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farmvilleI don’t want to get the reputation at MakeUseOf as the Facebook Guy, but I’ve realized that a lot of my articles have been about Facebook. I’ve written about the Top Five Idle Time Facebook Games The Top Five Idle Time Facebook Games The Top Five Idle Time Facebook Games Read More and more recently about How to Buy Used Stuff For Cheap on Facebook How To Buy Used Stuff For Cheap On Facebook How To Buy Used Stuff For Cheap On Facebook Read More . I have to write about what I know, and I do use Facebook a lot, but I tend to get hooked on the games.

FarmVille is a game by Zynga Games that you can play via Facebook’s application feature. Recently, Zynga launched a stand-alone FarmVille website so Facebook is not required to access FarmVille (ha! so much for the Facebook reputation!).

farmville facebook

The FarmVille Facebook game concept is simple. You start out as a lowly farmer with a small plot of ground and a few coins. You have to plow your land, plant crops and wait for them to grow. When they mature, you harvest them and earn coins. You use the coins to plow more land and buy more seeds, and the cycle continues.

farmville facebook


You can also spend coins on trees, flowers, and various farm animals. All of these can be “harvested” as well, earning you more coins.


farmville facebook

You can use coins to buy decorations for your farm such as bird baths, mailboxes, hay bales and so on. Plus, no farm is complete without a barn and a farm house, so these items are available as well.

In addition, you can buy a chicken coop to put your chickens in or a dairy farm to put your cows in. Once you have a bunch of chickens or cows in these buildings, it’s one click harvesting of the whole group. All purchases are made through the market.

farmville game


Along the way you earn experience points for plowing and planting. Experience points, commonly referred to as “XP”, are how you move up in levels within the game. As you progress in levels you can buy crops that provide higher returns, nicer buildings and nicer decorations.

Currently, there are at least 40 known levels in the Farmville game. Progressing through the early levels is easy but as you move up, it exponentially takes more and more XP to reach the next level. Furthermore, as you plant and harvest, you gain “mastery” points for each different type of crop. It takes approximately 400 plots of an individual crop to be harvested to earn a mastery “star”. Once you earn three stars, you are awarded a sign to post on your farm.


Some items within the Farmville game, including the ability to expand your farm to a larger size, require you to have “neighbors”. Neighbors are nothing more than your Facebook friends who are playing Farmville and accepted your request to be added as their neighbor. You can make visits to their farms to check on their progress and to “help” them out.

This amounts to fertilizing some crops, chasing racoons away and other menial tasks that only require the click of a button. You earn a few coins and XP each time you help a neighbor, and you can only help each neighbor out about once in a six to eight hour time frame.

farmville game


You can also pass gifts back and forth between neighbors. You can send each neighbor a gift once a day. The gifts are basically decorations, animals or items that they could otherwise purchase with the coins they earn. If someone sends you a gift you don’t need or want, you can sell the gift for a few coins. As different levels in the game are attained by you and your neighbors, you may be able to give them a gift of something they may not currently be able to purchase.

farmville game


Beyond the coins you earn through your farming “work”, you can also earn FarmVille cash. FarmVille cash takes a lot of time to earn; you only earn a few dollars each time you level up, and it is used to buy premium items or shortcut the system of waiting on levels or specific numbers of neighbors to unlock items. FarmVille is free to play, but you can purchase coins and cash using real money.

Ribbons, Adoption & Sharing The Wealth

As you progress through the game you also have the ability to collect ribbons for your efforts. There are eighteen activities for which you can earn a series of ribbons, progressing from yellow, white, red and blue. Each time you earn a ribbon you are given the option to post a notification as your Facebook status. Usually this allows your friends to “share the wealth”, meaning if they are one of the first few to view your update and click a link, they get bonus coins.

farmville on facebook

Once in a while a stray animal will wander onto your farm and you can rescue it. This amounts to another status update and your friends can click a link to adopt the animal for their farm.

farmville on facebook

Why all the fuss? What is all the buzz about? Well, it’s addictive. The FarmVille game currently claims 70 million monthly Facebook users. The game, like the others I reviewed previously, is an idle time game, which means it inherently provides break time where you don’t have to play it continuously. The crops mature in differing amounts of time, ranging from one hour to four days, so you can schedule your game play to fit your lifestyle and play only when you choose to. If a crop matures in one day, you also have about the same amount of time to harvest it before it goes bad and you lose your investment. This adds a little flexibility to the game play as well. Trees and animals do not spoil, so you don’t have to worry about them as much.

With the wide variety of buildings and decorations available, farm customization is easy and fun. You can choose from several colors of hay bales and buildings, so you can use your farm to reflect the spirit of your favorite sports team. You can use the hay bales, flowers, fences and even arrange crops to spell out messages or make decorative designs. Creativity abounds if you are so inclined.

Zynga continuously updates the game, adding new features. Seasonal and promotional items are available from time to time to purchase and add to your farm. Differing crops, new buildings and decorations are added from time to time. One recent modification was the ability to use your barns to store items from your farm. If you purchased some Halloween decorations and they look out of season close to Christmas time, you can store them in a barn and pull them out next year instead of having to sell them.

