Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Guides for A New Beginning Harvest Moon and New Leaf Animal Crossing

I have not been as energetic with respect to guides as I was in the past.  The entire business of 'Wikis' for each and every game under the sun has discouraged me, frankly.  I've seen entire guides of mine ripped off and inserted into Wikis.

In any case, I am working on little guides for Harvest Moon 'A New Beginning' and the new Animal Crossing for 3DS, 'New Leaf.'  You will find links to the sites on the right side of this page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Site for 'A New Beginning'

I have created a separate site for the latest game in the Harvest Moon series, 'A New Beginning.'

The site can be found at:

Harvest Moon, A New Beginning


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Tides of Destiny

A number of players have asked for a review of this game, so I am going to oblige them with a brief note about it.

Tides of Destiny will not disappoint fans of Rune Factory who would like to see all of their favourite elements incorporated in every game in the series, yet it is different enough to satisfy those who want something new.

Instead of suffering from the traditional case of amnesia, your Character and his best friend are transported to another era and are forced to share one body. It is the body of the Male Character, but one of the goals in the game is to lift the curse that keeps the poor Female Character locked inside her best friend's body. Once this is accomplished, you can move forward in two different games if you so choose. You will be able to play as the Male Character and as the Female Character.

It is an interesting premise and one that can be by turns both amusing and annoying. The female Character does not remain mute even in the presence of others. The little dramatic exchange that occurs when a female Voice pipes up in an introduction to a new Character does become a little tedious although, after a point, even the protagonists become bored with the business and settle for a dialogue along the lines of: 'It's a long story and I'll tell you all about it later.'

As in every Rune Factory game, your Character must hone his combat Skills as fighting and taming Monsters is essential. Fishing is included in the game as well. As is usually the case in Rune Factory, most of your essential Tools (and your first Weapon) will be Gifts. They are sold at local shops, however, so if you are not patient enough to WAIT for the Gift Event, you can purchase them. You can find a Brush and a Harvester on the floor of your Barn and the Fishing Pole is a gift from Joe but Joe sells both Harvesters and Brushes and the local Smithy sells the Cheap Fishing Pole.

The biggest differences in terms of gameplay are the seafaring element, the enormous Earth Golem named Ymir who takes the place of a Ship and the way that farming is organised.

You cannot farm on your Home Island and indeed, your Character does not tend Crops himself but must instead tame Monsters in the Crop Group to tend them for him. He can 'find' sprouts on specific Islands through use of his Spirit Wand and then set Monsters ashore on that Island to tend them. It is an interesting change.

Seafaring is a big part of this game. Important Requests tend to deal with exploration of the Ocean and 'X Marks the Spot' is the way that it works. The Character who makes the Request will place an X on your Sea Chart and you then must control Ymir and 'set sail' for the location. Once the location is reached, Ymir must raise the Island for you.

There are Sea Monsters that appear randomly in the course of these expeditions. The location of the Sea Monsters is not random, but the actual type of Monster that appears on any given expedition will be chosen randomly in many cases. When fighting a Sea Monster, it is not your Character who performs the combat but rather Ymir, controlled by your Character.

Cooking, Forging, Crafting and Mixing Medicines are available from the start as your Character can use his Neighbours' facilities. Only simple Recipes that require a maximum of two Ingredients can be made in another Character's facility. To make Recipes that require more Ingredients, you first must expand your Cottage to include a second floor and then purchase the Crafting area. James sells Expansions and Crafting Areas. The House Expansion needed in this instance costs 10,000G.

You will not have any trouble making money in this game. Many of the early Requests have good monetary Rewards. Buffamoo and Woolies can be found on the first Island you explore and when tamed, yield Milk and Small Fleece respectively. You can sell Items to any local Merchant. There is a bargaining option in some cases and there are 'selling trends' that will boost the value of certain types of Items on specific days. The same Bulletin Board that posts Requests posts the Weather, Selling Trends and Local News.

There are a number of little mini-games that occur at specific Festivals or as Requests. This, too, is familiar to fans of the series.

There is another interesting aspect to Island exploration in that some Islands can be raised only temporarily. While Ymir holds them in the air, you can explore them but then must allow him to toss them back into the sea. They can be found again, however...

I will add to this review shortly but for now must return to actual guide-writing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Rune Factory, Tides of Destiny Site




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Although Harvest Moon Forever is my primary site, in the past year or two, I have created separate sites for each Harvest Moon and Rune Factory game. You will find links to the new Harvest Moon Tale of Two Towns Site and Rune Factory Tides of Destiny Sites on the right side of this page.

Unfortunately, I stupidly mistyped the name of my Tides of Destiny Site yesterday when I created the link. It now DOES go to a real site!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Upcoming Tale of Two Towns Site


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The newest game in the Harvest Moon series is 'Tale of Two Towns' and I am in the process of creating a site as well as the usual Guides for this game. 'Tale of Two Towns' has been released for the ordinary DS system but a slightly different version is due to be released for the 3D system shortly. Evidently, the game will be the same for the most part, but there will be some special little additions to the 3D game.

In 'Tale of Two Towns', you choose not only your character's gender but his/her residence of choice. There are two Towns, as the name of the game announces. The Towns are Bluebell and Konohana. Bluebell Town specialises in Animal Farming. Konohana specialises in Crops and Orchards. The Towns are separated by a mountain region.

The Harvest Goddess will tell you the history of the Two Towns as well as the reason why she blocked the tunnel that cuts through the mountain and once acted as a shortcut between them. Too much bickering between the Mayors and villagers of both towns became unbearable to her and she caused an earthquake to bring down boulders to act as a barrier. Your primary task at the start of the game is to restore good relations between Bluebell and Konohana as she regrets the act that further divided them.

Although Crop Farming and Animal Husbandry are divided between the two Towns and you must choose between the two at the start of the game, it is not only possible but desirable to change your residence from time to time. You have the ability to make a choice each season, so every player can experience the unique beauty and charm of each Village, not only as a tourist but as a resident. While living in one Village, you are encouraged to visit the other. Each Village has some basic shops, but there are specialised businesses that can be found only in one of the two.

Note that although you must choose between Crop Farming and Animal Husbandry, you will be able to grow Crops on your Farm in Bluebell Village or raise Animals on your Farm in Konohana.

In true Harvest Moon tradition, there are Cooking Festivals and it is the Cooking Festivals that offer you the opportunity to begin to mend relations between the Two Towns.

Players of both Harvest Moon and Rune Factory will note new options in this Harvest Moon game that have been taken from Rune Factory. Among other things, there is a Message Board where Requests can be taken and Courtship includes both Heart Events and 'Date Events'.

Players who enjoyed Grand Bazaar will note that some of the Characters as well as gameplay options from that game have been included in Tale of Two Towns. The three brothers who were so prominent in the Bazaar are Characters in Tale of Two Towns. Another Grand Bazaar option is the ability to purchase pets who will herd your Animals as they do in Grand Bazaar.

The Mountain Area that separates the Two Towns is particularly glorious in this game, and gives a Player the ability to forage for Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and other wild items as well as Fishing and catching Insects. New to Two Towns is the ability to catch fish with your hands! The use of a Fishing Rod is necessary to catch many varieties of Fish but shallow waters offer the chance to 'hand fish'.

A preliminary General Guide should be available on my new Tale of Two Towns site this weekend. The site has been created and you will find pages for the General Guide and Calendar Guide. More information will be added as time permits.

Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farmville meets Harvest Moon

My own secret hope is that one day soon there will be a genuine Harvest Moon game created for Facebook. Meanwhile, with the advent of the English Countryside in Farmville, one can play a game that reminds one quite a lot of Harvest Moon.

