Thursday, November 12, 2009

FarmVille... don't pay real money for "beta" games...

Its a week since I've been able to access my farm on FarmVille. Zynga's support has been very unhelpful - only suggesting that I turn everything on and off again. When the problem I have is rather more universal than that.

Firstly, Jim, who has been farming alongside me can easily load his farm on my computer, using my software.

Secondly, none of my neighbours are able to access my farm either. Jim is fed up with the way FarmVille sends him off to "help" on my farm but won't load it. None of my other neighbours have been able to get in either. The nearest anyone has got was this:

She left a note on the empty space that used to be my farm but when she returned the note had gone too.

What most people see is this:

Some of them have complained that it then hangs and they have to leave farmville and come back in again, others haven't had that problem.

What I see is this:

There are other people in the same situation. And we have something in common.

We had all thoroughly overstuffed our dairies.

There a was a bug that made it possible to put in more than the notional limit of 20. I thought it hilarious to put in lots of alien cows as well as a full compliment of the normal ones:

Jim had been more restrained, he'd only put in one or two more and the day that I was unable to load my farm his slightly over-filled dairy was showing just the 20 it ought to have, not the 21 or 22 he'd had the evening before.

Zynga had clearly "fixed the dairy bug" but in doing so had made some people's farms unloadable. Mine included.

One of the replies I got was:
"Please be informed that we do not ban any players for gaming bugs. All the issues you specified may just happen because of the loading problems so kindly follow the steps below"

And then they proceeded to tell me, yet again, to disconnect from farmville completely, log out of facebook, clear my browser's cache, quit the browser, restart the computer, etc.

They also suggested downloading the latest flash player - I looked I already had the most up-to-date version - but for the sake of completeness I did it any way.

At no point had it occurred to me, before they said this, that I might be banned... as a programmer I'm aware that fixing bugs often has side-effects that are in effect new bugs... I still think its more a technical issue than a political one.

But there was one strange thing.

One of the other people with an over-full dairy had put a post up much like this one on the Zynga forums. I'd replied and said I had the same problem. Several others did too. I was watching the thread so when I got an email saying there was an update I went looking for it. The whole thread had been removed. This does not seem like a technical issue, but more like a political one... I've been unable to find any official reference to this being a "known problem".

I'm now regretting that I spent real money on this game - it is possible to play it for free - but if you want any of the pretty things, like the flying saucer at the top, you pay using farm vouchers - you only get a few of these slowly through game play. I was happy, at the time, to pay real money to Zynga as I know how expensive such games are to develop. Now I'm less so because I cannot play with my toys even though I paid for them.

I have asked for any of these:

1. My farm as it was, presumably with dairies reduced down to 20 cows each, and playable.
2. A new, empty farm, credited with the FVs I'd purchased.
3. My money back.

They have not replied to this.

Here is one last shot of my farm as it was for Halloween:

Update: Zynga finally fixed it. My farm was dead but I am able to play again. However the support did not contact me to tell me it was fixed - one really does have to attempt to get in to find out...


Tinker said...

How frustrating that must have been!
Glad you've got your farm back now.

Caroline said...

Tinker - thanks for the sympathy.

Yes its been annoying but it has also shown me how much more time I have not playing it. I've already sold off most of my trees and reduced other time wasting aspects. (I've kept the trees I like the look of, of course!)

Joanna said...

I'm so pleased I've managed to resist the lure of Farmville and Fishville too!

Caroline said...

Jo - you too are wise.

Tinker said...

Wishing you a happy New Year!