Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Crafting Option in Farmville

Despite my sometimes jaundiced view of the rather aggressive commercialism of Farmville, it does have a multitude of endless interactions with the player and constant interfacing with other players as well. Lost Animals, Pregnant Sows, a Farmers' Market that offers Bushels of the Crops that you and your Neighbours grow as well as Co-Op Jobs are among the Options that appear whenever you play Farmville. Unfortunately, the Farmers' Market and Co-Op Jobs can be experienced only by players who have increased their Levels of experience. I now have tried both.

Between the Co-Op Job Option and the Farmers' Market Options, I personally find the Co-Op Jobs rather tedious, even when a Neighbour assists. Essentially, what is required is that you grow enormous quantities of a single Crop within a limited time period. If you do not have machines to till the field, sow the Seeds AND harvest the Crops, you will be forced to invest a substantial amount of REAL time in the venture, with very little reward really. You can earn a Bronze, Silver or Gold Medal and of course, you will earn whatever income and experience your Crops produce.

For my Co-Op Job, I chose to grow 1500 Red Tulips as I love Flowers. A Neighbour and Harvest Moon comrade very kindly added his effortst to mine. In all honesty, without his help, I could not have completed the Job and in fact, he was the MVP in this labour, supplying over 60% of the Red Tulips for the 'Wedding' organisers who contracted with us for the items. Annoyingly, some glitch in Farmville forced me to harvest the last 200 Tulips TWICE. I had completed the entire job and indeed, had re-tilled a number of plots when the game told me that the game had been 'enhanced' and forced me to reload. To my horror, when I did, I found that the 200 Red Tulips had regrown themselves magically and had to be harvested again.

You can choose between a number of different Co-Op Jobs but it appears that they all involve a task of growing and harvesting large quantities of a single Crop.

The Farmers' Market, on the other hand, has been invested with a Crafting Option that might prove interesting. When it first was announced, I was asked to choose between a Bakery, Winery and Spa. I chose the Spa, thinking that it would involve Flowers more than other Crops.

Actually, I suspect that the Recipes in all three Crafts require a wide variety of ingredients. As in games like Rune Factory, you need to raise your level of experience before you can make more than one Recipe.

So far, I have made 'Fresh Sachets' at my little Craft Cottage and sold a few to a Neighbour. Each time you make a Craft, your levels of expertise improve and the quality of the Goods will improve.

The Recipe for a Fresh Sachet is: 3 Pumpkin Bushels, 3 Cranberry Bushels, 1 Sunflower Bushel

What is interesting here is that you can 'buy' any Bushels you do not have from a Neighbour's Stall if he/she has them, which extends your potential to complete Recipes for Goods.

It is not as interesting as Grand Bazaar, or any other Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game, but it is a step in the right direction!

Later: The automatic option to make a choice between the three Crafting buildings no longer is given to players. I was rewarded by responding instantly with the gift of a free Spa, but now you must buy one or more of the three buildings at the Market. The Buildings are: Bakery, Winery and Spa. The three Buildings are available only at Level 25 and each costs 100,000 Coins, making me rather happy that I responded to the offer when I received it! You may not even see them at the Market if your levels are not high enough.

If you do not have a Market Stall, you cannot do anything with the option as it all works through the Market Stall. Now, at the Market Stall, there are new Menus that allow you to Use either Bushels or Goods or, when you choose Bushels, to Make Goods or Uss a specific Bushel as before simply to gain Mastery Points during harvests.

At Level 15, with a Market Stall, you can buy Goods now as well as Bushels from Neighbours. The 'Fresh Sachet' costs 1100 Coins. If you have a vehicle, you can trade the Fresh Sachet for Fuel. I was rather disappointed to find that this is the only way to use the Goods at present, although Farmville promises that there will be an option to acquire special items in future as well.

The Ugly Duckling in Farmville

Farmville may not be as obviously enchanting as Fantasy Kingdoms but I recently became aware of an option that is truly magical in this game. Sadly, because of my own prejudices against anything ugly or aesthetically displeasing, I was not able to experience it firsthand. The tale reflects very badly upon me but I will recount it nonetheless.