The English Countryside is a location where players who have reached Level 20 or higher in Farmville can own a second farm. In classical Harvest Moon form, you will be asked to rescue a dilapidated estate by an elderly gentleman who arrives on your land in an old-fashioned airship and who, after you help him with the repairs, will invite you to journey back home with him.

The English Countryside offers a sequence of Quests to allow players to obtain necessary buildings and animals, introducing them to new Crops and the ability to raise hybrid Animals that did not exist in the original Farmville.

Quests have become more frequent in Farmville over the past year, appearing generally to mark holiday seasons such as Christmas and Valentine's Day. They usually require the planting and harvesting of specific Crops, interactions with Neighbours/Friends to obtain specific unique items with progressively more valuable Rewards for each task in the sequence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fantasy Kingdoms

Once again, I would like to recommend Fantasy Kingdoms to Harvest Moon and Rune Factory players. It is an extraordinarily beautiful game that appears to be unique among the large number of Facebook farming simulation games that continue to proliferate wildly. It does not have the plot depth of Harvest Moon or Rune Factory but the developers constantly are expanding the scope of the game. I wrote a little guide for it, although I need to update it again with the new items.

Freyashawk's Fantasy Kingdoms Site

In particular, I would recommend the game to any one who loves to celebrate festivals and holidays as FK always has the most amazing Items to honour the various festivals in the Wheel of the Year. The Lunar New Year is being celebrated and Items for St. Valentine's Day are being released now as well. Unlike Zynga (who makes Farmville and Frontierville), the makers of Fantasy Kingdoms are very responsive to players.

Harvest Moon and Rune Factory always will be my greatest focus and I am workiing still on Rune Factory 3, which is one of the LARGEST interactive novels I ever experienced, with actual variations on Request Events and Date Events that allow a player to experience a completely different Event randomly if and when he/she either reloads or accepts a Simple Request or initiates a Date Event for the second time!
The dialogues are witty, humourous and sometimes amusingly bizarre. Any one who appreciates the actual Events in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory will find this game more than satisfying.

Speaking of which, because of the wealth of Event variations in the game, I haven't published a Rune Factory 3 Courtship and Marriage Guide yet, but hope to have one in place by next week.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Yuletide Heart from Fantasy Kingdoms


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Created by my friend Cherie, Harvest Moon and Rune Factory veteran, a Yuletide Heart in Fantasy Kingdoms fashioned from Pointsettias and Rainbow and Autumn Dryad Trees. Exquisite bit of landscaping...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Traditional Christmas Spirit in Games





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Any player of Harvest Moon is familiar with the Starry Night Festival and throughout the series, there have been traditions in Harvest Moon that are similar to Christmas traditions, such as the Stocking that must be knit by another Character and then placed on the wall to be filled in the middle of the night, usually by the Mayor acting as Santa's agent. Christmas per se, however, is not one of the traditional Harvest Moon festivals...

Some of the Animal Crossing games include Christmas revelries. Jingles is a character beloved by almost all Animal Crossing fans and one can enjoy the annual hunt for him, tricking him into giving extra gifts by changing clothing and headgear.

For gorgeous opulent Victorian depictions of Christmas and Yuletide, one cannot do better than to play Fantasy Kingdoms on Facebook. It is a total fantasy fulfillment for any one who delights in magic and who has gazed at Victorian illustrations wistfully, wishing that one could surround oneself with that type of enchantment and beauty during the Yuletide season.

The artists who work on Fantasy Kingdoms have created a real Winter Wonderland, complete with Magical Reindeer, Sleigh and all the other traditional symbols of Yule. Gifts can be exchanged with Neighbours and the fairly new option of Spellcrafting now allows one to craft special Limited Edition buildings, including an Ornament House and Gingerbread House.

Farmville may have more Holiday activities, including snowball fights and gift-wrapping, but it cannot compare with Fantasy Kingdoms for sheer breathtaking beauty. Furthermore, Fantasy Kingdoms always tends to be more 'giving' in its rewards for players who spend time and energy on the game.

Fantasy Kingdoms should appeal to any one who appreciates the philosophy at the heart of every Harvest Moon and Rune Factory game as it is based on the concept that power is derived from the acts of tending to the land and living in harmony with it.

Mana is the 'currency' upon which Fantasy Kingdoms is based, although Kingdoms Cash is a secondary currency that can be used to purchase special Items. For the most part, however, players can earn Mana by conjuring and gathering magical Crops, harvesting trees and empowering and gathering from Artifacts. The Crops that have been released for the Christmas season are extraordinarily beautiful and enchanting. They consist of Holiday 'Candy' and Ornaments. The various stages of growth of any magical Crop in Fantasy Kingdoms are distinct and the ability to 'freeze' Crops at any stage allows players to landscape their Kingdoms in different ways.

There are four different types of 'Christmas Trees' this year and each will change as it grows until it is ready to be harvested. One Tree displays pinecones. Another has lit candles. There is a Green Tree heavy with gorgeous ornaments and decorations and another 'trimmed' White Tree. Both of these will have gifts beneath them when they are ready for harvest.

One cannot compare a game like Fantasy Kingdoms with Harvest Moon or Rune Factory in terms of depth and gameplay. Fantasy Kingdoms basically is a method by which players can create their own works of arts, bringing their visual fantasies to life. It is landscaping for the most part, but it can be as detailed and as challenging as the player desires. Changing perspectives as well as creating patterns from objects are very much a part of Fantasy Kingdoms. If one is not interested in this, however, one can create a simple landscape that is beautiful and satisfying artistically.

It may be difficult for most people to find any time during the busy holiday season to play any games, but I do urge all lovers of traditional Christmas images and symbols to explore Fantasy Kingdoms a little. It is a free game and definitely worth the effort, for gamers and non-gamers alike.

For those who find themselves alone or unable to socialise in the real world during this season, games like Fantasy Kingdoms offer a very fulfilling way to celebrate the Spirit of Christmas and to interact with others who share the same sense of enchantment and magic.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Harvest Festival to all RF/HM Fans!

I apologise in advance for my sporadic access to the internet recently. I am not at home and have limited access until Saturday. Thus, if you do not see any updates to the Guides and your comments do not appear YET on my sites, please understand and have patience.

I would like to wish all Harvest Moon and Rune Factory players and fans throughout the world a very happy Harvest Festival. Thanksgiving may be a North American festival, but the Harvest Festival is universal to those of us who love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory.

In conclusion, I urge you NOT to bring a Toadstool or P. Mushroom to the feast as your contribution to the big POT.

As it is Thanksgiving for some, I would like to express my thanks to Marvelous Interactive and Natsume for creating a universe that never fails to excite and delight and to help me bear some fairly unbearable pain at times. I would like to express my gratitude as well to all of those players who have encouraged and supported my efforts to write guides for these fabulous games and especially to Mars Frog, Cherie and Nathan who have taken valuable time from their own enjoyment of some of these games to help me log results!

Wishing us all many more years of enjoyment of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory...

Freyashawk

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Forging in Rune Factory 3 has new Upgrade Options

Forging is a process that will be familiar to players of prior games in the series, but Rune Factory 3 is unique in many ways. First of all, you will learn Recipes by means of the Weapons Bread that you can purchase and consume. Second of all, although the creation of a new Weapon requires set Ingredients delineated in the Recipe, the Upgrade of Weapons and Equipment can be done with any number of Items.

In Rune Factory 3, although the creation of a new Item is accomplished by using set Ingredients, upgrading can be done with the Item of your choice. War Trophies, for example, have different attributes now in terms of Stats. If you wish to upgrade your Weapon by adding Defence Points to it, you need to use an Item that will add to DEF. If you wish to add Magic Attack power, you need to use Items with MGC ATK power.

