When I first signed up for Facebook, the games like Farmville and Mafia Wars appealed to me most. These were simple point-and-click games where you expended a set amount of energy. Once that energy was gone, you were done until it replenished over an amount of time. There was a point when I was “playing” so many of them that I didn’t even get on Facebook to connect with anyone, I simply logged in every day to tend to my farm, fight a rival mob boss, feed a pet, etc.
Well, I say I didn’t socialize, but one of the main features of these games is your reliance on Facebook friends who play the same games. But even then, you don’t talk to your friends, you just click another button and send them an annoying message that appears on their “wall” asking for an item or bonus. It quickly turned into an inconvenience because, even though that friend might play the same game, their pages quickly became nothing more than game requests. Thankfully, you can disable these from posting directly to your wall – at least now you can, I’m not sure about “back in the day.”
You play these games, level up, drag your friends along and harass the others with your posts. Things reach a semi-happy medium in your online life – then you hit that cap. Almost all Zynga games, at least – maybe others – have a cap you reach. A peak. This usually happens to me when everyone has gotten tired of the game and quit playing or blocked it completely because it is a total waste of their time. Either way, you eventually reach a point where it is near impossible to advance any further without buying their Bucks.
Bucks are the currency of these community games. Sometimes it’s jewels of some sort, dollars, etc. Either way, they amount to you having to pay real world dollars for virtual currency to buy special items needed to complete projects. This can also be done without purchasing bucks, but it then requires you to hit up all your friends to send you those items. Like I said, though, in my experiences, that’s usually when half the people I need aren’t playing anymore. Bummer.
There are also games where no one else I know plays. That’s awkward, too. You’re playing a social game that you can only advance so far in because there’s no one you can ask for assistance. I’ve sunken low enough to create a game on my wife’s account and send myself items I need. That’s not a fix-all, though because you often can’t receive the same item multiple times from the same person. There is also a line or two in the TOS for the games that says creating multiple accounts just for such a purpose is against the rules and you can be banned! Ahahaha. That’s funny 🙂
I will also admit to sinking to another, even lower level during gameplay. I’ve actually purchased those bucks before. The newer games like Chefville are driving me crazy because I really enjoy the gameplay, but, darn it, no one I know really wants to play these games anymore!
And it’s not just Zynga, they’re just the most popular and that’s why I am picking directly on them. It’s a brilliant business model, it has to be because they keep doing it so someone else, somewhere is buying up the virtual dollars to buy imaginary crap to put in their digital farms and restraunts and fund their mob operations. So, yeah, good job and congratulations guys. You’ve managed to make an enemy out of this loyal customer – and grudgingly I keep going back to the source of my problems for one more drink.
I just want a game that I can play that isn’t reliant on how many other people I can suck into its folds. I don’t want to have to beg for parts from people who are sick of the same runaround as I am. I don’t want to have to pay real, hard earned money to succeed in a game that has no meaning outside the confines of a social network site.
I just want to have unhindered fun.