Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Farmville Tips: Week One

I'm not sure what inspired me to finally give Farmville a try this week (05/04/10), but I did, and I love it, but my first few days were pretty frustrating. The game doesn't come with much instruction. It guides you through the planting and harvesting of a few crops, visiting a few neighbors and asks you to come back tomorrow for the harvest. I learned a few things this week I wish I had known last week, so I'm offering them up to my fellow farmers.

I love grids and graphs and charts, so the first thing I wanted was some guidance on how to lay out my little plow squares and crops. I couldn't find any help anywhere, but with a little trial and error, I decided that the best way that I could have started was to have just gone totally solid from the starting point. This would have made it possible to eventually plant 144 different crops and still have enough space along the top and the right side for gifted trees and animals.

The Grid:
To be more specific, the starting grid is 50 squares by 50 squares. A crop occupies a space 4 squres by 4 squares. 50 divided by 4 is 12 with a remainder of two, so you can get 12 crops across and 12 crops down with a narrow stip of two squares along the back and right edges of your farm if you just keep building out from the starting point. A tree, a chicken, a goat, etc is one square. A horse and a cow are 2 squares by 2 squares.

I did read a tips somewhere (I forget where) that it is best to put your trees along the back and right side of your farm, so that they don't block your view of your crops. Fortunately, you can move them around if you don't like where they are.

I was totally bummed the first time I came back to my farm and found my crops withered away. I had to snoop around online a little, but I discovered that if it takes your stawberries four hours to ripen, then it also takes them four hours to wither. If you will not be able to check on your farm in the next 8 hours, don't plant strawberries.

Profit margin:
Since I'm just starting out, I'm all about making a lot of money, so that I can plant more crops and plant more trees. I'm less interesteded in earning experience points. I understand that my goals will change soon enough. Anyway, I was harvesting raspberries every two hours all day on Sunday, and it occured to me that it cost money every time I plowed the field after harvest, so I wondered if I was really making as much money as I could be. I set up a little spreadsheet table to divide the cost of the seed by the yield of the crop and I discovered that tomatillos were the most profitable crop I could be planting right now. Tomatillos are a limited time crop to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but they have profit margin of 600% and they ripen in 10 hours, so I can plant them twice a day - once in the morning before I go to work, and once in the evening before I go to bed. They are really a perfect crop for me right now.

Farm bucks v. farm coins:
This was a frustrating thing to realize. When I started, I had a few farm bucks, and I was earning farm coins like crazay, but all the cool stuff in the market place could only be purchased with farm bucks, so how could I earn some farm bucks? The bad news is that there are only two ways to earn farm bucks: (1) you earn one farm buck each time you level up and (2) you can buy them with real money. The good news is that all that cool stuff which appears to only be available for purchase with farm bucks will soon be available for purchase with farm coins as soon as you level up, so you don't really need to purchase farm bucks unless you're in a big hurry to advance through the game.

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