It is very creative and a lot of fun!

The Menu at your Forge will be divided into two Options:

Make Item
Upgrade Item

If you choose the Option to Make an Item, you will be able to make it by using the required Ingredients, and the Recipes that you have learned will be displayed.

If you choose to Upgrade an Item, you will see two slots to the right:

Material
Item

Below them:

Will Make:

The percentage that represents your chance of success then will be given.

For example, one can add a Plant Stem to an Aquasword.

The Aquasword has the following Stats:

Aquasword: 4700G (Lv. 1)
A sword imbued with the power of water magic. Its blade is constantly wet.
Sell: 590G
Stats: ATK +41, MGC ATK +24

If you wish to raise the Magic Attack as well as Magic Defence of the Aquasword, you can add a Plant Stem.

In RF3, a Plant Stem has the following Stats:

Plant Stem: 300G
The hardy, thick stem of a plant. Has a variety of uses.
Sell: 150G
Stats: MGC ATK +4, MGC DEF +1

There will be a difficulty rating for each upgrade Item as well. For the Plant Stem, the Difficulty rating is 19.

With a successful upgrade that adds the potency of the Plant Stem to an ordinary Aquasword, you will have the following:

Aquasword: 4888G (Lv. 2)
Sell: 613G
ATK +41, M. ATK +28, M. DEF +1

As you can see, the Magic Attack and Magic Defence possessed by the Plant Stem were incorporated into the upgraded Aquasword.

With the addition of a Hard Horn, Freyr further augmented the power of his Weapon:

Hard Horn: 380G
A jagged, saw-like horn. Upgrades increase chances of knockouts.
Sell: 220G
ATK +2, DEF +4

With this Item added, the Aquasword became:

Aquasword: 4982G (Lv. 3)
Sell: 625G
ATK +43, DEF +4, MGC ATK +28, MGC DEF +1

Each Upgrade raises the Level of the Weapon. Do not forget that forging like cooking requires Energy. You must pay attention to your Energy Gauges if you do not wish to find yourself at the Apothecary!

Note that there is a limit to the number of upgrades that can be made. Level 10 is the highest Level for any Item in RF3 and you will be unable to add any more Materials once the Item reaches Level 10. You therefore need to choose Materials carefully. As there is an Upgrade Difficulty value for every Material, you will find in the early days that your Character will have a zero percent chance of success if he attempts to use some Materials to upgrade his Items.

A good strategy is to use Materials with low values to upgrade Items with low values even if you ship them rather than use them ultimately as this will increase your Skill Level, allowing you to use better Materials on the Items that really matter to you. In other words, make and upgrade an Item such as a Broadsword to Level 10 and then ship it simply in order to raise your Skill Level at the Forge.

What I like about RF3's system of upgrading is the ability to add Attack values to defensive equipment and Defensive values to Weapons. Although Swords and Shields are lumped together in the Menu at the Smithy, Shields actually are made and upgraded at the Workbench and not the Forge.

Although players can expect to find similarities between all Rune Factory games, each one has its own marvelous character and one can be surprised by new options such as the ability in Rune Factory 3 to custom-upgrade your Weapons. You will find more details about this at my Rune Factory 3 Site as well as my Rune Factory 3 Walkthrough/General Guide. Recipes for the Forge, Workbench and Pharmacy as well as Kitchen Recipes are included in my RF3 Cookbook Recipes Guide.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Rune Factory 3 Site

As with Grand Bazaar, I have created a site for Rune Factory 3. You will find the link on the right side of the page. As always, my Guides will be published by IGN and preliminary Rune Factory 3 Guides should be 'live' later today. As with Grand Bazaar, however, I will publish the most updated versions of all Rune Factory 3 Guides on my Rune Factory 3 site as well.

I had intended to write a review of Rune Factory 3 for this site, but decided that the time would be spent better if I worked on the actual Guides. You therefore will find a preliminary Walkthrough/General Guide, Characters Guide, Items Guide and Cookbook Recipes Guide later today both on my Rune Factory 3 Site and on IGN.

Note to my readers: I have been having trouble accessing these sites of mine to moderate comments lately. Firefox will not allow me to sign into my account. The only way I can do it is through an old version of Internet Explorer. It is very vexing and I hope I can suss out the problem soon as I wish to stay up-to-date with players! I had similar problems with YouTube making it virtually impossible for me to publish viewer's comments on my videos for the past six months or so. I am not very computer-literate. I am primarily a writer and Harvest Moon/Rune Factory fanatic.

One final note: I have not completed work on my Grand Bazaar Guides but I am taking a break to work on Rune Factory 3. There have been so many wonderful new Harvest Moon and Rune Factory titles in the past couple of years that I never can do justice to any of them, it seems...

Freyashawk's Rune Factory 3 Site

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rune Factory 3

I just received a test copy of Rune Factory 3. I hope to be able to have some preliminary guides in place when it is released in November. I am not at liberty to write about the game yet, but will state that it is INCREDIBLE!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Winter in Grand Bazaar

As this is my primary site, I thought I would share some details about the Winter Season in Grand Bazaar, although more information always will be found on my Grand Bazaar Site and Grand Bazaar Guides. Click the portrait of Freya on the right side of the page to go to my Grand Bazaar Site.

Winter in Harvest Moon games always tends to be quite different from the other three Seasons but Winter in Grand Bazaar has some very creative additions to the usual snowy landscape.

First of all, there are snowballs on the ground and although you cannot push them together to make your own Snowmen who speak and give you gifts as you can in Animal Crossing, they often DO contain Gifts from Nature. Throw the Snowball to smash it and you may find it contains an Ore Stone or other surprise, including Cooked Dishes and Flowers from every Season. Freyja found a Curry Dumpling in a Snowball on the second day of Winter, Moondrop Flowers and Magic Blue Flowers.

Incidentally, there are Snowmen of various sizes and designs stashed here and there throughout the Map, although I have yet to receive a visit from one on a snowy night as in Animal Parade, asking for a replacement for his lost nose.

Next, although the River is frozen in Winter, you can find cracks in the ice. Use your Hammer to strike the ice where you see the cracks and it will create a large hole where you can dive for items or fish. Despite the freezing temperature, your Character will react no differently to immersion in the water in Winter...

Ore Stones can be found on the ground in Winter as well as inside Snowballs and when diving in the River.

There are two kinds of sparkles in Winter. One is the sparkle of ice that can be found randomly anywhere on the map, including locations your Character could not possibly reach. These are 'eye candy' in the form of glittering ice from Winter's freezing temperatures. The othr sparkles are the usual ones that denote the presence of coins.

So far, the only Cooked Dish I have found inside Snowballs is Curry Dumpling. The Rank/Quality varies, however, making one Curry Dumpling worth more than another. A Snowball incidentally can contain another Snowball!

A new activity in Winter is Snowboarding. Mayor Felix will deliver a Snowboard to your House on the 2nd of Winter or thereabouts and announce that there will be a tournament on the 20th. You can practice on the course on the Hotel Screen. Once the Snowboard delivery occurs, you will find a Skateboard on sale at the Bazaar for 9000G. This appears to take a slot ordinarily devoted to one of the Pet Toys. The other Pet Toy will continue to be sold. I believe that the Pet Toy is chosen randomly but if you wish to make certain that both are sold at Felix's Stall, you probably should purchase the Skateboard and be done with THAT.

