Wednesday, 22 December 2010

MMOG Farm Games - the follow up

I've been playing My Free Farm and the Free Farm Game for a couple of weeks now, so I thought I'd post a bit of a follow up on the two of them.

I've got far more into My Free Farm than the Free Farm Game. I think this is a real reflection of the different mechanisms at play in the games. With My Free Farm there are more things I can do in a day. I don't play constantly, but whenever I log in there is something I can do - either a crop ready for harvest and replanting or some eggs ready for collection. The Free Farm Game I still log into first thing (got to feed those chickens and check the crops), but it takes about 5 minutes to exhaust my 'energy' for the entire 24 hour period. I then sell whatever I've gathered or fished for plus my eggs in the market, and log back out. I'm not really sure I have any more insight than previously!

With My Free Farm, I've managed to level up to level 8. This gets me a range of different seeds to plant, which all take different amounts of time and different arrangements of fields to grow. I've increased my chickens from 3 to 5, which is allowing me to make more money off the NPC characters than before (eggs earn more). I've also unlocked a second village site, where I can purchase 'recipes' that will let me do other things more quickly. I've had 'quests' to complete which have pushed me to grow more of certain crops than I would otherwise. I've sold a little bit in the market, and I bought a cat (which turned out to be a stupid thing to do, because all it seems to do is take up valuable growing space!).

I am enjoying working out how to maximise what I get out of my patch, and how I can juggle serving enough of the NPCs to keep my queue down to a dull roar. I'm close to unlocking an extra field too. But all of the quests and all of the NPCs can be managed by basically growing things. There isn't really a talent, or something to practice, it's just a case of seeing what needs growing and putting the right seeds in the boxes and waiting. All of the things I'm unlocking are just different ways of using the outcomes of that mechanism, and I'm finding that a bit dull.

I've also had no inclination to find the other players, or any real need to do so. I know that what I've bought and sold through the market was to other players (unlike in the Free Farm Game, where it is just to a generic 'market') but the contact is very remote. I'm not sure why I would bother. Likewise the big push seems to be to decorate my farmhouse and fields. But I don't know why, it's decoration for the sake of it and then you can 'share' that with your friends.

I think this reinforces that for me, actions in game should have consequences in game, not externally. Also if we want to encourage player interaction we need to create situations where it is necessary for successful playing of the game.

Initial thoughts on My Free Farm
Initial reading of the Free Farm Game

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