Within the last fortnight, I saw a posting by a Neighbour of a Lost Animal I never had encountered before. It was an 'Ugly Duckling'. I had encountered 'Party Ducks' and some other odd creatures such as the Groovy Cow but this was unlike anything else... The 'Ugly Duckling' was TRULY Ugly, with one enormous buck tooth hanging from its mouth. I did not wish to have a creature like that on my Farm and so passed up an opportunity for a magical and wonderful experience!

A friend of mine who plays Farmville DID adopt the Ugly Duckling, wondering if it would produce a Feather Harvest like the other Ducks. When it became 'Ready' yesterday, instead of an automatic Harvest, a pull-down menu appeared, offering him the chance to 'Transform' the Duck. Readers probably have guessed by now what occurs. The fact that I did not think of this when I first encountered the Ugly Duckling does not reflect well on some one who probably has read every fairytale and folktale in existence.

Yes, right before his eyes, the Ugly Duckling was transformed into a beautiful White Swan. I am kicking myself for not having adopted the Ugly creature, ashamed of my unkindness and envying my friend his acquisition of a glorious White Swan.

Incidentally, another Lost Animal I only encountered in the past week and was fortunate enough to be able to adopt is the White-Tailed Buck.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Advanced Farming Options: Collections and Crop Mastery


At Level 10, the Menu Box that displays the Icon of a Blue Ribbon will offer two different Menus. The first will be the Award/Ribbons Menu and the second will be the Collections Menu.

The Game information about Collections states that:

Find collectibles while Ploughing, Harvesting Trees and Animals and Fertilising Friends' Crops. Get Hints for where to find each collectible by mousing over its icon!

If you are lucky enough to find a Rare or Uncommon Collectible, you can share it with your friends!

Some collectibles can only be found from Gifts sent from your friends. Check back every day for new giftable collectibles!

When you find all Collectibles in a Set, you can turn it in for a reward of XP, Coins and Fuel!

Collections are divided into a number of different Sets. Each Set consists of 6 Items. Whenever you find an Item, you can publish the news to allow three of your Friends to 'collect' the same Item from your Wall. Whenever you complete a Collection Set, you will receive a Bonus and if you publish the news, your Friends can receive a Bonus as well. The Collection Sets are as follows:

Gardening Tools Collection
Country Kitcsh Collection
Button Collection
Bugs Collection
Butterfly Collection
Feather Collection

Items in Collections tend to be linked to specific activities, based on fairly logical 'real' considerations. Bugs, for example, tend to be found when you harvest Fruit from Trees.

Crop Mastery

Crop Mastery is based on the number of Crops that you harvest. In some cases, you must achieve Mastery of a specific Crop in order to unlock a Crop at a higher Level.

One Mastery Point towards a specific Crop is obtained whenever you harvest that Crop. You can increase the number of points by 'using' a Bushel from your Market Stall. See the section that deals with Market Stalls for details.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Farmhands and Arbourists

You may discover that your Animal population increases rapidly in Farmville, even if you never purchase an Animal from the Market. You can obtain a host of Animals by virtue of the Lost Animals option as well as Gifts from Neighbours, Rewards for your accomplishments and Rewards for the accomplishments of your Neighbours.

A Chicken Coop can house up to 20 Chickens. A Dairy Barn can house up to 20 Cows and 1 Bull. A Stable can house up to 20 Horses and a temporary resident in the form of the Wandering Stallion. Where do all the Ducks, Geese, Llamas and sundry other Animals go?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Values and Uses of Animals in Farmville

Animals in Farmville fall into one of three general Categories. The first could be considered as Ranch Animals, but this Category would include Exotic Animals and any species that yields a product or income regularly. The second Category is that of Pets, and this definition in Farmville includes only those Animals who yield neither product nor income. Various breeds of Dogs tend to be the only Animals in the Pet Category. Other Animals that would be Pets in the real world, including Cats, should be defined in Farmville as Ranch Animals as a Cat yields a regular income whenever he/she is Brushed. The third Category would be Decorations. Although most Animals would not be defined as Decorations, the Carrier Pigeons would fall into the third Category as, although alive and indeed more mobile than most other Animals as they will fly without being prompted to do so, they do not yield Product, nor are they classified by the game as Pets.

