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
I embarked on my Nightmare run recently. With maxed out Adol and Dulen + massively upgraded ultimate weapons and armour, the trek across Celceta has been fairly quick. The only problem are the bosses. ^^ The first boss took about 10 minutes to defeat. 😛 It took me a bit to clue in that I was supposed to get its stun gauge up. Once I started spamming skills instead of simply slashing its body, the battle went a bit faster.
I also reloaded the Clear Game data on Easy to get the Time Attack and Boss Rush trophies. XD Here’s a small gallery of images of my achievements~! :3 Tiny Farm images are mixed in since I have no idea how to exclude them. >_>
The Halloween promotion is in full swing now~! And again, there’s some cross-breeding weirdness! The special animals this time around will complete the Halloween Level 2 Collection.
Like the Pirate Animals, the option to cross-breed will probably not be available after the promotion is done. 😦
Been seeing people complaining that they weren’t getting the cross-breeding option. Maybe some people haven’t updated their game yet? I still haven’t managed to get either of the level 2 Halloween animals. Hopefully, I will soon… And then somehow get the skeleton pig from an egg or candy~~ I really want the ghost sheep. 😦 And I really wish it could stay as a baby cuz the baby and young sheep are much more adorable than adult sheep. ^^
Update on Oct 29th: I got my Dracula Cow! It only took a billion tries!!!
For what it’s worth, my Black Cow was at Level 32 and the Dairy Cow was Level 17. Next up will be the Zombie Alpaca.
My Alpaca is Level 100 and the Red Reindeer is Level 12. I haven’t gotten the Zombie Alpaca yet and I’m hoping it’ll take less tries because I need a total of 12 Love Points for each breeding session. >_>
But … I’ll still be out with that skeleton pig from the Level 1 collection. Guess I’ll keep trying with the candy or something. I doubt I’ll be able to make use of the Eggs during these last few days of the promo since I’m saving up to get the ghost lamp thing. ^^
2nd update on Oct 29th: I got my Zombie Alpaca today! ^o^~
Sadly, I bred the parents again but it didn’t work. 😦 Only regular reindeer and alpaca kept popping out. I do want another zombie though!
There’s more objectives after the breeding’s done~!
And then …
Sigh. Still out on one animal. 😦 At least the Valentine one will be easier since I have all 3 Level 1 animals. (Come on, you KNOW they’ll do a Valentine promo again.)
Edit on November 1st:
Halloween Prank 3 was to give affection to any three Zombie Horses you find among your neighbours. I was busy yesterday so I didn’t get around to uploading the image. Actually, there probably isn’t any point since I can just type out the descriptions. 😛
Halloween Prank 4: “Give love to the Dracula Dairy Cow in neighbor farm 3 times.” Like the other ones, you just need to find the animal in 3 different farms.
Halloween Prank 5: “Give love to the Zombie Alpaca in neighbor farm 3 times.” Same tip as the last one.
The rewards for all of these are 1 Halloween Candy, 1 Bell, and 30 XP.
Edit on November 2nd:
The Last Halloween Prank:“There is an animal that can’t wait for Halloween because it loves candy. Shall we find this animal and ask if it received lots of candies in Halloween? Hint: This animal’s dialogue”. Oddly, the description ends there. 😛 But the objective is “Give love to the ‘animal that like candy’ in neighbor farm once.’ I swear, I think they have people from Com2uS Korea doing the translations. Anyway, reward is EXP +30 and Bells +3. The animal you’re looking for is:
Its level doesn’t matter. I just took a screencap of it from my collection. :3
Edit on November 6th: I asked Com2uS on Twitter yesterday if the Skeleton Pig could be bred at any time of the year or just during the Halloween promo and it’s only during the promo. :(( At the time of the reply, there was just over 2 days left. But!!!! Look what happened!!!!!!!
And then …
Now I can go back to giving Love Points to other animals instead of them Talking Pigs. Truthfully, I was going back and forth between 2 Talking Pigs and 1 Talking Pig x a Brown or Black Pig since I read that you can get a Skeleton Pig with the latter method too.
Whee~! Ghost Sheep~~~ Of course, I got the Ghost Deer as well but it’s not cute enough for me to care about!
