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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Vernal Equinox!

The first day of Spring is my favorite day of the year. I don't care that in Kansas the first day began with 3 inches of snow. It is the beginning of the end for snow. I can wait.

The snow gives me an excuse to play in Farmville. What a wonderful, annoying game.

I'm at level 22 now, but my rapid progress must slow. The XP required to advance apparently doubles with each level. This is why buying certain things like barns and tractors gives XP. The game itself encourages such purchases, even though I don't want to make them. I don't intend to buy anything that requires fuel. This is a "green" farm, and my little avatar will have to work for her harvests.

I found a turtle! What a happy day that was. They don't have ranunculus in Farmville, but I've put her in a plot surrounded by flowers. She will always be surrounded by flowers of whatever kind I can plant. Right now, it's pink roses.

I now have a dairy barn for my cows. That was something I could buy. A dairy barn gives me more fertilizer to use on my neighbors' farms. It also allows me to milk all the cows at once.

I bought a chicken coop because it lets me collect eggs at once and produce mystery eggs for neighbors to collect. A mystery egg can have anything inside, literally anything. I got a grain silo in one. I don't want a grain silo, so I sold it.

The next purchase will likely be a horse stable. I will have to have neighbors help me build that. They give me building supplies like nails and bricks and boards and once I have enough, I have a horse stable. I'm waiting until I have a lot of neighbors for this (I think I have about 30 right now). You can only give so many gifts a day and you only have so many days to build. If you don't make it, you can try again, but I don't want a framed-in stable sitting on my farm for who knows how long. Besides, not every neighbor is as great a neighbor as I am. For those needing translation, that means not every player is as obsessed as I am.

A horse stable provides XP for your neighbors and again allows me to harvest my horse hair all at once. It's odd. Horse hair in this game gives 80 gold coins, but cow's milk gives 6. What's up with that?

I was asked if this was a communist game because it has so much emphasis on "sharing the wealth." Not at all. The emphasis is on generosity. I keep the money for my crops, and I can buy anything I want, provided I have enough levels. I could conceivably advance in levels without any help from neighbors. It would just take longer.

But, as in capitalism, when I prosper, others prosper. When I plant crops, my neighbors can fertilize them and get gold and XP. When I have a good flower harvest, I get the gold but I also get bouquets to give away to my neighbors to make their farms prettier. When I have a chicken coop for neighbors to feed, I benefit with happy chickens and they can get mystery eggs. We all benefit from both selfishness and generosity.

For years I've watched my Second Dad go help his fellow farmers during planting and harvest, often at his own expense in time and money. It seems to be something farmers do for each other, and no one accuses them of being communists. No one I know, anyway. This game seems to work on the same principle. I can play by myself, but it's more fun to play with other people.

I now have one neighbor who is at level 64. That's 21 levels higher than anyone else I know. And I thought I was obsessed.

See you on the farm. I'm planting daffodils in honor of the first day of spring.

I'll be shoveling my real driveway afterwards.

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