Earlier today, the tempers of FarmVille farmers everywhere were set ablaze by the news that a new item collection limit was being imposed on news feed prizes. The new limit is 125 items per day, with this number resetting to zero every day at 9:00 PM PST.
After much outcry from users on the FarmVille forums, claiming that all users should not be punished for the few that use automated collection software (the reason for the introduced item cap), FarmVille Community Manager Lexilicious has responded on behalf of the developer about the new item cap (and a second limit that is being put into place), including why it has been created, and what Zynga plans on doing about the many farmers who are questioning their decision.
The entire response is quite lengthy, so meet us behind the break for a full rundown, including quotes from Lexi herself.
Here's a quick excerpt from FarmVille's official statement:
FarmVille is, at its heart, a social game - a game that is fun because you can play it with your friends and family. We've heard from all of you that one of the most fun parts of the game is the ability to share cool items and rewards with your neighbors. Sharing that rare foal from your stable with friends, or sharing holiday gifts with your neighbors – these are the things that really show how important the social side of farming is to everyone.
We also know how exciting it is to see that someone you know has posted an animal or decoration you want for your farm, and how it can be a letdown if you don't get that item. Especially if you never seem to get the items you want because they are gone in seconds.
Over the past year, a number of computer programs have been written that will automatically claim everything posted to the feeds. The result is that, while one person can get a massive number of rewards, everyone else is left out with almost no chance to get anything. We receive regular feedback from players who feel as if it's not even worth trying to collect items and animals from their feed any more. Not only is this a bad experience for our players, but the use of these programs is a violation of the FarmVille Terms of Service.
In response to this, Zynga has not only introduced the 125 item limit, but is also introducing another limit that most users haven't picked up on yet - the fact that those users that Zynga notices collecting items rapidly (very rapidly - as would be done with an automated program) will actually have their progress slowed by a "throttle" that will limit the speed with which users can collect further bonuses for the rest of the day (until the limit resets at 9:00 PM PST).
Furthermore, we've also learned that posts made directly between two users (that is, a post made by yourself to an individual user's wall) do not count as part of the limit.
Lexi made a point of trying to reassure players that most users would never reach the 125 item limit, so they shouldn't really notice any changes in their own gameplay experience. However, from my own standpoint, it still seems like an incredibly shady thing to implement. First they ask us to post what some might call ridiculous amounts of wall posts with neighbors in order to add to the "social" element of the game, and now they are limiting the ability for active players to actually do anything with them.
Lexi is right about one thing - the average, casual player with five or ten neighbors won't notice a thing with this change. But for those with, say 20+ neighbors, who all post multiple items per day (not an impossible situation, especially if one has added new neighbors specifically because they were so active), I can easily see them hitting the limit, even if they were clicking on each and every post by hand.
Either way, a glimmer of hope comes with Lexi's statement, as it ends with "We will be monitoring the results as we roll this out in the coming days, and may tune the limits over time." A higher limit? Yes please.
To read FarmVille's complete statement regarding the new item cap, head over to the forums.
[Image credit: Aldaan]
We'll make sure to keep an eye on this story as it evolves, but for now, share your two cents with us in the comments. Will you stop playing if the item cap isn't reversed, or do you think this limit will help add a balance to the game?