Let me hasten to declare here that Farmville appears to be strictly vegetarian in nature, unlike some Facebook Farming Simulation Games that force a player to fatten specific Animals for slaughter. If, therefore, a player is a vegetarian, Vegan or Buddhist, he/she should have no moral qualms where Farmville Farming is concerned.

Ranch Animals, if they do not yield any specific Product, yield income through the act of interacting with them by Brushing them. Baby Animals, including Calves and Colts, will not yield Product but do yield income if you Brush them. Brushing follows a specific cycle in terms of time in the same fashion as any collection of Ranch Products.

In the Animal List, I have included both the Yield of the Animal and the price of the Animal if sold. Where very common Animals are concerned, the two often are equal, but in most cases, the value of the Animal itself is greater than the value of its Yield. Special Limited Editions are listed in a separate Category, as they will not be available after the time period for their Edition elapses.

Housing for Animals

There is a large selection of Buildings in Farmville. Some are Limited Editions but others are listed without restrictions in terms of time. Buildings can be ornamental or have specific uses. In general, the Buildings categorised as houses or homes are decorative in nature. Your Character cannot interact with them except to move them or sell them.

Other Buildings either are used for Farming, Animal Housing or Storage. In some cases, ownership of a Building with a defined use will unlock new options in terms of gameplay.

An early case in point is the Chicken Coop which allows the game to generate Mystery Eggs randomly based on the types of Chickens that are housed within. It is for this reason that I advise players to purchase a Chicken Coop as early as possible in the game.

Dairy Barn

The Dairy Barn serves as housing for any Cow in Farmville. Moreover, it will house one Bull as well. Bulls will not appear on the Menu at the Market and are Lost Animals that must be claimed. If you place a Bull in your Dairy Barn with your Cows, you can obtain valuable Bonuses, including Calves. You can claim more than one Bull, but you cannot house more than one in a Dairy Barn.


Unlike the Chicken Coop and Dairy Barn, a Stable when purchased is unfinished. You are obliged to purchase the skeletal outline of the Building and then to collect the Materials necessary to complete it. You can purchase the Materials for the Stable one by one, but most players prefer to receive these as Gifts from their Neighbours.

The price of the Horse Stable (unfinished) is:

Horse Stable
5000 Coins

The Materials required to complete the Horse Stable are:

10 Bricks
10 Harnesses
10 Horseshoes
10 Nails
10 Wooden Boards

Each of these Items costs 1 Farm Cash, which means that, should you choose the 'Complete' Option to finish the Barn immediately by purchasing all Materials from Farmville, the total Cost for Materials would be:

50 Farm Cash

The primary reason to own a finished Stable is in order to be able to collect the Wandering Stallion. As with the Bulls, the Stallion is a random 'Lost Animal' generated by Farmville, but unlike the Bull who can be kept outside if you do not own a Dairy Barn, you will not be able to place the Stallion if you do not have a finished Stable. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to 'Help' the Stallion by bringing it to your Farm unless you have a completed Stable.

If you have an unfinished Stable, the game may offer to give you some Materials,but I never actually received any of the Materials I was promised! There are a lot of glitches in Farmville, even after a year.

Even if you do have a Stable, the Stalliion will move on after a day or so to wander towards other fertile fields. He is unique in this respect.

Farmville's Description of the Stable is:

'If you have given the Wandering Stallion shelter for the night (or if you have a stallion in your stable), there is a chance your horses will produce a foal.

Having more horses of a particular type means a higher chance of finding a foal of that type!

You also have a chance of finding a useful item when you tend to your stables so make sure to check every day!'

There is only a chance that the Wandering Stallion will result in the appearance of a Foal, however. Sometimes, his gratitude will take the form of an amount in Coins.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Market Stalls in Farmville

The Farmer's Market

At some point in the early stages of your game, you may see the icon of a Bushel of the Crop you are harvesting float across your screen. When you reach Level 15 and this occurs, the game will prompt you to purchase a Market Stall. Without knowing what the purpose of this item is, you may ignore the prompt.