Amir will be introduced in the first Winter on or about 3 Winter by Mayor Felix and will stay at the Hotel. Milk makes him very happy. All likes/dislikes as well as the schedule of Amir's Heart Events can be found in my Courtship and Marriage Guide.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Upcoming Games: The Sims 3 for DS



I was looking at the different versions of the DSi on Amazon as my primary DS Lite has lost the use of the L Button and while reading reviews by customers, came upon the Sims 3 game for the DS, not yet released. Has any one heard anything good or bad about this game? Generally, I have found that the handheld versions of The Sims are completely different from the console versions (and they are quite different from the PC games). The sole exception was the Sims Castaway for the PSP which was almost identical to the Wii version, but then the PSP is a rather unusual species... half-console, half-handheld.

I would be interested in the opinions of other Sims fans about this one...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review of Grand Bazaar

Having played a few Facebook Farming Simulation games recently, I was struck once again by the degree of patience and dedication that Harvest Moon requires. Yet, the rewards are far greater than any rewards gained in playing a Facebook game.

Harvest Moon and Rune Factory are not like Facebook farming simulation games except for the fact that they are based on farming. Facebook games essentially were designed for individuals who, logging into Facebook for whatever purpose, then could visit their farms for a few minutes every day in order to make gradual progress and 'meet' other players as Neighbours and Friends.

Harvest Moon games, on the other hand, require hours of dedicated gameplay if you wish to unlock all possible options and experience all Events. Players always know that there are more options to be unlocked and this often is the motivation that spurs them onward when their Characters still are scratching out the barest means of survival on farms still largely unused.

Reviews of games as well as strategy guides with 'spoilers' sometimes provide added incentive to continue. In Grand Bazaar, however, you will have information as to future options when you encounter a new Dish made by Joan or unlock the Windmills.

For those players who still have grown nothing more than the three Crops available in Spring or Summer of the first year, the 3rd Windmill offers a glimpse of the wealth of possibiilities in farming that are in the future:


3rd Windmill Recipes


Turnip Seeds:
Ingredients: Turnip
Spring Crop. Can harvest 4-5 Days after planting.

Potato Seeds
Ingredients: Potato
Spring Crop: Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Cabbage Seeds
Ingredients: Cabbage
Spring Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Cucumber Seeds
Ingredients: Cucumber
Spring Crop. Can harvest 7 - 9 Days after planting.

Asparagus Seeds
Ingredients: Asparagus
Spring Crop. Can harvest 8 - 11 Days after planting.

Strawberry Seeds
Ingredients: Strawberry
Spring Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Tomato Seeds
Ingredients: Tomato
Summer Crop. Can harvest 8 - 10 Days after planting.

Corn Seeds
Ingredients: Corn
Summer Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Onion Seeds
Ingredients: Onion
Summer Crop. Can harvest 5 - 7 Days after planting.

Pineapple Seeds
Ingredients: Pineapple
Summer Crop. Can harvest 15 - 21 Days after planting.

Pumpkin Seeds
Ingredients: Pumpkin
Summer Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Radish Seeds
Ingredients: Radish
Summer Crop. Can harvest 4 - 5 Days after planting.

Eggplant Seeds
Ingredients: Eggplant
Fall Crop. Can harvest 8 - 10 Days after planting.

Carrot Seeds
Ingredients: Carrot
Fall Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Yam Seeds
Ingredients: Yam
Fall Crop. Can harvest 4 - 6 Days after planting.

Green Pepper Seeds
Ingredients: Green Pepper
Fall Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Spinach Seeds
Ingredients: Spinach
Fall Crop. Can harvest 5 - 6 Days after planting.

Y. Pepper Seeds
Iingredients: Yellow Pepper
Fall Crop. Can harvest 8 - 11 Days after planting.

Cauliflower Seeds
Ingredients: Cauliflower
Fall Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Grass Seeds
Ingredients: Fodder + Fertiliser
Grow Spring - Fall. Harvest 12 Days after planting.

Wheat Seeds
Ingredients: Wheat + Fertiliser
Grow Spring - Fall. Harvest 50 Days after planting.

Coffee Tree Seed
Ingredients: Coffee Beans + Fertiliser
Bears Fruit in the Spring. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Olive Tree Seed
Ingredients: Olive + Fertiliser
Bears Fruit in the Spring. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Peach Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 2 months to mature.

Banana Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 1 Month to mature.

Orange Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 6 Weeks to mature.

Cherry Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Grape Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Apple Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Muscat Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Blueberry Seed
Ingredients: Blueberries + Fertiliser
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Tea Tree Seed
Ingredients: Spring Tea Leaves + Summer Tea Leaves + Fall Tea Leaves
Takes a Month to mature. Leaves grow Spring - Fall.

Coffee Pack
Ingredients: Coffee Beans
Pack of ground Coffee. Enjoy coffee with ease.

Citrus Perfume
Ingredients: Orange + Pineapple
Perfume with Citrus Aroma. Makes a Great Gift.

Flower Perfume
Ingredients: Moondrop + Pink Cat + Magic Blue Flower + Magic Red Flower + Toy Flower
Perfume with floral Aroma. Makes a great Gift.

Herb Perfume
Ingredients: Mint + Chamomile + Lavender
Perfume with herbal aroma. Makes a great gift.

Olive Oil
Ingredients: Olive + Oil

Herb Oil
Ingredients: Mint + Chamomile + Lavender + Oil

Nut Oil
Ingredients: Walnut + Oil
Oil made from Nuts. Used for cooking.

Grape Seed Oil
Ingredients: Grape Tree Seeds

Pumpkin Seed Oil
Ingredients: Pumpkin Seeds
Oil made from Pumpkin Seeds. Used for cooking.

Bottled Walnuts
Ingredients: Walnut
Bottle filled with Walnuts. Incredient for cooking.

Honey
Ingredients: Honeycomb
Made from honeycomb. Very sweet and delicious.

Bottled Chestnuts
Ingredients: Chestnut
Ingredients: Bottle fileld with peeled chestnuts to cook with.

Flour
Ingredients: Wheat
A bag full of flour. Ingredient for bread/pasta.

Bread Crumbs
Ingredients: Bread
A bag full of bread crumbs. Ingredient for fried foods.

White Bread Crumbs
Ingredients: White Bread
A bag of white bread crumbs.

Rice Flour
Ingredients: Rice
A bag full of rice flour. Ingredient for recipes.

Soy Flour
Ingredients: Soybean
Made from crushed Soybeans.

Buckwheat Flour
Ingredients: Buckwheat
Soba noodle ingredient. Has other uses too.

Shiratama Flour
Ingredients: Rice Candy
The essential shiratama ingredient.

As you can see, there is so much more than the initial Turnips, Potatoes and Cabbage for the player to anticipate!

Note that it is through expansion of the Bazaar that more Crops, Cookware and other options will be unlocked. Chen and Gannon from Sunny Island/Sunshine Islands will arrive in Zephyr Village when the Bazaar is expanded for the first time and Chen will sell more Seeds as well as Oil. Sherry will begin to sell Fruit Tree Seeds. An unnamed Character will sell Cookware and another unnamed Salesman will sell the famous Big Bed. A further expansion will unlock even more Crops and items.

Some players have thought that Grand Bazaar simply incorporated aspects of other Harvest Moon games, but diving for treasure is a new option that provides entertainment and suspense to an aspiring farmer, especially when he/she discovers Gold Ore or a tin of Straight Tea caught in his/her clothing when emerging once again on dry land.

Although one could use a net to catch insects in Hero, in Grand Bazaar the player can catch them with his/her bare hands. Walk, don't run, by the way. Players who complain that they are not 'fast enough' to catch the fireflies are moving TOO FAST. You have to stand in front of the firefly and watch it wink back into view before you scoop it up in your hands. There are so many varieties and colours of Fireflies... Summer is a magical season. You can leap into the air to catch other insects, especially when they are flying.