I’m seeing a lot of search results leading to my bitchfest post back in March or April about Tiny Farm. Many people are looking to know how to breed certain animals, how to make money quick, how to get Bells fast, etc. I’m going to address some of those here.
First off, what people need to realize that the speed of the game is done in such a way that it benefits Com2uS; that is, they’re hoping you’ll cave in and spend money on in-app purchases. Having noted this, if you have next to no patience, DO NOT PLAY TINY FARM. Well, unless you have no qualms about handing over money to buy virtual currency over and over again. After all, this is how the majority of freemium games work.
For what it’s worth, I have only spent $0.99 (+ tax) on this game and that was to buy 50 Bells during the really short-lived special for beginners Com2uS that had. Although it was labelled as some introductory price promotion, it was available for all players. I think this happened last month or in August. The rest of the Bells were obtained through regular in-game means or via Tapjoy offers.
Make use of the Free Bell offers which require you to install and run apps, sign up for services, and some other stuff.
Get yourself a Christmas Tree or Bell Tree or both types of trees. 😛 Upgrade them up (with Bells >_>;;) to reduce the wait time.
Incidentally, I bought the Bell Tree by making use of the Netflix sign-up offer. 😛 It still shows as being available because … I have no idea. I did the other through the Tapjoy site itself instead of through Tiny Farm. Maybe that had something to do with it? Regardless, it gave me my 100+ Bells so I’m not complaining. 😛
Anyway, Com2uS also had some celebration where they handed out 30 or 50 Bells or something so I used all the Bells I saved up to purchase the Bell Tree + upgrade both it and Christmas Tree at the same time. The upgrade was 50 Bells to bring the wait time to 23 hours (instead of the default 36 hours). Unfortunately, the level 3 upgrade costs 150 Bells each. 9__9
Level up your animals~! You will get 1 Bell at Level 3 and another when you master them (Level 5).
Buy them. Obviously, Com2uS wants you do to this but don’t give in since it works out to be an extremely expensive option. This is especially true if you want to outfit your farm or beach with all the decorations and animals.Com2uS may actually give out Bells on special occasions as well so it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date with events and such by logging into Tiny Farm daily or checking out their Website, Tumblr, Twitter, or the Tiny Farm hub space in the Com2uS Hub. (Too lazy to link them all. Just do a Web search for them. :P)
2) How do I make money (gold) fast?
There is no quick method other than going the in-app purchase way but remember that every little bit counts and there’s a myriad of ways to make money:
Plant crops. Always make an effort to level up your farm so you can keep adding field patches. Also, for growing crops, don’t assume the highest number of gold will get you the most money. You have to take into account the amount of money you use to purchase the crop and the amount of time it takes to get the money to see if the return is worth it.
Feed animals. Along with 1 Happiness point and XP, you will get some gold! The amount of gold is dependent on the animal.
Level up animals. Level 2 and Level 4 get you 100 gold each~! On top of this, mastering an entire collection may net you some extra gold too!
Add fellow Tiny Farm users to your Friends list and visit them every 24 hours. You can make 750 gold a day since you are limited to visiting 15 farms.
Tip #1: Ignore the hell out of Alfredo since that’s Com2uS’ own farm and it only exists to showcase the various animals, decorations, etc. that you can have in the game. Alfredo will NEVER visit your farm.
Tip #2: When you visit a neighbour’s farm, bestow your love on higher tier animals to to get the most XP. The more XP you get, the faster you can level up your farm~! :3
Invest in a Food Factory and/or Ice Cream Parlor. Both structures churn out a set amount of gold every few hours. Once you have a Tiny Beach, you have even more options to make money such as Fishing Boats and a Small Ice Cream Bar. Like the Bell Trees, these facilities can be upgraded. I’m not sure you can shorten the time span between output but you can definitely increase the amount of money you make from them.
Complete animal collections for special decorations. This is kind of a special case, I think, since most collections just give trophies or new animals. Anyway, the pirate ship you see in the screenshot above was obtained by completing the Pirate Animals Level 1 collection. The ship produces 250 gold every … 6(?) hours. I can’t remember and I can’t check right now. ^^ The pirate animals are currently only available via Mysterious or Burning Eggs, I think. 😦
Get some fish for your Tiny Beach. This only applies to users with Level 30+ farms. I believe all fish give you some amount of gold.
Breed animals to sell. Sometimes, the baby animal that you get from breeding is worth less than the amount you paid to breed but there are also times where you’ll get a profit.
Oh yes, there are little objectives that pop up at the left side of the screen now and then that’ll offer you experience and gold. I tend to find that they’re not really worth it in terms of money since you never make back even half of what you spend to fulfil the conditions.
Also, I think early on in the game, you may get XP and/or gold for levelling up your farm. If I remember correctly, all I got was “Congratulation!” when I got to level 40. :E .
3) How do I get more Love Points?
The method is almost the same as getting gold except it has nothing to do with planting crops or levelling animals.
Purchase a Love House. It’ll give you +5 Love for every 12 hours. You can level up the building to make it churn out LP faster.
Visit Friends. You’ll get 1 Love Point per visit every 24 hours. The maximum you can get in a single day is 15 LP.
Buy more Love Points with Bells under the SP menu.
4) How do I get < certain type of animal >?
Let’s take a look at the cute little chickens~ I’m going to label the regular Chicken as A, Brown Chicken as B, and the Black Chicken as C.
So the formula goes like this:
A + A = B
A + B = C or B + B = C
C + C = C or B + C = C or C + C = Tier 1 Talking Animal
Note: This is what I follow myself. I have no idea if this is the “official” way of breeding to get higher tier animals. XD
You also have to take into consideration the levels of the animals. The higher their levels, the more likely you will get the higher tier offspring. For example, if you’re breeding the hell out of Chickens in hopes of getting a Brown one, you may find that you keep getting regular Chickens instead. This is most likely due to the fact that their levels are low. (I have no idea what the optimal level is.)
And yes, sometimes even breeding together tier 3 ones (like two Black Chickens) will result in a regular Chicken.
Also, you can also use of the Ranger’s Cabin to purchase animal. There will be many times where you can use gold to buy ones that that can only be purchased from store with Bells or through breeding. I find that it’s rare to see the highest tier types (re: the 3rd type of any animal) listed though. .
5) Is there a hack/Are there any cheats for Tiny Farm?
There could be! But I doubt that it’ll work because everything is server-side so even if you manage to give yourself lots of gold, hearts, or even Bells, the game will detect that something is off and reset the values of everything you modified since they don’t match the cached copy on the server. (There’s a reason the game only works if you’re connected to the Internet. :P) Note that illegally modifying the game can get you banned from the Com2uS Hub. They may even go to extremes and IP ban you which will make it impossible to even log in with a new Hub ID so if you enjoy Com2uS games, don’t cheat their systems.
Once again, I download and play a game by freemium experts, Com2uS. And, once again, I rage at it.
There’s no denying that the games they create are fun and addicting, but if you’re the type that MUST unlock every item, skill, character, etc. as soon as possible, it’s in your best interest to stay the hell away from Com2uS games. The reason for this is simple: all their games are designed exploit impatience and to eat your wallet.
Let’s take a look at the Witch Wars: Puzzle. (iOS version here and Android version here.) It’s a match-3 puzzle game that plays like Dungeon Raid (Android version here). It also reminds me a little of the battles in Puzzle Quest albeit in a really simplified form. The gameplay consists of matching 3 to 6 icons of the same type. Depending on the icon (see screenshot below), you will experience different effects. I can go deeper into the gameplay mechanics but I won’t because that’s not the point of this blog post … although I should note that the gold circle with the star in the middle is the icon for coins. Match 3 or more of these to get in-game money that can be spent on upgrades and unlocking more characters. The amount you get is dependent on the gameplay mode. Why did I highlight the coin? Because it ties into the pay-to-win or grind-like-crazy model of Witch Wars: Puzzle.
When you first enter the game, you will be greeted by a screen like this:
It’s a trend among free-to-play games where they lure players into logging into game every single day by giving players “daily bonuses”*. In the case of Witch Wars, you will either get an unlocked character or coins.
* In my mind, it’s obvious that this is a tactic to get hook people onto the game. After all, they offer in-game currency, among other things, that could be used to upgrade your units, cards — anything you need to progress. Once you become addicted, you’ll want to advance further into the game. Eventually, you’ll realize that things get prohibitively expensive and will require a) lots of hours of simply grinding, b) installing a crap ton of apps or signing up for shit you don’t want to just to get FREE virtual money via monetization services like Tapjoy, or c) real money to buy virtual money.