There are several unofficial FarmVille game “guide” websites out there on the internet which provide information, tips and tricks. If you play but very few of your friends do, you can join forums or sign up on some of these sites and recruit neighbors. Here are just a few of the many FarmVille guide sites available:

Farmville: The Unofficial Strategy Guide
Ultimate FarmVille Guide
FarmVille FaceBook Neighbors

Do you know of any other guide sites?   Or perhaps you have some games tips you would like to share?   If so, the comments area below is open and ready for your contributions.

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  1. Chandu
    March 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Hello Can Anybody tell the isssue i cant sell my haybale and my gifts

  2. Farmville guide
    February 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    There's a bunch of Farmville guide reviews over at that you should probably check out before buying one....

  3. Gaby
    January 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

    This happen 3 times already. When I getI've got the mastery of pineaples, watermelon and artichokes my darn farm was enchanted and has to refresh and NO mastery signs which took me forever to get!!! what chances of that to happen hee!

    Please help!! They show the 3 stars but no signs!!!
    help help!

    • Paul Coffman
      January 6, 2010 at 6:13 am

      Gaby, this has happened to me as well a couple of times. Normally I find it happens when there are connectivity issues. I also found that the connectivity issues are on my side of the router, though. When I have too many devices online at the same time at my house, particularly if we have two computers logged on to FarmVille, we have a lot of problems and we may miss a mastery sign or have to re-harvest a group of crops. A new router is in order.

      With the mastery signs, I have always found them in my gift box a day or two later after a couple different playing sessions. They eventually "catch up" to me.

      If this is not the case with you and you really want those signs, I suggest you contact zynga through their website at Send them a note explaining your situation and they may be able to help. I know with Farm Town, Slashkey has been known to provide farmers with missed XP and coins when they have connection issues, especially when they are on Slashkey's side of things.

      Best of luck!

  4. moyz
    December 17, 2009 at 4:56 am

    RE: "farmville guru's" post - He is one of the problems with Farmville being branded a scam - he is a scam, or maybe not a technical scam, but it is folks like him who give these games the bad reputation

  5. FarmVille Guru
    December 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

    If you’re sick and tired of running around totally broke while other players get barns and greenhouses and the most expensive villa, this information is for you.

    You’ve probably always wondered why you can’t seem to make as much money or level up as fast as the other players in the game.

    Learn more :

    I used to wonder the same thing. I thought,

    “Where are these people making money so fast?”
    “Are they buying it on FarmVille?”
    “What are they growing and selling?”

    So I set out to spy on all the successful players I could find to see just what they did to earn all of their money and to level up so fast.

    Learn more :

  6. R.G.
    December 14, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Love the post Paul,

    I have gone through the comments on this and read your response to them. I think it's a shame that some have a mindset of the game being a scam. This game has a ton of moral value to it and is a wonderful thing to have for those who can not afford the luxuries of going out to socialize.

    While it is without a doubt a platform for other business and entrepreneurs to capture sales it is ultimately up to the individual who buys to make the decision on where and how they want to spend their money.

    The game alone is free... The only thing one could waste is spending too much time on it. However, there are so many out there that are lonely and without a real friend base. This helps them at least enjoy the virtual friends.

    That's all I got.

    Stay well and God Bless.

  7. Altzan
    December 11, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Lol @ Scam.
    It's not a scam, seriously...
    I stopped playing it awhile ago because it got monotonous for me plus I didn't check Facebook every day - I'd often log on just to quickly do Farmville then log off. Not worth it.
    Only play this game if you use Facebook often, at least once a day.

    • Peter
      December 11, 2009 at 6:52 am

      admittedly the current game itself isn't so much a scam as it is a platform for scamers...though It's not just the affiliated "advertisers"

      "I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away," says Pinkus. He's not specifically talking about farmeville in the video but about Zynga games in general. Is this a guy we should reward with millions of dollars for adding value to our lives? I chose not to...

      quoted from this

      which is basically a blog post talking about the TechCrunch post mentioned above. by Robin

  8. moyz
    December 11, 2009 at 1:44 am

    easy guys, it is not a "scam" - it is no different fom a number of other similar things - iphone apps for example

  9. robin
    December 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    ashamed is right:

    $$$ don't understand shame though, right paul?

    for anyone else wandering through here, farmville is a massive scam, don't engage with it, avoid it like the plague. like the author of this post thoroughly pointed out!

    • Paul Coffman
      December 11, 2009 at 7:24 am

      While I have read articles similar to the one you referenced in your post, I have played FarmVille off and on for several months now without paying one dime out of my own pocket to play or level up, nor have I clicked on one of the "scam ads". In fact, the AdBlock Plus add-on that I have on my browser prevents me (and my children) from even seeing the ads.

      I enjoy the game and the friendly competition with friends and family to see who makes it to the next level first.

      I'm not saying all the advertisers employ ethical or unethical practices, and I'm not saying Facebook or MySpace don't have culpability in certain cases. I'm just saying that the game can be enjoyed for free and without clicking on ads.

      To what extent do you go to protect people from themselves? We've gotten to the point we have to put a "contents may be hot" warning on a steaming cup of java. There are tons of ad blocking software available. You do not have to pay to play, unless you choose so. If you choose to pay, whose fault is it?

  10. Peter
    December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    You should be ashamed of yourself for promoting farmville.

  11. Nick
    December 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    No not FarmVille! It's going to take over the world! I use to be hooked on it, but I broke that habit and I started picking up better ones. The game just never ever ends.