When Insects cling to the trunks of Trees, walk slowly to a position in front of the tree but a step away from it, then leap forward into the air and catch it. It's a bit tricky sometimes but rather fun.

I have added a section to my General Guide that gives the locations of insects in each Season.

Traditional Harvest Moon Festivals have been expanded. The Flower Festival lasts four days. The Sprites' Tea Party in earlier games now is a Community Tea Party.

All in all, the game is similar enough to other Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games to give fans a sense of stability and a little 'edge' over the beginner but different enough to excite every one.

Please visit my new Grand Bazaar site for the latest versions of all my Grand Bazaar Guides. CLICK ON THE PORTRAIT OF FREYA ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE to go to the site.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Elusive Fishing Rod and Fireflies in Grand Bazaar




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In most Harvest Moon games, the Fishing Rod is a tool that eludes many players as it often is a gift that can be obtained only at a specific time and place from a specific Character. There are exceptions, of course, as in Sunshine Islands, where you simply purchase it like any other Tool.

In Grand Bazaar, if you fail to read the little booklet that accompanies the game (or if your advance test version did not have a booklet!), you may spend some of the first Spring season searching for a Fishing Rod fruitlessly, showering the Characters who speak most often of Fishing with gifts in order to attempt to persuade them to give you one of your own...

In fact, Felix will give you a Fishing Rod on 1 Summer when you first leave your House. You do need to exit by the front door, evidently, if you wish to experience the Event. Your life then will change radically as it always does in Harvest Moon when the fishing option is unlocked.

In many Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games, Fireflies are a common sight on Summer evenings when their tiny golden lamps wink in and out of the landscape. There are players, including me, who followed the tiny golden lights fruitlessly in Island of Happiness before we discovered that they were fireflies and simply a natural part of the landscape rather than a clue to a secret.

In Grand Bazaar, fireflies will appear on the first evening in Summer and you can catch them with your bare hands! In fact, there are many different varieties (and colours) of Fireflies... This is only one more small detail in a game that all Harvest Moon fans should find delightful and absorbing.

Incidentally, to catch any Firefly, make certain first that your Character is walking and not running, then stand still in front of the location where the Firefly appeared. Its light will wink in and out. When you see the light, press the B button to catch it.

I personally have had trouble catching the flying insects that appear on tree trunks in Summer. After cursing and swearing a little, I discovered that standing still first and then leaping into the air to catch the insect as it began to fly away was possible, but difficult. Thanks to Julia as well for posting her findings.

There is a detailed post about Catching all types of Insects on my Grand Bazaar site, incidentally, as well as descriptions of the location where each Insect is found, both during the day and at night.

For Butterflies and Dragonflies, there are two different methods. You either can go to a spot where the insect is not actually flying from one spot to another but simply 'treading air' for a moment. Make certain that the insect is close enough to the ground to catch and simply catch it. The other method is by leaping into the air. You actually can execute a double leap to catch a Butterfly or other flying insect that is fairly high above the ground. It requires some practice to be successful.

There is a section in my Walkthrough/General Guide that lists insects by location and season. In many cases, you can return to a specific location again and again in the course of a single day to catch the same type of insect more than once. For the most part, the Insects that you find in the first couple of seasons are not worth much money but in the first Spring, 10G - 40G does accumulate. Once you have a Fishing Rod, income from Insects becomes less important but you still can aim for 100% completion and a competitive rank in Multiplayer Mode. In Autumn, there are Dragonflies that are worth almost 300G, more than some Fish! Although Insects will not appear in Multiplayer Mode, Kevin will tell you the totals of each Player.

Another new Trivia addition to my Walkthrough/General Guide as well as my Grand Bazaar site is Dialogue from the Bazaar. I have logged as many Customer Dialogues as possible with the Correct Response as well as any monetary results. I will try to add the results for incorrect responses as well when time permits.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grand Bazaar Calendar of Festivals, Birthdays and Bazaars



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CLICK ON THE PORTRAIT OF FREYA ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS PAGE TO BE TAKEN DIRECTLY TO MY NEW GRAND BAZAAR PAGE.
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Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar for the DS system is a traditional Harvest Moon game in that your Character arrives at a village as an aspiring Farmer. You can play either as a Boy or as a Girl and the main distinction here will be in terms of Courtship and Marriage. Heart Events will differ obviously according to your Character's gender but Rival Heart Events will be the same in both games.

The village in this game is Zephyr, aptly named as its power is fueled by the wind. Windmills are central to Zephyr Village and as your Character makes progress in the game, more Windmills will be accessible to him/her. Each Windmill has its own Recipes. When you are given access to a new Windmill, you will be able to see most of the Recipes that can be prepared there. In some cases, there are a few Recipes that need to be unlocked before the list will be complete.

As in any Harvest Moon game, social interactions and community participation is a key to your success. Remembering Birthdays with a Gift is important in winning friends and pursuing the courtship of any Eligible Girl or Bachelor.

Your success in monetary terms is based primarily on your sales at the weekly Bazaar rather than shipping totals. You cannot ship items per se in Grand Bazaar. Instead, you need to store items during the week in order to be able to sell them at your Stall at the village Bazaar.

The weekly Bazaar is held by default on Saturday but if any Festival or Birthday is set to occur on Saturday, the Bazaar will be held on Sunday instead. The Bazaar Grounds are located in the northeast section of the village. It begins at 10.00 a.m. and ends at 7.00 p.m. During the hours of business, you can open and shut your Stall as you wish in order to be able to explore and shop at other Stalls. You often can find items that are not sold at the local shops at the Stalls at the Bazaar. For example, in the first Spring, Raul will sell Potato and Cabbage Seeds at his Bazaar Stall. Wilbur will perform expansions of your Field or Storage. Enrique sells Animals and Lloyd sells Ores. An unnamed Character has a Gift-Wrapping Stall where she will wrap any item for you for 200G. Note that the Cooked Dishes sold at Joan's Stall at the Bazaar as well as those on the Menu at her Cafe are chosen randomly. Any Cooked Dish you purchase will be given to you as an actual item, so you can sell it, consume it or give it to some one as a Gift. Whenever you purchase a Cooked Dish, Joan will 'teach' you the Recipe. Buying Cooked Dishes therefore is one method of adding to your Cookbook. Cooked Dishes often make more desirable Gifts for many Characters than raw ingredients or foraged items, although many Characters do love Flowers.

Each week, you will be given a Bazaar sales goal by Mayor Felix. Do not expect to meet the first goal of 15,000G - 20,000G immediately!

The individuals who had the best Stalls will receive awards on the day after the Bazaar. These are announced at the square at noon. 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place awards are given for the highest sales. One other award that is announced is for the individual who had the 'happiest customers'.

It is not only through selling the correct number of items to a buyer that you achieve recognition but in dealing with customers socially. Often a customer will come to your Stall simply to talk. The individual may ask questions or seek your aid in some minor way. You usually will be given a choice of three responses. Your choice will determine how happy you made your customers.

The Calendar of Festivals, Birthdays and Bazaar Days for the first Year and second Spring is as follows:


Calendar of Festivals and Birthdays



Year One



Spring


Saturday, 7 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 8 Spring: Flower Festival begins
12.00 p.m. at Village Square for Announcement

Thursday, 12 Spring: Flower Festival ends
12.00 p.m. at Village Square: Winner Announced
The person who gave the most flowers is the Winner

Saturday, 14 Spring: Spring Harmony Day
Boys give chocolate to girls
N.B. Purchase Chocolate from Mayor Felix at Bazaar

Sunday, 15 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 16 Spring: Sherry's Birthday (any flower)

Wednesday, 18 Spring: Joan's Birthday

Friday, 20 Spring: Claude's Birthday

Wednesday, 25 Spring: Ethel's Birthday

Friday, 27 Spring: Daisy's Birthday (any flower)

Saturfday, 28 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 30 Spring: Tea Party
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
In the 1st Spring, Mayor will provide you with Tea.


