Tl;dr OMG Farmville!

Yup, I play Farmville.  My shame muscle has been atrophied so long, I can say that out loud without qualifiers.  I am also aware this makes me a huge geek, but then, tell me something else I don’t know.

Not only play it, but I’m a huge freeeeeek.  I have three gaming accounts!  I had to – you understand that there was no question of a choice in the matter – play all the crafting buildings, and you can only get one building per account on the home farm without spending real world cash (in itself funny money, but we’ll return to bitching about Bernanke at a later date).

Where this becomes amusing enough to rise to the level of blogging, is in reference to the snag bars.

When playing Farmville, there are various supplies and materials you require for sundry purposes.  Say you want to breed pigs.  Well, you will need to build the pigpen and this requires nails, wooden boards and bricks (8 apiece).  Ten of each to expand the pen the first time, twenty to expand it again, if I recall correctly.  You will also need pigs, which can be obtained with truffles.  Last, you will need love potion (the piggies need the Dutch Courage, I suppose) and bottles to feed the piglets and grow them into adult pigs.

The way to get bricks, boards, nails, truffles, potion and bottles is off your neighbors’ feeds.  While harvesting and building on your farm, little messages will pop up and allow you to share things with your neighbors.  (And it’s a right royal pain in the arse, but everyone clicks these messages because if you don’t offer stuff on the feeds people delete you as a neighbor so you can’t take the stuff they offer.  So, you could say it’s political.)

Only, you often find you spend more time watching your feed to snag the goodies you need than you do playing the actual game.  Some, including yours truly, find this to be, shall we say, tedious.

Enter the snag bar.

A snag bar is an application that watches your feeds for you.  You set the bar to look for the things you want, and it collects them.  It also accepts game requests with one click – an enormous improvement over spending two hours returning 150 requests individually.

And because the internet is serious business, you just know this caused a shitload of drama.  Cue cries of “OMG CHEATING CHEATERS!!!1!”  No, I’m not kidding.  Loads of players think this is cheating.  There are almost no gamer’s rooms that don’t have constant huge discussions about why snag bars are or are not cheating, how to figure out if your neighbors are cheating with a snag bar so you can delete them and, something I find vastly amusing, which snag bars are the best at returning requests with one click (because that’s okay).

The hysteria gives me hours of fun.  I like to go to the game rooms and poke anti-snaggers with sticks.  Quite easy to do, because having never used the snag bars, they subsequently have no idea what they really do.

Anti-snagger: I saw a video that showed you didn’t even have to be logged into your Facebook account.

Me: Not possible.  The program can’t access your feed unless you’re logged in to Facebook and your monitor is active.

Anti: They grab everything and no one gets a chance at anything good because of those cheaters!

Me: The app only runs once every sixty seconds.  (Note for non-players: Most good stuff is gone in twenty seconds or less.  Ergo, an app that runs once every sixty seconds misses a LOT.)

Anti: I’ve heard Zynga plans to delete the accounts of anyone who uses a snag bar, because you know it’s against their ToS.

Me: What I don’t get is, if Zynga considers snag bars to be a violation of the ToS, then why did Zynga make it’s own snag bar?

Of course, few people really know what the Zynga snag bar does either, but not from some sense of moral outrage.  At first it collected fuel, coins, collectibles and bonuses until too many pointed out that there’s really no difference between an app that scans the feed for fuel and an app that scans the feed for bricks, seedlings and fuel except that one is clearly more versatile.  So they changed the official bar to only accept requests and offer a crop timer.  People still wouldn’t use it, despite the offer of Farmville cash (which has to be gotten with real world money, generally), because the much-touted Toolbar-Not-Snagbar was a piece of crap that crashed Safari and wouldn’t install on everything else, didn’t really do much of anything, and most players didn’t receive the Farmville cash bribe anyhow (it was a glitch that apparently never resolved itself.  Oops).

This reminds me of, way back when eBay was relevant, the fury over snipers.  Something else I also did despite howls that it was “cheating”.

Now that I have bored everyone senseless, I’m off to go harvest my red currants and breed pigs.  Trying to level up to get a flower boar and figure out what pairs make a red piglet.  Cheers!

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Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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