In fact, the Market Stall option is quite interesting and it can be profitable both in terms of income and experience.

A Market Stall can be purchased either with Coins or with Farm Cash.

The prices of a Market Stall are as follows:

Market Stall:
50,000 Coins

Market Stall
20 Farm Cash

The Farmer's Market

You will not be able to purchase your own Market Stall until you reach Level 15, nor will you be able to accept Bushels from other players until then.

Once you purchase a Market Stall, you can access the Farmer's Market through the Stall itself.

The little tutorial that can be accessed at the Market Stall gives the following information:

Each time you harvest a crop, you might find a bushel of that crop. When you find them, you get extra bushels for crop mastery! Crop bushes are used to speed up your mastery or XP progress, to unlock seeds that you can't yet buy in the market and to craft items in your Crafting Cottage. Coming soon!

Bushels you find are stored in your Market Stall. You can spend your bushels to boost your productivity on the farm! First click your Market Stall and select Farmer's Market, then click the 'My Bushels' Button, and then click the 'Use' button under the Bushel.

When you harvest a bushel, your market stall is set to sell those bushels for 24 hours. If you've mastered the crop, your stall will stay open longer. If you're already selling the crop, finding another Bushel will keep your stall open longer, too.

From your own Market Stall, you can see the Bushels your friends are offering. You can take up to 3 bushels from each friend. Just click the 'Get Bushels' button and start shopping!

In order to 'Use' the Bushel, you need to be growing the specific Crop and it needs to be ready for Harvest within two hours. Otherwise, there will be no effect whatsoever
Market Stalls are used both to store Bushels of specific Crops and to offer them to visiting Neighbours. If any Neighbour takes Bushels from your Stall, you will be rewarded. You can choose the form your Reward takes. You will be offered 10 XP, 4000 Coins or 15 Fuel. (?) Whenever you harvest a Bushel of a specific Crop, it automatically will go into your Market Stall and the Stall will open for business for 24 hours. There are ways to extend the time that the Stall remains open, but 24 hours is the normal time period.

Whenever you click on your Market Stall, you will have an option to access the Farmer's Market. Here you will be given the opportunity to see all the Bushels that your neighbours currently are offering. You can take three Bushels of any specific Crop from a Neighbour's Stall.

These Bushels can be used or shared with Neighbours. If you opt to 'Use' a Bushel that you have collected, you need to be able to harvest the same Crop on your own Farm within two hours in order to gain the benefit which is an increase in the Experience earned from the act of Harvesting that Crop. For example, if you choose to 'Use' a Bushel of Rice, you need to have Rice that will ripen within the next two hours and be able to harvest it before the time limit expires. Rice ordinarily gives +1 XP. If a Bushel of Rice is in use, however, each Rice square that you harvest will give you +2 XP.

Only one Bushel can be in use at any given point in time. If you have Bushels for more than one Crop that is ready to be harvested, you can use the corresponding Bushels sequentially.

If you have not reached Level 15 and attempt to collect a Bushel from a Friend's Wall, you will receive the following prompt:

Sorry! You need to get to Level 15 before you can visit a Farmer's Market and collect bushels! Would you like 20 XP from Farmville to help you on your way?

You therefore can claim a little reward of 20 XP even if you cannot collect the Bushel posted on a Neighbour's or Friend's Wall.

Garden Shed

The Garden Shed gives you the opportunity to save Flowers that you harvest to use as Decorations on your own land. If you love beautiful Flowers, you will enjoy this option tremendously. Unfortunately, the price is steep unless you have 10 Neighbours. There are no Level Requirements for purchase of a Garden Shed, incidentally.

The Garden Shed is described as follows:

Garden Sheds save Perfect Bunches hat you find while harvesting flowers. Use them to make decorative flower bouquets to put around your farm or share with friends! Your first Garden Shed comes with 10 rare bouquets as a special purchase gift!

The Garden Shed is a Building Item with two separate listings and prices:

Garden Shed
10 Neighbours Needed

Garden Shed
30 Farm Cash