Friday, July 5, 2013

bringing a matter to your attention without offending you.

An Open Letter to a Farmville Friend

Farmville is a game that was built upon the social networking platform called Facebook with the idea being to enhance the experience of game play by making it a mixture of group and solo play and adding into the game a measure of reliance upon one another that, when it functions at its best, has the effect of doubling the positive results.

Among that aim is the practice of performing Helper Actions on the farms of your friends and your neighbors - and I am not speaking of the briefest of mouse clicks to the affirmative when the system pops up a notice stating that Friend/Neighbor X has asked you to help out on their farm and will you do it?

I am speaking instead of the willful action of actually visiting the farm of your friend/neighbor, selecting five (or more depending upon the level of County Fair Medal you and your mate have) specific items and committing to helping with them.

While this action narrows the Help to the specific object with which you have interacted, your mate has the option of picking the stage at which this Helper Action is applied, so for instance they can arrange it so that your Helper Action truly IS a help, providing water to a parched plant that does not deduct that water from the limited resources that are available to your friend.

In every sense your choice to take a few moments out of your day and actually visit your mate's virtual farm and help out is not just a good thing, but it is often a necessary act if your mate is going to complete a mission and its quests that are overly resource-dependant.

Having your animals wandering free is a great idea if the freedom from pens for virtual animals on your virtual farm is one of the ways you like to express your concern for the animals you keep in your farm and from whom cruelty free resources are obtained...  But it is not so great if you want other farmers to be able to help you out on a regular and predictable basis through applying helper actions to specific objects on your farm...  Just saying...

I am talking about You

You are a unique person and I am always pleased that you choose to call me friend.  The world is often made brighter by your presence, and I know in my heart that you are a good person, and that you would never accidentally insult or hurt another person because when you do choose to insult or hurt another, it is always on purpose.

Which makes the odd and careless actions that you have taken in the game difficult to understand.

Of course I have not come right out and forced your attention to the details because I know you.  I know that for most of your teenaged years your step-father was verbally abusive and never passed up an opportunity to insult you or degrade you, and tell you how stupid you were whenever you made a mistake - often mistakes that anyone could (and often would) make under the specific circumstances.

As a result of the way that that bastard treated you, you do not suffer criticism very well or quietly, and in fact it is fair to say that criticism of any sort - even the good sort - invariably results in a quiet and seething anger on your part.

I suspect that opportunities for good friendships with others have been burned at the stake of your sensitivity to criticism of any sort, which is largely why I (and others I know for certain) take care not to be seen to criticize you.

A nicely designed pen containing all of the objects that your farm animals could desire from water to housing and even the shade of a few trees can easily be accomplished using the fences that you can buy cheaply in the Farmer's Store - it just requires a minimum amount of effort on your part...
That Thing You Do

When you came to me and asked me to add your farm to my daily visits list, and for me to water that specific tree grove, I agreed to do so.

I knew that you were one of those players who keeps a silent score in your head - and I knew that you never visit other players farms to provide helper actions unless they first visited yours - I don't hold that against you even though it is not the way I choose to play the game.

When you asked me to help out with that Helper Action and I agreed, you might recall that I mentioned in passing how annoying I found it when farmers in Farmville 2 leave their animals wandering unconstrained in the game on their farm, and how that often made it difficult to select a specific object on a farm to apply a Helper Action because the game would often refocus the pointer at the nearby animal...

That it for some strange reason the game often gave precedence to the animals over crops, trees, and groves.  It even seems to prefer to move the pointer selection to other inanimate objects like a post, fence rail, or the like rather than the object - in this case a grove - that you mean to apply the Helper Action to.

The reason that I brought that up to you in that casual fashion was that I was trying to clue you in that YOU have all of the animals on your farm wandering around rather than placed in pens, my hope being that you would sense the advice that I was offering without viewing it as criticism...

You failed to do so.  In fact it was as if I had not been speaking at all.  Either that or in your mind you saw me as criticizing OTHER less worthy players, but certainly not YOU.  The thing is, yeah, I meant that hint for you.

In fact making a separate place for each type of animal - or at least for the strategic ones that will be getting a lot more attention in Helper Actions than others will - not only makes a certain sense, it also makes the act of helping you out with Helper Actions all that more convenient and easy since your mates do not have to carefully hunt through feed bubbles and hope that they are clicking on the right animal - and that the server has not re-tasked their selection using some strange logic of its own...  Just saying...
Today and a Fail

Today I went to water your grove and the server had me instead feed your deer.  When I tried again instead of the grove it had me feed a chicken.  I only have six Helper Actions to give you each day, and I had used up two because the server has that strange quirk...  Well that and because you allow your animals to wander unchecked on your farm.

The last time that this happened - that the server forced the pointed on to animals instead of the grove and as a result I "failed" to water the grove - you sent me a text telling me - and I quote: "I meant for you to water the tree grove NOT feed the animals!  Billy is feeding those animals, I need YOU to water the trees!"

Clearly you decided that I was being careless, or that for whatever reason I failed to grasp the simple task you asked me to do for you - and forgetting for the moment that you forget to return the courtesy and visit my farm to use your daily Helper Actions more often than you remember to do that - I am not your bitch.  I don't OWE you the Helper Actions that I have been making.

Today it happened again.  I very carefully targeted the grove, clicked on the mouse, and in the process another chicken walked close to the grove and the server retasked the pointer to it, and I used a third Helper Action on the chicken instead of the grove of four trees, which meant that I no longer had a sufficient number of Actions to use, and that means that your grove will not be getting watered by me anyway, today.

I fully expect you will be annoyed.  I am annoyed, but not for the reason you are I bet.

I have a new policy - this is NOT criticism aimed at you mate - but I have a new policy in that I no longer visit and apply Helper Actions on farms that have their animals wandering free.  If the animals are not penned up, I do not visit or help out.

So if you want me to continue to water your trees you are going to need to build some animal pens.


No comments: