Whoops. I meant to come up with something before September ended but forgot. The silly thing is that I always have a lot to write about! However, they always end up as snippets on Twitter.
I probably mentioned it before, but one of the biggest deterrents in writing a blog post is that I feel the need to think up a theme or two and then write a few paragraphs based on that/those. Composing a blog post takes up a good part of the day too.
With Twitter, on the other hand, I can just toss up anything at the spur of the moment without worry that it has to be some sort of short prose. I like that sort of freedom.
Anyway, let’s talk about the pesky event lucky bag draw from Com2uS’ free-to-play mobile game, Tiny Farm, and how using it can get expensive.
In 2013, Com2uS, the game’s developer, introduced the Heroic Animals. They’re the fifth and final animal needed to complete a regular (re: not event-specific) collection. Unfortunately, even after 4 years, only 14 out of the 60 collections waiting for a Heroic type can be completed.
For some reason, there are also these impossible achievements that no one can fulfill because the requisite fifth animal doesn’t exist:
Perhaps they’ll eventually be doable but it would be nice if they could remove these in the meantime. 😛
I believe Com2uS didn’t consider the bigger picture when they created the Heroic Animals since, unlike the typical ones that just roam around the map or fill speech balloons popping up above their heads with inane statements, they possess skills that can usually help gameplay aspects such as allowing animals to instantly level up or increasing the chances of successfully obtaining a higher tier animal through breeding.
Inserting a bit of a tangent here: There’s one oddity among the Heroic types. The Heroic Bearded Pig, also known as The Crazy Doctor, can actually harm crop efficiency by tacking on a negative percentage value to crops causing the player to lose out on profit and experience. Thankfully, its skill effect can be cancelled before any damage can be done. However, this would mean that the player wasted Hearts on the Heroic Bearded Pig for nothing. 😐
It could be my luck but I do end up with the negative result more often than the positive one. Unless you have Hearts to spare, I advise against gambling on this nutty pig.
Here’s an image of it, by the way. 😀
Anyway, new Heroic Animals used to come out on a consistent basis, but it’s not surprising that this stopped a few years ago. After all, it takes time to think up useful abilities that will keep the game in balance. Still, this lull feels rather lengthy. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since they did eventually come up with third dog for the Dog collection years after the first and second ones. (It’ll probably take another couple of years before the Talking Dog shows up. :P)
In the interim, Com2uS has opted to keep churning out new limited time and event-based collections with increasingly insidious money-making ways.
Players who have interacted with other Tiny Farm members via Com2uS/Gamevil’s HIVE community or the unofficial message board at Proboards would have most likely come across the claims that breeding in front of the original Love House — the one with a pair of lovey-dovey cows on the sign — will up the chances of successfully obtaining higher tier or event animals.
The origin of this belief comes from the fact that either the Talking Cow or Talking Dairy Cow said something about breeding in front of it will make dreams come true or something. I don’t know the exact words and no one remembers them but they all claim that it was something to that effect. (The dialogue has been removed or changed for some time now.)
I do recall that, for a while (and maybe it’s still going on), the animals DID give legitimate gaming hints such as where to go to find the option to redecorate the map. But those kinds of tips were perceivable and the Love House claim being something that can’t be seen is what makes it dubious.
Almost a month ago, users from other Gamevil and Com2uS games decided to throw common sense and etiquette out the door and mindlessly bombard the companies’ message forums known as HIVE clubs with “Add Me” friend requests to fulfill in-game friend invite quotas to obtain special goodies and bonuses.
If you check any of the clubs, you’ll find that they’ve all been infested with these Goodies Hunters. (I brand them as such because sincerely doubt most of them are remotely concerned with actual friendship.)