Summer


Wednesday, 1 Summer: Mayor Felix's Birthday

Friday, 3 Summer: Wilbur's Birthday

Saturday, 4 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Saturday, 11 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 12 Summer: Dirk's Birthday

For Silver Coin: I like these. Thanks. (happy)

Wednesday, 15 Summer: Cow Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Who has the best Cow?

Saturday, 18 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 21 Summer: Raul's Birthday

Saturday, 25 Summer: Kevin's Birthday (any insect)
For any insect: Yes! This is neat. (Laughter) Thanks.

Sunday, 26 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 30 Summer: Nellie's Birthday


Autumn


Saturday, 1 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 3 Fall: Lloyd's Birthday

Tuesday, 4 Fall: Freyashawk/Freyr Birthday

Thursday, 6 Fall: Isaac's Birthday

Saturday, 8 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 11 Fall: Stuart's Birthday

Saturday, 15 Fall: Cooking Festival (Entree)
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Entree Dish to compete.

Sunday, 16 Fall: Cooking festival (Dessert)
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Dessert Dish to compete.

Tuesday, 18 Fall: Cindy & Lauren's Birthday
For Lauren, any Flower:
For Moondrop: Is this for me...? Th-Thank you very much.
Cindy does NOT like Flowers.

Thursday, 20 Fall: Ivan's Birthday (any flower)
For Toy Flower: What? Is this for me? (with a laugh) Thank you very much.

Saturday, 22 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 23 Fall: Wine Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Wine to compete.

Tuesday, 25 Fall: Freya's Birthday

Saturday, 29 Fall: Claire's Birthday

Sunday, 30 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 31 Fall: Pumpkin Festival
Give candy to children who come by your home.


Winter


Friday, 4 Winter: Marian's Birthday

Saturday, 5 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 10 Winter: Dog Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Who has the best Dog?

Saturday, 12 Winter: Antoinette's Birthday

Sunday, 13 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 14 Winter: Winter Harmony Day
Girls give chocolates to Boys

Saturday, 19 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 24 Winter: Starry Night Festival
Festival to spend with that special some one.

Saturday, 26 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds.

Monday, 28 Winter: Angelo's Birthday (Moondrop Flower)

Thursday, 31 Winter: New Year's Eve
8.00 p.m. in the Square
Bring in the New Year!


Year Two



Spring


Saturday, 2 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Friday, 8 Spring: Flower Festival begins
12.00 p.m. at Village Square for Announcement

Saturday, 9 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 12 Spring: Flower Festival ends
12.00 p.m. at Village Square: Winner Announced
The person who gave the most flowers is the Winner

Thursday, 14 Spring: Spring Harmony Day
Boys give chocolate to girls
N.B. Purchase Chocolate from Mayor Felix at Bazaar

Saturday, 16 Spring: Sherry's Birthday (any flower)

Sunday, 17 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 18 Spring: Joan's Birthday

Wednesday, 20 Spring: Claude's Birthday

Saturday, 23 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 25 Spring: Ethel's Birthday

Wednesday, 27 Spring: Daisy's Birthday (any flower)

Saturday, 30 Spring: Tea Party
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
In the 1st Spring, Mayor will provide you with Tea.

Sunday, 31 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar Guides

Just a note to inform players that my preliminary guides for Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar should be 'live' on IGN later this afternoon. There will be a Calendar Guide and a Characters Guide in any case. I am working on all aspects of the game and will write reference guides as usual for Recipes (including Windmill as well as Kitchen recipes) and Courtship and Marriage as well as a General Walkthrough and Guide for the game.

What players should know at the start is that controls are very different from other HM games for the DS. The 'A' Button causes your Character to leap into the air. He/she can perform somersaults by hitting 'A' twice. Leaping can be useful if you wish to take a shortcut or reach an area that is otherwise inaccessible. Use barrels that you see outside the doors of houses and shops to leap to higher ground. An amusing effect of leaping from the barrel next to Raul's shop is that you will go down his chimney like Saint Nicholas!

The 'B' Button, rather than cancelling actions tends to be the Action Button. Use the B Button to speak to Characters, give items to Characters and collect items from the ground, including Coins, Insects, Wild Flowers and Herbs like Chamomile and Mint and Coins of different denominations.

You cannot ship items as usual in this game. Instead, you will have a stall at the Bazaar where you will sell your items each week. You can sell items to any local shop but in view of the fact that each Bazaar will have a sales goal, selling any items elsewhere may be rather counterproductive. Furthermore, the value of your Items when sold at your Bazaar Stall is double the amount that any Merchant will pay for the same item.

The only Crops sold at the start of the game at Raul's Shop is Turnips. Fertiliser can be used DAILY on any Crop in any stage of growth. You will find Potato Seeds and Cabbage Seeds for sale at his Stall at the Bazaar even in the first Week. Young Cows, Young Sheep and Chicks are sold at the Bazaar by one of his brothers. The actual Animals that are sold appear to be chosen randomly, although adult Chickens only appeared once I had purchased a Chick and adult Cows once I purchased a Young Cow.

The Bazaar sales are a mini-game of sorts and rely upon speed and nimble finger-tapping for success. You should keep three items on the table at all times. If you sell one, replace it immediately. You must ring the Bell first to draw customers to your stall and then count out the items one by one in response to a buyer's demands. Often buyers will stop at the stall simply to ask questions or speak to you. It's rather amusing sometimes but in fact, the Response you choose from three options will determine whether or not your reputation will rise or fall.

Foraging is one of the primary methods of making money at the start. You can catch any Insect with your bare hands, but you have to make certain that you are walking, not running at the time. The L Button determines your speed and you can toggle it to walk when you are insect-hunting.

You can dive into the water to see if any item will 'catch' on your clothing, but significant Stamina is lost each time you do so, which means that you must pay attention to your Stamina bar. Among items that can be 'caught' in this fashion are tins of Straight Tea, Gold Ore, Ore Stones, Small Coins and Sea Urchins.

Many Flowers, Herbs and other items can be found on the ground. Mushrooms tend to appear during and after rain and are season-specific in terms of type. Walnuts can be found randomly beneath trees throughout the year. A sparkle on the ground indicates the presence of a Coin. All of this information, including the values of each item, is included in my General Guide.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beautiful Visions in Virtual Farming

Some of the players of Fantasy Kingdoms and Lovely Farm are true artists whose creations can be breathtaking. Most of the screenshots here are taken from the farm and Kingdom of a Swedish player.

Included here are corners from three other farms. Two belong to Neighbours. The southern corner with the Violets is a screenshot of my own farm in Lovely Farm.






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Sunday, August 8, 2010

To my Friends and Neighbours and Harvest Moon fans

My primary focus now for guide-writing is Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar. I completed my Guide for Lovely Farm. My guides for Frantasy Kingdoms and Farmville are incomplete but probably will remain so at this point. I'll continue to post updates on the sites I created for the two games, however as well as updating the guides with more information as time and energy permit.

Where Gift-Giving is concerned in the Facebook Farming Simulation games, quite a lot of ill-will and resentment is being generated, much of it due to the clumsy programming in the games themselves.

