levels but its best to go up the regular way instead of falling for these gimmicks. One useful and legal Facebook application is the Farmville Bonus Checker, which periodically scans your neighbors' walls to check if there are any bonuses on offer.

Currently I am on Level 29 and saving to buy a manor for my farm and plan to stick it out at my farm for a while before I throw in the towel.

Aaman joined Farmville a few days after I did and after he had peered over at my farm and muttered about what a waste of time it was. Predictably enough, he soon figured it all out and was racing ahead of me, gathering the moolah, presents, and the most profitable crops. He quit suddenly over Christmas, after reaching level 31. He deleted all his crops, sold his villas, trees, and animals, and left a parting note for us hardworking farmers.


dee.jpgDeepti Lamba is an author, besides editing at Desicritics
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