As seen in the screenshot above, there are 7 playable characters. Athena, the left-most character, is sole character that is available right from the get-go. All other characters require hefty payment starting from 3000 coins. You may think that Com2uS is generous enough to hand over these characters over the course of 7 days. Unfortunately, that is NOT the case; a witch made usable through a daily bonus gift can only be brought into either friendly matches (re: versus mode) or online matches where you can play against opponents randomly chosen by the game server. She’s also only available for 24 hours. If you WANT to keep the character, you have to pay.
On top of this, every single character has 3 passive, 3 aggressive skills, and Health Points that can be upgraded. Unsurprisingly, the cost of each skill and Health Point will increase per level. Now, you may think that the prices aren’t all that bad and that’s where Com2uS gets you. The main problem lies in the fact that it’s unnecessarilydifficult to rack up coins. In Normal difficulty Single Match mode, a line of 3 coins will get you 1 measly coin while Hard and Hell difficulties give you double or triple the coins.
Getting extra money sure is a great thing so you’ll probably just want to grind on Hard and Hell. However, you have to contend with staying alive and praying that the game will actually give you freakin’ coins to match. Heck, I can’t even bank 80 – 100 coins by the time I reach Stage 9 or 10 on Hard. Hell is out of the question for me since I can’t even get past the second character. XD
If you’re like me, you will never want to spend hours upon hours on Single Matches for the sake of making money. Thankfully, Witch Wars: Puzzle does provide the player with other gameplay modes such as Flash Mode, Infinity Mode, Versus Mode, and Online Matches. In my opinion, NONE of these modes are worth it for coins EXCEPT Infinity Mode. I’ll explain the reason for this later on.
Yes, I suppose gifted players won’t have too much trouble getting a lot of coins on any mode — my definition of a lot is “over 300 coins per run on Infinity Mode”. Of course, you can always opt into the Tapjoy offers to sign up for magazines, various digital subscription services, buy crap you don’t need, or download and run apps you’ll probably just uninstall after you get the coins. Naturally, the quickest way to get the necessary amount of virtual money is through in-app purchase. The lowest denomination is 2,000 coins which can be purchased for $1.99 and the maximum amount you can get through a single transaction is 75,000 coins which will require you to throw $49.99 at Com2uS. I’m not sure 75,000 coins will cover all unlocks and upgrades though. (I’m kind of leaning toward no.)
Now, let’s run through this again: every single character has a total of 6 skills as well as health points that can be upgraded. If you don’t mind sticking to Athena and maybe 1 or 2 other characters then you may not mind all the work (or money you spend) needed to obtain and raise them. But if you’re the ambitious, obsesssive-compulsive type that HAS to have every single character unlocked and all skills maxed out, then be prepared to spend eons playing the game or making Witch Wars: Puzzle the most expensive game you’ve ever owned.
Here’s a tip though: The best way to get coins without succumbing to the Free Coins offers or adding expenses to your monthly budget is Infinity Mode. A single playthrough usually nets me 100 – 300 coins as the frequency of coin icons appearing is seemingly higher. I would believe many players could even get greater amounts but as you may have gleaned from this post so far, I’m not the greatest at puzzle games.
Anyway, for me — since I play with next to no strategy so setting up combos and 3+ icon matches isn’t my thing — I find that I can play Infinity Mode at a casual pace up to level 8. Once I’m past that, I have to start moving faster. 😛 The trick, therefore, is to play slowly and never let the timer get to the right side. Once it does that, you’ll end up at the next level and the higher the level, the faster the timer will drop. If you go at a snail’s pace, you can nab as many coins as you can before you get to a level where you have to race against time. It’s possible that you’ll be forced onto a higher level though since you’ll probably get a chain of combos by accident.
I’m probably going to get some flack like I did with my first post about Tiny Farm since people will disagree with the way I present the game and Com2uS, but it’s really how I feel about this type of money-grubbing game design. Anyway, my next entry will probably be my critiques on devs seeking reviews as well as user review etiquette on the App Store and Play Store. :3 I’ve been meaning to write that one up for a while.