With the exception of Lovely Farm, where Gift-Giving and the receipt of all Gifts is incorporated (thankfully!) in the game itself, Gifts in most Facebook games are generated as Requests that go into the same queue as other Requests for Friendship and Causes and Neighbours. What this means for some one like me is that my Requests Page is flooded with the following:

1. Friendship Requests from individuals who are utter strangers. I do not accept these unless the individual gives me some point of common interest at least, such as Harvest Moon or Lovely Farm or Fantasy Kingdoms.

2. Neighbour Requests. I do not accept these when it is a Request to play a new game at this point. I simply cannot cope with yet another game. At present, I am involved in the following games: Lovely Farm, Fantasy Kingdoms, Farmville, Castle Age, Castle & Co., Tiki Islands and Frontierville. I basically will accept Neighbour Requests from any player who is involved in these games but I cannot be expected to give and return gifts instantly and I will explain why later in this post. I am not trying to ignore any one. In fact, I try very hard to reciprocate, but there are problems that prevent efficient return of gifts in many of the games.

3. Requests to Join Causes. On the whole, I will not accept these at this point, simply because I do not have the time to investigate them. 'Causes' on Facebook may or may not be legitimate, but often lead to some kind of marketing or advertising or spyware, malware or virus-type pages. Sorry, but I have to be cautious. Not accepting a Facebook Cause Invitation does not mean that I do not believe in the Cause itself.

4. Requests to accept and return Gifts. This will be the topic of the rest of this post.

On any given day, I find over one hundred Gift Requests in my Facebook queue. There are problems with this inherent in some of the games and problems in terms of real time. I am writing this post for ALL players who are being cursed or reviled by their Neighbours when they fail to return Gifts instantly.

Lovely Farm Gifts: As previously indicated, this game offers the very best system in that Gifts automatically appear in the game itself. Unfortunately, there is a limit of 15 Free Gifts daily to ALL Neighbours, so one must keep lists of Neighbours who actually send Gifts and I try to do that and reciprocate as often as possible. In Lovely Farm, there are Free Gifts and Paid Gifts. There is no limit to the number of Paid Gifts that can be sent. Unfortunately, Diamonds NEVER are generated by gameplay and Coins are not easy to earn. I first plough my earnings from Crops back into the soil by buying Seeds. I don't think any player would begrudge me this strategy. After that, I try to return any Paid Gifts that have been sent to my Neighbours. I reached Level 19 recently which means that I now can send Peacocks but only if I have 2200 Coins in my possession. I really ought to spend some of my Coins in purchasing items for my own farm so that I can raise my Levels, but so far, I've spent most of my Coins for Gifts for good Neighbours. I promised myself I would try to send one Peacock to every Neighbour who has sent me Roses more than once. In other words, if a Neighbour spends 2000 Coins to send me Gifts at their level, I will reciprocate with a Peacock if he/she desires one. You always can send me a Message on Facebook. Please do not start a Chat for Gifts! For me, Chat is reserved for real friends and emergency situations, not for a specific item that you want for a game. I am happy to read all messages sent to me, however, so that's the way to communicate. I consider a couple of Harvest Moon friends 'real friends'. You know who you are, I hope.

Gifts in Fantasy Kingdoms: Apparently, a player is allowed to generate 22 new Gift Requests each day, but there is no limit to the number of return Gifts you can send. The problem here is the game itself. The way the system should operate is that you can accept a Gift, then send the same item as a 'thank you Gift' and then be returned to the Requests screen on Facebook to deal with other 'pending Gifts'. That is what is supposed to occur, but 90% of the time, it doesn't work out that way. Instead, after sending the 'thank you Gift', the player is sent to the Fantasy Kingdoms splash screen to begin gameplay. This is a great nuisance as it adds considerably to the time-consuming aspect of gift-giving. I am ashamed to confess that, after experiening this a couple of times, I simply give up and go forward to live my life, rather than struggling endlessly with the Gifts Requests.

Gifts in Farmville: This is where the Game deliberately sidetracks and misdirects players and it is infuriating to me. Lately, Farmville has begun to generate prompts that tell you that such-and-such Neighbour really needs a specific item for his/her Collection or construction project. It is ALL Nonsense! I don't need a Dragonfly. I don't need Bees when I haven't been able to complete my Beehive yet! The game actually has told me that specific Neighbours need Horseshoes when they aren't even building Stables. What occurs then is a host of Gift Requests for items I neither want nor need. It is difficult to know what motivated the sender in these cases. Was it a game prompt? Did the individual send the Gift because he/she needs the item? When you receive three Gift Requests from one player, you only can return one item. So which one of the three does the player actually WANT or NEED? I'd prefer a message from a player in this situation... Fortunately, a personal message can be attached and added to the Gift Request.

Gifts in Castle Age: These appear to work fairly well until the name of the sender disappears from your list of Friends eligible to receive Gifts. I still don't understand why that occurs. If any one knows the answer, please share that information here. I suspect that you are allowed to send a specific number of Gifts to each Friend/Neighbour in your lifetime. I can't imagine why else people who are members of your Army no longer appear on your Gift List.

Gifts in Castle & Co. Very few Friends actually play this charming little game, but one is allowed to send one Gift to each Neighbour or Friend every 24 hours. Unfortunately, the Gift requests go into the Facebook Requests queue. In fact, the only game that doesn't work this way is Lovely Farm. Once again, Bravo to the makers of Lovely Farm! If only they would allow MORE Free Gifts than 15 per day.

Gifts in Tiki Island: There are some unique and bizarre gifts in this little game. The Gift Requests go into the Facebook queue, unfortunately, which means that I cannot reciprocate immediately when I am faced with over 100 Requests.

Gifts in Frontierville: Unfortunately, this game has the WORST Gift system of any game. You don't have the option to give a thank-you gift immediately. You either have the choice of entering the game or accepting more 'pending' gifts. What this means is that it is extremely difficult, when you don't know your Neighbours in real life, to remember who sent what and who wants what unless you are ready to play the game again then and there. When you do play the game, the Gifts box will tell you which gifts you received from which Neighbours but the Gift-Giving screen does not carry over from there at all. It would be nice if you could click on a gift announcement and be taken to the Gifts screen to find that Neighbour's name chosen automatically for receipt of a Gift. It is possible that I haven't played enough to truly understand the strategies of gift-giving in Frontierville. I hate the endless pop-ups in the game so much and the assumption that every player is incapable of devising his/her own strategy that I seldom play. I'd like to return the gifts to any one who has sent them, but Frontierville is at the bottom of my list, sadly.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my wonderful Neighbours who have helped me in Lovely Farm and other games and to apologise for all my shortcomings where gift-giving is concerned. The sheer volume of Requests defeats me sometimes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zynga's Strategic Error, Pregnant Sows and False Requests

Farmville, a farming simulation game, may be one of the most popular games on Facebook and its 'sister game', Frontierville, may be considered as the closest to Harvest Moon in details by some fans of the series, but I for one believe that Zynga, the maker of both, is making some serious tactical errors with respect to its consumer base.

Obviously, Zynga's main purpose in creating these games is not to entertain us but to make some money. Nothing wrong with that BUT when playing any game threatens to drown a person's Facebook account in endless streams of postings about the game, many players (including me) become thoroughly disgusted. Furthermore, the tendency in the newer game, Frontierville, to treat every player like an absolute idiot by giving constant in-game prompts as to what action to perform next are being adopted by Farmville.

Where Farmville is concerned, I counted three prompts almost as soon as I loaded my farm to post suggestions to players' walls that they become Neighbours AND to send gifts to players who had abandoned their Farms to resume gameplay. These prompts interfered so badly with my own gameplay that ultimately two prompts collided and froze the game completely. Players who may have been able to obtain a free Blue Pony Foal from the Blue Pony who emerged from my Nursery Barn will be unable to do so as the post froze on the screen and nothing I did could persuade it to publish.

