In a late night update this evening, Zynga has launched the Valentines Mailbox in FarmVille. As we've been speculating for some time now, this mailbox functions in much the same way as the Mailbox from last year, in that you'll be able to collect various Valentine-themed collectible objects with the help of your friends, with these items being redeemable for prizes in the game.
This year's Mailbox sees a re-release of five of the six prizes included inside, which may make quite a few veteran farmers more than a bit upset. After all, if you played the game during February of last year, you'll likely have these five items (at least four of them - one was only available in a Mystery Box) on your farm, giving you very little in the way of new incentive to work towards. It's possible (and in fact very likely) that this first set of six rewards might be just the first of many items added (like with the Winter Holiday event), as the most expensive prize right now costs 50 Valentines, and the meter goes to 300+. Either way, whether you start collecting Valentines now or later is up to you.
Of course, whether you already have these items or not, the only way you'll be able to afford them now is by gathering Valentines, and there are many methods (as usual) of going about that task.
First and foremost, you'll be able to earn Valentines mostly from your friends. You'll be given you Valentines Mailbox for free upon entering the game. Once placed on your farm, you'll have access to the trade-in window, where you'll see the standard meter that keeps track of your progress and the prizes that you can earn. It's here that you can click on the "Ask for More" button to be sent to a reverse of the game's free gifts page, where you can send individual requests to your neighbors, asking them to send you a valentine.
Your friends can also initiate this process entirely by heading to the FarmVille Free Gifts page and choosing one of the five items that are available to send to. These items are the Rose Vase, Baby's Breath (flowers), Valentine Chocolates, Stuffed Cow, and Love Letters.
You can purchase Valentines from the store at a rate of 5 Valentines per 5 Farm Cash. It doesn't appear as though there's a way to purchase an individual Valentine, so you'll need to spend 5 Farm Cash, or none at all. Finally, remember that if you have built your Cupid's Castle, that Valentines will now spawn from this item daily (so long as you collect from it once everyday), and you'll be able to receive up to three Valentines every day, depending on how far you've gone in the construction of the castle.
As you start to accumulate Valentines, you'll be able to trade them in for the following rewards (the first five are re-releases from last year):
Red Heart Hay - 1 Valentine
Yellow Rose Stand - 3 Valentines
Fancy Carriage (formerly a Mystery Box item) - 10 Valentines
Luv Ewe - 20 Valentines
Giant Teddy - 30 Valentines
Valentine Ram - 50 Valentines
Again, it seems as though Zynga will likely add more items to the prize list in the future, as we doubt they would allow users to accumulate over 300 Valentines and only leave the most expensive item at a cost of 50.
In addition to all of these methods of Valentine collection, remember that you'll frequently be asked to share free Valentines on your wall, and that your friends will be posting the same, so keep an eye out for free Valentines on your news feed to really boost your total.
Check out the rest of our Valentine's Day coverage right here.
We'll be sure to let you know if more themed rewards are added to the feature in the future, but for now, let us know what you think of these rewards in the comments. Do you already have the re-released items on your farm? What items do you hope they will release in addition to this first set?