For Tiny Farm players, it’s rather frustrating since we use the message board to find information about event quests/objectives and also to seek help from others to tame special animals visiting our farms. The barrage of “Add Me”s end up pushing all the questions, informative posts, and taming requests way down the page and due to the club’s ultra archaic and backwatered design, it’s impossible to quickly locate them as it has no search function or a log that lists all of your own posts. In short, you are forced to scroll through the entire slog of useless crap.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however! While there exists another fan-run message board, it’s pretty much been abandoned since the creator, johnnysilver, has quit the game a long while back. Now a new unofficial message board has been created in the wake of this mess thanks to frequent club users, Eluzyion and Animal House. You can find it at http://tinyfarmcommunity.freeforums.net/ 😀 At the moment, it is free from obnoxious friend requests and it’ll most likely stay that way since unless spam bots start creating accounts, the forum requires registered users to log in before they can even view it. The whole reason the HIVE clubs were subjected to the abuse is the sheer ease of accessing them in-game and the fact that you don’t need to register again to use them once you have a username or auto-generated account number from the game you logged into.
So if you’re tired of how useless the Tiny Farm Club has become, consider joining us at our new home! :3
A lot of Tiny Farm players probably groan at the sight of seeing a notice like the above upon starting up the game. Given the dismal chances of succeeding in meeting those objectives, such a response is expected. After all, considering the rarity of legendary & mythical animals like the Oceanic Bird, players vying for limited edition animals in the short time frame allotted should be prepared to spend a lot of money on event eggs and pray that one of them will hatch the bird. (One can also obtain it through lucky bag draws but it requires longer waits.) I truly wouldn’t be surprised if the success rate of getting one was set to 1%.
As much as these limited time gimmicks are a bane to non-IAP-paying Tiny Farmers, it’s actually not a bad thing that developer, Com2uS, make use of them. I’d like to think that for the duration of the availability of an LE animal, there’s a spending spurt from habitual hardcore money-spenders as well as some gamblers that want to try their luck. This influx of money contributes to keeping this long-running, fan-favourite farming and animal collection simulator going.
So fellow Tiny Farm players, while we despair that we may never get these rare creatures, be glad that we have acquaintances paying Com2uS to maintain the game. :3
Edit on September 4th, 2014: Com2uS actually revised the inventory system an update or two ago so this post is no longer relevant. However, I’m keeping it here just to show folks that infinite scrolling is a really terrible design.
Phew. It’s been a while since I wrote up an entry on Tiny Farm. I’m still playing it because I love collecting the super cute animals. I just wish animal certificates weren’t so expensive. I’ve long exhausted the ability to buy them with gold. Have to rely on Bells now. 😦
Anyway, Tiny Farm received a massive overhaul a few weeks ago. Oddly, the ONLY revision the inventory UI received was reduced icon sizes so now each page has 2 lines of items instead of a single one. While that reduces the amount of scrolling one had to endure, it still means A LOT of scrolling for someone like me that has tons of things in storage. Sure, I can sell stuff like fences and rebuy them but why would I? Why should I have to? I’d rather save the money to spend on other things like the unnecessarily expensive lottery draw events.
I recorded the video on my iPad mini with Retina to show how idiotic the inventory design is. In it, you will see that I have to scroll forever to find the freakin’ Yellow Lotus Lantern that was automatically placed in inventory after claiming it from the gift area. I know I zoom past it in the initial scroll-by but it’s just to show that it doesn’t pop up at the end like what other sadistic developers may do with new things you get. At least that would make some sort of sense. This lantern showed up on page 7 or so.
The video was originally longer to show that every single item I have in the gift area is subject to the same random treatment but I decided just showing the lantern was enough.
So what can be done to improve the damnable design? Here are my suggestions:
ALL new items/animals you get should appear at the BEGINNING of your inventory.
Additional tabs on the side to sort between plants/trees, fences, and decorations just like in the freakin’ Store page.
Some ability to manually input a search string to look for something.
I wonder if there’s something in the code that’ll make these additions extremely difficult to implement? There’s no reason such logical ideas haven’t found their way into the game yet. It’s been over TWO YEARS since Tiny Farm debuted. Inventories will only get larger over time. >:/
I might fire off a message to Com2uS about this. A few weeks ago, I complained about the simplicity of the Com2uS Hub to them such as the inability to easily locate one’s post and the lack of a search function (for keywords and users) so what’s another complaint? XD They can make pretty looking games but they sure can’t seem to create intuitive user interfaces. The Hub is SO backwater it’s not funny. The way it functions is like a message forum from a few decades ago. 9__9