Just as well perhaps. I am growing increasingly weary of seeing my own Facebook 'wall' clogged with messages from Farmville even though I play the game less than Fantasy Kingdoms or Lovely Farm.

I am not the only player who is becoming disgusted with Farmville's endless suggestions to send Gems or Fuel or other specific Gifts to Neighbours and Friends either. What is particularly pernicious about this is the fact that much of the information is inaccurate. The game informed me that another player desperately needed a Nail for his Stable when in fact the Neighbour did not even HAVE a Stable, either in the process of being built or one that had been completed. Useless Gifts sent to a Neighbour are an annoyance and a waste of time and effort both for the sender and the recipient. As for suggestions that a Player post information to ANOTHER Player's Wall about a game... it really is not appropriate, especially if the player is some one who essentially abandoned all interest in the game.

Recently, I have noted the appearance of a Pregnant Sow generated by Farmville on players' farms. This is a cute little Pig with a rattle who simply is dropped onto a player's farm. When you click on it, it tells you that the Sow is pregnant and that it belongs to a specific player. You are asked to post information about the 'missing' Sow on the designated player's wall. This is all false information, by the way. The designated 'owner' never owned a pregnant sow and, should you click on the post once it appears on the player's wall, you will be taken to a special site where you will be asked to take surveys and interact with other advertising media. The Pregnant Sow is perilously close to a virus in my view. I find the whole business rather despicable and I do apologise for attempting to return the first one I encountered to its 'owner'. At that point, I did not realise how the programme operated and genuinely thought that the 'owner' was missing a pregnant pig.

Many players are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the volume of nonsense generated by Farmville and Frontierville, both Zynga games. Facebook account holders may not be dedicated gamers in many cases, but it is utterly wrong to suppose that they are idiots who could not find their own way out of a paper bag! There is no need for arrows and prompts telling a player what to do next in a farming simulation game. It takes much of the fun from the game. When a game clamours endlessly for a place on a player's Wall, it becomes less attractive as well. Most people have OTHER reasons for being on Facebook. It is quite possible that they would like to post genuine information about their own lives or the lives of family and friends. There is nothing wrong with the idea of playing games on Facebook and indeed I enjoy the option myself, but when it becomes burdensome and swamps everything else, I begin to consider the option of jettisoning the programme completely.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the Interest of Fairness...

As I published a post about a particularly absurd response from one individual who worked in Customer Support at Zynga, the makers of Farmville when he demanded that I supply a screenshot of a prompt that appeared on my screen for a moment a week previously, I felt it only just to publish a very positive response from Zynga as well.

A couple of days ago, I 'lost' a White-Tailed Buck while moving him from one position to another on my farm. Unable to find him anywhere, I contacted Customer Support. This time, I received an immediate response from some one named Lola, who told me that, upon investigation, she did see that the Buck still was on my farm and that it could be hidden beneath a building.

With this information, I was inspired to do a very thorough search. I found the Buck beneath a building that was in the opposite direction from the location to which I had been moving him when he vanished.

I wrote to her to thank her and received this response:

'I am delighted to hear that you found your Buck. I do understand the love for certain animals on the farm and the concern when they go missing. Please always remember that we are here to answer any of your questions comments or concerns. Thank you for your time and hard work on the Farm.'

How very different from my earlier experience with Zynga Customer Support. In fairness, the awful representative who demanded that I essentially time-travel to obtain a screenshot of a message generated BY ZYNGA was yanked off the case ultimately and the issue settled by his superior.

I did wish to share the response to my White-Tailed Buck issue, though, as it portrays Zynga and Farmville in a positive light.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Becoming a Neighbour for Facebook Games

There appears to be quite a lot of confusion where 'Friends' and 'Neighbours' are concerned in terms of games on Facebook. Asking some one to accept a Friendship Request in order to obtain another Neighbour in any game is only the first step. Once the individual accepts your Friendship Request, you need to invite him/her to become a Neighbour. This is true of every Facebook game that I have played.

Often in some of the games, the game will prompt you to visit a player's Farm in order to perform a task EVEN IF THAT INDIVIDUAL IS NOT YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I think that some players wrongly assume that a prompt of this nature signifies that the individual IS a Neighbour as well as a Friend.

There are a number of players of various Farming Simulation games who have requested that I accept them as Friends. They then never take any further steps to become a Neighbour in the game for which the Friendship was requested. Furthermore, when I then initiate the Invitation to become a Neighbour, it is not answered.

I understand that players require specific numbers of Neighbours in order to obtain upgrades but I feel that it is common courtesy to send a Gift if some one accepts you as a Neighbour. You need not send daily gifts but a single Gift as a simple expression of gratitude is a nice gesture. Obviously if there is a limit, as in Lovely Farm, of 15 Free Gifts per day, it may take time to send every new Neighbour a Gift, but one should do it sooner or later. I have some Neighbours who never sent a Gift even in return for a Gift I sent. Other Neighbours, even at a lower level than I, have been gracious about sending whatever items they have been able to unlock.

The real point of this post, however, is to make players aware of the difference between the players who are recognised as 'Friends' by any Facebook game for the purpose of generating 'help' requests and true Neighbours who must either have initiated or accepted an actual Invitation to BE Neighbours in the game.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Night and Day in Farming on Facebook




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My natural impulse in farming or in anything else, whether in real life or in a game is to choose the most beautiful item or option rather than the most profitable or practical. This can be a real problem in Farming Simulation Games on Facebook where real time controls your results. The most beautiful Crops may not be the ones that are most practical in terms of a player's real-life schedule. It took me awhile to realise this. Wishful thinking often overcame good sense where farming was concerned, whether in Fantasy Kingdoms, Lovely Farm or Farmville.

In Farmville, I tended to grow Morning Glories, irrespective of the time of day or night when I planted them. In Lovely Farm, I wanted to grow the most beautiful Crops and in Fantasy Kingdoms, I wanted to do the same. Time and again, I would return to a game to find my Crops withered.

In Fantasy Kingdoms, I solved the problem temporarily by restricting my choices to Crops that take at least one full day to mature. In Lovely Farm, where I am very conscious of a desire to increase my Levels, I tried to choose Crops that were fairly fast-growing while planting them according to a schedule that would allow me to harvest them. Even so, I made some errors due to wishful thinking. I planted Crops with a shorter growth period than 12 hours at night, hoping that I would be able to harvest them before they withered. I do pass many sleepless hours at night because of pain levels but the problem is that I am not on any specific schedule for that. Pain controls my ability to sleep and my time of waking. Sad to say, I wasted my energy, coins and time more than once by planting short-term Crops after sunset.

Now I have embarked on a rather schizophrenic 'planogramme' where, during the day, I satisfy my desire to create a 'Lovely Farm' in the patterns and varieties of my Crops and then, when I have harvested most of those in the evening, I replace them with the Crops that require at least 12 hours to mature, whether or not I find them aesthetically thrilling. So far, this strategy has worked well for me.

It occurred to me, however, that when Neighbours visit my Farm, their concept of me will vary according to their own schedule. If they are nocturnal gamers, they probably never will see the lovely patterns I enjoy most. If they are diurnal, on the other hand, they will experience the Farm as I like to see it myself.

The Daisies are the first true flower that one is able to unlock in Lovely Farm. They actually are Marguerites, the miniature blossoms in the Daisy family. In real life, there are many flowers I prefer to Daisies but I was thrilled when I saw my first Daisy harvest in Lovely Farm. They really are lovely.