Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Neighbours in Farmville

Although you can play Farmville in isolation, you will have more fun and a wider variety of experiences if you have Neighbours. You can invite any Facebook Friend to become your Neighbour and indeed, there always is an option to invite any Friend to participate in any Facebook game. Although I dearly would love to have more Neighbours, I personally am reluctant to bombard 'Friends' with invitations to join me in games on Facebook unless I feel they would enjoy the experience. I do have Friends who never would play a farming simulation game even at gunpoint. I would not annoy those friends with pointless invitations.

Facebook Games are very aggressive in their strategies to encourage you to obtain as many Neighbours as possible and Farmville is no exception. You can send one Gift per day to any Facebook Friend, whether or not that indiidual is involved with Farmville. Accepting a Gift will make the person a part of Farmville. Are there any reasons why an individual should not accept a Gift or invitation? I do not believe there are any negative effects whatsoever. The game will not contact you without your permission. If you find that you do not care for it, you can ignore it forever.

Accepting an Invitation to play and to become a Friend's Neighbour can benefit your Friend enormously even if you never play the game at all. Certain significant options are unlocked only if you possess a specific number of Neighbours, are willing to invest real money in the game (or wait patiently for a long time while you increase your income through gameplay). Expanding your Farm and obtaining a Dairy Barn for your Cows are two options that require specific numbers of Neighbours. You can perform a kindness to any Facebook Friend simply by agreeing to try Farmville and accepting your Friend as your Neighbour.

When a player has neighbours, he/she will be given the opportunity to visit their farms daily to perform little tasks and reap rewards. It is fun to see how other players have organised their Farms. Furthermore, when you are given a chance to feed a Neighbour's Chickens, you have the opportunity of finding a Mystery Egg. Mystery Eggs can hatch into rare and valuable Chickens or give you XP or Coins. It is one of the most delightful rewards of visiting Neighbours. You may find a Mystery Egg if you have your own Chicken Coop and collect the Eggs that your Chickens have laid, but the type of Mystery Egg that can be generated is based on the varieties of Chickens that are living in the Coop. The fact of the matter is that players who have high levels of experience are more likely to have rare Chickens in their Chicken Coops. It therefore is very much worth your while to visit all your Neighbours regularly to feed their Chickens.

As I explained in another post, there are two requirements for the option to feed a Neighbour's Chickens.

First of all, the Neighbour MUST have at least 5 tilled squares of land that have not been fertilised as the first option that is generated by the game is that of helping your Neighbour by fertilising five of his/her Crops. The game accepts an empty tilled square for this purpose so a good Neighbour always should till as many squares as possible, even if he/she does not have time to plant Seeds.

Once you have fertilised five squares, the option to Feed the Chickens will appear, but only if your Neighbour has a Chicken Coop. I advise all players to invest in a Chicken Coop as early as possible in the game so that they can participate in the Mystery Egg option and allow their Neighbours to participate.

Sometimes, when you visit a Neighbour, you will be given a little task to perform even before you are asked to fertilise the Crops. The task can be performed instantly and will result in a reward in the form of Coins. Unlike Animal Crossing, where you must pull up the Weeds on the land physically, one by one, in Farmville, any request to weed your Neighbour's land or chase away Raccoons is performed painlessly and instantly with a single click of the mouse.

Even if you have not obtained a specific Friend as a Neighbour in Farmville, the game will consider any Friend who has played Farmville as a potential Neighbour and will give you the option to visit him/her in order to perform these tasks. If you are looking for Neighbours, you are ore likely to have success in an invitation to some one who currently plays the game than some one who never explored it.

When you have Neighbours, provided always that they are willing to 'share' and 'publish' their Farmville accomplishments, you will be given a chance to obtain bonuses from them. The bonuses that you gain in this fashion usually are not large sums but every coin counts.

One of the better options shared by Neighbours is the ability to adopt 'Lost Animals'. While playing Farmville, the game may announce that a Lost Animal has wandered onto your farm. You will not be able to adopt this Animal yourself, but you can post the information on your Wall to give your Friends and Neighbours the option to adopt it. Lost Animals tend to be varieties that you cannot purchase at the Market. They include Llamas, Black Sheep, Ducks and odd varieties of ordinary Animals such as Groovy Cows and Party Ducks. You can collect Ranch Products from a Groovy Cow or Party Duck and a Dairy Barn will house a Groovy Cow or Pink Cow as easily as it houses ordinary Cows. It therefore always is a good idea to adopt a Lost Animal when you see an opportunity to do so.

The other significant benefit of having Neighbours it he ability to exchange Gifts on a daily basis. One free Gifts can be sent to any Friend each day. When you choose this option, you will be taken to a special Menu that lists the items that can be sent as Gifts. Here, your own Level of experience will dictate the Gifts that have been unlocked. Some Gifts are more useful than others. If you wish to help a Friend who is starting a farm, you probably should choose to send Animals or Fruit Trees rather than decorations. By accepting a Gift, a new player can obtain items he/she otherwise could not be eligible to have in terms of his/her own level of experience.

Facebook Games generally are based on the concept of sharing and this is a positive social attribute. Even if the items are virtual rather than real, the idea of sending a Gift that a Friend may want or need for his/her farm is a method of outreach and communication. It may be partly selfish in that the Gift always is accompanied by a message requesting a Gift in return, but even so...

Two of the options in Farmville that are linked to the number of Neighbours you have are the ability to expand your farm and the ability to purchase a Dairy Barn.

There are two options to purchase a Dairy Barn as follows:

Dairy Farm
Cost: 20 FC
Harvest in 1 day
XP Gain: 100
Sell for 500 Coins

Dairy Farm
Locked until you have 8 Neighbours
XP Gain: 100
Sell for 500 coins

20 FC or Farm Cash is more difficult to obtain than 500 Coins. Each Level that you advance may be worth 1 FC but the primary method of obtaining Farm Cash is by purchasing it with real currency. The values of Farm Cash and Coins in terms of U.S. currency are as follows:

Farm Cash and Coins

310 Cash costs $50.00
240 Cash costs $40.00
115 Cash costs $20.00
55 Cash costs $10.00
25 Cash costs $5.00

70,600 Coins cost $40.00
33,300 Coins cost $20.00
15,800 Coins cost $10.00
7,500 Coins cost $5.00

5 Farm Cash therefore is worth $5.00 and 1500 Coins are the equivalent of 1 Farm Cash. The actual prices of the Dairy Barn in both cases are equal but you usually can earn 5000 Coins faster than you can earn even 1 FC. It therefore is to your benefit to obtain at least 8 Neighbours as quickly as possible in order to be able to house your Cows. Cows take quite a lot of space on your Farm if you do not have a Barn for them, although you can collect Milk from them individually in the same way that you can collect Eggs from Chickens individually. I do believe that the Mystery Egg option only is generated if you collect Eggs from a Chicken Coop but need to confirm that.

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