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.

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